Matt Cutts is the poster boy of Google and the SEO community. He bridges what is Google and what is SEO together as one. He has be the man behind spam fighting at Google for years now. He wrote the safe site search feature, Google uses today, to block out adult content from searches. Matt Cutts is the SEO's community's tie to Google and has been for five or so years now.
Matt Cutts joked on April Fools Day about joining Yahoo. However, the day before that viggen posted a thread at our forums named Matt Cutts leaves Google. I'll be honest, reading the title of the thread made my heart skip a beat. Wow! Matt Cutts leaves Google? Wow!
But he did not, but what if he did? That was the point of the thread.
There are many ways to look at this, what-if scenario.
(1) How will it affect the SEO community? It would be huge? Matt is an extremely patient and giving individual. His outreach, was done on his "20% time," how many others at Google would spend their time listening to us whine about our Google rankings? Just look at his blog and the number of comments posted. Look at his participation at the search conferences? He would be a huge lose for Google on the SEO front. (2) How will it affect Google? Same deal, Google learned a ton about improving the search index from Matt's communications with the SEO community. There is no secret that Matt has befriended many "spammers" and "black hats" in exchange for knowledge (trust me it goes both ways, and there is also a true friendship there). It would take years to build up the trust and respect, that Matt has built with the SEO community. It would be a huge lose for Google. Let alone the technology and procedures Matt set up inside Google, that I am not even privy to. (3) The rest of the world? Most would most likely have no idea how his departure. Matt Cutts who? Most likely they have heard of the founders and the CEO - but Matt Cutts? So there is no public awareness. But behind the scenes, would "search quality" at Google suffer? I hope not. I know Matt himself would hate to see search quality suffer if one day he decided to leave Google. I am sure Matt would transfer every bit of knowledge he had to ensure that it would not suffer. If he did not transfer his knowledge? I still have to believe that Google has enough smart people to pick up in his place, on that front, at least.
Very interesting topic. What If Matt Cutts Left Google? Visit the forum thread and share your thoughts at Search Engine Roundtable Forums.