SEO Experts You Should Be Following to Stay on Top

SEO Experts You Should Be Following to Stay on Top

If you’re looking to seriously step up your SEO game, you can’t trust just any source you find online that happens to offer SEO advice.

Looking to the most reputable specialists ensures that you’re getting the most accurate, current, and useful SEO information available.

With that in mind, in this article we feature a select group of top SEO experts, and explain why they’re worth following.

Continue reading, or jump ahead using these links:

Before we dive into the list, it’s worth mentioning what exactly makes someone a specialist, versus someone who is all talk and no action (i.e., no record of making actionable differences).

The people that we’re highlighting here are specialists because of the depth of experience they have in advanced SEO, and how they have leveraged that experience into other complementary areas of online marketing.

Many run their own successful businesses online and/or have successfully helped countless other business sites get more search engine traffic. Some have even been dabbling in SEO since the mid-90s, when the searching many of us were doing was our childhood pursuits.

These people are the real deal, and they all have the experience and reputations to back them up. Follow their updates and you’ll never have to worry about getting duped ever again by people circulating outdated or just plain wrong SEO advice online.

Reigning SEO-sters

Rand Fishkin

Rand Fishkin
Rand Fishkin, Image credit.

Rand is one of the earliest SEO pros.

The founder of Moz (formerly SEOmoz), one of the most popular and authoritative websites on SEO and online marketing, Rand worked at the company from 2001-2018. As CEO from 2007 to 2014, he focused on product and marketing as the “Wizard of Moz”, while regularly contributing to the blog.

Rand was also the co-founder of Inbound.org (2011-2014), a place for marketers to share their knowledge, discussions, and content of value. (He sold his share to Hubspot when he stepped down, for no profit.)

He is also the author of Lost and Founder: A Painfully Honest Field Guide to the Startup World, and has made public speaking presentations at large companies, including Google, Facebook, and Microsoft.

He currently serves as CEO at SparkToro, an audience research software startup, which he co-founded in 2018.

Rand’s Twitter

Rand’s Blog

Neil Patel

Neil Patel
Neil Patel, Image credit.

Neil is so prevalent in the SEO world, many people outside the scope of what he does will have seen him or heard of him at some point.

He is one of the most prolific entrepreneurs online, having co-founded hugely successful businesses, including Crazy Egg, KISSmetrics, Hello Bar, and Quick Sprout.

Co-founder of Neil Patel Digital (2017), Neil is a New York Times bestselling author, and has helped large companies, including Amazon, NBC, HP, and Viacom, increase their revenue.

He has been named a Top Influencer on the Web (by the Wall Street Journal), a Top 100 Entrepreneur Under 30 (by Barack Obama), and a Top 10 Marketer (by Forbes).

He regularly writes and comments on SEO in his blog, and elsewhere around the web.

Neil’s Twitter

Neil’s Blog

Tyler Reardon

Tyler Reardon
Tyler Reardon, Image credit.

As head of SEO at Chewy.com, Tyler leads a huge team in building, testing, and shipping new features on multiple sites and platforms across the Chewy ecosystem.

Prior to Chewy, Tyler drove traffic acquisition strategy for the CARFAX Used Car Listings marketplace, bringing multi-million dollar revenue growth to the Vehicle History Reports product on 8 sites &14 languages—all from organic search.

In 2011, Tyler started in search marketing at eVacuumStore.com, then co-founded SearchTools.io, a software and consulting company specializing in SEO and analytics.

Searchtools.io
Tyler’s Googlebot confirmation tool does a reverse DNS lookup on IP addresses.

During this time, he also created & rolled-out strategies for some of the INC 5000 Fastest Growing Companies.

Tyler’s Twitter

Tyler’s Website Tool

Jackie Chu

Jackie Chu
Jackie Chu, Image credit.

Jackie specializes in technical SEO, content SEO, ASO, and Google Analytics.

She’s done search optimization her entire career, starting with link building and ORM for lawyers, then doing SEO and ASO for Dropbox, Square, and other media companies.

Jackie is currently the SEO Intelligence Lead at Uber, working on multi-channel organic growth strategies. She has deep experience in technical, content, and international SEO, spanning both B2B and B2C.

Jackie is also active with speaking engagements, where she draws large crowds.

Jackie’s Twitter

Jackie’s Blog

Fili Wiese

Fili Wiese
Fili Wiese, Image credit.

Fili is the world’s leading SEO expert on the topic of Google webmaster policies, Google’s internal processes, backlink analysis, backlink risks, link building techniques. international SEO, technical SEO, online marketing, Google reconsideration requests, Google penalties and Google penalty recovery.

Widely recognized by being the only SEO expert in the world to publish SEO articles on the official Google Search Central Blog AND the official Bing Webmaster Blog, he is the go-to-guy when it comes to international and technical on-page SEO and successfully solving Google penalties.

During his seven years inside Google, Fili has learned the ins and outs of Google Search, where he was a Google senior support engineer and technical lead in the elite Search Quality team, improving Google search results for millions of its users.

Fili is the top SEO expert when it comes to improving organic search rankings with SEO audits, Google penalty recovery, Google algorithmic recovery, backlink analysis and SEO training.

He is also a brand ambassador for Majestic, and provides regular feedback to market leading SEO service providers such as Screaming Frog and Link Research Tools.

Fili offers helpful references and tools, like this Online Marketing Tools list.

Fili’s Twitter

Fili’s Website

Kaspar Szymanski

Kaspar Szymanski
Kaspar Szymanski, Image credit.

Kaspar is a well-known search expert, specializing in recovering websites from Google penalties, helping websites improve their rankings with SEO Consulting, backlink analysis, and reconsideration requests.

Before founding SearchBrothers.com, Kaspar was part of the Google Search Quality team where he was a driving force behind global web spam tackling initiatives.

Here’s an interesting article of Kaspar being interviewed, and sharing some great SEO insights.

Kaspar is the author of the Ultimate Guide to Google Penalties and part of the Ask the SMXperts series.

Kaspar’s Twitter

Kaspar’s LinkedIn

Fili Wiese & Kaspar Szymanski

Nope, I didn’t accidentally repeat myself.

These guys are on the list separately—deservedly so—but they also work in tandem.

Are they the Tag Team Titans? Google Gang Goals? The Search Signal Sidekicks?

Whatever you call them, Fili and Kaspar are experts in their field, as witnessed in the two sections above. Put them together, and you’ve got a match made in SEO heaven.

Their joint venture: SearchBrothers Seo Consulting.

Their tagline: What if you could hire the Google Search Quality team for your Search Engine Optimization needs?

This pro pair of former senior Google employees come with more than 14 years of combined Google Search Quality expertise.

As they state on their site, “We don’t guess what Google Search is about, we know it inside-out.”

If you want them to uncover organic search growth potential for your site, head over using the link below.

Fili & Kaspar’s Website

Bruce Clay

Bruce Clay
Bruce Clay, Image credit.

Bruce is an O.G. SEO expert. Since January 1996, his company, Bruce Clay Inc. (BCI), has been helping websites rank in search engines.

Founder and president of BCI, Bruce programmed the first web page analysis tool, created the Search Engine Relationship Chart (which earned 300,000 downloads in the first month), and wrote and taught on how to optimize websites to be found in search.

Today, Bruce Clay Inc. has grown into a leading search marketing company providing SEO services and consulting, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising management, content development and social media marketing services, establishing itself as a trusted source for how-to information in this new field of search engine optimization (SEO).

Bruce is still active on his Twitter and his blog.

Bruce’s Twitter

Bruce’s Blog

Barry Schwartz

Barry Schwartz
Barry Schwartz, Image credit.

Barry is another notable linchpin in SEO. He has covered search for over 18 years, and is the founder and executive editor of Search Engine Roundtable, another popular and trustworthy SEO blog (like Moz and Search Engine Land).

He is often one of the first to break important Google news, explaining what it means and offering practical advice to marketing professionals and small business owners.

Barry is the CEO of RustyBrick, a New York Web service firm specializing in customized online technology. RustyBrick sells custom web software including advanced e-commerce, custom content management systems, social networking sites, CRM applications, custom web-based business software, iPhone applications and much more.

In 2019, Barry was awarded the Outstanding Community Services Award from Search Engine Land, and in 2018 he was awarded the US Search Awards’ “US Search Personality Of The Year”.

Often quoted and interviewed in publications such as Forbes, Reuters, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Bloomberg, USA Today BusinessWeek, and more, Barry has also made appearances on the TWiT network shows This Week in Google and Tech News Today.

He has almost two decades of hands-on experience in web strategy, marketing and business optimization.

Barry’s Twitter

Barry’s Blog

Spencer Haws

Spencer Haws
Spencer Haws, Image credit.

In his initial years of experimentation, Spencer built hundreds of websites while learning how to build better quality sites and prevent sliding in Google rankings.

He has also launched and run dozens of different online businesses, most notably, Niche Pursuits (2011-present). While originally created as a blog to discuss the various niche business ideas he was trying out, it is also an extremely successful business in its own right.

He’s also the creator of the keyword tool Long Tail Pro (2011-2016), which has been called the number one keyword research and competitor analysis software, Link Whisper (2019-present), and Motion Invest (2019-present).

Spencer continues to write on SEO and entrepreneurship on NichePursuits.com.

Spencer’s Twitter

Spencer’s Blog

Larry Kim

Larry Kim
Larry Kim, Image credit.

Larry is one of the most recognizable names in digital marketing. His credits are insane.

  • Founder of WordStream, a powerful PPC (pay-per-click) management software business.
  • Popularized Unicorns in Marketing.
  • Notable expert on chatbot marketing, AdWords, Facebook Ads, entrepreneurship, and start-ups.
  • Four award­-winning books.
  • Columnist @Inc, @Medium, @CNBC. (Ranked #8 most popular author on Medium.)
  • Named Most Influential PPC expert in 2013, 2014, and 2015, and was the number one top columnist on Search Engine Land in 2013.
  • Named “Marketer of the Year” by Search Engine Land, the US Search Awards, and PPC Hero.

Larry also founded the popular chatbot Mobile Monkey (2017-current), after seeing the need for a product that enables marketers to engage with customers via mobile messaging platforms.

He assembled the founding team, raised a seed financing round, and today as CEO focuses on product and marketing strategy.

Larry’s Twitter

Larry’s Blog

Bill Slawski

Bill Slawski
Bill Slawski, Image credit.

Bill is another out-of-the-starting-gate SEO specialist.

He’s been working with search engine traffic and internet marketing consulting since 1996, and is credited with having “an unsurpassed in-depth knowledge of SEO and SEO-related disciplines”.

With a BA in English and a Juris Doctor Degree from Widener University School of Law, Bill was working as a technologist/management analyst for the Superior Court of Delaware. During this 14 year stint, Bill helped a friend put together, update, and promote a website. In doing so, he became hooked on SEO, eventually moving to an online marketing agency full time.

Bill has helped a variety of authoritative sites with their SEO, including Harvard Business School, Johns Hopkins University, The American Psychological Association, Comcast, and more.

His SEO by the Sea website provides services to help make it easier for sites to be found on the web, and easier for those sites to be used once they’ve been found. He also writes about patents and whitepapers from search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo on his blog.

Bill has spoken at a number of industry conferences on topics such as search engine algorithms, universal and blended search, personalization in search, search and social, duplicate content problems, semantic search, and knowledge bases.

He is also the Director of SEO Research at Go Fish Digital.

Bill’s Twitter

Bill’s Blog

Lee Odden

Lee Odden
Lee Odden, Image credit.

Lee is the CEO of Top Rank Marketing, a digital marketing agency that specializes in content marketing, SEO, social media, and more.

He and his team have helped several Fortune 100 companies and SMBs improve site traffic, increase engagement, attract new customers, and increase online brand visibility.

Recognized as one of the top B2B and content marketers, Lee’s influence and expertise is in-demand globally, having given over 200 presentations in 17 different countries.

Lee drives overall marketing strategy, serving as an industry thought leader and influencer, and publishing 3,300+ blog posts (over 1.4 million words) over the past 15 years on the award-winning TopRank Blog.

Lee’s Twitter

Lee’s Blog

Areej Abuali

Areej Abuali
Areej Abuali, Image credit.

Areej is an SEO Consultant who focuses on all things technical and on-site SEO.

She has worked client-side and agency-side across the property, health, fashion, and travel industries.

Areej is also the founder of Women in Tech (WTS), a support network aimed at women in the technical SEO field, to discuss, share, and learn from one another. Founded in 2019, WTS has since grown to more than 3,000 global members, connected via Facebook, Slack, and virtual & physical events.

Armed with a BSc in Computer Engineering and an MBA in Information Technology, Areej has been in the digital marketing industry for 8+ years.

She loves sharing her stories on navigating the SEO world, and has spoken at conferences such as SMX, BrightonSEO, MozCon and LondonSEO.

Areej’s Twitter

Areej’s Blog

Marie Haynes

Marie Haynes
Marie Haynes, Image credit.

After graduating from college in 1999, Marie pursued a practice as a licensed small-animal veterinarian. Less than ten years later, she became obsessed with understanding Google search, and fully shifted her professional track.

Her SEO career began in 2008, when she became a recognized leader in tackling Google’s Penguin algorithm (at this time, very few people understood it). She began giving advice on SEO forums, and analyzing websites while providing feedback for clients based off of the forums she participated in.

With more demand than she could maintain on her own, Marie hired and trained a team of SEO’s that now comprise Marie Haynes Consulting (MHC) Inc. Her unique abilities to help clients improve to Google’s standards has made MHC a leader in the industry.

You can find Marie speaking at conferences, on help forums, and active on her Twitter and YouTube accounts.

Marie’s Twitter

Marie’s Blog

Honorable Mentions

This last group are true pioneers in the SEO field, though they’re no longer as active as they once were.

Still, because they were vital to the initial burst and early growth of SEO, it seemed only right to include them.

Matt Cutts

Matt Cutts
Matt Cutts, Image credit.

Matt is probably best known for his stint at Google, as their head of their webspam team. He joined as a software engineer in January 2000, and wrote the first version of SafeSearch (Google’s family filter).

From January 2017 until April 2021, he served as the administrator of the U.S. Digital Service, which he describes as “the group of geeks that helped rescue healthcare.gov”.

Matt is not just rich in experience, he is also rich in academia, with a Ph.D. and an M.S. in computer graphics, and two B.S. degrees (in mathematics and computer science).

With over 511,000 Twitter followers, he was one of the most influential “web celebs” as it pertains to SEO.

Matt’s Twitter

Matt’s Blog

Danny Sullivan

Danny Sullivan
Danny Sullivan, Image credit.

Danny was a journalist and analyst who covered the digital and search marketing space since 1996, though he has since retired (June 2017).

Danny was the founding editor of Search Engine Land, one of the more well-known and authoritative SEO blogs on the web. He was also a cofounder of Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land, Marketing Land, and MarTech Today.

Believe it or not, Danny has been writing about search engines practically back before Google even existed. He’s been referred to as the Godfather of SEO, and sold the successful SEO website he founded―Search Engine Watch―in 2006 for $43 million.

Danny’s Twitter

Danny’s Blog

Eric Ward

Eric Ward
Eric Ward, Image credit.

A legend in the link building industry, Eric was once introduced by Danny Sullivan as “Link Moses” at one of his conferences, and the nickname stuck.

Sadly, Eric passed away in 2017.

Eric helped over a thousand websites develop, create, and execute effective content linking and promotion strategies since 1994.

He had enormous success with many high profile clients, developing linking strategies for sites including Amazon.com, Disney.com, Discovery.com, NBC Sports, TravelChannel.com, Microsoft.com Law.com, BBC.com, NationalGeographic.com, PBS.org, Berklee.edu, Weather.com, the United States Olympic Committee, The New York Times, and NASA.gov.

He also humbly shared his failures… many early dot-com pipe-dreams that he watched burn through millions of dollars in VC money on their way to oblivion, where he also made (then lost) a fortune along the way.

He regularly contributed to Search Engine Land and ClickZ, spoke at many major industry events, and published a premium newsletter full of linking strategies, Q&A style tips, client case studies, news, and more.

I’ll leave a few quotes—one by him, two about him—in memoriam.

“Google is important, but…online marketing isn’t just about links and Google rankings, and you should never give a search engine the power to control your fate. Your site, app, and all content assets deserve the best chance for discovery via organic search, earned links, social media, selective promotion and beyond. The reality is if you focus less on Google and more on business building strategies, you end up ranking higher at Google anyway.” — Eric Ward, aka Link Moses

“Eric has been educating people about digital marketing and links since before search engines decided links were important.” — Danny Sullivan

“Eric is a promotion and link building guru.” — Rand Fishkin

Eric’s Website

Thankful for the Rank-Pull

While any SEO beginner who’s been able to rank for a long-tail keyword with low competition can write a blog post about how they did it (and then never bother to update it), the specialists we’ve included here are far more advanced than that.

They’ve dug deeper into SEO and know how to do all the dirty work that comes with ranking for highly competitive keywords, working with advanced tools, tailoring SEO needs for e-commerce purposes, analyzing all sorts of different sets of data, fine-tuning website code for the search engines, and much more.

If you’re not already following these SEO giants, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Their knowledge and know-how when it comes to digital marketing online is priceless.

You can also gain keen insights and improvements with the SEO optimization tool, SmartCrawlcompletely free on the WordPress.org plugin repository.

With five to six hundred Google algorithms pushed out every year (that equates to once or twice per day), keeping up-to-date is more important than ever—not to mention, a full-time job. Following pro advice and implementing smart tools can really help make a difference in your ranking.

Editor’s Note: This post has been rewritten for accuracy and relevancy.
[Originally Published: December 2015 / Revised: March 2022]

Do you already follow any of the above SEO specialists? Any favorites of yours that we didn't include? Let us know in the comments below.

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Janette Burhans

Janette Burhans Janette is a wily wordsmith and impassioned illustrator who does her best work surrounded by pink, sparkly things. Aside from creating articles and art, she treasures time with family (human & furry), reading or watching stories, and long walks down the makeup aisle. She is happy to share her thoughts and feelings, but draws the line at ice cream.

Aileen Javier

Aileen Javier A past writer for WPMU DEV