It looks like Matt Cutts has been officially replaced as the head of web spam at Google. We don't know who his replacement is, and we might not anytime soon, but the company has confirmed his replacement nevertheless.
In July, it will be the one-year anniversary of when Cutts announced he was taking leave from Google. It was originally supposed to last at least through the following October. At the time, he wrote on his personal blog:
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. I know she’d like me to be around more too, and not just physically present while my mind is still on work.
So we’re going to take some time off for a few months. My leave starts next week. Currently I’m scheduled to be gone through October. Thanks to a deep bench of smart engineers and spam fighters, the webspam team is in more-than-capable hands. Seriously, they’re much better at spam fighting than I am, so don’t worry on that score.
At the end of October, Cutts revealed in a tweet that he was extending his leave into 2015:
I'm planning to extend my leave into 2015: https://t.co/T5adq50x4L
— Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) November 1, 2014
In November, Cutts made some comments on a web chat show indicating that he might be interested in doing different work at Google when he decides to go back to work.
Search Engine Land is now reporting that Google has someone new in the Matt Cutts position of head of web spam, but that this person won't be "the all-around spokesperson" that Cutts was, so they're not naming who it is. Danny Sullivan writes:
Going forward, Google says to continue to expect what’s already been happening while Cutts has been away. Various individual Googlers will keep splitting the role of providing advice and answers to SEOs and publishers in online forums, conferences and other places.
So far, webmaster trends analyst John Mueller has been the most publicly visible voice of webmaster issues for Google on the internet, regularly hosting lengthy webmaster hangouts and talking about various Google updates and whatnot.
Matt's Twitter bio still says, "I'm the head of the webspam team at Google. (Currently on leave)."
Image via YouTube