Matt Cutts is the high priest of SEO for Google. Matt guides the public on all things SEO, an industry just a shade more misunderstood and misrepresented than social media. Matt participates in the industry dialog, posts to YouTube, does panels, podcasts and conferences. He provides more than just the rules of the road, he embodies and communicates the principles by which Google Search operates. It is extremely rare to find an SEO professional complaining about being burned by Matt's advice, because his core principles rarely change. And when there are major changes, he shares a clear and cogent reason why these changes were needed and what you can do to help your business. The public trusts Matt because Matt has a proven track record, and because Google has a track record of standing behind him.
Facebook needs a Matt Cutts.
Businesses large and small have collectively invested billions of dollars in advertising, content and human capital building their communities on Facebook. Facebook actively courted these businesses and for better or worse, Facebook has changed the rules of the game. Unfortunately, I have not seen very much explanation around these changes from Facebook, leading to an incredible amount of anxiety and anger.
Facebook needs a real person to serve as the authority on building communities and businesses on Facebook. Beyond sharing do's and don'ts, this person must provide core guidelines that will not change. And if they do change, he must present acceptable reasons and actionable advice. This person must embrace dialog with the industry and demonstrate real understanding of it's complexities. And Facebook needs to stand behind this person for the long haul.
Facebook is no longer a bright and shiny innovation, and they deserve to be more than a talking point or a box to check. Facebook needs to be more than too big to ignore. To accomplish this, Facebook needs to take a page from their own playbook and become a a partner at the table of every customer, not just the big ones.
Without a Matt Cutts, I fear Facebook may grow a systemic cancer, a blindness to the market. This wouldn't just be a loss for Facebook, but a loss for society. Facebook has the potential to radically change the discipline and craft of marketing, to give a stronger voice to the user and revolutionize communications at an unprecedented scale. This opportunity is to big to ignore.
The time has come for Facebook to behave like the leader they have become. Facebook needs to give this industry a Moses, a figure to explain what has happened, what will happen and how to build for the future. Facebook is better, and smarter than the basics mistakes they have made. And in partnering with businesses, they have everything to gain.