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50 Friends for Your SEO Facebook

50 Friends for Your SEO Facebook

Category SEO
Post Date April 28, 2013

Call it the Who’s Who. Call it the Hall of Fame. These are people who make the Web, Mobile, and Internet Marketing world go round. For tyros and intermediates in the SEO arena, here are short profiles of 50 adept and astute marketers you’d do well to recognize and follow. All of the folks featured here may not be strictly into SEO consultancy as you come to think of it, but they’re all associated with the search industry directly or indirectly.

Some of them are Masters of the SEOniverse. I don’t need to tell you about them. But it would be a crime to leave them out of such a list, so I went ahead and brought them up anyway. Others may make you go “Who??” because they’re probably not as active as they used to be in the mainstream, or more likely, you haven’t looked around enough. Rest assured they’re all very smart people.

Although the title of this post may imply I’m going to give out these folks’ Facebook page URLs, I believe (don’t know why) that Facebook is more of a personal social media avenue than the others, and most of them might not have a public page on Facebook anyway (assuming; haven’t checked). So, let’s leave them to their real friends on Facebook; we’ll try and annoy them elsewhere.

You can download a sheet with their Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn IDs here: Follow them, reach out to them (please be pleasant and brief), and try not to miss the specks of gold dust that they sprinkle now and then.

Needless to say, these are not necessarily the “top” online marketers. Nor are they listed in any particular order. We’ll leave the rankings to Google. There are several accomplished, wise and talented people who are not on this list, the only reason being I randomly chose these 50. I hope to publish a sequel profiling 50 more SEO “greats” in future if you like this post. Read on…


Rand Fishkin

For those who just crawled out from under a rock, Rand is the CEO and founder of SEOMoz. He co-authored The Art of SEO, perhaps the most widely-read and acclaimed SEO Book of all time. There is little that is unknown about Rand because he constantly strives for transparency in his work and life. To date, he is the most eloquent of all internet marketing gurus. Rand is to SEO what Bruce Willis is to Die Hard. (Hero, silly.)

Matt Cutts

Guardian of the Googlines (Google Guidelines), Oracle of Google (sorry couldn’t resist), Matt Cutts is the head of Google’s Web Spam team and communicates its algorithm updates, policies, and principles related to SEO to webmasters. Only Sun Tzu has had more people trying to interpret his words, and the gap is closing fast. A relatively unknown fact is that Matt wrote the first version of Google’s SafeSearch filter.

Danny Dover

Danny used to do SEO for SEOMoz. Can you beat that? If SEO was a lightsaber, Danny would make Darth Vader look like a schoolgirl. He wrote SEO Secrets, a widely acclaimed and super-useful SEO book. He is obsessive about and well on his way to completing his life list, something that would take 100 people like you and me 100 years to finish. To top it all, he’s the most accessible SEO expert on the planet. Respect.

Ian Lurie

Portent, the firm that Ian started, has been in the internet marketing business, for longer than some SEO guys have been on this planet. Ian is unrivalled in expertise and experience when it comes to content strategy and usability. He’s the co-author of The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, a top-to-bottom online marketing guide. Ian rants, raves, and attempts to answer life’s most pertinent question on his company’s blog.

Martin MacDonald

In his own words, Martin moved over from the dark side and donned a White Hat. Now he’s so larger-than-life in the SEO industry that he can’t go back :-). He’s marketed some of the biggest corporate names including Expedia, Pepsi, Virgin, and McDonalds. Martin continues to poke Google with some innovative experiments in messing with the SERPs. He also displaced his namesake conductor out of the Google podium a couple of years back.

Duane Forrester

Here’s another Google Killer—but in a different way. Duane is the face (and brains) of Microsoft Bing’s Webmaster program. Reach out to him with any questions on where search is headed, metrics, tools, how search engine algorithms work (oops!), and so on. Duane’s is an interesting journey—he’s managed Casino promotions, been on the Board of Directors of SEMPO, and written a book on the psychology of online shopping.

Will Critchlow

Will is the co-founder of Distilled, the company that SEO Moz primarily recommends for SEO consulting. Need I say more? Will’s got a mathematics degree from Cambridge and his is the last word in online business strategy. His head-to-head presentations with Rand Fishkin during Mozcon and Linklove events have become legendary. Will is known for his deep and thorough analysis of all facets of online marketing.

Tom Critchlow

The younger Critchlow of SEO’s most illustrious brothers is Marketing Manager at Google’s Creative Lab. Prior to that, Tom worked with Will for six years, during which he took Distilled to new heights as VP Operations. Tom is a distinguished maven when it comes to large-scale SEO for Enterprise and/or Ecommerce websites. He is especially skilled in transforming average sites into celebrated performers with regard to traffic, rankings, and ROI.

Dave Naylor

Dave’s driving force is the belief that there is no point having a site if it isn’t #1. He is obsessed with ROI and performance marketing. Dave heads Bronco, a company serving SEO and web design in equally monstrous helpings. He has an almost extra-sensory ability to predict algorithmic changes. That’s because he constantly monitors and analyzes them. Dave is also a master of most tools of the SEO trade.

Danny Sullivan

Arguably the most experienced player in the SEO club, Danny studied search engines and indexation as early as 1995, when he published A Webmaster’s Guide to Search Engines. Unsurprisingly, web designers and internet pundits devoured it with gusto, and in a sense, SEO was born. Danny is at present Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces SMX conferences. Occasionally, he daggles his thoughts here.

Laura Lippay

SEO Specialist at CNET, Director of Technical Marketing at Yahoo! Media, Partner at search analytics firm Nine By Blue, President at How’s Your Pony and eventually CEO of SEO Gadget’s US operations, Laura has worn many hats and repeatedly turned chaos into harmony, true to her circus performer beginnings. The Mozcon, PubCon, SMX, and SES conferences are incomplete without her.

Bill Slawski

Bill religiously runs SEO By The Sea, one of the oldest blogs in the SEOsphere. He’s got degrees in English and Law and has been in the online marketing business for longer than some of us have been online. One of the most respected figures in SEO, he’s been actively involved in Cre8asite, Search Engine Watch, and Search Engine Land, and worked with the likes of Harvard Business School and John Hopkins University. Bill is remarkably humble for a man of his stature.

Michael Gray

Graywolf” is another knight in shining armor of internet marketing and SEO whose achievements include helping an online retailer grow from $100,000 to over $25 million in annual sales. Michael is the soft-spoken President of Atlas Web Service in Long Island, New York. He famously disabled comments on his blog, then famously remarked he wished he’d done it earlier, and went on to famously delete existing comments.

Rhea Drysdale

Rhea is the CEO of Outspoken Media and specializes in online reputation management, brand management with social media, and benchmarking results. She’s been spotted speaking at Search Marketing Expo, Pubcon, Mozcon, and host of other conferences. Her Whiteboard Friday explaining the difference between SEO Vendors and SEO Consultants brought clarity to the roles of internet marketers.

Peter Meyers

“Dr. Pete” is SEOMoz’s non resident Marketing Scientist. He has a Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology and is obsessed with data usability. Dr. Pete constantly strives to present hoards of information, statistics, and analysis in a manner us lesser mortals can comprehend. He put together the bits and pieces for the Google Algo History Project and also launched the satellite that relays the daily Mozcast.

Greg Boser

Greg was a clever fire safety product marketer in 1995 when he first tasted internet marketing success on AOL, Compuserve, and Usenet. The next year he came across Danny Sullivan’s A Webmaster’s Guide to Search Engines, and the rest, as they say, is history. From Founder of WebGuerrilla to President at Blue Glass interactive, Greg has done everything from web development to link building, and social media to reputation management.

John Doherty

Although he’s relatively a new entrant to the world of SEO compared to others on this list, John Doherty has scaled great heights thanks to his well-rounded knowhow in brand marketing, content strategy, software, coding, traffic analytics, and link prospecting. He is currently the head of Distilled’s branch in New York City. John is a fan of extreme sports, travel and lifestyle photography, and brings the same versatility to SEO.

Dharmesh Shah

Another guy on this list once described himself as “a pimple on Dharmesh’s ass.” So it is not for me to talk about him but I will make a feeble attempt anyway. Dharmesh is CTO and co-founder of HubSpot, THE inbound marketing software company. He is a trailblazer in the Boston entrepreneurial community and a hacker-friendly angel investor in over 30 startups. Dharmesh is acknowledged by one and all for his supreme blend of business and technical intellect.

Avinash Kaushik

Avinash is Digital Marketing Evangelist for Google and the foremost authority on Web Analytics. He has written two bestsellers on the subject: Web Analytics: An Hour A Day and Web Analytics 2.0. Avinash endeavours to promote the principle of “entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem.” He has received rave reviews for bringing his inspiring and practical insights to companies like Unilever, Dell, Time Warner, Porsche, and IBM.

Eric Ward

Hardly anyone can claim to be as accomplished as the “Moses” of link building at picking up the choicest links. He’s been ranking #1 for “link building expert” as far as Google can remember. Instant displays his name before you even finish typing “link building expert.” Eric is not an active blogger but he’s the one of the busiest link builders. Don’t let his old-looking site mislead you—you’d do well to go through his articles and mine for gold nuggets.

Jane Copland

The Golden Girl of SEO gave us some great insights on getting Golden Links at Linklove 2012. Jane Copland started her career at SEOMoz—there was even a case study on how she was hired but it’s offline now. Jane works at Ayima in the UK at present. She’s known for her command of various languages spoken on both sides of the pond, and has a fantastic knack of churning out an “unputdownable” blog post at will.

Richard Baxter

Richard left in 2008 to start his own company SEO Gadget, now one of the UK’s leading SEO firms, with a dazzling array of Excel tools and SEO resources of their own. Richard is a thought leader in keyword/content research, site architecture, link building, and CRO for large sites in highly competitive industries, and consistently presents his insights into these at SES and Mozcon.

Eric Enge

Another co-author of The Art of SEO, Eric is a respected figure across the tech industry, where he’s been around for more than 30 years. Eric heads Stone Temple Consulting, highly acclaimed for its interviews with top search engine employees. He is a frequent speaker at major search conferences and regular contributor to SEL and SEW. He’s known for his expertise in building trust and authority for all kinds of sites.

Garrett French

In 2006, Garrett co-founded Ontolo, a targeted link acquisition agency turned link building toolset provider. In 2011, he founded Citation Labs, which has become the darling of link builders worldwide owing to its unfailing Link Prospector tool. Garrett covered SEO for WebProNews from 2001 to 2004. He has contributed superb articles on link building to numerous leading blogs including SEJ, SEW, SEL, and Marketing Profs.

Aaron Wall

SEO Book, launched in 2003 by Aaron Wall, is one of the most respected SEO blogs. They also offer great SEO tools (including the ubiquitous Rank Checker Firefox add-on) and a terrific SEO training course that rank on top of Google for “SEO tools” and “SEO training” respectively. No mean feat, eh? Aaron has always been quick to point out Google’s apparent double standards in search. He also did a delightful exposé of Mahalo’s spammy tactics some years ago.

Wil Reynolds

A regular at Mozcon and Linklove, this guy’s got irresistible energy and effervescence while he’s presenting ideas. Out-of-the-world ideas come to Wil out of thin air, and he can explain them so clearly that a five-year-old can implement them. His simple and effective strategy is to keep doing Real Company Stuff. Wil Reynolds is the founder of SEER Interactive, a reputed Philadelphia-based SEM/SEO consulting firm.

Justin Briggs

Talk about a dream job—Justin is the SEO guy for a game company! He has a strong background in web development, coding, mathematics and science—he was running the web team for the Department of Pharmacology at Vanderbilt while still in high school. One of the most admired link builders in the industry, Justin used to be a star at Distilled, and has some awesome link building presentations at major conferences to his credit.

Barry Schwartz

News Editor at SEL. Former News Editor at SEW. Moderator of Cre8asite and SEW Forums. Quoted in Forbes, Reuters, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Bloomberg, and Frequent guest on WebmasterRadio.FM and SEO Radio. Keynote speaker at PubCon and SES. Runs Search Engine Roundtable. President of RustyBrick, Inc. I could go on and on. Barry Schwartz has more SEO credits than Michael Phelps has Olympic Golds.

Jon Cooper

Although he’s just 19, Jon Cooper is the not-so-new kid on the block. University of Florida’s most famous student is a master of link building and he’s got two of the most useful and widely shared articles on link building ever to his name—The Complete List of Link Building Strategies and Creative Link Building. That’s no fluke, because he’s written over 100 posts on the subject. Jon is also one of the five members of the HitReach Link Club.

Joanna Lord

VP of Growth Marketing at SEOmoz, Joanna is master of analytics, KPIs, ROI, paid search, retargeting, affiliate marketing, CRO, and social media advertising. She’s quite the SEO Fashionista (there’s an app for it) who sets ramps ablaze at Web Summit, Mozcon, Search Exchange, SMX, and just about every major online marketing conference. Don’t miss her brilliantly informative posts and Whiteboard Fridays on SEOMoz.

Loren Baker

Loren is an industry thought leader—he’s the founder of Search Engine Journal, co-founder of BlueGlass Interactive, Inc. and Digital Agent in Residence at Copyblogger. Loren has been featured on CNN, PCWorld, BusinessWeek, ZDNet, PRWeek, TechCrunch, and Mashable. He has advised Yahoo and Microsoft Search, and his high profile clients include and JP Morgan Chase.

Julia Logan

Julia Logan, based in the UK, is better known in social circles as IrishWonder. She has been ceaselessly taking apart the moving parts of search engines for years; there are few people more knowledgeable than Julia when it comes to affiliate marketing and SEO for the gambling industry. She’s also a moderator of the Syndk8 Black Hat forum and CMO of ContentMango, an online content store.

Rishi Lakhani

Rishi Lakhani is a UK-based SEO consultant who is widely followed by internet marketers for his acumen and perspicuity in interpreting search engines. In his own words, he loves “screwing about with SERPs to get funny results.” Rishi specializes in link building, content strategies, and analytics for small businesses. If you’re an internet marketer in the UK, feel free to opt in to his Twitter list for UK SEOs.

Ann Smarty

Originally an English philology student from Kharkiv, Ukraine, Ann Smarty is one of the most prolific writers and bloggers in the internet marketing realm. “SEOSmarty” used to be Editor-in-Chief of Search Engine Journal and is now Community Manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas. She’s the founder of My Blog Guest. You can’t miss Ann’s posts—they’re on SEOmoz, Mashable, Social Media Examiner, and just about everywhere else.

Chris Dyson

Google finally got it wrong. Chris Dyson is not an architect, racing driver, artist, actor or lawyer as it tells you. He’s a star member of the recently banded SEO adaptation of Fight Club. He’s one of the UK’s most active SEO guys and he can give you tips on building links out of just about anything. Chris is a man of many talents, the least of them being WordPress, BMX crashing, and rum drinking.

Sujan Patel

Sujan is the Co-founder and President of Single Grain, a digital marketing agency in San Francisco. He’s managed online strategies for Fortune 500 bigwigs such as Yahoo, SalesForce, and Intuit. He’s an accomplished blogger and a regular contributor to Search Engine Journal. Sujan is one sharp SEO guy with proven entrepreneurial traits, and you can glean quite a few skills in agency marketing and time management from him.

Jeff Bullas listed Jeff on #14 of the Top 50 Social Media Influencers of 2012. His namesake blog is ranked in the top 50 of Ad Age’s Power 150 list of marketing blogs. Jeff is a digital marketing speaker, consultant, coach, and mentor based in Sydney, Australia. The sheer number of his followers, blog visitors, and other social stats put beehives to shame. He is the author of Blogging the Smart Way.

Hannah Smith

Not many folks on this list (and elsewhere) have had as much experience with offline marketing as Hannah. She’s been involved in direct mail, press ads, point of sale, and sponsorship gigs. Now she brings the same expertise to SEO at Distilled. Hannah can churn out engaging and powerful copy for corporate and general blogs alike at will. She’s also a contributing author for State of Search and SEO Chicks.

Darren Slatten

Darren is a self-confessed “dissociatist,” which means he doesn’t ascribe to the majority’s views on SEO and social media. Google will tell you he sucks, but that’s the point he wants to make: Your online reputation doesn’t matter so don’t bother managing it! He’s a vocal critic of many major SEO studies published in the mainstream, and he’s always testing the limits of Google’s algorithm with experiments of his own.

Chris Bennett

Chris is founder and CEO of 97th Floor, a versatile digital and content marketing agency whose clients include ESPN, Tripadvisor, Bluehost, and NASCAR. He has given acclaimed presentations at SMX, SES, Searchlove and Linklove. Chris is the creator of the Social Media for Firefox add-on. His exposé of Rip Off Report in 2008 was a fantastic piece of research on unwarranted domain favoritism by Google.

Mike Essex

Also known as “Blagman,” Mike started his career getting free products in exchange for reviews. Not impressed? Well, USA Today, BBC News, and The Times were, because he got and reviewed over 300 free products. And then Mike wrote the book about it. He is currently a search specialist in charge of brand awareness of Koozai, a leading UK digital agency, and he provides link building and PPC tips on their blog.

Brett Tabke

Brett Tabke is the nobleman of the SEO industry. He has played an instrumental role in founding and popularizing, SEMPO, and PubCon conferences. He has been instrumental in connecting stalwarts of the SEO industry with each other and giving them a platform to air their views. Brett himself continues to research and present SEO and social tools, as well as online business strategies.

Bill Sebald

Bill is not your average SEO guy. Experienced and talented in diverse stuff such as old-school marketing, forum board arguing, and online music business, Bill shares his thoughts on Green Lane SEO. He used to work for GSI Commerce (now owned by eBay) and other big brands, but these days he’s more into helping small businesses get a good footing online. Bill is an ardent advocate of guest blogging and “earning” your links.

Matt McGee

Here’s another industry giant—Matt was ranking sites on Lycos and Excite before Google went mainstream. He is the Editor-in-Chief of—hold your breath—Search Engine Land (and Marketing Land). He is a regular speaker at industry events and has been interviewed by USA Today, WSJ, and other media houses. Matt also runs Local University with other local search gurus including David Mihm and Mike Blumenthal.

Dan Zarrella

“Social Media Scientist” is Dan’s designation at HubSpot. He’s the author of three awesome books: Zarrella’s Hierarchy of Contagiousness, The Social Media Marketing Book, and The Facebook Marketing Book. He constantly redefines “out-of-the-box,” because no box is large enough to contain his creativity and knowledge of viral marketing. Dan holds the Guinness World Record for the largest webinar ever.

Tamar Weinberg

One of the first strategists in the social media space, Tamar has played a part in campaigns for major business including Coca-Cola, NFL, Air New Zealand, and Hilton. She’s the author of The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web, a significant work on how social media can contribute to businesses’ marketing efforts. At present, Tamar is Mashable’s Global Advertising Director. She blogs at the aptly named

Joost de Valk

Joost (pronounced Yoast and typed is the undisputed WordPress SEO ace—his WordPress SEO plugin is one of the most popular WordPress plugins of all time. He has assisted large sites such as eBay, The Guardian, and Facebook with their online marketing efforts; he also helps out small-to-medium businesses with site audits, ecommerce, and on-page SEO. Few people know that Joost, a coder at heart, also started

Rae Hoffman

Never mess with a woman who can pull rank. No, I’m not threatening you. I’m barely restating what “Sugarrae,” veteran affiliate marketer and SEO consultant, proclaims on her blog, which frequently projects an unapologetic and controversial view of SEO. Rae used to be a moderator of the WebMasterWorld forums and a columnist at SEL, SEW, and Copyblogger. You can read 101 more things about her here.

Paddy Moogan

At Mozcon 2012, Paddy presented jaw-dropping quick-fire tips on getting new links. He then followed it up with a highly commended book that covers everything about link building—its history, scaling strategies, resources, case studies, penalties, team building, and more. Paddy is an SEO consultant at Distilled at present. He also posts occasionally on Search Engine Land and fairly regularly on SEOMoz.

Melanie Nathan

Melanie was the one who pioneered the broken link building technique. Call it dead or call it awesome, broken link building continues to be one of the most effective ways to date for getting links. Melanie is President of Canadian SEO, an internet marketing agency that claims to have SEO down cold. She’s also a DMOZ Editor (now don’t go bugging her; at least finish reading this post) and the first ever guest poster on Graywolf’s blog.

This Could Be You

I hope the profiles of these smart and assiduous marketers inspire you to put in creative and tireless efforts for your clients, your employers, and yourselves. For more motivation, feel free to download this SEO fan wallpaper. We are fortunate to be in a super-transparent industry where knowledge flows like a perennial river into the ocean. Whether you choose to be a piranha or a dolphin is up to you. All the best and have fun!

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I'm an enterpising web marketer from Ahmedabad, India. I love coffee, pizza and ice cream, not necessarily in that order.

15 Comments on "50 Friends for Your SEO Facebook"

  • Kris Roadruck

    Great List. Almost no one on it I don’t recognize or haven’t interacted with many many times. Incidentally your name is the name of the main character in my favorite book. Extra points if you happen to know it :-D

    • Rohan

      Thanks for the kind words, Kris. Hope to cast you for the sequel :-)

      What’s your favorite book though? I’m stumped! “Lessons from the dark side”? :-)

      • Kris Roadruck

        The Dragon Prince by Melanie Rawn.

        • Rohan

          Oh I’ve heard of it! But not my genre of choice :-S There go my extra points… but can i have a follow @searchrook please? :-)

  • What a thorough post! Thanks for including me. I am honored!

    • Rohan

      Thanks for being who you are, Ann! The honor is mine. :)

  • Great list! I discovered some new people from here and appreciate the time it took to create this. You’re great!

    • Rohan

      Thanks, Ryan. Hope you go on to build some great relationships with them!

  • Thanks for you effort in putting this together, you’ve sure saved a lot of people from doing the stalking, I mean discovering, themselves!

    • Rohan

      Ha ha. Guess that makes me a serial stalker ;-)

  • Great list of the site. I got many of these SEO friends added in my G plus. Thanks.

  • Another thought…Submit button does not appear in chrome. Have a Look

    • Rohan

      Thanks, Mayank. Unfortunately I’m not a developer and I’ve hastily put together this site – many elements of the (free) theme don’t work as advertised. Hope to get everything in order eventually.
      (Sent from my Chrome)

  • Glynn Raylor

    Great list, I appreciate your work to putting all the SEO legends together. I am a big fan of Matt Cutts. Thanks for including his name.

    • Rohan

      A Matt Cutts fan!! :-O How are things in Antarctica? Flap-Wave-Flap :-)

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