All year we’ve been relying on the experts in the SEO industry to help us analyze Google news and figure out how to optimize our websites, get creative, and stay ahead of the curve. Let’s face it, 2014 wasn’t the easiest year when it came to SEO changes and moving forward in the online marketing industry, so researching different SEO articles and topics was probably a daily routine for most.
Below are some of the top SEO gurus we saw step up in 2014 and should keep an eye on as we continue into the New Year.
- Michael Gray
Affiliations: Owner of Atlas Web Service.
Claim to Fame: Michael really got his claim to fame when he worked as a Webmaster for a specialty retailer. He established an online presence for them and increased their online sales from less than $10,000 per month to over $25 million per year in web sales. He’s a speaker, blogger, and is one of the gurus on this list who probably knows the most about website design and hosting.
- Todd Malicoat
Affiliations: SEO faculty at Market Motive.
Claim to Fame: Todd is the only guru on this list who creates digital marketing training programs that are primarily used by higher education institutions. Market Motive’s curriculum is used by Duke, Benedictine, and Polk State College, and many others, all of which aim to get digital marketing into the classrooms. Corporations such as HP, Adobe, Kaiser Permanente, Marriott, Home Depot, AARP, Harvard Business Review, Motorola, and many more also use their training programs.
Fun Fact: Todd is also an avid fisher and is the founder and co-owner of FishingCharters.com and previously working with Miami Fishing Charters, LLC.
- Adam Heitzman
Affiliations: Managing Partner of HigherVisibility.
Claim to Fame: HigherVisibility was founded in 2007 and has been one of the fastest growing SEO companies ever since, and for good reason. Unlike many Managing Partners, Heitzman puts his name out there and gets involved in the SEO community whenever possible. He very clearly puts a focus on quality content in every aspect of the business and continues to contribute regularly to various platforms such as Inc. Magazine. He has been featured in major publications like Forbes, The Huffington Post, and Business Insider talking about SEO and what sets a company apart from the rest. In my opinion, he’s the one company owner to really watch out for in 2015.
- Jim Boykin
Affiliations: CEO and Founder of Internet Marketing Ninjas.
Claim to Fame: Jim’s company has become one of the world’s leading online marketing firms. Just like Bruce Clay, Jim has put his heart and soul into his company and is going on 16 years with the company. Still, he has time to stay active in the community and is also the owner of leading Internet marketing community Threadwatch, the Developer Shed properties, and Webmaster World.
- Will Critchlow
Affiliations: Co-founder and CEO of Distilled, Global Associate for Moz.
Claim to Fame: Will founded Distilled with Duncan Morris in 2005 and also hosts the SearchLove conference series in the US and the UK. His company also has a popular online training platform called DistilledU, so it’s safe to say he does it all.
Fun Fact: Will’s academic background is actually in mathematics, including a graduate thesis on auction theory.
- Duane Forrester
Affiliations: Sr. Product Manager and Webmaster Outreach at Bing.
Claim to Fame: Duane runs Bing Webmaster Tools and is the go-to guru when it comes to any news or announcements regarding Microsoft. He represents Bing at conferences and events and is responsible for building, maintain, and managing the webmaster, developer, and publisher public outreach, so he functions very similarly to number one on our list, Matt Cutts.
- Ben Wills
Affiliations: CEO and Founder of Ontolo.
Claim to Fame: While Ben is responsible for architecting and building Ontolo, his first major accomplishment was in 2001 when he was involved with the growth of the largest search marketing company in the world, Keyword Ranking. He trained a 175-person organization and continues to push the envelope when it comes to SEO and management.
- Christoph Cemper
Affiliations: Founder and CEO of LinkResearchTools and CEMPER.com.
Claim to Fame: LinkReserachTools is one of the top SEO software solutions, analyzing 93 unique SEO metrics from Google, Moz, SEMRush, MajesticSEO, and more. Christoph’s company is currently the only tool that provides users with qualified link data in real-time. According to Christoph’s page, 24 link sources guarantee the maximum possible link data, up to 160 percent more than any other tool.
- John Mueller
Affiliations: Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google.
Claim to Fame: If you didn’t hear it from Matt Cutts, John Mueller is probably the guru who broke Google’s latest news. He works closely with the Webmaster Central, Sitemaps, and Search Quality teams at Google to help make sure information from engineers and webmasters at Google gets out to the public. You’ll find his writing on the Google Webmaster Central blog and Help Groups often, so he’s a good guru to know.
- Ann Smarty
Affiliations: Founder of MyBlogGuest, MyBlogU, SEOSmarty, community and brand manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas.
Claim to Fame: Ann has been known for her blogging skills on top blogs like SearchEngineJournal and Internet Marketing Ninjas, but it’s really her entrepreneurial skills that make her such a guru. She is the creator of MyBlogGuest, which changed the game for content creation and distribution. She has always been an innovator, which makes her one of my favorite gurus.
- Joost de Valk
Affiliations: Owner and CEO at Yoast.
Claim to Fame: Joost is the only guru on our list who identifies as a WordPress developer. He started Yoast.com back in 2006 and offers WordPress themes, plugins, and a blog about design and development. If you need your site reviewed, Joost is your gy.
Do you know any other SEO gurus that you think should make the list? Let us know in the comment section below.