Columbus, Ohio SEO Expert | Jacob Stoops

SEO’s Who Inspire Me & Who’ve Taught Me What I Know

Post Comments

After last week’s scathing and super-negative rant about the types of SEO’s that get right under my skin, I think it’s time to evoke a little more positivity back into this blog.

SEO's Who Inspire Me & Who've Taught Me What I Know

Four years ago I entered as a tadpole in the big pond of SEO. And rather than be eaten (not literally), I looked to other bigger fish for leadership. Since there aren’t really standards in the SEO industry, this leadership came from reading blogs much like this one. This (along with many a long night studying coding and web design on my own) is how I learned the SEO industry – and the big reason I have a career today.

So without further adieu, I want to share with you some of the people who’ve helped me (directly and indirectly) along the way, as well as some of the newer SEO’s who I’ve grown to respect – and with the sheer amount of creeps in the industry this says a lot because your reputation is all you’ve got.

In no particular order:

Rand Fishkin – As the CEO of SEOMoz, Rand is one of the most influential and creative guys in the SEO industry. Although I’ve never met him, he is a personal inspiration of mine and someone who I aspire to be like. He also co-authored a book entitled, The Art of SEO.

Aaron Wall – He is the CEO of SEO Book, and is also the creator of many awesome SEO tools. Aaron’s tools and content are spot on and his site should serve as a trusted source of content for any new and advanced SEO’s.

Matt Cutts – As the head of the Webspam team at Google, Matt is often the one who sets the standards and starts the buzz/controversy that we follow in the industry. He may not be an SEO, but those in the industry listen closely to what he has to say. I am also a huge fan of Matt’s personal style and his videos are very straight-forward and always helpful.

Sage Lewis – He runs the company SageRock and is a frequent speaker at SEO events, as well as a publisher for several popular SEO websites including and He spoke at the very first SEO conference I ever went to, was even willing to talk to a newbie like myself for 45 minutes afterwards, and really opened my eyes to the industry and the idea of sharing knowledge. He might have been the first guy to indirectly push me into SEO.

Bill Slawski – He is the president and founder of SEO by the Sea, and I’ve been reading his blog since I started my SEO career four years ago. He has a ton of experience and specializes in research of search engine patents and white papers, experimentation, and studying the way that web sites and search engines interact. His site is a wealth of great information, and gets you right into the technical specifics of SEO.

Jill Whalen – She is the CEO of High Rankings and one of OG’s (Original Gangsta’s) of the SEO industry, doing it since the early 1990’s. If you’re in the industry, there’s a good chance you’ve seen her quoted, heard her speak, etc. She’s definitely an inspiration to me.

Danny Sullivan – He is the Editor in Chief at Search Engine Land, and is definitely a “Hall-of-Famer” in the SEO world. Danny is considered a pioneer of Search Engine Optimization and his expertise about search engines is often sought by the media, and he has been quoted in places like The Wall St. Journal, USA Today, The Los Angeles Times, Forbes, The New Yorker and Newsweek and ABC’s Nightline. Danny began covering search engines in late 1995, when he undertook a study of how they indexed web pages. The results were published online as “A Webmaster’s Guide To Search Engines,” a pioneering effort to answer the many questions site designers and Internet publicists had about search engines.

Patrick Gavin – He has been in the industry since 2000 and co-founded the company Text Link Ads. He has recently been involved in the development and founding of an awesome SEO tool called, which is a Do-It-Yourself SEO Tool for anyone looking to improve their web presence. His entrepreneurial spirit is something that I hope to develop myself in the future.

Joost de Valk – He is definitely one of my favorite SEO’s in the industry, as he combines a healthy knowledge or SEO, Web Development, and WordPress (my favorite blogging platform). He has developed several really cool plugins for WordPress and has published several really good tutorials on his blog. He is also one people I’ve been reading since the beginning.

The Girls at Outspoken Media – Rae Hoffman, Rhea Drysdale, and Lisa Barone. These chicks are badass, run a great company, and bring an edge to the industry that is totally unique to them. The tone of their blog is always witty and they’re always on top of current SEO trends. Someday, maybe I can be as tapped into the industry as they are.

Mani Karthink – He is the guy who runs, and he has one of the best SEO blogs in the industry. He has really expanded the following of his blog over the last year, and I hope to expand my blog to include a similar following.

Phil Buckley – He has been in the game since 1998 and runs 1918 Internet Services. He has a great blog centered around SEO, Social Media, Web Design, and Web Development. I really enjoy his blog – even if he is a Boston fan.

Andy Beal – He started the Marketing Pilgrim blog and specializes in search engine marketing, online reputation management, and business blogging. Andy is highly respected as a source of internet marketing advice, has had articles published around the world, including BusinessWeek Online, Search Engine Watch, Search Engine Guide, and Web Pro News. He is the co-author of the critically acclaimed online reputation management book Radically Transparent.

Dave Naylor – He has been in the industry for 13 years and runs the company Bronco Internet. He is a frequent speaker at many conferences and runs a great blog that is a great resource for SEO tools and tips.

David Mihm – He is probably THE GUY in the SEO industry when it comes to Local Search Optimization. His extensive research on Local Search Ranking Factors has been one of the more remarkable pieces of SEO-related content I’ve seen in my time in the industry. Thanks to his research, many of us can feel confident when guiding people on the best ways to optimize for local search engines.

Kim Krause-Berg – She is another OG in the industry, specializing in usability and holistic SEO since 1996. She runs the Cre8pc blog, which is one of the more remarkable blogs I’ve read – especially when it comes to her community of dedicated followers who actively comment and converse on her blog.

Michael Gray – He is another of the OG’s in the industry, and runs the company Atlas Web Service. Michael has been a speaker at SMX, Search Engine Strategies and PubCon He is moderator at Webmaster World and Sphinn and an editor at ThreadWatch. He is always right on the forefront of the SEO industry, and is the guy who is never afraid to challenge and push the respective search engines.

Ann Smarty – She is the Director of Media at Search & Social where she serves as the Editor of Search Engine Journal. She also runs her own independent blog SEOSmarty, and I’ve been reading her material since I started in 2006. She’s always a great resource for SEO knowledge.

Loren Baker – He is the Editor in Chief of Search Engine Journal and a Managing Partner at Search & Social. He is another of the OG’s in the industry whose content I’ve been reading for quite some time. Loren is another great source of SEO knowledge.

Bruce Clay – If other people on this list are OG’s, then Bruce is the Don of SEO. He’s been a leading consultant since nearly the beginning of the industry, and has probably forgotten more about SEO than I’ll ever know.

Eric Ward – Much like David Mihm is THE GUY when it comes to local search, Eric is THE GUY when it comes to Link Building. Eric has been doing Link Building and working in the industry since 1994. He is an excellent resource and definitely somebody who makes link building a little more transparent.

Andrew Shotland – He is another great Local Search Optimization specialist and runs an excellent blog dedicated to the goings-on of local search. His blog has definitely helped me keep on top of the world of local search, small business marketing, and a variety of other SEO-related topics. You can always find helpful content on his site.

Charles “Chuck” Lewis (aka The SEO Rapper) – He is easily the most unique person on this list, as he brings his love of music and knowledge of SEO to the forefront in his awesome raps. This guys has some serious skills and has kept me entertained for years.

These are just the first people that came to mind, as I’m sure I couldn’t possibly list all the people who’ve helped me along the way. Even though it was a bit of an ass-kissing-fest, it kind of felt good to give credit where credit was due. Thanks to all the above people for helping me along the way (whether you knew you did or not), and for inspiring me to help others!

GD Star Rating

This entry was posted in SEO and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Jacob Stoops

About the Author

is an SEO professional living in Columbus, Ohio and working for Rosetta Marketing. He's been working in the SEO industry since 2006, and has been blogging since 2009. Learn more about , a Columbus, Ohio SEO Expert.

Comments & Social Reactions

  • Digital Marketing

    I agree with most everyone on this list.

    GD Star Rating
  • 1918

    Hey Jacob – thanks for the nice shout out, I really appreciate it.

    GD Star Rating
My Work
Agent SEO Portfolio | Ohio SEO

Connect with Me

802 Subscribers & Followers
  • Subscribe to the Agent SEO RSS Feed
  • Follow Jacob Stoops on Twitter
  • Follow Jacob Stoops on Facebook