Google's Matt Cutts on Search vs. Social: Don't Rely on Just One Channel

Matt Cutts

You wondered if you should just throw in the hat when it comes to trying to rank in organic search results and maybe spend more time on other avenues of traffic generation, such as social media leads or pay per click? This is actually the topic of the latest Google webmaster help video from Google's Distinguished Engineer Matt Cutts.

Since Google is been actively updating its search results, it is hard for people to trust Google anymore. Should one start focusing on getting leads from social media other than search engine results?

Google will constantly be upgrading its algorithm, Cutts said. It's never going to be complete, they will continue to update it as spammers find new ways to rank and as they integrate new signals or change the weight of those signals in the algorithm.

Cutts added that since the start of the summer (when this particular video was filmed) Google has been trying to make it even harder for spammers to rank from black hat techniques.

"So we are always going to be updating, always going to change things to make things better, always trying to innovate the way that we record search algorithms, that's just the nature of the beast," Cutts said. "The goal is always the same, to return the highest quality set of search results."

He said webmasters could probably spend their time better than trying to figure out every little nuance of the Google search algorithm.

"So rather than trying to figure out reverse engineering our algorithm and trying to find all the different ways to rank higher and trying to take shortcuts, as long as you're trying to make a fantastic site that people love, that's really compelling, that there are always going to, that's the sort of thing that puts you on the same side as Google," Cutts said.

Now what about getting leads from other sources, such as social media leads? Cutts discussed this type of traffic generation next.

"I'm all for having eggs in lots of different baskets, because if your website goes down and then you can always have your brick-and-mortar business," Cutts said. "If your ranking on Google is not as good, then you can have other channels that you can use – from print media advertising, to billboards, to Twitter, to Facebook. So you should always have a very well-rounded portfolio of ways to get leads whether from people walking through your door or Yellow Pages or whatever it is, because you can't count on any one channel always working out perfectly.

"As long as you have great content you should do well in Google," he added. "But you know if people are spamming or you hire a bad SEO, that can lead to unpredictable results.

So yes, this is another case where Google is praising good content as being the best path forward, because that is what the end user wants to see. And Google is about making the end user – not the SEO company – happy.

About the author

Jennifer Slegg began as a freelance writer, and turned to search engine optimization and writing content for the web in 1998. She has created numerous content-rich sites in niche markets and works with many clients on content creation, strategy, and monetization. She writes about many search industry and social media topics on her blog, and is a frequent speaker at search industry conferences on SEO, content marketing and content monetization. Acknowledged as the leading expert on the Google AdSense contextual advertising program, she runs JenSense, a blog dealing exclusively with contextual advertising. She is also the founder and editor of The SEM Post. She is known by many as her handle Jenstar on various webmaster forums.