Nov 3 2014

Matt Cutts Won’t Be Back At Google Any Time Soon

Back in July, Google’s head of webspam Matt Cutts announced that he was taking an extended leave from work to enjoy his personal life. On Friday, he revealed in a tweet (via Search Engine Roundtable ) that he won’t be back to work at all this year. I'm planning to extend my leave into 2015: https://t.co/T5adq50x4L — Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) November 1, 2014 Cutts didn’t really elaborate on why he’s extending his leave, but if you could do it, why not, right? He did say this on his blog back in July: I wanted to let folks know that I’m about to take a few months of leave. When I joined Google, my wife and I agreed that I would work for 4-5 years, and then she’d get to see more of me. I talked about this as recently as last month and as early as 2006. And now, almost fifteen years later I’d like to be there for my wife more. I know she’d like me to be around more too, and not just physically present while my mind is still on work. So we’re going to take some time off for a few months. My leave starts next week. Currently I’m scheduled to be gone through October. Thanks to a deep bench of smart engineers and spam fighters, the webspam team is in more-than-capable hands. Seriously, they’re much better at spam fighting than I am, so don’t worry on that score. In Matt’s absence, the industry had relied on updates from people like Google Webmaster Trends analysts John Mueller and Pierre Far. There have been both new Panda and Penguin updates to roll out during Matt’s leave. It remains to be seen when Cutts will return, but there’s not really that much of 2014 left. I’d expect him to return after the New Year. We’ll see. Webmasters must be itching for more of Cutts’ famous YouTube videos. Image via YouTube

Jul 7 2014

Matt Cutts Is Disappearing For A While

Just ahead of the holiday weekend, Google’s head of webspam Matt Cutts announced that he is taking leave from Google through at least October, which means we shouldn’t be hearing from him (at least about Google) for at least three months or so. That’s a pretty significant amount of time when you consider how frequently Google makes announcements and changes things up. Is the SEO industry ready for three Matt Cutts-less months? Cutts explains on his personal blog : I wanted to let folks know that I’m about to take a few months of leave. When I joined Google, my wife and I agreed that I would work for 4-5 years, and then she’d get to see more of me. I talked about this as recently as last month and as early as 2006. And now, almost fifteen years later I’d like to be there for my wife more. I know she’d like me to be around more too, and not just physically present while my mind is still on work. So we’re going to take some time off for a few months. My leave starts next week. Currently I’m scheduled to be gone through October. Thanks to a deep bench of smart engineers and spam fighters, the webspam team is in more-than-capable hands. Seriously, they’re much better at spam fighting than I am, so don’t worry on that score. He says he wont’ be checking his work email at all while he’s on leave, but will have some of his outside email forwarded to “a small set of webspam folks,” noting that they won’t be replying. Cutts is a frequent Twitter user, and didn’t say whether or not he’ll be staying off there, but either way, I wouldn’t expect him to tweet much about search during his leave. If you need to reach Google on a matter that you would have typically tried to go to Matt Cutts about, he suggests webmaster forums, Office Hours Hangouts, the Webmaster Central Twitter account, the Google Webmasters Google+ account, or or trying other Googlers. He did recently pin this tweet from 2010 to the top of his timeline: When you've got 5 minutes to fill, Twitter is a great way to fill 35 minutes. — Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) May 11, 2010 So far, he hasn’t stopped tweeting, but his latest – from six hours ago – is just about his leave: I got my inbox down to zero for a shiny moment, then unpinned and closed the tab with work email: http://t.co/o7zBOvskBE — Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) July 7, 2014 That would seem to suggest he doesn’t plan to waste much of his time off on Twitter. So what will Matt be doing while he’s gone? Taking a ballroom dance class with his wife, trying a half-Iornman race, and going on a cruise. He says they might also do some additional traveling ahead of their fifteen-year wedding anniversary, and will spend more time with their parents. Long story short, leave Cutts alone. He’s busy. Image via YouTube

Jan 20 2014

Matt Cutts Just Declared Guest Blogging ‘Done’

“Stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done,” says Google’s Matt Cutts. Cutts, head of Google’s webspam team, took to his personal blog on Monday to basically declare the death of guest blogging , or at least the death of any favorable view of it from Google. He shared an email he received from a “content marketer” offering a guest blog post in trade for “a dofollow link or two in the article body,” which Cutts calls a “clear violation of Google’s quality guidelines.” He says Google has been seeing more and more reports of this type of thing. “Ultimately, this is why we can’t have nice things in the SEO space: a trend starts out as authentic. Then more and more people pile on until only the barest trace of legitimate behavior remains,” he writes. “We’ve reached the point in the downward spiral where people are hawking “guest post outsourcing” and writing articles about “how to automate guest blogging.” “So stick a fork in it: guest blogging is done; it’s just gotten too spammy,” he adds. “In general I wouldn’t recommend accepting a guest blog post unless you are willing to vouch for someone personally or know them well. Likewise, I wouldn’t recommend relying on guest posting, guest blogging sites, or guest blogging SEO as a linkbuilding strategy.” Early comments are a little critical of this stance. One equates it to “throwing the baby out with the bathwater,” in the sense that this takes too broad a view, and would be detrimental to guest bloggers who actually offer legitimate, quality content on legitimate, quality sites. “Maybe Google needs to up their game and ability to decipher what is quality or not,” suggests Matt Sells, who made the baby/bathwater analogy. “Everyone should not be punished for the wrongdoings of some.” This is probably not going to be a very popular move from Google. Now Cutts didn’t exactly come out and announce any broad new algorithm update that is going to punish all sites with guest posts, but his words are certainly going to make sites wary of including them. My guess is that we’ll see a major overreaction and people deleting perfectly good content from their sites as to suit Google’s will – kind of like when they were/are getting rid of legitimate links in hopes that it will somehow make Google think higher of their sites. Image via YouTube

Nov 20 2012

Matt Cutts On Whether Or Not SEO Should Be Called Something Else

Google put out a new Webmaster Help video today. This time, Matt talks about whether or not “search engine optimization” should be renamed. “A lot of the times when you hear SEO, people get this very narrow blinder on, and they start thinking link building, and I think that limits the field and limits your imagination a little bit,” says Cutts. “It’s almost like anything you’re doing is making a great site – making sure it is accessible and crawlable, and then, almost marketing it – letting the world know about it.” “So it’s a shame that search engine marketing historically refers to paid things like AdWords because otherwise, I think that would be a great way to view it,” he says. “You could also think about not search engine optimization, but search experience optimization. Would users like to see the snippet on the page? Do they land? Do they convert well? Are they happy? Do they want to bookmark it, tell their friends about it, come back to it? All those kinds of questions.” “Unfortunately, SEO does have this kind of connotation for a lot of people, and we’ve seen it in media, like CSI type shows where somebody says they’re an SEO and people have this ‘worthless shady criminals’ kind of view – somebody called SEOs that, and I don’t know how to escape that, because there are a few people who are black hats, who hack sites and give the whole field a bad name, and there are a few people who sell snake oil, who give the field a bad name. And unless people drive those guys out of our midst, we’re gonna have this somewhat bad, shaky reputation for SEO,” he says. “At the same time, if you change the name to something else, all the people will just come along, and a few of those will be bad actors as well,” says Cutts. “If you have a few bad apples then that will sort of change the reputation of whatever new name you pick, so in my personal opinion, the best way to tackle it would be, you know, think about it in broad terms, or maybe think about how can we differentiate the great stuff that people do making their site faster, more accessible, helping people with keyword research, all that sort of stuff – marketing in different ways.” Do you think SEO should get a new name? What would you call it?

Oct 31 2012

Matt Cutts As “Matt Romney” (And Years Worth Of Other Matt Cutts Halloween Costumes)

Google’s Matt Cutts shared his halloween costume with readers of his personal blog . Behold “Matt Romney”: “This was a fun, easy, comfortable costume,” he says (after outlining his five-point plan for a Mitt Romney costume). “I practiced a few of Mitt Romney’s catchphrases and I think people really enjoyed seeing ‘Matt Romney’ around the Googleplex.” He also notes that he will be handing out full-size candy bars for the first couple dozen kids who show up to his house. Last year, Cutts was the blackhat stick man from the xkcd webcomic: In 2010, he was a ninja : In 2009, he went the see-through hole route : In 2008 it was Rick Astley : In 2007 it was a LOLCat : In 2006 he was “Zombie Jeeves” : He also tinkered around with the idea of Silent Bob: In 2005, he was Inigo Montoya : In 2003, he was “Punk Rock Matt”: In either 2000 or 2001 he went as Google chef Charlie Ayers: