Szeged, Padmakar-Ivan (PI), and Mostar indices are some of the most investigated distance-based Szeged-like topological indices. On the other hand, the polynomials related to these topological indices were also introduced, for example the Szeged polynomial, the edge-Szeged polynomial, the PI polynomial, the Mostar polynomial, etc. In this paper, we introduce a concept of the general Szeged-like polynomial for a connected strength-weighted graph. It turns out that this concept includes all the above mentioned polynomials and also infinitely many other graph polynomials. As the main result of the paper, we prove a cut method which enables us to efficiently calculate a Szeged-like polynomial by using the corresponding polynomials of strength-weighted quotient graphs obtained by a partition of the edge set that is coarser than \(\Theta^*\)-partition. To the best of our knowledge, this represents the first implementation of the famous cut method to graph polynomials. Finally, we show how the deduced cut method can be applied to calculate some Szeged-like polynomials and corresponding topological indices of para-polyphenyl chains and carbon nanocones.