I’m sitting here on the waterfront in Seattle. SMX Advanced ’09 is over. One of the best search marketing focused events I’ve ever attended. But the “news” from the event is mostly about some stuff Matt Cutts said during “Q&A” at the ‘canonical tag’ session.
I was present, to moderate the audience Q&A. There really wasn’t much of that, because the panelists pretty much did all the talking, or arguing, howerer you want to put it. It was interesting, to be sure.
Matt appears to have come in to bail out Maile Ohye, who had said some stuff that didn’t really match up with the Google party line, like saying that rel=nofollow should only be used to mean that you don’t vouch for the link. After coming and saying that he supported everything she said (which I don’t think he could have even heard), Matt responded to a question about pagination links, didn’t actually know what kind of pagination links they were talking about, and said basically that nofollow might not work like people expect for sculpting PageRank. And, some other stuff which many folks have attempted to reconstruct.
First of all, the idea that ‘sculpting’ – especially the kind of radical sculpting that was being discussed – is not going to work like people expect, isn’t really news. Second, Matt didn’t really say anything especially clear, either in this panel or the “You&A.”
Hopefully someone from Google will add some true clarity to this soon, but for now, relax and don’t buy all the hype.
- If Google really has radically changed the way nofollow and PageRank are handled, they didn’t do it overnight – that’s major development work. Months.
- As recently as April 23, Matt had a platform to actually ‘announce’ something like this but didn’t. Didn’t say, ‘but don’t bother because we have a major change in the works.’ He said, as he’s often said, as I have too, as many others have, that spending a bunch of time trying to “sculpt” PageRank should be way way way down the to-do list.
- Until someone says something definitive, what you are hearing is people who speculated being interpreted by others, and… you know what? That’s not news. That’s the blogosphere, and Twit-o-sphere, doing what they do.
A lot of questions were raised by that panel – like whether robots.txt even works, if you want to believe everything that was said, and put the wrong context around it. But it’s a beautiful sunny day.
We’ll talk more later. I’m going to go say goodbye to the seals in the marina.
Update from Matt – doesn’t add much clarity: http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/pagerank-sculpting/
Well, enough clarity in the comments there, for me to say that Leslie Rohde nailed it.