Google's Matt Cutts, web spam guru, taking much-needed family leave

By Quinten Plummer, Tech Times | July 4, 11:38 AM

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Matt Cutts

Matt Cutts is taking a multi-month leave and intends to return in October. The web spam expert started working at Google in 2000.
(Photo : Michael Dorausch | Creative Commons)

Approaching his 15th wedding anniversary and a marriage with Google that's nearly as long, Matt Cutts, head of Google's web spam team, is taking a multi-month leave from the search engine giant to spend more time with his family.

Cutts started working for Google in January of 2000 as a software engineer and wrote the first version of the search engine's SafeSearch filter. Before joining Google, Cutts said he agreed with his wife that he'd only work at the company for roughly four to five years - that agreement turned into almost 15 years.

In Cutts' July 3 announcement on his blog, he said his leave would run until October of 2014 and plans to defer all inquires about search issues to the web spam team and stay off his email account.

"My friend and colleague Amit Singhal took about six weeks off not too long ago, and his #1 piece of advice was to unplug from work email," Cutts stated. "So that's what I'm going to do. I will set up Gmail filters to forward some of my outside email to a small set of webspam folks, but they won't be replying to emails."

Cutts encourages web developers to have their websites verified with Google to ensure their listings are optimized and free of issues. He reminded developers  they could still seek out help through Google Hangouts, webmaster forums and the Google Webmaster account on Twitter.

"Thanks to a deep bench of smart engineers and spam fighters, the webspam team is in more-than-capable hands," Cutts stated. "Seriously, they're much better at spam fighting than I am, so don't worry on that score."

In the  blog post, Cutts stated he and his wife have been taking lesson on ballroom dancing and the pair will take a cruise in August. Along with traveling and making their rounds to visit in-laws, Cutts said he'd like to tackle a 70.3-mile triathlon.

Google's web spam team battles all species of spam, using a human-review and automated algorithms to remove to identify and remove dangerous and empty web content. Some of the types of spam sites the team battles are placeholder website, sites flooded with user spam, hacked pages and bait sites that redirect to unrelated content.

In April of 2012, Google deployed the Penguin algorithm to demote website that attempt to rise through the search engines rankings via spam tactics.

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