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Matt Cutts: Twitter Presence and Persona Analyzed

What Matt Cutts is like on Twitter


Matt Cutts
Thomas Hawk/Flikr/CC BY 2.0

Note: This post is part of a series that analyzes the accounts of remarkable and highly influential Twitter users.

"I'm the head of the webspam team at Google," reads the Twitter profile of Matt Cutts, the "kinder, gentler" public face of Google. In the online world, where so many significant personalities remain anonymous, Matt Cutts stands out for his accomplishments in the industry.

He is a distinguished engineer, head of web spam and de-facto spokesman for the mega-corporation's search engine. He is responsible for creating the first version of SafeSearch, Google's family filter, which is used today.

Matt Cutts is a star in his own right. When he goes to events, it's not unlike taking a teenager to a Justin Bieber concert. There is an excitement in people as soon as he enters the building. They all want to get a picture with him and he is obliged to shake a million hands. All this hype reveals itself especially in the social media circles, where he interacts with thousands of followers (256k+ on Twitter).

In case you're focused on his more formal clout, Cutts earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics and Computer Science from the University of Kentucky and his M.S. degree from UNC-Chapel Hill. He went on to receive his Ph.D. in Computer Graphics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. From the field of computer science, he later made a shift into information retrieval. He even took classes at the Information and Library Science department of his university, before giving himself totally to the search engine industry.

But the adulation that he enjoys today is unrelated to his academics.

If you Google "web spam," or "Google web spam," you will see the name Matt Cutts pop up on the first page - and not just once. Web spam, and the Google algorithm in general, are two topics that SEOs look to him for information about. And the way Matt Cutts has used Twitter for embracing SEOs from around the web has resulted in the huge following he enjoys. He has used Twitter to develop personal relationships with people and in return, is an individual, not just another Google employee.

Matt Cutts On Twitter

The reason why I'm putting together these Twitter profiles is to give you a little analysis of some of my favorite people on Twitter. It's part fun, part analysis. The take-aways are simply that I'm sharing someone cool with you, and perhaps we can both learn something from the way they use Twitter.

@MattCutts joined Twitter on 03/31/2007.

Matt Cutts is one of the highly popular Twitter users with a high Klout score of 84. As of July 14, 2013, he has 256,325 followers and follows 343. He also has a verified account.

According to Twittercounter.com/mattcutts, he has tweeted 20,805 times since he joined Twitter, 6 years, 3 months, and 10 days ago (or 2294 days). This averages out to about 9 tweets per day. But, if you look at his profile lately, it looks like he's been posting three to five times per day on average.

He is ranked 4th in the Bay Area (San Francisco-ish), and 5,998th of all Twitter uses according to Twitaholic.

According to FollowerWonk, 27% of his Tweets are links, 76% are conversations, and 1% are retweets.

Twitonomy says that he retweets @google and @dannysullivan the most (no surprise there!) and that he responds to @dannysullivan, @dr_pete, @KrisRoadruck and @rustybrick the most.

The hashtags he uses most, also according to Twitonomy are #smx, #pubcon, #io3 and #ted which are all event hashtags.

Matt Tweets the most on Wednesdays.

He Tweets most from Twitter.com and Twitter for Android (the app).

Unlike so many on Twitter, there's no indication of any automated feed linked to his account.

Check out this analysis of Matt Cutts' Twitter Followers.

Matt Cutts is known to be a Twitter aficionado. In fact, he goes on Tweet overload ever so often, posting all sorts of things Google and not Google. His tweets have so much importance associated with them that a small or even a "tiny" mention by him is considered the holy grail of Tweets and gives the beneficiary once-in-a-lifetime bragging rights.

He tells the story of how Danny Sullivan, a founding editor of Search Engine Land, registered a Twitter account pretending to be Matt Cutts. Matt, in a video interview with Ben Finklea, CEO of Volacci, revealed, "And then he (Danny) gave me the account, so I was forced to join Twitter by Danny Sullivan."

As a double confirmation, one of his Tweets on May 14, 2013 reads: "Just realized that I wrote my 20,000th tweet today. Thanks to @dannysullivan for getting me hooked in the first place."

Although he Tweets about anything and everything, just going through his Tweets is enough to stay updated with what's happening at Google.

  • An example Tweet: "Violates our guidelines when a website inserts into user's browser history so that clicking back button gives fake/ad-only "search results."

He's also said that he prefers keeping his Tweets with 14 or more characters left; because it helps people retweet without cutting down on his original Tweet.

Matt openly shows his preference to accessing Twitter using his mobile device. And, his coming back to it so many times each day, we assume, indicates the importance he gives Twitter. Updates to the Google search algorithm seem to mimick the same thinking.

He believes that the more Google is participating and listening, the better off they are, and Twitter is a great medium that pushes the company in that direction. People now not only look at Google News and other places for updates about Google, but also Twitter.

What Matt Cutts Tweets About

Cutts follows the golden rule of social media - "Get Personal and Communicate."

It's inspirational to watch Matt Cutts handle his Twitter account. He puts a "human face" to his social media presence. He's not "Google," he's just another person who talks about Google...with, like, super spidey SEO-senses.

He's been quoted, in reference to his presence on Twitter:

  • "Hey, it's cool. I'm going to let Google do what they're going to do, and I'm going to do what I'm going to do. I'm not going to worry about them." - Matt Cutts

If you look at his latest Tweets, you'll see how they are a combination of business and personalized tweets.

June 2013 @mattcutts

  • "The Texas filibuster sounds pretty wild."
  • "Google Consumer Surveys is offering new (easy + free!) way to measure website satisfaction."
  • "Google just improved its Transparency Report with new information about malware & phishing."
  • "Rain in California in June weirds me out."
  • "The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman: Highly recommended. My favorite Gaiman book since the Graveyard book."

Google has to be appreciated for putting Matt Cutts in the forefront. While there are several SEOs who target him, he does a great job of offering friendly, clear and well-presented advice, and a good persona.

He doesn't usually become embroiled in fruitless conflicts on Twitter and has the capacity to take and diffuse complaints effectively.

  • TF (Twitter follower): "Well if you believe you're doing the right thing, you ought to be as open and transparent about it. Even if ppl disagree with you."
  • TF: And what if you think that what you're doing is right, but it's not?
  • TF: "It's simply arrogant and stupid to assume that you can always be right. Therefore Google ought to be as transparent as possible."
  • Matt: "For what it's worth, I agree with your last three tweets completely. We do try to be open/transparent. Sometimes the law forbids it.

This not only makes people interested in Matt himself, but also affects their view of Google. Look at the final response below:

  • TF: "My apology for my nasty attitude ;) It's just something I really care about. I get it's not easy to be transparent legal wise.

Personalization is very important with social media users, and Matt Cutts gives them exactly what they want and in the right doses.

Result: Thousands of trusting followers who hold on to every word he utters (or types).

Matt Thinks Twitter Is Important For SEO

In a YouTube Comment, Matt Cutts said, "When you first publish a new page it is not expected to have any backlinks pointing to it. Even if it's the best content in the world, it will not have backlinks to begin with. But then if it doesn't start to accumulate backlinks and social signals (eg. Twitter posts, G+ shares, etc) over the next few weeks, Google will start to suspect that actually perhaps it isn't so good after all. Time separates the wheat from the chaff. It's important to get the links coming in within the first week."

Here's the link to that interesting video and lots of other videos that may answer all your questions about SEO and Google.

Final Word…

Matt Cutts has been hugely successful on Twitter, and it's not just because he's a smart dude with a pretty cool job - it's because his Twitter feed isn't just about how smart he is, or how cool his job is. And, he embraces haters with grace, and somehow seems to effortlessly turn them into loyalists. He is passionate about Google and webspam and he chooses to devote his time creating a community and constantly keeping the community of SEOs engaged, all the while trying to keep spam away. He makes Google search engine update announcements, shares interesting new developments about technology in general, gets into light-hearted banter.

There can be no better lesson on the usage of social media and creating an unbeatable persona. Especially when you're the George Clooney of the Internet celebrity community.

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