The world of digital marketing and in particular SEO is wrought with tons of snake oil salesmen and women. They are typically referred to as SEO gurus. They might not use this term to describe themselves, but it’s a popular term that’s pushed onto the more vocal marketers that market to fellow marketers (say that three times fast!).
Here’s a quick look at a hand full of some of the more well-known gurus out there and what my personal views and experience is with them. Please note, I do not know any of these marketers personally, and no matter what I say or write about them, I am writing about them because they are all very successful at what they do – much more than me.
So, as you’re reading keep in mind that this is nothing more than an opinion piece, and I’m more than happy to do what most politicians claim they don’t and change my mind (flip-flop) at a later date if my original opinion has been changed.
As you can tell from the .uk top level domain Mr. Woodward is from the UK. Overall the UK really seems to have a high level SEO community and Matthew Woodward certainly knows what he’s talking about.
Of all the non uber-super-dooper white hat SEO blogs I find myself going back to time and time again, this is probably the top of the list. Even though a lot of the posts aren’t even written by the site owner, they are all very detailed and contain tons of useful info.
Some of my favorites aren’t about SEO at all, but email marketing and social marketing, two areas I still need a lot of work on. Maybe that’s why I really enjoy reading the posts here.
One aspect of the site bugs some readers and that’s the very extreme pushing of affiliate links within the bodies of the blog posts. But, he is a marketer so what do you expect?
As stated in the intro I don’t know Matthew Woodward but have found him to reply often when you leave a (real) comment on his site or @ him on twitter. If you don’t mind getting soft pitched marketing tools then this is a guru you shouldn’t ignore.
Check him out at www.matthewwoodward.co.uk
I have no idea where to start with Mr. Becker. He is truly quite the online character. Of all the gurus discussed here, he is probably the most charismatic (or at least his online persona is).
It’s hard to really call Alex an SEO now though his marketing roots might come from SEO. He’s one hell of a marketer and salesperson however.
That doesn’t mean you can’t get some nice SEO tips from Source Wave though. I first learned about PBN’s, or Private Blog Networks, from Becker. He also features some very knowledgable digital marketers on his site and his frequent webinars to supplement his info and Taylor Swift references.
The real takeaway from Source Wave though isn’t the cat jokes or software pitched in the webbies, but the little nuggets of gold Becker nonchalantly drops. I’ve learned about so many free resources from his site and videos I cannot even put a monetary value on it. And, I have to admit, most of the time his self-deprecating humor is amusing.
Becker gets a lot of hate nowadays in the SEO community, and I’ve personally never had any type of exchange with him, but if you’ve never visited the site of watched a Source Wave video, give it a shot. That being said, I rarely check out his content anymore, but as a beginner I loved it.
Check him out at source-wave.com
Young in years but not wisdom, like Matthew Woodward, Mr. Floate also hails from across the pond. Not even old enough to legally drink yet in the USA, he’s made quite a name for himself in the digital marketing community.
Charles had some legal troubles growing up, mostly due to hacking allegations. But, now he’s used his knowledge of zeros and ones to make bank in the Internet marketing world.
The great thing about what Charles offers the SEO world is his very straight forward no nonsense approach to discussing what works, regardless if Google approves of it, and what doesn’t, regardless of the name or company behind the suspect claims. He might come off brash sometimes (just ask Becker), but I personally haven’t seen him publish any SEO tall tales.
I am not a friend or acquaintance, but I have had a couple minor friendly back and forth chats with Charles in a couple Facebook groups, and he’s always been reachable, respectful, and helpful.
Overall he’s a unique personality with a lot of useful info, so I hope the blog posts keep coming.
Check him out at charlesfloate.co.uk
Rand is a much larger name in the SEO world than anyone else yet discussed, but I feel it’s important to include him here. He has a much different approach and there are a couple quirks with his content that intrigue me.
Firstly, Rand is the true definition of a hipster. While that has nothing to do with SEO, I had to say it. So there you have it.
But aside from that, Mr. Fishkin has done quite well for himself. He founded Moz, formerly SEOMoz, and that’s a monster of a site in digital marketing today. Besides being known as the founder and former CEO of Moz, he’s probably most well known for his Whiteboard Fridays.
In his Whiteboard Fridays Rand, his whiteboard, and his handlebar mustache attack a single topic. It can be anything from how to sell SEO to small businesses to changes in keyword research through the years.
I don’t know Rand, and we haven’t had any real kind of exchange. He tends to be a little too white hat and on Google’s jock for my liking, but it’s hard to blame him as Moz offers services to very high level companies.
The intriguing thing to me about Rand is that while 99% of his content leans towards doing things the Google way, every once in awhile something will sneak through that shows he does understand off-white and gray hat SEO can be effective. He might never publicly admit it though.
Check him out at moz.com/rand
Personally, I can’t stand Neil Patel. Maybe it’s the fact that he seems to turn everything he touches into gold, or that he always looks so happy. And, boy that really grinds my gears.
In all seriousness though, I include Mr. Patel in this list of gurus because I all-to-frequently get emails with links to his blog posts from colleagues and it drives me crazy. I think Neil is a stud marketer, but a lot of his SEO posts come off as very chicken or the egg to me.
Sure, if I had a bazillion people reading my blog every day, then writing to my reader and ignoring keywords or optimizing my posts for search engines makes sense. But, I don’t have a bazillion readers and I’m not going to get them if my content doesn’t get found via organic search, therefore I need to spend a little effort SEOing the hell out of my content.
And that is how I feel about a lot of Neil’s content. Many of his ideas seem so easy and obvious it’s embarrassing to admit you never thought about them until reading his posts, but then when you really think them through, they rely on already have a ton of authority in the biz, serious rankings, lots of readers and/or followers, or money.
It’s probably just my jealously rearing its ugly head and Neil’s content is pretty stellar, but I personally find it the least realistically actionable compared to everyone else on this list. That being say he’s obviously doing a hell of a lot better than me so take all of this with a grain of salt.
Check him out at neilpatel.com
This is only a short list of the SEO gurus of the world, but it’s worth taking the time to check all of these guys out. I’ve definitely walked away with something useful from all of them, even if they rub me the wrong way now and again.
If all goes well and the SEO Gods shine their magical Google ranking mojo in my direction maybe one day I’ll end up on someone’s SEO Gurus list, but for now I’ll keep chugging along at the day job and freelancing.
If I left anyone out of this list you think should be included, make sure to comment below.