Former director of search Quality for engine giants Google announced his resignation from the company effective 31st December 2016. Cutts took leave from Google two years ago and finally made the decision to call it quits and instead join the US Digital Service team, a governmental department in which he serves as the director of engineering.
Mr. Cutts’ departure from Google has been a long journey that began with a short leave of absence that was extended after some time. In May of 2015, his post at Google was filled by someone not yet known to the public. At this time, he issued a statement to the effect that, while he was still working for Google, he was on a leave of absence.
As 2016 wore on, he joined the government’s USDS team in a temporary capacity. It would appear that he enjoyed the kind of work there so much that he finally decided to make a formal exit from Google. With this exit, his leave of absence has been officially terminated.
In a statement detailing his new appointment, Matt noted that he was giving up quite a lot, leaving the tech giants in Silicon Valley for a new job with the government. He remarked that the pay would definitely be nothing like before, as well as other benefits like free lunches. Instead, he said, there are many frustrating days to live through. He however crowned this by stating that he was going to be part of a “deeply important and inspiring” job, where he gets a chance to really contribute to projects that make other people’s lives a little better.
Cutts also cited advice from a friend of his that had made the move from private to public service a few years before him. His friend remarked that the five years he’d been in the field were simultaneously the best and most rewarding, as well as the worst and hardest years he has had.
Matt Cutts was among Google’s initial team, in fact, part of the first 100 employees the company hired. As far as search engine marketing goes, his name was among the best known, and he was a guest and panelist at countless online marketing conferences and meetups, both online and offline. His contributions to Google and the industry as a whole are significant and irreplaceable. We can appreciate his desire to be a part of something bigger than himself, or even Google, big though it may be.
Cutts opens up about some of his challenges while at Google
While he seldom opened up about what his work at Google was all about, he agreed to hold an interview with Anil Dash while his posting was still on a temporary basis within the Pentagon working various Defense Digital Service projects. He used to be the spam guardian for Google and carried out the interview through a mobile app, where he would read questions from a mobile app and type answers into it.
Anil Dash has known Cutts for many years, and dove deep into some of his work at Google, landing some interesting information about challenges he faced in his previous job. As an engineer used to run this behind the scenes, Cutts stepped out of his comfort zone to move to the forefront and run things from there.
Once he got the hang of it, he tried to bring more of his peers with him to conferences, but most lasted only a short time before retreating into the shadows. He made an effort to create a team, the Webmaster Trends team to help him with outreach forums and videos.
As regards his encounters with SEOs, particularly following some update or unpopular action by Google, Cutts noted that he occasionally received threats from stressed out SEO, including one credible threat he got following a search conference.
Did he ever think about a bodyguard, or was he genuinely scared? No, and no. He shrugged off the threats, explaining that he understood such people were under pressure because their livelihoods hung in the balance, but that even with the stress most people were still “reasonable and nice”.
Well, we wish him all the best as he embarks on this new phase in his life and career.