The Stars of SEO [Infographic]

We had a few great SEO blog posts in the Unbounce Conversion-Fest blogging contest, one of which (The Adaptive SEO Approach) hit a record number of comments for a post on Unbounce, and another (The Cat in the Hat Teaches SEO) was one of the most creative SEO posts of the year.

Landing page SEO is still one of the least written about topics online. Fingers crossed we have a guest post appearing in the near future from Aaron Bradley all about that elusive topic (subtle peer pressure applied).

Who are the Stars of SEO?

So, who are the biggest players in the search marketing space? Like a perfectly timed asteroid of awesome, I was made aware of the infographic below (from which showcases a mix of the best search and social players.

Once you’ve finished gazing at the stars, you can follow them all on Twitter in this handy list I created – The Stars Of SEO on Twitter.

NOTE: Not all are really recognized as SEO experts, so there’s a great debate happening in the comments, where you can add the SEO stars of tomorrow (all will be added to the Twitter list).

History of Search Infographic

The Future of Search

Some of the best information in the graphic is at the bottom – where the stars were interviewed and asked about the future of search.

Following the Stars

To keep abreast of the latest information in the ever shifting SEO field I’ve extracted the Twitter accounts of all the SEO rockstars mentioned in the graphic and bundled them neatly into a Twitter list – so you can get their updates all in one place.

As I mentioned above, not all of the members are typically included in SEO circles, but some have been included in the graphic and the Twitter list due to their influence in social media – which is becoming an increasingly important element of search.

Follow the Stars of SEO on Twitter (list)

— Oli Gardner

About Oli Gardner
Unbounce co-founder Oli Gardner has seen more landing pages than anyone on the planet. He’s obsessed with identifying and reversing bad marketing practices, and his disdain for marketers who send campaign traffic to their homepage is legendary, resulting in landing page rants that can peel paint off an unpainted wall. A prolific international keynote speaker, Oli is on a mission to rid the world of marketing mediocrity by using data-informed copywriting, design, interaction, and psychology to create a more delightful experience for marketers and customers alike. He was recently named the "The 2018 Marketer to Watch," in the under 46 category, by his mother.
» More blog posts by Oli Gardner


  1. B

    I guess I’ll be the first one to say it because I doubt anyone has the balls, but that’s a piece of junk infographic. More than half of the people on it couldn’t SEO themselves out of a box. It’s clearly just an attempt by to get attention, and a half-baked, shitty one at that.

    • Oli Gardner

      I like a good bit of argument, discontent and controversy. Even better with a name attached to it :)

      To add some extra value I’d love to hear your top 5 list of SEOs not on here that should be. Care to share B?

      • B

        I would prefer not to use my name because certain people on that list like to call others out and do rep damage if you claim they’re no good. Since you ask about my list of who should be on there, I can give you far more than 5 that are better than most of that list.

        1. Aaron Wall
        2. John Andrews
        3. Rae Hoffman
        4. Greg Boser
        5. David Naylor
        6. Stephan Spencer
        7. Todd Malicoat
        8. Debra Mastaler
        9. Avi Wilensky
        10. Jim Boykin

        • Oli Gardner

          Nice. Good list. I’ll add them to the Twitter List too.

          And thanks for coming back and sharing.

    • K


    • James St. John

      Not to come to the defense of, but their infographic was framed as choosing those who “touch all aspects of the industry.” I do not think it was their purpose to necessarily say, “Hey, these are the best SEOs out there!” so much as to say, these are the folks who seem to have had an enormous amount of influence or advice on search marketing in general and probably will in the future.
      BUT who can predict the future. LIke Marcus Tandler, “I’m really bad at predicting stuff…” I do predict, however, that this infographic will get good amount of attention and, therefore, will get a large chunk of attention. That’s the purpose of content marketing. Maybe we can all learn something from that, even if you think the list is junk.

  2. Oli Gardner

    Side note: I’m going to remove a few people from the Twitter list. Not because they aren’t great at what they do, but because they’re not focused on SEO.

    I like to hear what experts on any subject have to say – so curating the right people on a given subject is important.

    If others have SEO thought leaders that should be added to the list – please chuck ’em in the comments too.

  3. Kristi Hines

    There are a few on that infographic that are questionable for SEO – I think of them as more business / social media experts over SEO. But it’s not completely off base. should have just called it the Stars of Social & Search to make it a better fit for the stars they chose.

    I’d also throw Wil Reynolds (!/wilreynolds) into the mix. He has some excellent search advice!

  4. Jonathan Beaton

    How do you define qualities of a SEO? Some work better with brands, affiliate sites, lead generation, etc… This is more of a list of the best and most notable internet marketers. However, I would not go as far as to say it is piece of junk :).

    • Ani Lopez

      It is easy to distinguish good SEOs from the rest: those who increase conversions from organic traffic (in a decent amount and across long period of time, I should add to make it more clear).

      If a SEo consultant is popular or not out there is not a relevant metric to include in this KPI

      • Oli Gardner

        From my perspective, I’m interested in people that are actively talking about good SEO practices openly on Twitter. People that are willingly giving their knowledge away freely (inbound marketing). As far as the business perspective – those that show thought leadership will gain reputation and clients as a result.

        So if you know someone that’s vocal and talented share their account here, so more people can be exposed to the positive aspects of SEO.

        • Ani Lopez

          “people actively talking about good SEO practices openly on Twitter” Ok, that’s a better definition of what you want. A completely different story from what I was defining as a good SEO

          I would nominate @aaranged

          There are many more in my RSS feed writing good articles but having a boring, not-so-insightful SEO tweet feed.

          • Oli Gardner

            Seconded. Aaron’s awesome. Added to the Twitter list.

            • Ani Lopez

              also @seo_theory and @hugoguzman
              @asegovia @aleyda and @rtayar in Spanish

              • Oli Gardner

                Thanks Ani.

                I’ll add the English speakers to the list – purely for consistency and because my Espanol is so limited, specifically: directing a taxi driver from a bar to my old residence in Costa Rica.

                Would be great for someone to create a Spanish version. Maybe you could?

          • Johnetta

            This introduces a pealisnlgy rational point of view.

  5. Jennifer

    Having been in SEO for 5 years now this list is what I expected. The trouble is, from the client side this list is somewhat meaningless. For example, Rand Fishkin and SEOmoz has moved toward packaged tools for the SEO professional or do-it-yourselfer and away from customized work. There are firms out there who’ve been in the business for a long time, have deep knowledge (particularly around highly technical matters; for example migrating a large CMS site to a new domain without losing SEO value), and offer the kind of highly customized work that most businesses who don’t have an in-house team need. Few of the people on this list are doing that kind of work. They are more the speakers, the inventors, and the high profile bloggers on SEO. This could be misleading to a business.

  6. James Svoboda

    Unless this gets revamped into a “Dancing with the SEO Stars” TV show, I’m probably going to forget about this piece of kiss*flame*link-bait by the time I hit “Submit” on this comm…

    • Oli Gardner

      Haha. I love it.
      Keep the humor and hatorade coming.
      You don’t gave a favorite SEO to add to the list James? You must have one at least…

      • James Svoboda

        Sorry Oli, I didn’t mean to come across as hating on anybody on the list, as most, if not all I have great respect for. I just don’t think very highly of the theme of this infographic.

        As to the list, I’d recommend Matt Thompson and StayOnSearch. He/they put out some really good content.

        • Oli Gardner

          Awesome, thanks for coming back, I’ll add your recommendations to the Twitter list.

          And I kind of agree that the graphic doesn’t say anything that special, I’m far more enjoying the comment discussion.


  7. Ken Jansen Kansas City

    I would like to add
    Jill Whalen
    Lisa Barone
    Michael Gray
    Danny Dover

    I thought the list was a good one and helpful piece to send to someone who needs an answer on who’s stuff should I be reading.

    Thank you.

  8. Ted

    I have learned a tremendous amount over the years from following Eric Enge from StoneTemple. He should be on that list.

    He doesn’t have the huge following like some of your others mentioned here and he doesn’t Tweet a lot. His material and his recommendations are top notch though.