Google will still eat you when it grows up

Ian Lurie

Awwww, who’s a cute widdle puddy tat. Yes you are. Yes you are you widdle cutie puddy tat…
Slash. Bite. Garrrgghhhhhh… (insert death rattle here)
This gratuitous cuteness, followed by horrific violence, is brought to you by Google. Virginia Nussey of Bruce Clay pointed out a statement by Matt Cutts at SMX Advanced today that shows even the cutest little search engines will eventually become meat eaters.
According to Matt Cutts, Google’s going to change their nofollow rules so that it soon becomes a less effective SEO tool. You can read the details in Virginia’s post.
This is a big change. I won’t go all geeky about it. But it’s a major, major reversal, and a lot of folks who depended on nofollow for their SEO strategy are going to be sad.
The lesson? Google is a big corporation. They exist to make money. Not to make SEOs happy, or even remotely un-depressed.
We all depend on Google, to some extent, to drive traffic to our sites and build our businesses.
We have little choice.
Just remember that Google can’t escape its nature as a profit-seeking animal.
Remember that when you decide whether Google’s rules are ethical guidelines.
Remember that when you decide whether to try to game the algorithm (bad idea).
And really, really remember that when you get frustrated with your SEO because you’re not progressing fast enough, and you just read this great article about how sculpting this or tricking that will move you up in the rankings.
Treat Google like that lion cub: A great addition to the household. And a fast-growing predator that may bite you in half later on. Not evil, but not terribly interested in what you want, either.
K, it’s been a long day, and I’m not coherent, so I’ll stop babbling.

Ian Lurie
CEO & Founder

Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent and the EVP of Marketing Services at Clearlink. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). He's recorded training for, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Follow him on Twitter at portentint, and on LinkedIn at

Start call to action

See how Portent can help you own your piece of the web.

End call to action


  1. And all this time I’ve been thinking Google was merely the Anti-Christ….
    “What are we going to do tomorrow night, Matt?”
    “Same thing we do every night, Eric: TRY TO TAKE OVER THE WORLD!”

  2. In my opinion sculpting is perhaps something that should have been backburnered anyway. As an SEO I understand the goal in directing the flow of PR through a site, but at that point I have to think of my long term goals. Is this something that is for the user in the end? Well if it is, such as the nofollow of a shopping cart, etc, then surely its not going to affect you when google shakes its mighty finger because it still is done for the right reasons. In terms of the value of my time I’d prefer to focus on my content, because at the end of the day it is king.

  3. It will be interesting to see how this change shakes up the SERP, if at all. Once again it goes to show how chasing an “SEO Trick of the Month” will ultimately be found out by Google, and not to base your entire business around the big G.

  4. @Si The problem of course is that Google is the only game in town. One more reason we need someone – ANYONE – to create a decent competing product.

  5. Google is concerned with returning relevant results for peoples searches and advertising. they dont care about us seo guys or the sites we are representing. Best we can do is to stay abreast of the latest changes and guidelines to all play fairly in googles giant sandbox.

  6. Very true. Google definately arn’t in business to make SEOs rich. I think they are going to do everything in their power to try and stop SEO being so profit. Matt Cutts, chief at google webspam has an idealistic view of how all links should be natural and not SEO’d. Will it ever become a reality? I think they will get nearer and nearer to it as time goes on.

  7. Its not just about Google, but any other search engine… why would they do anybody a favor…? As rightly pointed out by you, there are doing business to make money, and will stop at nothing ti make it grow and to keep their cash registers ringing.

Comments are closed.

Close search overlay