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SEO Misconceptions Straight from the Horse’s Mouth

SEO Misconceptions Straight from the Horse’s Mouth

Each week, Matt Cutts, head of Google’s Webspam team, posts informative videos on the Google Webmasters YouTube Channel on recent updates, webmaster tips and other Google News. Recently, he shared a video titled, “What are some misconceptions in the SEO industry?” that hit close to home for us. Below are the insights that he shared during this video along with our take on them.

  • Algorithm Update v. Data Refresh:

    Cutts first cleared up the confusion between an algorithm and a data refresh. Essentially, an algorithm update fundamentally changes the way that Google analyzes data, changing the signals that it uses and the weight given to those signals, whereas a data refresh shifts what data is being analyzed but does not alter the way in which the data is interpreted. Though it’s easy to see how both would impact your rankings, the former impacts the way in which you should be conducting SEO whereas the latter changes the type of data Google is choosing to analyze.

    For instance, the recent Penguin update targeted webmasters using black hat SEO tactics, such as using paid links, engaging in comment spam, and building inbound links on questionable or dangerous sites. Google’s main goal was to penalize sites with unnatural links. In response to this update, we’ve had to change the way we perform SEO, eliminating exact match anchor text for cross linking, slowing the pace at which link building is completed, disavowing links from disreputable sites and so on.

  • Mismanaged Time and Energy From SEOs:

    Next Cutts answered a popular and important question: What are SEO’s spending too much time and energy on? His answer comes as quite a surprise for some: Link building. That’s right, Cutts believes that too many SEOs are putting too many eggs in the link building basket. Instead, he advises that they focus on creating the best possible experience for your site visitors. Identify what makes your site interesting and fun. Create a design that is visually appealing and enhances the user flow. Pay attention to your site’s speed to ensure that slow loading is not negatively impacting your users’ experience.

    This is where having a full service digital marketing agency comes in handy. Everything from the design and coding of your site to your content writing and social media marketing will be handled in house. Rather than four different companies taking four different approaches, our team works together to create a cohesive user experience.

    What’s more, our marketing team can easily change gears when Google introduces algorithm changes. Thus, when Penguin 2.0 cracked down on link building we were able to shift our energies to other tools, such as social media, accordingly. On the other hand, if you were simply outsourcing your link building to a company whose sole purpose is to plug data in to web directories all day, you may have been in trouble.

  • Google Updates are Designed to Increase Revenue:

    Finally, Cutts took the time to dispel a common myth among disgruntled web masters: Google introduces updates in order to raise their revenues. The logic here is that Google purposefully creates updates that will tank webmasters’ rankings so that they will dump more money into Google AdWords in order to maintain their web traffic. Cutts stats that this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, he points out that the Panda update actually decreased Google’s revenue.

    The true reason for Google’s updates is the company’s desire to create the best possible experience for its users. They are willing to take a hit in the short term if it means producing search results that their users like, gaining their trust and loyalty. Our take on this: Google is practicing what they preach, making changes to improve their own user experience while encouraging webmasters to do the same. In theory, those webmasters who make the necessary changes in response to Google’s updates should rise with the tide, while those who continue to rely on black hat SEO tactics will sink to the bottom.

  • The bottom line here: Google is not trying to take down all webmasters, they are penalizing those who’ve made mistakes so that they may fix them, improve their user experience, and subsequently their rankings.

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Creative Director/Senior Designer

Tom DiGrazia

With over a decade and a half of professional design experience, Tom brings his knowledge of design principles and focus on user experience to every aspect of his contribution to TTG. Paying special attention to each client’s brand, personalized needs and individual interests, he strives to create compelling concepts utilizing intuitive and highly-refined design solutions. In addition to traditional and digital design work and oversight at TTG, Tom also boasts a wide portfolio of web development projects with the company, allowing him to stretch his CSS and HTML skills across multiple platforms and disciplines. He feels that being a designer in the digital landscape of websites, eCommerce solutions, email marketing platforms and social media, it is important to understand the code that goes into these areas as it assists his ability to tailor designs specifically targeted to achieve the best end result and further builds understanding and communication with backend development teams.

In his off hours, Tom is an avid pop culture enthusiast, staying up to date on the latest shows, films, comics and games. He can also typically be found taking part in a whole host of artistic activities that help him further stretch his creative legs. Regardless of the activity, Tom is always accompanied by his dog, Eli, and his cat, Tib.

Design, Photography, Illustration, Digital Imagery Manipulation, Wesbite Development

Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Lightroom, HTML/CSS, Wordpress


Courtney Dumont

As Senior Marketing Strategist & Analyst at Technology Therapy Group, Courtney is energized by the ability to flex both her left and right brain daily. Courtney discovered her passion for Marketing at Bryant University, where she spearheaded research on students’ perceptions of Social Media Marketing for her Honors Capstone Project. After graduating Bryant in 2012, she joined the Technology Therapy team, where she’s honed her skills in social media, search and social advertising, email marketing, SEO, and more.

Since joining the team, Courtney has created digital marketing strategies and managed campaigns for clients across the country, ranging from plastic surgery centers, to jewelry stores, to construction companies. With a cohesive, cross-channel approach and a focus on data-driven decision making, she has increased their leads by up to 217%. But Courtney doesn’t leave her zeal for social media at the office; she also runs a local foodie Instagram account with her husband to document their meals across Rhode Island and beyond. Check them out: @hoppilyfed.

Marketing Strategy, Data Analysis, Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Social Media

Google Analytics, Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Facebook Creator Studio, Instagram, Klaviyo, Mailchimp, Emma Mail, Google Data Studio, WordPress, YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, Microsoft Office