8 Googler Alternatives To Superstar Matt Cutts

If the search engine optimization world has a rock star, ironically the king isn’t an actual SEO but rather mild mannered Matt Cutts of Google. His title of software engineer belies his role as spam czar from Google. If Google’s web search results are a castle constantly under siege, Matt Cutts is the one high on the walls, swinging his sword and calling to his fellow Googlers to repel the attackers with hot oil of site expulsions and link downgrades.

Of course, not all site owners and SEOers are trying to bring down the Google castle. Many of them are hard working villagers that want the protection of the castle but can’t figure why they aren’t allowed in past the gates. As a benevolent lord of the castle, Matt seeks to help. In fact, even to the so called enemies he’ll reach out, similar to the famous Christmas Truce of 1914, as he’s written .

As a result, everyone wants to talk to Matt. Here he is at the Google Dance, held at Google during SES San Jose last August:

Matt Cutts & Cuttletts @ Google's Cafeteria

As he went to get something to eat, a pack of fans — which I nicknamed Cuttletts some time ago — followed him wherever he went.

Here he is at the recent Pubcon:

Matt Cutts Surrounded By Cuttletts

The man quite simply gets swarmed wherever he goes. And that leads to the point of this post, best illustrated with a compare-and-contrast photo:


Sitting over there on the left is Googler Vanessa Fox. She’s at the opposite end of the same stage where Matt is being swarmed. If the stage were a ship, all the passengers that ran over to talk with Matt would have been tilting it to dangerously low on their side, while Vanessa’s side would be high in the air.

That’s a lost opportunity. Vanessa, product manager of Google Webmaster Central, knows tons that will help site owners and SEOs. So do many other Googlers who make it out to conferences. That’s the reason for this post, to introduce people to Googlers they should seek out in addition to or as an alterative to Matt.

This should especially help the nearly 1,000 people who will be at SES Chicago from Monday onward. Matt never makes the Chicago show, being all conferenced out by the end of the year. But a contingent of fellow Googlers will be there.

Want to know more about Matt? See this nice interview of him last year at Google Blogoscoped, this list of 20 trivia facts about him or read Matt’s blog. Want to know more about the other Googlers? Let’s meet them!

Amanda Camp


Name: Amanda Camp
Position: Tech Lead, Google Webmaster Tools
Location: Googleplex Kirkland (Seattle)
Hails From: Tuscon, Arizona
SES Chicago 2006 Sessions: Lunch With Google Webmaster Central, Bulk Submit 2.0
Musical Talent: Plays the trumpet
Favorite Movie: Ghost
Favorite Book: Matilda
Favorite Google Product Other Than Search: Google Calculator, uses for her taxes
Favorite http code: 308 (not yet defined)
Favorite Drinkbait: Bailey’s & Coffee
If Google Were A Superhero, It Would Be: Inspector Gadget
Her Super Power:

Dan Crow

Dan Crow

Name: Dan Crow
Position: Product Manager
Location: Googleplex New York
Hails From: Oxford, England
SES Chicago 2006 Sessions: Flash & Search Engines, CSS, AJAX, Web 2.0 & Search Engines
Musical Talent: Absolutely none
Favorite Movie:  Dr. Strangelove
Favorite Book: Atonement by Ian McEwan
Favorite Google Product Other Than Search: Google Docs (aka Writely)
Favorite http code: 406 Not Acceptable
Favorite Drink: Theakston’s Old Peculier
If Google Were A Superhero, It Would Be: Justice League of America
Unusual Trivia Fact:
Has eaten crocodile, considers it too rubbery

Trevor Foucher

Trevor Foucher, Googler

Name: Trevor Foucher
Position: Engineer, webmaster tools
Location: Googleplex Kirkland (Seattle)
Hails From: Anaheim, California
SES Chicago 2006 Sessions: Lunch With Google Webmaster Central
Musical Talent: Plays the banjo
Favorite Movie: Groundhog Day
Favorite Book: Ender’s Game
Favorite Google Product Other Than Search: Gmail
Favorite http code: 200 OK (who wouldn’t like OK?!)
Favorite Drink: Rum & Diet Coke
First Computer: ZX81
Unusual Trivia Fact: His wife is a stand up comedian who also plays the banjo

Vanessa Fox

Vanessa Fox, Googler

Name: Vanessa Fox
Position: Product Manager, Webmaster Central
Location: Googleplex Kirkland (Seattle)
Hails From: California
SES Chicago 2006 Sessions: Drive Traffic To Your Site With Google Lunch With Google Webmaster Central, Bot Obedience Course, Images & Search Engines
Musical Talent: Flute and very bad singing
Favorite Movie: Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Favorite Book: Favorite book is very difficult. Maybe the Chronicles of Narnia. Which is more than one book. But you can get them as a set. So it counts. Because I said so.
Favorite Google Product Other Than Search: Google SMS
Favorite http code: 203 – shifty content
Favorite Drink: Margaritas with good tequila
Unusual Trivia Fact: Have run a Buffy site and a couple of Buffy message boards for years. Go ahead, ask me anything about Buffy. (or hear her apply Buffy life lessons to SEO).

Adam Lasnik

Adam Lasnik, Googler

Name: Adam Lasnik
Position: Search Evangelist
Location: Googleplex Mountain View, the MotherPlex
Hails From: Thousand Oaks, California
SES Chicago 2006 Sessions: Lunch With Google Webmaster Central, Duplicate Content & Multiple Site Issues, Search Engine Q&A On Links
Musical Talent: I’ve played piano since age 4.  Dabbled in orchestra conducting.  Done arrangements for vocal groups and a jazz band.  I have perfect pitch which is both a blessing and a curse.
Favorite Music: A cappella!
Favorite Book: Books? Like things with lots of paper…but not for school? Such a sadly distant memory! Can I just claim a oldie-but-goodie Favorite on Asimov’s stuff on the whole?
Favorite Google Product Other Than Search: G-Implant. Oh, er, I’m only supposed to choose something that’s PUBLIC, right? Um, then I’d have to say GMail, absolutely a Godsend for dealing with large amounts of mail…and finding the actual important stuff fast!
Favorite http code: 302 Found. I mean, heck, it just gives me warm fuzzies. ’twas lost and now it’s found. Who can argue with that?!
Favorite Drink: When I’m not at webmaster events: Mojitos and Caipirinhas. Also wine, especially red. Not beer though. This did not go over well during my year in Germany.
First Computer: Apple II+
If Google Were A Superhero, It Would Be: Mighty Geek! Leaps tall server racks in a single bound. Saves small children. Has a sensitive side that not many see.
Unusual Trivia Facts:

  • I spent the millennium in Munich and had the bad luck of getting a flight out of Frankfurt at 8am January 1st, 2000. Frankfurt was not certified Y2K compliant. Oops.
  • I was in an elevator with Tom Selleck, on a boat with George Lucas, at breakfast with Jim Henson, and at lunch with the famed duo Hanna and Barbera. All in the same week!
  • I was doing beta testing for online stuff in 1987.
  • I had three pet desert tortoises. They were more loving (and smart!) than you might expect tortoises to be.
  • I once hacked my junior high’s "points" computer program to list teachers with negative points, and nearly got suspended.
  • I started a singing telegram business in high school.

Maile Ohye
(not the raccoon, only in Jessica Simpson blonde wig on Halloweens)

Maile Ohye

Name: Maile Ohye
Position: Developer Support Engineer
Googleplex Mountain View, the MotherPlex
Hails From:
Cupertino, California
SES Chicago 2006 Sessions: Lunch With Google Webmaster Central
Musical Talent: Sings badly
Favorite Movie: She prefers TV, Oprah and NFL live
Favorite Book: Only reads non-fiction books about death
Favorite Google Product Other Than Search: Google Calendar
Favorite http code: 200 -Success is always nice
Favorite Drink: Mojito
Unusual Trivia Fact: Went to college on field hockey scholarship. Reads books about death (non-fiction). Can make a more meaningful life by leaning about death (reverse engineering)

Evan Roseman

– Picture May Come Later! –

Name: Evan Roseman
Position: Software Engineer
Location: Googleplex Mountain View, the MotherPlex
Hails From:
Birmingham, Alabama
SES Chicago 2006 Sessions: Lunch With Google Webmaster Central, Meet The Crawlers
Musical Talent: Plays Trombone
Favorite Movie: Airplane!
Favorite Book: 1984
Favorite Google Product Other Than Search: Gmail
Favorite http code: 410 gone
Favorite Drink: Jones Soda
If Google Were A Superhero, It Would Be: Batman

Jonathan Simon


Name: Jonathan Simon
Position: Webmaster Trends Analyst (track what webmasters are worried about on forums, blogs, etc. See more here).
Location: Googleplex Kirkland (Seattle)
Hails From: Louisiana
SES Chicago 2006 Sessions: No sessions, just hanging out. Catch him in the halls!
Musical Talent: Plays guitar — writes his own songs and sings!
Favorite Movie: Little Big Men
Favorite Book: Jitterbug Perfume
Favorite Google Product Other Than Search: Google Maps
Favorite http code: 200 OK
Favorite Drink: Greyhound or Patron, straight up

I should also say that beyond the Googlers above, you should seek out reps from the other major search engines that will be at SES Chicago and other conferences. Yahoo, Microsoft and Ask all have significant shares of the search pie. Seek them out and learn how to do better beyond Google. In the future, we’ll take a look at some of these reps, as well.

Related Topics: Channel: SEO | Google: Employees | Google: SEO


About The Author: is a Founding Editor of Search Engine Land. He’s a widely cited authority on search engines and search marketing issues who has covered the space since 1996. Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He has a personal blog called Daggle (and keeps his disclosures page there). He can be found on Facebook, Google + and microblogs on Twitter as @dannysullivan.

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  • http://www.seroundtable.com rustybrick

    I love these types of posts, nice job!

  • http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/ Matt Cutts

    Danny, thanks for posting this. Too often I’m just a security blanket for webmasters–nice to have around, but not really necessary. :)

    I’m excited that we’ve got so many different Googlers who do a great job on communication, but we should be trying to get even more.

  • http://www.firstpagefitness.com Everett

    They give scholarships for field hockey? Can I get one for underwater basket weaving too? LOL, just giving Maile a hard time. Dig the wig!

  • http://webjive.blogspot.com webjive81

    Great post!

    Thanks for introducing us to Google’s web search starting lineup!

  • http://www.searchmarketpro.com evilgreenmonkey

    I have to admit that I had a bit of a crush on Amanda at San Jose. mmm… never post comments on blogs after a Friday night down the pub.

  • http://www.luckylester.com Lucky Lester

    Nice work on the site and great post by the way. It is nice to know that we have alternatives to Matt to go to for answers. And hey… even better when they look like these gals – humminah humminah! Sorry about that but boys will be boys!

  • http://www.adammoro.com/ Adam Moro

    Great post! I was there when Matt Cutts was being swarmed and have to say I didn’t even realize Vanessa Fox was just on the other side. I don’t know Vanessa and by no means do I think I’m in any position to judge her but when I asked her some questions at the “Site Structure for Crawlability” session she seemed too busy (and no one was swarming her). The reason I’m posting this is to clarify that not everyone “swarming” Matt are “Cuttlets”/groupies but people just trying to gain some clarity on search engines. “Search” is a pretty big industry isn’t it Danny? To be honest, I saw you sitting there next to Matt and can’t believe I didn’t take that opportunity to ask you some questions. I’m new to search and that was the first conference I’d been to so I didn’t want to take the risk of possibly wasting my time with someone who may not have the same charisma as Matt. I’m not implying that you (or Vanessa) are less willing to answer questions. I’m just not going to miss out speaking to someone I know will.

  • http://search-engines-web.com/ இ Search Engines WEB

    One major problem is that the ‘answers’ are almost always very predictable and ‘safe’.

    The redundant themes have been reiterated virtually every SEO blog or forum.

    No one is going to share hi-tech algo secrets because of fear of Google’s legal staff.

    The Google speakers highlighted above are t basically Evangelists, marketing or Tools oriented specialists.

    REAL insight can be attained directly from the Search Quality Engineers (those who create and give the go ahead to program new SERPs algos) – But, they are just not that gregarious, or too insulated from the public. :-?

  • http://www.seobrains.info seobrains

    This post is just one of the reasons I’m really looking forward to search engine land.

  • wendigo

    Hey there!
    Yes a great set of posts BUT I thought somebody better cheer on the other “male” googlers seeing as how many are going google gah gah ovah da ladies! ha! Anyway not to worry up here in Muskoka in northern Ontario Canada we appreciate one and all :)). On a more serious note this site is going to be great for folks like me. Travelling to these SEO gatherings is just not possible but your site and the googlin tools and help will fill the void. Good Luck and many thanks for all I have learned from you now and in the future.

  • http://www.wolf-howl.com graywolf

    I think what we need is some sort of tie in, maybe a bunch of t-shirts that say “I’m here with Matt Cutts”

  • http://searchenginetigers.com Simon Heseltine

    It’s a shame that Barry’s contest contest is over, otherwise he could have tied it in with this post, and done a “first person to get pictures of themselves with the 8 alternatives to Matt Cutts” contest (presumably while holding a rustybrick sign or some such thing)

  • http://www.blogryan.com ryanmccoy

    Great post! Nice to meet some of the other Googlers. With the growing number of Cuttletts it is hard to get an answer from the man. Now we have some other people to look to.

  • http://www.luckylester.com Lucky Lester

    If people who follow Matt Cutts around are called Cuttletts what are we going to call us poor guys who follow Amanda around – Campers? Of course Vanessa is an easy one to come up with – Fox Hounds but what about Maile Ohye, hers might be a little tougher, how about Ohye’s Oi vey’s? Sorry Google guys but I don’t have any for you.

  • http://www.shawnhogan.com/ digitalpoint

    I think it might have worked because I saw people following Adam around like little Cuttlets on numerous occasions. I guess they are Lasniks…

  • http://www.seotrends.in SolutionPoint

    These guys make sure Google have less competitors! I still believe there should be a couple of more serious players in this vertical.

  • http://www.uniquedogclothing.com/ Dog-Clothing

    Thanks for the introduction. Any links to these guys’ blogs (if they have one)?

  • http://seoroi.com SEO ROI

    I’m fascinated by Adam Lasnik’s musical talents. And it’s cool he started a singing telegram biz … maybe he should pioneer Google music search?

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