SEO Tips from Google’s Webmaster and Mythbuster Matt Cutts

The biggest SEO myths, according to Cutts, are perpetuated in "black-hat forums and discussion boards."

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In this video, head of Google’s Webspam team Matt Cutts offers insight into some of the most repeated SEO myths. One of the biggest? If you buy ads, you’ll rank higher on Google.

“There’s an opposing conspiracy theory which is if you don’t buy ads, you’ll rank better on Google,” says Cutts.

Cutts also says Google does not make algorithmic changes to “try to drive people to buy ads” and that Google does what it does in the search results to keep users happy and make sure they keep coming back. “That’s basically it,” he says. “Happy users are loyal users, right?”

Could it really be that simple?

The biggest myths, according to Cutts, are perpetuated in “black-hat forums and discussion boards,” where groupthink gives rise to periodic search ranking “fads” like article directories, guest blogging and link wheels. “Never be afraid to think for yourself,” he says.

“I read an article recently where someone was talking about using an automated software package, and trying to do some white-hat SEO with it, which, to me, sounds like buying a gun and trying to use it as a hammer.”

Cutts warns that many of these tools will only help you “dig yourself into a hole” and to approach them with caution. More importantly, employing fly-by-night methods that will be detected within a couple of weeks will keep you always working in opposition to the algorithms and tech-savvy users.

Cutts is a software engineer who joined Google in January 2000. He wrote the first version of Google’s family filter, SafeSearch, and has been working on search quality and Webspam at Google for the last several years.

Find Cutts on Twitter @mattcutts. Visit Google’s Webmaster Help Forum if you have questions.