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The Matt Cutts Debunking Flowchart (searchengineland.com)
182 points by tristanperry on May 31, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 33 comments



I love that Danny Sullivan put an explicit "Is it on Hacker News?" question on the flowchart. :)


The best part of that is where it's placed in the chart-

It implies that the users of HN a subset of the overall nutjob population, but one worth addressing at least ;)


Actually, it implies the opposite.

If someone who is not a nutjob is spouting the theory it will get debunked, regardless of placement on Hacker News. If Hacker News were in the nutjob category, it would be irrelevant in the flowchart. The chart would simply point from "repeated by a nutjob"->"Am I bored?"

Hacker News only takes effect if a nutjob's theory winds up on Hacker News, which based on the chart, is more akin to "Are they a nutjob?"->"No" (but not quite the same). So, while something does not need to be on Hacker News to be debunked, placement on Hacker News will result in a theory being debunked. Thus, the article implies that Hacker News is a community made up of people who are expressly not nutjobs.


To me the chart simply considers HNers influential nutjobs.


Matt Cutts must now debunk the myth of the "Matt Cutts Debunking Flowchart", per the "Matt Cutts Debunking Flowchart".


Double check. Assuming it's true, etc., it goes to "let PR handle it" ;-).


... Assuming he does not consider Danny Sullivan a nutjob. ;-)


Gotta love self-hosted flowcharts :)


Just out of curiosity, what are the outrageous claims that have come up?


Here are the claims I can think of in the last few days:

- Claiming that your email newsletter's Gmail reputation affects your ranking: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2600933 I did a full debunk here: http://goo.gl/6A8f9

- Claiming that Hacker News was penalized by Panda: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2595704 I did a full debunk here: http://goo.gl/7Tw9o

- There was an SEO blog that had a headline "Google Copying Bing's Image Results? Google Cheating Bing?" at http://www.seroundtable.com/google-indexing-bing-13477.html when in fact it was just images on bing.net and Bing neglected to have a robots.txt file. We have a policy against search results in search results, so we were happy to remove the images in less than a day. The SEO blogger changed the headline to be less sensational.

- Oh, one more debunk: http://allthingsd.com/20110527/google-no-government-investig... The webspam team continues to take manual action to remove spam in the same way that we have for the last decade.

Those are the four debunks that come to mind from the last week or so. Sigh.


So much for debunking the fact that you don't do much debunking, I guess? :)


I've been a bit AFK in the past couple of weeks, but one that surfaced last night/early this morning was that if a website sends out a newsletter and too many people flag it for spam, you could get banned from Google.

There's probably been (many) more, too (there's usually plently).


By coincidence, I had this leftover tab up next: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2600933 - Matt Cutts denying "Email Reputation Causes Penalties in Google Search Results".


Just out of curiosity, what are the outrageous claims that have come up?

A lot of them come from sudden up and downs, with no apparent changes by the webmaster, as Google does "quality" changes. So people wonder and Google loves to spread FUD.


Hrm. This is why SEO seems like there's a high BS quotient. In some situations, it sounds more like a bunch of norsemen huddled around a fire trying to explain their harsh and unpredictable world via a series of angry and capricious gods, rather than rational, scientific people.

And in many ways, that's how it is - you do some experiments, and by the time you have something definitive (you think, at least), the rules change and your experiments are potentially no longer valid. Even Einstein would be no match for a world where C kept changing at random.


I'd say it's almost exactly how it is. In the natural world, the 'rules' don't change, we just continually discover more, and all the attendant nuances. In the SEO world, Google/Bing/etc really do just change the rules as to how stuff works, possibly because they get angry about abuses going on. There are a small handful of people who control how the online universe largely operates, just like gods.

There's no point in pretending to 'know' things about SEO, because unless you've worked at one of the big search companies, you can't really know what you're talking about. And in the few cases you do, there's no guarantee that the same will hold true tomorrow. In face, the more people 'know' something about SEO, the more likely that particular rule will change.

And no, I don't claim to be an SEO expert - I just tire of hearing the outlandish claims from 'experts' charging gobs of money from unsuspecting hopefuls.


True, but a lot of these changes are for no reason. One month you go to 10,000 G visitors from 4,000 the next you drop to 2,000.


Random events by "higher powers" are exactly the sort of things that cause people to invent religions, conspiracy theories, and other 'beliefs'.


>...a lot of these changes are for no reason. One month you go to 10,000 G visitors from 4,000 the next you drop to 2,000.

Systems comprised of vast numbers of highly interconnected, constantly self-modifying feedback loops exhibit chaotic behaviour. Who'd have thought it?


Systems comprised of vast numbers of highly interconnected, constantly self-modifying feedback loops exhibit chaotic behaviour. Who'd have thought it?

Ummm...how does that explain sites that stayed more or less with a range for many years? This is what Amit Singhal said, your site is "high quality" one month, junk quality the next and then back to "high quality" and deserving of better rankings without changing a freaking thing. In fact they are sure that they called everyone's demoted site "low quality." That's the truth.


I have no goddamn idea. And neither does anyone else. That's part of what chaos means.


From his videos, it would appear as if Matt Cutts is a Nice Guy. Can anyone confirm this?


Matt is an incredibly nice guy.


He is a nice guy, for sure.


Just curious...What tool was used to create this flowchart?


Based on the quick shadows, manually-placed arrows, and PNG metadata I would say Inkscape.


SnagIt Editor. Not the best choice, but it's what I had :)


Neat! I didn't know it was so powerful.


It is interesting to note that it is impossible for a theory spouted by nutjobs to be true in this flowchart. A non-nutjob must endorse a theory before it enters the realm of possibly true. Danny must have an incredibly low opinion of conspiracy theorists and a high opinion of Google's practices. ;)


This chart makes it look as though Matt's fine as long as they're no worse than Bing. Somehow I doubt it's as simple as that.


i'm going to go ahead and make the assumption that this is not actually how matt deduces problems.


I thought I said that!


-5 points for frame-breaking.




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