Matt Cutts is so often quoted when attempting to provide facts that support the SEO logic which, without him, is otherwise just deduced or reverse engineered. We hang onto his statements to make facts out of the things we have culled together... and that's a good way to describe the knowledge base of the SEO community... "culled together."
I mean this in no disrespect to anyone, including Matt Cutts and our profession as a whole. I have to wonder, though, who is an authority on SEO who is an active participant in online communities, but is not conflicted due to their responsibility to their employer, such as Matt Cutts.
My reasons for looking past Matt and the Google Webmaster Forums are:
- "We can't tell you what we're doing because you'll game the system."
- "Don't game the system because we'll catch you programmatically [and it will hurt]."
To me, the natural response to those should be (in order):
- Seriously? I'd like to make sure that I publish my information in an optimal way that complements your particular algorithms because it's good for everyone.
- I know that my competitors cheat and you haven't caught them, and because they are cheating I cannot outrank them even though my pages are equally relevant and "do no evil" (to quote the GOOG). What am I to do? Should I resign just to hope your next algorithm will de-rank them and I'll suddenly benefit from my wholesomeness?
Who are the people publicly providing guidance to SEO technicians, backing it not with inside information (and the restraint that requires), but with evidence such as test results and citations from patent filings?
While some may decry my question as completely subjective, I'll state that in some other disciplines of our profession there are a number experts we have knighted such as Jakob Nielsen (usability).