Matt Cutts Debunked Me

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So tonight I am minding my own business and sitting on Twitter trying to catch up on some cool Tweets and industry info. Suddenly a tweet from Matt Cutts to ME pops up on my stream. (In case you don’t know, Matt Cutts is the head of web spam at Google). He let me know that he left a comment on my Google Quality Raters post to clear up a misconception. It was something *I* said in my post – and yep, he totally debunked me…lol! Hey, when you’re wrong, you’re wrong – so I want to clarify and stand corrected. Here’s what Matt Cutts clarified for me.

In that post about Google Quality Raters I was quoting pieces of an interview with Scott Huffman (Google’s Engineering Director). Mr Huffman was asked if ONE Quality Rater can affect the rankings of a url. Mr Huffman said No (in more words than that, but “No” is the gist of it).

I then went on with my post and *I* said:

“Now this makes sense to me – ONE rater can not cause a rankings change. However, I do believe that if a certain percentage of raters mark one url as spam or non-relevant, that it does throw up some type of flag in the system that can cause something to happen to that url. Now I naturally do not KNOW this, but I get that sneaky feeling.”

According to Matt Cutts, my “sneaky feeling” is wrong.

This is the comment Matt left in the comments:

So- there it is – according to Matt, I am wrong (well, my “sneaky feeling” is wrong).

Quality Raters can not directly change the ranking of a url.

All they do is is review potential rankings caused by a test algorithm change. Based on their feedback (ie, their ratings), Google can tell if the test algo makes things “better” or “worse” in the SERPs. If it is deemed “better”, that test algo is released out into the Google Sandbox where a small percentage of live Google traffic gets the test algo results.

If that sample of live traffic shows that the search results are “better”, then the algo is released out to all of us.

And THEN your rankings could very well change.

That’s the short version from how I understand it. If you want to understand the complete process of this, read this post: How Google Makes Algorithm Changes

So, let’s continue the story…

So Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) tweets to me (@potpiegirl) that he left a comment on my blog.

I thank him and then ask him a question:

“Would multiple spam ratings cause an internal Google employee to manually review that url?”

To me, that makes sense. If many HUMAN reviewers all flag a site as spam, wouldn’t it make sense that someone internal with Google would check that url out?

His answer to me was short and sweet.

Here’s the entire Twitter conversation:

Naturally, his comment on my blog here at sparked more questions from others on Twitter.

Here’s some more Q&A regarding his comment about Google’s Quality Raters and Google rankings:

Which amusingly led to Matt Cutts making a “note to self” (uhhhh… a “tweet” to self? lol!)

Nice to have a video about all this – or at least something about all this – thanks, Matt! And thanks for taking the time to stop by and “debunk” me 🙂

I will say this – it does make sense to me that the data gathered from the human Quality Raters should not be “mucked” with. If you go in and start manually changing things, you don’t really know if the algo ever gets better or worse.

Edited to add: Matt came back to answer some questions others were asking him the comments area of my post.

Here is more from Matt:

So, there you have it…

What do YOU think?

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