In a response to John Battelle’s recently released interview with Matt Cutts, Danni Sullivan asks Matt:

Matt, in the interview, you suggest that Google now views meta robots with a nofollow value as being the same as the completely different nofollow attribute, in terms of flagging links as not trusted. Is that now the case?

Matt’s response:

Danny, that’s always been the case–sorry if I haven’t explained that well. There are many techniques to sell visitors/traffic without selling PageRank or affecting search engines. As long as a link doesn’t affect search engines, there is no problem with selling that link from Google’s perspective. The nofollow attribute on links is the most granular because it’s on a link level, but something like a sponsor page is a fine opportunity to use the nofollow meta tag instead of marking each link.

I asked (though I expect Matt to dodge):

I think there’s still skepticism out there as to Adam’s recent statement “Google senses much” in terms of link selling. For example, was the wc3 page detected algorithmically or from word of mouth? Also, what would be the likely consequence if wc3 decided not to use the nofollow tag?


In the original interview, some guy asked:

Matt, I have one line of questions. Google’s job is to measure the relevancy of web pages with algorithms/human computation or other means Google have or could have.

But is it fair for Google to put restriction on what people could do with web?

I hear this alot, and for some reason, it always rubs me the wrong way.

Here’s a scenario where Google puts no restrictions on websites:

SERP in random order.

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