Google it! UK Grad Matt Cutts’ Search for Success Ends Up in Silicon Valley

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Ace p 4, April 7, 2011
UK Alum Matt Cutts is the Guy Who Makes Sure Nobody’s Gaming Google

BY CHRISTINA NOLL

Every time you Google, you can thank University of Kentucky graduate and Kentucky native, Matt Cutts, ’95, EN, AS for the quality of your search results.

Cutts, who joined Google as a software engineer in January 2000, is part of the Search Quality group specializing in helping webmasters and website creators tweak their pages to ensure they are properly indexed. The more properly indexed a website is, the more likely it will be found by those targeted by the website’s message.

Google hosts and develops numerous Internet-based services and products, with a mission “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

Cutts is helping to lead the way.

He previously spent time in the Ads Engineering group, and later wrote the first version of Google’s successful family filter, SafeSearch. Listed as one of the co-inventors on a Google patent related to search engines and web spam, Cutts is also fequently quoted by media outlets with advice for the general public on search engine optimization.

Before joining Google, he received undergraduate degrees in both mathematics and computer science from the University of Kentucky. While at UK, Cutts participated in the cooperative education program, working for a semester at the Department of Defense.

“UK gave me great, real-world training. When I joined Google, I was able to contribute immediately because of the education I got from fantastic professors in the computer science, math, and honors program at UK,” says Cutts.

“When I got the job offer from Google, I was in the PhD program (in computer graphics) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and I was engaged,” said Cutts.

“My wife and I eloped — we went down to the courthouse to get married, and then we drove across the country to start the job with Google.”

Since then, Cutts has been an instrumental part of Google’s ever-changing, ever-growing online world.
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In his free time, Cutts writes about his own real workplace, Googleplex, the corporate headquarters of Google Inc., along with search engine optimization traps and more on his blog, Matt Cutts: Gadgets, Google, and SEO.

The blog has become a popular outlet for those hoping to find out what’s next at Google. In addition, readers find the information presented on Cutts’ blog helpful as they work to build or manage their own web presence.

But despite being a self-proclaimed computer geek, this is Cutts’ personal blog and he does have a life beyond Google. Followers of the blog can read all about his adventures, including his propensity to give things up for 30 days at a time (for example, caffeine, or Twitter), his August 2010 climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro, and his most recently completed triathlon.

Some headlines might be written for geeks, “How to strip jPeg metadata in Ubuntu,” but some will apply to anyone who’s ever glanced at a computer screen, like “Google 2000 vs Google 20011.” In that February post, he wrote, “I sometimes hear people say, ‘Remember when Google launched and the results were so good? Google didn’t have any spam back then. Man, I wish we could go back to those days.’ I know where those people are coming from. I was in grad school in 1999, and I remember that Google’s quality blew me away after just a few searches. But it’s a misconception that there was no spam on Google back then. Google in 2000 looked great in comparison with other engines at the time, but Google 2011 is much better than Google 2000. I know, because back in October 2000, I sent 40,000+ queries to google.com and saved the results as a sort of search time capsule.’” He adds, “improving search quality is a process that never ends.’”

parts of this piece reprinted with permission of UK’s Kentucky Alumni magazine.

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