Warning: Matt Cutts is here to talk about Spam

Matt Cutts is in charge of Web spam at Google.

 @mattcutts  is one of the few public faces of the search engine company.

Google is always working to provide the best search results – both paid and unpaid – for its users. Having your website rank high in these results can be quite profitable and when money flows so does the desire for advertisers to manipulate the rankings.

One of the tasks for Cutts is to help explain what Google is doing to fight Web spam. It’s an important job because there are millions and even billions of dollars riding on how companies manage their websites for search engine rankings.

Cutts is in a difficult position. He needs to effectively explain the moves at Google while dealing with judgment from the online community.

In this video he discusses a recent tool Google rolled out to help fight Web spam.

No Judgment

Matt Cutts has a difficult job.

He is dealing with spam. This is SPAm that companies have created to boost their rankings. In some cases his audience includes people from large companies. These companies may have done some things in the past that are now considered manipulative.

When addressing these issues, Cutts has to walk a fine line. He has to let the audience know that what they’ve done in the past is wrong while providing instruction on how they can do it right going forward.

To do this Cutts avoids any judgment. This is paramount. If he were to pass judgment he would get people into an argumentative position. This would detract from his authority.

The focus is on the solution instead of what happened in the past.

First Impressions of Matt Cutts

Matt Cutts has been with Google for more than a decade. He is well versed in the industry so he has his background and knowledge to feed his confidence.

When he discusses these issues you can see that he feels comfortable. He doesn’t stumble over words very much.

Preparation and understanding are two important elements of a good presentation.

Cutts has done many of these videos. It’s something he’s familiar with and comfortable doing.

A familiar setting helps when giving presentations. Comfort comes from practice. You can build your confidence by practicing and preparing. If you can do it in the setting where your presentation will take place you’ll add to your level of comfort and you’ll be more prepared.

Cutts has a casual yet professional look. His voice is methodical. He doesn’t speak too slow or too fast. It’s easy to understand each word he says, which is really important for this kind of presentation.

You can find a few instances where Cutts stumbles on the occasional word or doesn’t give the perfectly professional presentation, but for the most part he is an effective speaker.

People listen to him when he’s speaking and that’s critical because he is selling the public on the actions of Google.

Sharing Examples

We’ve talked about using stories and examples before. It’s an effective way of helping your audience understand the point you’re trying to make.

With stories and examples you can better sell the audience and that’s the ultimate goal of any presentation.

In this video, Cutts is talking about cleaning up website link profiles. He shares a few examples that include potential practices that may have led to poor linking.

They include practices such as paying for links, writing low quality content on other sites, spam commenting and other items.

These are clear examples of what could lead to a website having issues ranking well on Google. It’s a way for the audience to understand what is happening and how they can fix it.

That understanding is key to getting your audience on board with the presentation.

Focus on What’s Good for the Audience

Manipulation is something that causes headaches at Google. They’re in a battle to stay ahead of spam practices.

It would be easy to understand if Cutts took the position that websites need to clean up their link profiles for the betterment of Google. It would make his job much easier if people would follow best practices.

However, if Cutts were to make this presentation about Google he wouldn’t win over anyone in the audience.

People need a reason to listen to you. They need something that is beneficial to them.

Cutts gives a couple reasons why removing poor links benefits websites. These reasons are things the audience members will buy and it makes them likely to take action because it will benefit them.

When you want to influence your audience, always appeal to their self interest. It is the only way that people will change their behavior.

We Understand Your Problem and We Want to Help

Cutts first asks listeners to try to remove links manually. This would include reaching out to websites that link to your site and if those links are poor quality you ask to have them removed.

This is one option and Google hopes you take action, but they also understand that it’s a lot of work. It’s a problem website owners will have.

The great thing here is that Google has an alternative solution and that’s the disavow tool.

Cutts has now presented a problem that is affecting his audience. He’s explained why it’s beneficial for those in the audience to take corrective action. He’s shared the fact that he understands that doing it manually is an issue and now he’s presenting an easier solution.

That sequence of events puts a positive light on what Google is trying to do.

Listeners that came into the video questioning the motives of Google are now likely on Google’s side. They see that Google wants to help them create a better website.

It’s a tough sell, but Cutts has done a great job winning over the audience.

Clear Instructions

Once Cutts has his audience on board with the new tool the selling continues. His job is not only to sell people on the idea of the disavow tool, but to get them to use it to improve the quality of the Web and search results.

Cutts goes into a complex, but clear set of instructions on using the disavow links tool.

He starts out by talking about how to find links that should be removed. He explains how Google will help with this task by sending messages.

The tool is for someone that understands some programming.

Cutts discusses how to use the tool by creating a text file and adding the disavow link language. He makes it sound easy although he makes it clear that it should be done by someone that understands how the basic structure of a website works.

This Tool Is Not For Everybody

The disavow link tool is not for everyone. Cutts talks about how the average small business shouldn’t need to worry about using this tool unless they have done something in the past to manipulate links to their site.

This is good because hearing about link spam and Web spam can be scary for a small business. They have fewer resources to dedicate to learning about SEO and figuring out these tools. Cutts reassures them that if they have avoided poor link practices in the past that they won’t need to use this tool.

The tool is for those that have poor links, whatever the reason for that may be.

Covering All Bases

Often in presentations leaders will need to cover all bases to protect themselves and the company.

Cutts does this when he talks about how Google will interpret the use of the disavow tool.

He says that Google will use the information as a strong recommendation to disavow a link. He makes it clear that there may be certain instances when Google still has the right to do what it thinks is right.

He treads lightly on the subject, but is firm in how he says it. This is important because his audience needs to know that Google wants to help, but it still has final say on how its programs are used.

Expectations and Timelines

An important aspect of presentations and sales that we have yet to touch on is expectations.

Cutts knows that his audience will want to know how long it takes for the disavow link to work. He shares that the timeline is several weeks.

He also shares that it will take even longer if a user wishes to remove a link from the disavow tool.

When speaking to your audience, always provide accurate expectations and timelines. It’s difficult to be exact information, but it’s important. Do your best to show your audience how things will work.

Repeating Important Points

Cutts come back to his point that not everyone will need to use this tool. In fact, he says most people shouldn’t use this tool.

Coming back to important points can seem redundant and it can be, but if you need to get something across it’s good to share the information too much as opposed to too little.

You don’t want any doubt that it’s an important point.


As one of the faces of a large company, Cutts needs to be an effective speaker.

With his video presentations and when he speaks at live events, Cutts is great at handling difficult situations. He’s able to make things better for himself and for Google by winning over his audiences and getting people to take action.

He’s a great speaker and he always seems to finish things well with each video.

In this case, after talking about the tool, Cutts ends the presentation by thanking listeners and smiling.

Sometimes that’s the last thing you need to close the deal.

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