Will He Ever Return? Head Of Google’s Web Spam Team Matt Cutts Extends Leave Into 2015

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The head of Google’s web spam team, Matt Cutts, says that his leave from the company has gone so well that he’ll be continuing it through 2015.

Cutts shared the news today in a note added to his original blog post from July about going on leave, saying:

When I went on leave, I wanted to see how webspam would go without me. I’ve been talking to people on both the algorithmic and manual webspam teams during my leave, and they’ve been doing a top-notch job. So I’m planning on extending my leave into 2015.

Cutts originally said that he would be out through October of this year, so the clock was ticking on him giving an update, with the month ending tonight.

When exactly Cutts will return to Google in 2015 is unclear. And given the extension, it’s fair to wonder if he really will return to that post or Google.

If the web spam team has been doing fine without him, the Google veteran — who has written and spoken in the past about wanting to spend more time at home — might effectively be done.

Since his time on leave, various Google engineers and webmaster trends analysts have filled the role of being public faces to SEOs and publishers. None of them have emerged as the strong “rockstar” type of figure that Cutts has been for a decade. But it’s hard to say whether that has helped or hurt Google.

Cutts has been an incredibly popular figure with many SEOs. He’s also been a lightning rod for many other SEOs unhappy with policies he’s created or Google in general. His stepping back has largely eliminated him as a personal face of Google that the unhappy group can attack.

Cutts joined Google in 2000 and has overseen the web spam team since 2004. Yesterday, his “public face” counterpart at Bing — Duane Forrester — lost his job in Microsoft’s latest layoffs.

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