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Sagi Solomon

10 Mentors Who Can Help You Understand SEO and the SEO Industry

Sagi Solomon
10 Mentors Who Can Help You Understand SEO and the SEO Industry

SEO can be hard. Very hard. Even seasoned SEO pros find it challenging, let alone entrepreneurs who don’t study it day-in and day-out.

A big part of the difficulty is the fact that search engines change their guidelines frequently to give their users the best experience. Case in point: Google updates its algorithm hundreds of times a year. Even when the changes are minor, the sheer frequency of updates makes the entire SEO field complex.

The complexity is deepened because of the number of other marketing disciplines that are tied to SEO. Besides all the technical aspects, excellent content marketing and social-media best practices are needed to be effective in SEO. A lot of patience, creativity, and brainstorming are also demanded. 

With all the changes and technicalities involved in the dense forest of SEO, how can you keep up? If you don’t have time to attend frequent seminars, the next best thing is to follow trusted SEO experts. And the following list is a great place to start.

These ten practitioners not only talk the talk, but they also get undeniable results for their clients. Because they live and breathe SEO, consider them mentors who can be trusted.

1. Neil Patel

Neil is known worldwide as an SEO expert, entrepreneur, and results-oriented online marketer. He’s the co-founder of Hello Bar and Crazy Egg. Through "heatmaps" of visitor’s clicks, Crazy Egg analytics software allows website owners to see what visitors are doing when they view their website.

Neil also co-founded Quick Sprout, ­– “the easiest way for you to know what is happening on your website and how to improve your website to grow your traffic.”

Besides the above offerings, Neil co-founded KISSmetrics. This analytics platform tracks who’s visited a website, the specific action each user takes, and the lifelong value of the customer. The data generated by KISSmetrics provides valuable information that can be used to improve sales and customer experience.

More About Neil:

Advice from Neil:

“Think you know SEO? It’s all about keywords, content, and optimization, right? Not quite.

Despite what you may think you know, search engine optimization has far less to do with content, coding, or site architecture than with psychology.

The reason why people search for things in the first place is what matters. That’s especially true when it comes to effective SEO.” (Source)

2. Nichola Stott

The founder and Managing Director of TheMediaFlow, Nichola has more than 15 years’ experience in online communications. She manages her people and approach to SEO and content marketing services, as well as her company’s marketing strategy.

Nichola works with global organizations such as PR Newswire and Yahoo! She has over ten years’ experience in search, five of which she served at Yahoo! as head of UK search partnerships. Her company’s clients include national and global brands in highly competitive spaces, from publishing to sports betting, jewelry, fashion, lifestyle, automotive, and more.

More About Nichola:

Advice from Nichola:

Generation Z - people born from around the year 1996 onwards - will make up 40% of consumers by 2020. These emerging consumers have an entirely different set of needs, desires and online behaviors to any other generation in history, and to be successful in the future, we'll have to adapt our marketing efforts to deliver content in the way they expect to receive it.

Gen Z expect information faster, on all devices, and to pass directly to the object they’re looking for online. They’ll typically operate through 5 separate devices, and communicate increasingly through messaging apps, as opposed to on social networking platforms like Millennials do. (Source)

3. Matthew Barby

Besides leading the SEO at Hubspot, Matthew Barby is a highly regarded digital marketing consultant. He has worked with several renown brands, helping them launch content-centered inbound marketing campaigns.

Matthew is a frequent speaker at marketing events, and he’s also known for his insightful columns in respected marketing resources such as Search Engine Journal, Moz, and Marketing Land. He has been featured in TechRadar, Social Media Today, Forbes, The Guardian, Entrepreneur Magazine, and several others.

More About Matthew:

Advice from Matthew:

“The Featured Snippet section appearing inside the first page of Google is an incredibly important section to have your content placed within. I did a study of over 5,000 keywords where HubSpot.com ranked on page 1 and there was a Featured Snippet being displayed. What I found was that when HubSpot.com was ranking in the Featured Snippet, the average click-through rate to the website increased by over 114%.” (Source)

4. Cynthia Johnson

Cynthia has expertise in SEO, social media marketing, viral campaign strategy, branding, reputation management and organizational leadership. She has been involved on social media and viral campaigns for Levi’s, Vans, Chevy, Susan G. Komen, Peta2 and Maker Studios. She has also consulted on campaigns for Here Media, West Management Group and several other startup e-commerce brands.

She was Managing Partner & Director of Marketing for RankLab, a digital marketing agency listed in Inc. Magazine's Fastest Growing Private Companies in 2015. In July of 2015 RankLab was acquired by American Addiction Centers and Cynthia is now their Director of Brand Development.

Cynthia is a current contributing columnist for Entrepreneur, Search Engine Journal, Startup Grind, Business2Community, and several other industry specific publications.  She speaks at numerous industry and motivational conferences each year, such as Pubcon, SMX West, and the Millennium Alliance's Transformation CMO.

More About Cynthia:

Advice from Cynthia:

“It is no secret that movies with great actors get bigger budgets, higher ticket sales and better ratings. Part of a script review by the studio is to determine if they have access to the right talent. They spend a lot of time finding the key people to fill the lead role and they do this before they decide on script. Most companies could benefit from this model. Instead of deciding on projects or business ideas, think about whom you will need to fill key roles.  Who are they?  What have they done? Who do they know?” (Source)

5. On Yavin

On is a UK based SEO specialist with more than 15 years of digital marketing experience. His focuses include link building, content creation, content management, PPC and ORM. On is known for consistently utilizing the latest techniques to boost SEO results and drive the growth of numerous well-known brands.

On is the founder and CEO of Online Performance, a firm that provides digital marketing services that create a powerful impact. When it comes to SEO, On always makes sure he is on top of the recent happenings and best practices in the industry.

More About Matt:

  • Online Performance blog

Advice from On:

While offsite SEO methods such as link building are concerned mainly with getting people to find your site, the role of onsite SEO is twofold. Although it plays an important role in improving your sites’ visibility on Google and other search engines, it also serves to attract people to actually visit your site and engage with it in a way that suits you best (Source)

6. Ann Smarty

Ann Smarty has been a prominent SEO expert for over seven years. The brand manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas, her specialties include SEO, social media marketing, link building, keyword research, and online reputation management.

Ann has been a frequent contributor to SEOmoz, Mashable, and Social Media Examiner. Her search and social experience ranges from content creation and social media marketing, to SEO reporting and consulting.

According to Ann, “My main goal is to turn our blog into the leading free Internet marketing resource uniting SEO experts from all over the world. I am also going to help operate all the communities we own: DevShed forums, Cre8site forums, and WebmasterWorld forums.”

Ann founded several startups, such as ViralContentBuzz, MyBlogU, and TwChat.

More About Ann:

Advice from Ann:

“On-Page SEO is some of the most tricky to master. Unlike content based keywords, it has to be placed in just the right way. You walk a very thin line between perceived crawler spam and effective keyword density. Likewise, figuring out the right combination of terms for metadata can be difficult at best…

… It is a complicated, but rewarding, business. The right strategy can make the difference between a site that become a viral hit, and one that remains obscure and unvisited.” (Source)

7. Kim Krause Berg

With 21 years of experience, Kim has valuable expertise in SEO, Usability/User-Centered Design, Mobile, IA, Accessibility, and more. She founded Creative Vision Web Consulting, where she works with enterprise level companies, mid-sized businesses, and small businesses.

In 2002, Kim coined the term “Holistic Usability and SEO.” Her client work consistently proved the value of approaching every website with one unifying goal: creating happy visitors from search to successful task completion.

Kim has written articles for Search Engine Land, Internet marketing Ninjas, and Search Marketing Standard.

More About Kim:

Advice from Kim:

“Have you ever seen a football team’s playbook? Each page has a plan, with arrows, numbers, rules and code names to be memorized by the team…

…It is this search engine playbook that SEO’s grabble with. It’s reviewed by the marketing team, memorized and practiced and just at the precise moment a web page scores a goal, an algorithm is updated and a new set of rules and plays have to be figured out. After all, the goal of marketing is to win and the prize is revenue.” (Source)

8. Eric Enge

Eric was named US Search Personality of the Year at the 2016 US Search Awards. He was also named Search Marketer of the Year at the 2016 Landys Awards. And to top it all off, his company, Stone Temple Consulting, was also named the Best Large SEO Agency at the US Search Awards.

Eric says, “Personally, I am a highly technical person who has turned into an entrepreneur leading the business and marketing activities of the ventures I get involved in. I continue to dabble in technical things, but the main challenges I like to tackle are figuring out how to get a business to the next stage.”

Eric is the lead author for The Art of SEO, which he co-authored with Rand Fishkin, Stephan Spencer, and Jessie Stricchiola. He writes regularly in Forbes, Search Engine Land, Moz, Copyblogger, and Marketing Land. He also speaks on a regular basis at many industry conferences.

More About Eric:

Advice from Eric:

“Finding and developing the right relationships helps you accelerate the progress towards your goals.

It’s also important to understand that some influencer relationships will be more important to you than others. I call these people ‘Anchor Influencers.’

What fuels these is a stronger sense of connection, stronger alignment in your view of the market, and perhaps even some level of personal connection. Choose these relationships wisely, as they are a key component of your overall marketing plan.” (Source)

9. Eric Siu

Eric is CEO of Single Grain. This digital marketing agency is focused on SEO, content marketing, Facebook advertising, Google AdWords and YouTube advertising. Eric has worked with companies like Salesforce, Yahoo!, and Intuit. He also works with venture backed startups to create and execute on custom-tailored growth strategies.

Eric runs Growth Everywhere, a blog and podcast on business and personal growth. His guests have included respected influencers such as Marketo co-founder Jon Miller, Eloqua founder Mark Organ (sold to Oracle for over $1 billion), Jason Lemkin from SaaStr, Andy Johns from Wealthfront, and Ron Klein (inventor of the magnetic credit card stripe).

He also hosts a podcast with Neil Patel called Marketing School, which has been rated a Top 15 marketing podcast on iTunes.

More About Eric:

Advice from Eric:

“Internal links confer several SEO benefits. When search engine spiders find your site, they follow links to discover additional pages on your site. They follow these link webs so that they can discover and archive as many relevant pages as they can on one visit.

Sure, you can leave pages unlinked to others on your site and hope that the search engines will find each page. But that may take weeks, even months, for them to get to your page. With millions of new web pages added daily, those spiders are quite busy.” (Source)

10. Nick Eubanks

SEO expert Nick Eubanks is Vice President, Digital Strategy at W.L. Snook & Associates, Inc. His core competencies include digital marketing strategy (specializing in keyword research and strategy), digital product design, audience identification, and user intent analysis.

He describes himself as a technical marketer focused on opportunities driven by search and user experience. As he explains, “I love finding ways to use data to answer questions and solve problems.”

Nick has consulted on digital marketing projects for Fortune 500 companies like Thomson Reuters, Comcast, Morgan Stanley, Parkway, Exxon Mobil, and others. He has also built web applications from the ground up, developing content delivery and management systems from scratch. His applications now receive millions of organic visitors each year.

He also organizes a user experience meetup in Philadelphia called Shame on UX – an open-format user experience meet-up focused on discussing the importance of UX and UI by poking fun at where it has failed.

More About Nick:

Advice from Nick:

It’s worth remembering that even if your website is Google’s #1, it doesn’t necessarily mean all those Pay Per Clicks are giving the conversions you need. It’s estimated around 70% of visitors to your site will not be coming back. That’s an eye-watering fact that bears repeating; for every 10 potential customers who do find your landing page, 7 will never return. (Source)

Sagi is an online marketing expert and the head of SEO at InboundJunction, a premium content marketing agency based in Israel. With his technical and creative abilities, Sagi is constantly looking for the latest SEO trends and tools to formulate a winning search strategy. You can connect with him on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter.

Comments

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Jeannie Hill
Agreed! Fun to see who is on your list!
Gareth Daine
Glad to see Ann Smarty here, but no Brian Dean? Crazy! He'd be at the top of the list with Neil Patel for me.
Jeannie Hill
Gareth Daine
Agreed!
Hammad Hussain
Interesting read some top mentors are missing in which some of my favorites are Brian Dean and Ryan Stewart.
Steve
Interesting list - I'm surpised not to see Brian Dean listed though...
Your thought is the same as mine. You listed Eric Siu, Kim Krause Berg, and Nichola Stott. Even the great Neil Patel is learning one or two things about SEO from Brian Dean. Go confirm.
Ann Smarty
I am in a great company here, Sagi! Thanks so much for listing me!
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