Two years ago, the Oracle of SEO stepped away from his work with the infamous Google Webspam Team to take a break and a less public place in the organization. Cutts’ move coincided with other big changes in how Google ranks webpages, changes that have also rendered most standard SEO tactics null and void.
The unassuming, self-described nerd, later took a leave of absence from Google to work at the USDS.
Cutts’ transition from Silicon Valley superstar to government employee seems fairly odd, but it’s a move that seems to be making Cutts quite happy. In an entry on his personal blog, Cutts described the move to the USDS as follows:
Working for the government doesn’t pay as well as a big company in Silicon Valley. We don’t get any free lunches. Many days are incredibly frustrating. All I can tell you is that the work is deeply important and inspiring, and you have a chance to work on things that genuinely make peoples’ lives better.
Cutts’ work with the USDS has included some incredibly high profile projects such as “rescuing” Healthcare.gov and protecting taxpayer information at Taxpayer.gov. It’s nowhere near as glamorous as the days when the SEO world hung on every word he wrote or published, but it’s work Cutts clearly finds rewarding.
As of this writing, Cutts is serving as the Director of Engineering at the USDS. After today’s inauguration the current director of the department, and all other Obama-era political appointees, will lose his job and Cutts will assume that job on an interim basis.