I recently crossed the landmark of having accumulated 10,000 followers on Twitter.
My favourite football team is Colchester United (no, that’s OK, most people haven’t heard of them) but the maximum capacity of our stadium is 10,000. Yes, yes, lots of jokes about it rarely being full… but it kinda blew my mind a bit to think that I could fill it with folks that follow me on Twitter, or at least… half fill it (with a few bots and eggs) but still…
It got me thinking: Why are they following me? There are loads of better people to follow than me.
So, humble brag aside I thought I should help you find them.
If you have some self-imposed quota on the number of people you follow, these people are all so good that you should follow them instead of me (or hey… as well as if you wanna).
WAIT. Before you click away, I can almost hear your eyes rotating rapidly in your skull
“Another ‘Top SEOs’ list? Woot…”
But this one is different, I promise.
I’m painfully aware that another “Hey, that John Mueller is a handy guy to follow in the world of SEO! And have you read Aleyda Solis’ stuff?!” article or some self-serving, ego-bait list that also just so happens to feature the author of the list (usually at #1) is Not. Useful.
There are rules here. If they already have 10,000+ followers on Twitter, they’re out. 10k is my cut off. If that many people already follow them, chances are they’re well known enough already.
I did this a little while ago with my slightly different list of 20 top SEO experts to follow that you may not have heard of, back in 2017. I’m pleased to say that four of those 20 wouldn’t qualify this time. Quite a few of you probably already know who Marie Haynes is, right?
OK, rules set out. Context given. Here’s the list, in reverse order of how many followers they have at time of writing:
1. Areej AbuAli | @areej_abuali | Wonder Woman
OK, I broke my own rules with #1. Areej already raced past the 10,000 follower ‘limit’ as I composed this list (I write slowly, OK?).
But if you haven’t already heard of Areej, where the heck have you been?!
Founder of the ground-breaking Women in Tech SEO community, Areej has been advocating for minorities since before it was cool.
Not content with merely shaking up the SEO industry (and holding up a painful mirror to it from time to time) Areej is an accomplished SEO event speaker (keynoting the SMX event one of the latest notches on an already impressive speaking CV); produces knock-out, helpful, actionable content on her own site, like this:
This year I promised myself to write one new piece each month on my website ?? Kicking off January by writing about one of the things I struggle with the most: Getting Tech SEO *Implemented* ??
(Kind) Feedback is welcome ⬇️https://t.co/We1Vnm3VMQ
— Areej AbuAli (@areej_abuali) January 11, 2021
and hosts and organises a stack of amazing talks and events herself (even through lockdowns).
And in her spare time she’s also the SEO at Zoopla in the cut-throat world of price comparison sites.
Seriously, if you don’t already, just follow her.
2. Kristina Azarenko | @azarchick | Teacher & Tornado
Kristina recently got a burst of positive attention for her brilliant (and free!) Google Chrome plugin: SEO Pro Extension – but with just over 7,000 followers (her recent surge saw her shoot up this list, as I was preparing it) it tells me more people need to know about her.
Kristina runs her own consultancy firm, Marketing Syrup, and is based in Canada. She’s originally from Belarus so is multi-lingual but doesn’t stop there: she runs training courses for people all over the world, interested in upping their SEO game.
As if the above weren’t enough reason to follow her, Kristina’s on top of her social game too, posing lots of great questions; sharing insights into her client work (and explaining what she did to tackle a specific problem and why) and loads more.
Get her in your timeline:
3. Hannah Rampton | @HannahRampton | GDS Genius
The exceptional (in many ways) Areej aside – what’s your excuse for not following the phenomenal Hannah Rampton?
Hannah is a Google Data Studio (GDS) genius. Yes, that word is flung around a little too carelessly these days but in Hannah’s case it’s fully justified.
When the official Google Analytics account re-tweets your stuff you know you’re on to something:
Whoa, life goal complete! ? https://t.co/zWl4ipHmO1
— Hannah Butler (Rampton) (@HannahRampton) June 12, 2020
This example was just one of many amazing Google Data Studio dashboards Hannah has built.
If you’re unfamiliar with Google Data Studio it’s a powerful data visualisation tool… that can rapidly get extremely complicated and confusing.
Hannah does the equivalent of handing of you a pre-solved Rubix cube (encrusted with diamonds!) when you were just trying to solve the junior crossword.
4. Claire Carlile | @clairecarlile | Local Legend
Wait. You’re not already following Claire?
Claire is a wonderful mix of ridiculously bright and astonishingly humble with it.
She often Tweets about things she’s pondering, working on or wondering about and giving us all a glimpse into how her mind works.
Here’s just one example:
FAVOUR TO ASK – if you’ve got the Google Maps app on your phone can you let me know what you’re seeing when you look at my GMB listing ‘Claire Carlile Marketing’ – if you click ‘follow’ what do you see? pic.twitter.com/CRp7VOCede
— Claire Carlile?️ ? ? ? (@clairecarlile) January 28, 2021
As that example shows, lots of Claire’s work (and best ideas) are focussed around local SEO and Google My Business (GMB) but she’s got marketing chops way beyond local SEO. She also often shares tips, tricks, techniques and tools she uses to help her clients perform better in local search – well worth a follow.
5. Brodie Clark | @brodieseo | SERP Explorer
If you’ve worked in SEO for any length of time, you’ll know that Google are constantly tweaking and changing things – from minor and major changes to the algorithm, to changes to how the results are presented in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
When things change in the SERPs, Australia-based Brodie is often one of the first to know.
And not just know but share it, with some helpful analysis, insights and actionable ideas for how you can adapt to or take advantage of these changes – from FAQs and schema to new SERP features and rich results.
He has some fun along the way too, like this:
The #SERPPursuit SEO Quiz is here ?
Test your knowledge of SERP features such as Featured Snippets, Web Stories, free product listings & more.
— Brodie Clark (@brodieseo) December 16, 2020
A fun (and utterly bamboozling!) quiz with Izzi Smith (also well worth a follow if you don’t already!).
6. Luke Carthy | @MrLukeCarthy | E-Com Expert
C’mon now… you don’t already follow Luke Carthy? This is getting silly now. Stop what you’re doing, go follow him (and the five above) and then come back here for some more.
I’m proud to say Luke is ‘Optimisey event alumnus’, coming to share some great advice about e-commerce at one of the SEO events I run – but Optimisey is a mere footnote on Luke’s speaking CV, after bursting onto the speaking circuit in 2018.
What Luke doesn’t know about ecommerce SEO is probably not worth knowing. But he doesn’t just talk-the-talk he walks it too – launching his own black hair care brand, Afrodrops, at the back end of 2020.
That puts him at the sharp end of ecommerce himself so when he shares knowledge in this area you know he’s not just theorising, this stuff actually works.
His ‘Let’s Talk Shop’ newsletter distils some of the gold he shares so you should subscribe to that too. And follow him on Twitter n’all:
7. Carolyn Lyden | @CarolynLyden | Editor-in-Chief
OK, this one might be a bit of a cheat too.
In case you missed it, Carolyn was recently named as Editor-in-Chief of Search Engine Land, the key industry publication and website. As if that weren’t enough for her to handle, the role also involves being the content head for the highly regarded SMX events.
So you may already have heard of her.
However, the number of y’all following her on Twitter would suggest not enough of you. Carolyn’s also Optimisey ‘allum’ so I can personally attest that she’s bloomin’ lovely and stonkingly brilliant.
She’s ‘got the badges’ too, having worked in-house for big brands like CallRail and also running her own consultancy, the brilliantly named Search Hermit.
Carolyn’s also a key player in the Twitter chat #SEOchat, which is well worth getting involved with.
In short, follow Carolyn.
8. Faye Watt | @FayeWatt | Super-fly
In a weird way, I feel like Faye is kinda my opposite number.
She runs the marvellous SEO Bristol which (I flatter myself) are similar to the Optimisey events, which are based in Cambridge. And, if you fold the UK down the Pennines(ish) Cambridge is kinda opposite Bristol.
Anyway – Faye’s also a razor-sharp SEO, as attested by her recent appointment as SEO Manager at global clothing brand, Superdry, with experience in a range of SEO roles (agency side, freelance and in-house).
She’s studying for an MSc in Computer Science & Data Analytics on the side – and shares a multitude of useful things via her Twitter account.
9. Niki Mosier | @nikers85 | Leader of the Pack
Anyone that’s done a Moz Whiteboard Friday is in a pretty select SEO club already, right? Niki’s in that club:
— Niki Mosier (@nikers85) December 27, 2019
I’ve been lucky enough to share a webinar ‘stage’ with Niki and she too has spoken at an Optimisey event (I swear, it’s not a prerequisite to be on this list!) so I’ve seen her brilliance up close.
The webinar was about local SEO but her Optimisey talk was about Competitor Analysis… I’m not even sure what Niki’s best at! (Why she can’t just struggle to be good at one thing like the rest of us, I don’t know).
Niki recently moved to AgentSync to become their Head of SEO – a testament to her wide-ranging abilities.
Need more? She has a gorgeous and hilariously photogenic dog, Poli, she often shares snaps of.
10. Andy Simpson | @ndyjsimpson | Near Me, Far away
In my head, Andy is like a sliding-doors version of me. He’s also called Andrew, works in SEO, has a penchant for local SEO, loves a cycle ride or two, is a Brit… but this one lives in the USA.
In reality, the towering Andy (roughly 8’2″ last time he was measured) is better at all those things than yours truly, apart from maybe being a Brit… I scrape by at that.
As someone with such a terrific focus on a specific sector of SEO (local in Andy’s case) he not only shares terrific ideas and insights himself but also curates brilliantly.
If there’s something marvellous from one of the local SEO doyens, you can be sure Andy’s picked it up, shared it and possibly added some great commentary or action points himself.
11. Kevin Kapezi | @KEVKDigital | Credit where it’s Due
Kevin is a recent addition to my timeline and his rapidly expanding SEO profile means you should add him to yours too – even if only so you can say: “I followed him before he was really famous.”
He’s spoken at SearchMetrics and made SEO podcast appearances – no wonder when he’s an SEO specialist at Experian, a major player in a significantly competitive space (credit and loans).
Kevin’s so into SEO, that he fills his spare time with it too, running his own consultancy and freelance work.
With a specialism in Shopify he knows his stuff, as shown by the pieces he’s written for the likes of SmartInsights and the G2 learning hub.
He shares his own and collates others’ great SEO advice but also general digital marketing nuggets like this:
✅ Rule #1:
Don’t forget rule number 1.
— Kevin Kapezi (@KEVKDigital) December 10, 2020
Hit that follow button on Kevin.
12. Crystal Carter | @CrystalontheWeb | SEO’s Sasha Fierce
This marvellous thread made Crystal makes her well worth following for me:
Beyonce as SEO Tools [a thread] pic.twitter.com/rxsOKTD2XT
— Crystal Carter (@CrystalontheWeb) May 19, 2020
and also handily provided her tagline for me above!
Magnificently fun as that thread is, it doesn’t do the marvellously alliterative Crystal Carter justice.
From dabbling with Analytics and reporting fixes; SERP watching and ecommerce she also features prominently on the Optix Solutions’ podcast. Crystal is a multi-talented SEO, well worth adding to your timeline.
13. Chris Johnson | @defaced | Mr. Maker
With wonderful synergy, Chris recently featured on the Optix Solutions podcast, with Crystal: https://anchor.fm/optix-talk/episodes/Core-Web-Vitals—Interview-with-Chris-Johnson-epefur
And no wonder. Chris is a bit of a marvel. Certainly to me, who struggles to get a spreadsheet to work. Chris makes things. Marvellous, wonderful things.
They’re all on his website here and include:
- The Core Web Vitals Chrome extension, which puts a score/metric right into the SERPs alongside the results, grading them on how they perform in Google’s new Core Web Vitals stats
and loads more
He also built SEOslides.page pulling together slides and talks from a host of SEO events and MeetUps (including Optimisey!) – totalling nearly 1,000 talks at time of writing.
14. Krystal Taing | @krystal_taing | U-ber Local
As a Google My Business gold product expert, Krystal makes it a hat-trick of local SEO marvels in this list already (with more to come!).
Part of the ‘faculty’ at the Local U, part of the team at Uberall and starting to get an impressive number of podcast appearances under her belt, there aren’t many more ‘local SEO expert’ tags one can get!
Krystal’s also a regular contributor to some of the chat hashtags on Twitter, chipping in to share her experience and expertise. That alone makes her follow-able. Plus, as a bonus, she occasionally shares pics of her almost offensively cute daughter.
15. Noah Lerner | @noahlearneR | Tinkerer Supreme
Like most of the people on this list, Noah falls firmly into the ‘so smart, it makes me feel really stupid’ category.
He’s the Product Director at Denver-based local marketing agency, Two Octobers, he has kids, is a fan of space photography oh and… in all the free time he has from all that he knocks together tools like Postamatic and his new Search Explorer tool which brings mind-boggling insights from Google Search Console’s API… and is painfully humble about all the things he “tinkers” with.
You get the feeling that, left with a laptop and enough time Noah could tinker his way into space (and probably optimise the stars whilst he was up there!).
16. Thierry Alain | @ThierryAlain | Doyen of Data
If you’ve not come across Thierry before, you’ve probably heard of the agency he works for Rise at Seven – who’re making waves in all sorts of ways in the world of digital marketing.
Thierry is their data guy… that’s not like ‘data guys’.
I heard Thierry on the Azeem Digital Asks podcast recently where he explained he’s trying to bust that myth or misconception of the data folks as the dull, quiet people that sit in the corner reading spreadsheets. He’s on a mission to make data sexy and make sure that when he or his colleagues say they’re ‘data driven’ they really are.
He has his own podcast too (though podcast undersells it a bit, as there’s video too): Why Didn’t You Tell Me? which, in his own words was to: “create a space to inspire and push young black people… talk about the stupid shit [I’d] done, the things we wish we’d known & how we uplift each other today.”
Thierry is also disgustingly good-looking and well-dressed (as his Instagram feed attests) so you can just admire him for that too if you want – but as you’ll see from this example, still able to poke fun at himself and be brilliantly honest:
View this post on Instagram
17. Miracle Inameti-Archibong | @mira_inam | Miraculous concepts
When your parents call you Miracle… I mean, no pressure, right?
Happily ‘Mira’ lives up to her moniker, as another of those people that gets so much done it can make you wonder if they’re working with the same 24 hours a day the rest of us are.
Head of SEO at Erudite and Drum Search Awards judge she’s spoken at SearchLove, Women in Tech SEO Fest, BrightonSEO and has published work with Search Engine Journal… and you get the feeling she’s just getting started.
Like many of the people in this list, Miracle is happy to ‘show her workings’ – which is just as well for the rest of us, as we can get an insight into how her brain works – like this rather brilliant guide to SEO forecasting.
Well worth a follow:
18. Azeem Ahmad | @AzeemDigital | Asks the big questions
If, like me, you’re head down in SEO for arguably too much of your time – lifting your head to see what’s going on outside of the SEO world is incredibly healthy and helpful.
PR, web design, UX they’re all fields which can impact or influence your work as an SEO, so I like to broaden the choice of folks I follow out into those worlds too.
PPC is another field which I, personally, know too little about but happily, Azeem Ahmad does.
If you’ve been diligently reading every listing you may recognise that name. I mentioned him earlier, in Thierry Ngutegure’s write-up, as Azeem runs his own podcast Azeem Digital Asks (he’s also an awards judge and event speaker, y’know with all that free time he has!).
Azeem shines a light on some of the folks in digital marketing you may not have heard of… as well as mixing in a few mega-box-office guests, like Rand Fishkin and John Mueller.
Azeem’s also an unapologetic fighter for diversity and inclusion but, true to his style, he does this in a positive, actionable, caring way.
Combine all of that and you need him in your timeline:
19. Nerissa Marbury | @OneEpiphany | Have an Epiphany
Nerissa is the CEO and Founder of One Epiphany (hence the handle) a US-based digital marketing agency. She’s got a degree in corporate finance and a Masters in Creative Brand Management and her agency works with some major household names.
All reasons enough to follow her but there’s more.
Nerissa’s a regular contributor on Twitter chats like #SEOchat and #SEMrushchat and her breadth of digital marketing knowledge and experience means she drops some real bombs of knowledge.
You want more? She’s paying it forward too, actively supporting the Shine Bootcamp a speaker accelerator, helping more women gain the confidence and experience to speak at more conferences and events.
20. Amanda Jordan | @amandatjordan | Have an Epiphany
Amanda is the Director of Local SEO for Locomotive and regularly shares her expertise on webinars and podcasts, like this one with SEMrush:
Not just knowledgable and generous with that knowledge, Amanda’s right in there with the painful truths and her gif-game is strong too. As this Tweet sums up nicely:
Being a SEO influencer isn’t the same thing as being good at SEO. Those who do the work daily and are held accountable personally are where the real knowledge lies ? pic.twitter.com/kAOcbyl1kv
— Amanda Jordan (@amandatjordan) March 19, 2021
Amanda walks the walk as well as talks the talk and isn’t afraid to have fun along the way… or learn in public. If she spots something new or finds a new tool or technique that’s helping her clients, you can be sure she’ll share it.
OK, that’s your lot.
What? You want them all neatly packaged for you in a Twitter list? To save you 20 clicks?
Ooookay. I’m too good to you. Heck, I’ll even go one better. Here are my carefully curated Twitter lists, many of which include all of the above and a whole lot more:
I realise for some 20 is loads and for others nowhere near enough. I tend to lean towards the latter myself. So who are your favourite unsung SEO stars on Twitter? Mention them in the comments below!