Matt Cutts announced a few days ago that he was taking a leave of absence for the whole of October and maybe longer. On his blog he says that it was something he and his Wife agreed he would do a long time ago to allow them to spend more time together away from work.
He also says that there is no particular reason why he has chosen October to take this leave of absence and that while he is away he will not be checking any work email. At all. In fact he is putting in place redirects for all work email to go to various places.
He has said that he is leaving a spam-fighting team that is more capable at filtering spam than he is anyway, so to rest assured that we are in safe hands.
But why has he chosen now? Matt Cutts is a massive figure in the world of SEO, he’s the one that everyone complains about when something goes wrong and Google’s spokesperson for explaining why things have changed. He’s also the lifeblood of the Webmaster Tools videos that all SEOs know and love.
As Head of Webspam, he’s also a hate figure for every black-hatted SEO out there who is trying to cheat the rankings and get rich quick.
Are Google and Matt Cutts trying to disassociate him with algorithm updates and changes, so that we start to rely more on the ‘official channels’ such as the Webmaster Forums and Office Hours Hangouts for information and guidance? Maybe they’re gearing up for another algorithm update in October and want to test out how reliable these channels are for dealing with complaints and issues, while Matt Cutts is out of the picture.
Perhaps Matt Cutts has had a close brush with the black-hatted community and wants to lay low for a while, or maybe he isn’t going on leave and wants to do some work in the background for a while without having to keep SEOs entertained and informed.
Maybe it’s nothing quite as sinister, and he just wants to spend more time with his Wife, going on cruises and ballroom dancing. Either way, October will seem like a lonely month without Google’s Head of Webspam keeping us updated on how Google SEO works.