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Who Could Fill In for Matt Cutts?

Matt Cutts, head of Google’s webspam team, recently posted some big news.

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.”

Cutts says he’ll completely unplug, meaning that he won’t be checking his work email until October. (Side note: Anyone care to wager that he makes his re-entry debut at Pubcon?!)

Cutts stated that the Webspam team will be in “great hands,” but did not name a replacement. While the team can likely function without him, Matt was the very public face of the organization, publishing 1-2 videos a month in addition to speaking engagements.

Will Google’s webspam team really go 3 months without a spokesperson?

If Google did name someone to fill in, it would have to be someone who, in addition to the usual qualifications, is able to handle the constant barrage of scrutiny, criticism and even ad hominem attacks from the interwebs. Someone who has a proven track record of winning even when massively outnumbered.

The team at SEJ has come up with a list of candidates that could meet the formidable challenge…

John Mueller

DSC_7070aImage Source: John Mueller/Google+

Current Role: Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst, Google
Bio: For over the last 6 years, Zurich native John Mueller has been working with the Webmaster Central, Sitemaps and Search Quality teams at Google. Mueller is regularly featured on the Google Webmasters Google+ page, as well as the Webmaster Help Groups. Prior to joining Google he ran a software company in Switzerland.
Pro: Very active in the Google community and has experience bringing different parties together, such as webmasters and engineers. He speaks on behalf of Google quite often.
Con: John is a strong contender. The only question is whether he could handle all duties from Switzerland or if he’d relocate to the Bay Area temporarily.

Brian White

BjN-0JuCIAAt3D2.jpg largeImage Source: Brian White/Twitter

Current Role: Program Manager, Search Quality (Webspam), Google
Bio: Employed with Google since 2003, White works within the Search Quality group. He has also spoken at industry events including Google I/O, Pubcon, Search Engine Room and SES.
Pros: Has extensive experience working with Cutts and the Webspam team.
Cons: Not really a con but apparently he has a withering sense of humor – see his response to selling links.

Maile Ohye

DSCF3341Image Source: Maile Ohye/Google+

Current Role: Developer Programs Tech Lead, Google
Bio: After earning a B.A. in Cognitive Science with a Computer Science emphasis from the University of California at Berkeley. She joined Google in 2005 and works with Google’s Search and Webmaster Tools teams. A few of Maile’s projects have included rel=”canonical”, rel=”next” and rel=”prev” for paginated content. She’s spoken at SES and SMX in the past.
Pro: Seems comfortable with a public profile, has also written extensively on SEO.
Con: Seems to have stepped away from the public spotlight in recent years.

Michael Wyszomierski

BrEw2FeCIAAbVeo.jpg largeImage Source: Michael Wyszomierski/Twitter

Current Role: Product Quality Operations at Google
Bio: Wysz earned a degree in Film and Media Studies from John Hopkins University. Prior to joining Google in 2006, he spent his summers at Germantown Academy he did maintenance on computers and teach video production. He also worked at DVTime Studios on numerous media projects.
Pros: For starters, as his LinkedIn summary states, he hates “spam, scams, and other types of abuse, and I enjoy protecting people from them.” He also has spent the time discussing and sharing his knowledge on the Google Webmaster Central Blog, instructional YouTube videos and Webmaster Hangouts.
Cons: Would love to see Wysz’ great sense of humor and video production skills more on display in his own videos/Hangouts.

Gary Illyes

Current Role: Webmaster Trends Analyst for Google
Bio: Before getting hired by Google in 2011, Gary taught online journalism in Romania and abroad, technical consultant and helped webmasters troubleshoot web- and news-search related issues just for fun. He studied IT at the University of Phoenix and also earned an associate’s degree in journalism from the Ady Endre College of Journalism in Romania.
Pros: Prior to joining Google, Gary was a respected figure in the SEO community. He also has experience working on the Google Webmaster Central Blog and participating in Webmaster Hangouts.
Cons: Unclear how seasoned he is at public speaking or PR.

It’s a tough call… who would you pick?

Category News
Albert Costill Writer

Albert Costill is a co-founder of and a freelance writer who has written for brands like and Search ...

Who Could Fill In for Matt Cutts?

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