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Top SEO Experts for Every Marketing Level

Whenever I drop the phrase “search engine optimization” around friends (and yes, I do that), their faces immediately go blank. Describing it in detail gets progressively worse, so I’ve had to come up with a super-simplified definition: “I help websites show up in Google when people search for the things they offer.” But as you’ll quickly learn, SEO encompasses so much more. From content marketing and strategic partnerships to public relations and keyword research, there are many facets of SEO.


Top SEO Experts


When I first got started in SEO, I read dozens of guides, took a few courses, and watched tons of tutorials. Learning from the many experts already out there was (and still is) instrumental in helping me become an effective SEO for clients.


The list below includes some of my favorite SEO experts, along with their blogs and resources. Whether you’re just getting started or have reached a more advanced level, they’ll help you learn, stay current on new developments, and expand your sense of what good SEO can do.


Getting Started with SEO


1. Moz

MozMoz (@Moz) is a software company that originally started as an SEO consulting firm. The founder, Rand Fishkin, consistently publishes some of the best search engine optimization content on the web. He still remains an active, contributing member of the SEO community and their Beginners Guide to SEO is essentially a landmark read for any greenhorn.


What you’ll learn: The collection of SEO materials on Moz covers every mainstream facet of SEO. It is basically a prerequisite course for anyone with an interest in getting visibility, traffic, and leads to their site, as well as ranking for relevant and local keywords.


2. Matt Cutts

SEO Expert Matt CuttsMatt Cutts (@mattcutts) is another celebrity in the SEO world. He is currently the head of Google’s Webspam team, making him an expert on how to keep your site in Google’s good graces. He will occasionally publish articles with high quality videos explaining big changes, clarifying rumors, or offering advice for SEOs. Reading his blog is a great way to stay up to date with events in SEO and receive trustworthy information.


What you’ll learn: The SEO topics on his blog are selective and generally have to do with any SEO strategy that might be considered a spam tactic. Subscribing to his blog is a good way to make sure your website remains penalty-free.


3. Joost de Valk - Yoast’s Definitive Guide

SEO Expert Joost de ValkJoost de Valk is the owner and creator of Yoast (@Yoast) and the developer of multiple plugins. His guide is a little bit more technical than the Moz guide, but beginners can still grasp the concepts.


What you’ll learn: I specifically recommend reading his section on site structures. A massively overlooked part of creating a new website is planning out the actual relationships between pages and posts, much like an architect needs a blueprint. In his Definitive Guide to SEO, Joost also walks us through:
  • URL structure
  • optimizing title tags, images, and descriptions
  • optimizing breadcrumbs, headings, and code
  • conversion and comment optimization, as well as off-site blog optimization
  • a more advanced section on how to handle duplicate content.


4. Googlebot

Google BotGooglebot might as well be the SEO expert by default. Google’s own Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide is ideal for anyone who would prefer content straight from Google as opposed to an unaffiliated source. This guide is easy to read and was specifically crafted for beginners. It also contains clear descriptions of vital SEO concepts as well as supporting images and handy tips.


What you’ll learn: This guide offers high quality explanations of SEO topics in a clear and concise manner. covering areas such as:
  • creating unique, accurate page titles
  • making use of meta description tags
  • improving structure of URLs and navigation
  • optimizing content, anchor text, images, and heading tags
  • using robots.txt effectively and when to use rel=”nofollow” for links
  • mobile SEO tips

Many of the concepts in this guide, the Moz guide, and Joost’s guide naturally overlap. I would suggest beginners skim through each and choose based on which they prefer reading, since the material is almost identical.


Intermediate SEO


5. Ana Hoffman - Traffic Generation Coffee

Ana HoffmanAna Hoffman’s blog (@AnaTrafficCafe) has consistently evolved over the years with a commitment to providing actionable and clear traffic generation strategies. She has amassed quite a following and expanded her range of topics to cover progression paths for different areas of increasing traffic, such as from social media channels and from search engines. Ana’s content stands out as a refreshingly honest and action-driven. Everytime I read one of her posts I come away with something I can act on immediately to improve my own blog or a client’s website.


What you’ll learn: As her site’s name entails, the primary focus is traffic generation; however, the topics span across a range of SEO topics and include writing and planning tips and content marketing tactics.
The number one thing that separates Ana’s content from the majority of others in the digital marketing space is her writing style. She gets right to the point and doesn’t waste time covering hit-or-miss tactics. Most notably is her recent SEO traffic guide for non-SEOs, which I definitely recommend for anyone who has been out of the loop this year (or longer).


6. Matthew Woodward

SEO Expert Matthew WoodwardMatt Woodward’s blog (@MattWoodwardUK) is another gem in the congested SEO world. You can expect zero fluff, practical insights, and in-depth content from him. While many of his posts cover “clean” traffic generation and SEO strategies, a good portion of his posts use tools that can be unconventional or confusing to someone who is pretty new to this space. Basically, there’s Google’s way of doing SEO (known as white hat) and then there’s more automated methods which can, in some cases, be classified as spam (known as black hat—and I don’t recommend beginners venturing into this arena). What makes Matthew’s blog exceptional to read is that he covers all ranges of SEO (both white and black hat) and shows which methods are currently working with in-depth tutorials, videos, case-studies, interviews, and more.


What you’ll learn: A good portion of Matthew’s posts utilize new or popular SEO tools. For those that might be on the fence about trying one, it will be refreshing to read his unfiltered thoughts about each one.


7. Jon Cooper - Point Blank SEO

SEO Expert John CooperJon Cooper’s blog (@PointBlankSEO) is a collection of all things link building. Point Blank SEO is ideal for any search engine marketer who is tasked with building links for a client and is struggling to find effective, smart, and spam-free ways of doing so. His monstrous post on link building strategies has been in my bookmarks bar for over two years and I still check it whenever I’m out of ideas.


What you’ll learn: Jon Cooper is regarded highly in the SEO world for many of his valuable contributions to link builders. Additionally, his writing is very easy to read and his concepts never get too complicated, even for someone who is relatively new to link building. He does a great job of breaking down the costs/benefits of specific strategies and walking readers through tactics, step by step.


8. Aleyda Solis

SEO Expert Aleyda SolisIf we run a google search for “international SEO consultant,” Aleyda (@aleyda) is a top result, which demonstrates her impressive branding and SEO skills. After all, the main goal of SEO is to have your web properties rank for relevant search terms. With over seven years of experience in the industry, Aleyda has become a well-known speaker and thought leader, helping European, American, and Latin-American companies.


What you’ll learn: Aleyda has her finger on the pulse of the industry, making her blog a resourceful and important read. That's especially true for SEO news and trends, like when there is a big algorithm change or industry topic to discuss. She’s also a frequent speaker and has given a number of talks on the state of search.


Advanced SEO


9. Glen Allsopp - ViperChill

SEO Expert ViperChillAmong everyone's here, Glen’s blog (@ViperChill) is my favorite. He only publishes in-depth articles and guides that are well-thought out. He sees ideas, concepts, and tactics for what they are - regardless of whether they are white hat or black hat - and is constantly testing. In my eyes, he’s doing SEOs a service by showing high level and scalable SEO tactics that work, plain and simple.


What you’ll learn: At the core, Glen’s posts are entertaining, offer real value/insights, and give readers material to work with. They always cover more than one topic, including:
  • a plethora of actionable link building tactics (both scalable and one-offs)
  • extensive SEO guides
  • high quality long-tail keyword optimization tactics
  • complete case studies for ranking websites with both safe and “unsafe” (in Google’s eyes) methods
  • outings of big brands that employ “dirty” or “smart” (depending on how you look at it) link building tactics

He doesn’t post too often which I think is a good thing. This shows he puts genuine thought and planning into his posts instead of rushing to meet a deadline.


10. Paddy Moogan

SEO Expert Paddy MooganPaddy Moogan (@paddymoogan) is a very talented online marketer with a strong instinct for SEO and link building. He’s given a number of great lectures on link building topics, which are ideal for people who prefer to learn through video. His blog also offers very clear thoughts, strategies, and guides and I view his material as an authority in the SEO community.


What you’ll learn: Paddy often has a voice of reason and writes with a personable tone, making his content both enjoyable and educational. His posts cover a range of topics, including:
  • SEO process improvements and organizational thinking
  • niche-specific link building tactics
  • a plethora of SEO tips, guides, and reviews
  • insights on everything a search engine professional will run into at one point or another

Paddy is also an active member of the Moz community and will publish posts there from time to time. Recently he published the Future of Link Building which brings up some very important subjects to keep in mind as we move forward into 2015. I recommend his material to those who might not want to step foot in unconventional linking methods and would prefer staying on a safer path.


11. Neil Patel - The Advanced Guide to SEO

SEO Expert Neil PatelNeil Patel (@neilpatel) is a pretty famous internet marketer and entrepreneur in the SEO world. In addition to his software start-ups, he regularly publishes actionable guides on his personal brand blog, Quicksprout. He’s turned this site into a remarkable resource for SEOs with a handful of exceptional, long-form guides.


What you’ll learn: Among these guides, Neil's Advanced Guide to SEO has a top spot in my bookmarks. This offers higher-level and more technical approaches to SEO campaigns, including:
  • improving indexation and accessibility for both search engine robots and users
  • improving site speed and performance
  • understanding how the current search engine algorithm works
  • in-depth approaches to data and keyword research
  • link building with various types of content as well as other trending techniques

While some of the concepts in this guide might be too advanced or simply impractical for your situation, the majority of content that Neil publishes on his blog would be more of a beginner and intermediate level for SEOs. Neil’s posts are often supported by high quality images, relevant tactics, and clear descriptions, making them insightful quick reads in the morning.


So there you have it—some of my favorite voices to follow in the SEO world. I can't stress enough how helpful these experts can be if you're getting started in SEO, or if you're more advanced but looking to improve your skills. Anyone else you would add to this list?


Jesse Aaron

Jesse Aaron

Community Manager at WebpageFX


Jesse is a Community Manager at WebpageFX, runs a blog about social media marketing, and has a passion for DIY projects—especially homebrewing!.