The 11 coolest names in SEO

Inspiration for my blog posts strikes me at the strangest times.

Sure, sometimes it’s the classic ‘In the shower’ or ‘Just before you fall asleep’. Not this time.

This time inspiration came at a bar. In the Concorde2 in fact, in Brighton at the DeepCrawl pre-party ahead of BrightonSEO.

I was stood there chatting to some old friends and new when I realised, in the group I was chatting to were guys called Harry Dance and Austin Saturday.

Harry Dance and Austin Saturday?! Are there any cooler more memorable names than that in SEO?

Bingo. Blog post idea.

Here’s the defacto list* of the 11 coolest names in SEO. #SEOcoolnameclub

* any list citing ‘coolest’ is, by definition going to be subjective. So this is, of course, entirely just my opinion on what makes a name ‘cool’.

Introducing the #SEOCoolnameclub

1. Rand Fishkin

OK, there are already lots of superlative lists related to SEO that Rand is #1 on.

But come on… how could I list the coolest, most memorable names in SEO and not start with Rand?

The man needs no introduction (if you’re at all interested in SEO and haven’t heard of him, stop what you’re doing and go look him up. Yes, even if ‘what you’re doing’ is reading my blog) he’s an SEO hero.

He founded Moz and more recently Sparktoro. He made the ‘Whiteboard explainer video’ into an art form. He’s even written a book Lost and Founder (already a best seller) about his adventures in being an entrepreneur, husband, boss and more.

Would he have made it to such elevated status if his name had been Bob Johnson? (apologies to all the Bob Johnson’s out there). Who knows.

What I do know is that when I slipped his name into conversation with my wife she said: “What?! Rand Fishkin? Is that his real name?!”  Yes. Yes it is. And it is cool.

Follow @randfish on Twitter

2. Harry Dance

Given he inspired the idea, I have to give a nod to Harry, right?

I mean… his name is Harry Dance. I’m sure he took some stick at school about his name. Kids are mean, they’ll always find something… I should know.

If you were wondering why memorable names is a subject so close to my heart, perhaps you don’t know my name? It’s Andrew Cock-Starkey. And yes, really.

In fact, at school I was just plain old Andrew Cock. The Starkey bit is my wife’s surname and, when we got married, the deal was: “If I have to take your stupid name, you have to take mine.” – which seemed pretty reasonable – so double-barrelled it was. Starkey-Cock sounded a bit like something you’d need an ointment for so…

Anyway – back to Harry. He has a cool name.

Follow @HDance_Online on Twitter

3. Austin Saturday

A photo of Austin Saturday

The other inspiration behind this post, Austin has to be next, right? S’only fair.

I can’t work out if Austin’s name sounds more like the stage name of the lead singer in an awesome rock band (though his look is more heart-breaking boy band) or as the star quarterback of a US Football team: “Passing for over 1,000 yards – your All Star QB, Auuuuuustin SATURDAY!”

Awesome name. Smart SEO’er (and lovely fella to boot) too.

Follow @AustinSaturday on Twitter

4. Sha Menz

I know, right?

Part Shamen part high-class Mercedes Benz entirely a super-cool name.

Sha is the On-Boarding Specialist at Moz (if you’ve signed up for their product(s) likely you’ve dealt with her or her team).

This was one of those names where I thought “That’s too cool. It must be made up.”

That feeling wasn’t helped when I found out Sha is Australian. Nothing notable in itself but she’s from Kangaroo Island. Yes, it’s a real place.

That’d be like a English person being from Cuppa Tea Street or a New Zealander being from Kiwi Cove (which, apparently, does exist… but it’s in Canada).

Despite all that Sha is real. Kangaroo Island is real. In her reply to kindly agree to being included in this list Sha even explained that, in her Twitter handle, she’s added an ‘H’ @ShahMenz to help people work out how to pronounce it.

Sha (the ‘Shamen of Moz’ to Rand’s ‘Wizard of Moz’?) has a cool name and she’s a razor sharp SEO’er too. Her appearance on the MozPod podcast talking about Google Penalties is definitely worth a listen. Follow her on Twitter too:

Follow @ShahMenz on Twitter

5. Mike King

Say his name out loud: My King. Tell me his parents didn’t plan that when they named him. Genius.

The Founder of iPullRank, Mike makes the most of his name labelling himself as ‘MyCool King’ on his Twitter handle @ipullrank.

The man knows he’s cool and has a cool name – and why not? Embrace the cool. Be the cool.

Mike’s in the same bracket as Rand. If you’ve not heard of him you should have. Google him. Better yet, YouTube him and watch some of his speaking gigs and interviews. He’s a seriously smart dude.

Follow @iPUllRank on Twitter

6. Matt Diggity

I’m a child of the 90s (OK, the 80s too) but this song by Blackstreet was just about one of the coolest songs ever:

No Diggity (Official Video) by Blackstreet & Dr. Dre & Queen Pen on VEVO.

Maybe that’s why Matt’s name gets instant ‘cool points’ with me.

Diggity – slang parlance for “no doubt”, aka good stuff going on – which I’m sure isn’t an association that Matt minds at all.

I mean… he run’s his own SEO conference (no big deal I hear you shout). But Matt’s is in Chiang Mai in Thailand!

He also knows a lot about SEO so is well worth a follow on Twitter:

Follow @MattDiggitySEO on Twitter

7. Cindy Krum

Names are pretty personal things, so I contacted all the people included in this list to ask if they’d mind being included.

Cindy responded positively and then some, with this amazing story about her name:

I have a twin brother, and we were born early, so didn’t have names when we arrived. The nurses needed to call us something so they named my brother Bread Krum and me Cookie Krum.

I didn’t think Cindy’s name could get cooler but it did with that story! Cookie and Bread Krum? Adorable.

Cindy’s also a big brain in search, with a real specialism in mobile.

If you haven’t seen her planned five-post Entity and Language Series put some time in your day aside (they are a chunky, brain-expanding read) and dive in.

Follow @Suzzicks on Twitter

8. Scott Dodge

Cool name. Conjures something part cowboy part awesome muscle car.

“How do you know your SEO is good? ‘s got dodge. Scott Dodge.”

Scott’s also the Director of Minnesota Search Engine Marketing Association. A “non-profit organization dedicated to the progression of search marketing” – which sounds pretty terrific too.

He doesn’t post a huge amount on Twitter (coming from me who borders on Twitter diarrhoea at times, that’s a compliment) but when he does its often helpful, enlightening or both.

Follow @scott_dodge on Twitter

9. Lily Ray

Do I even need to explain why this is a cool sounding name?

Keynote speaker and, from her Twitter bio: “SEO by day, DJ by night” – Lily is bordering on a Batman-like status.

LIly Ray's Twitter bio photo
This is Lily Ray’s Twitter bio photo – oozing effortless cool

She even lives in New York which, for most UK-based folks (like me), adds instant cachet.

Star SEO, DJ and with a name part pop star, part Bond villain Lily’s on the #SEOCoolNameClub list.

Getting short-listed for Search Engine Land’s Best Female Search Marketer of the Year in 2017 doesn’t come easy either. Lily knows what she’s talking about. Definitely worth a follow:

Follow @lilyraynyc on Twitter

10. Simo Ahava

Simo also made my 20 top SEO experts list so hopefully not too much of an intro needed (you all read that post, right?).

If not, in short Simo’s probably forgotten more about Google Tag Manager than most people will ever know.

It certainly adds to his ‘brand’ that when I follow one of his terrific walk-throughs on how to do something usually way outside my capabilities in GTM I have that “Ah ha!” moment. Ah-ha, Ahava. That can’t just be coincidence right?

No, of course not.

Cool name. Useful SEO-stuff. Follow him:

Follow @simoahava on Twitter

11. Barbara Starr

Barbara Starr? That has to be a stage name, right?

Maybe. And if it is, it’s a cool one.

Barbara lives: “…at the intersection of the Semantic web, Semantic Search, Semantic Computing, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), e-commerce, Artificial Intelligence, Graph Search, Graph Marketing and SEM (Search Engine Marketing).”

She also runs the San Diego Semantic Web meetup: cool name + knows SEO = on the #SEOCoolNameClub list.

Follow @BarbaraStarr on Twitter

A nod to the alliterative aces

Barbara leads me nicely on to my ‘honourable mentions’ list.

Whilst compiling and researching it I came across a surprising number of alliterative names. Names that just trip off the tongue with repeated sounds, so even someone like me sounds like Mike King rapping (for about half a nanosecond at least).

Does having an alliterative name make you better at SEO? Here’s the evidence, you decide:

Anna Appenzeller

Anna’s now Anna Corbett (you may have seen her on the main stage at BrightonSEO this April).

She’s also the Head of Digital Marketing at BaseCreative and speaking at the Optimisey SEO event in July (not a pre-requisite for inclusion… sadly. Can you imagine what an awesome speaker line-up this list’d be?!).

Anna Appenzeller though. If this was a list of the best names in App Sales, she’d be number 1, right?

Follow @AnnaAppenzeller on Twitter

Brian Barwig

Ice hockey nut Brian is another local SEO expert. He works at AttorneySync, a digital marketing agency specialising in helping law firms.

He works there with another SEO brain, Gyi Tsakalakis (oh to be a fly on the wall during their SEO discussions!), which makes me envious but also means that Brian (BB) shares lots of useful and interesting stuff on Twitter too.

Follow @BrianBarwig on Twitter

Craig Campbell

Known (by me) as The Unsmiling Scotsman don’t let Craig’s dour exterior fool you – he really knows SEO.

Like all the other people on this list he’s also happy to share his knowledge. He even drove down from Glasgow to come and speak at one of my Optimisey – Cambridge SEO events.

If you follow him you’ll definitely learn something.

Follow @CraigCampbell03 on Twitter

Claire Carlile

Claire lives in Pembrokeshire, which is such a beautiful part of the world I’m tempted to leave it at that.

Follow her and you’ll see photos of this gorgeous area. She’ll even make you feel unfit as she often runs around parts of it.

Claire also runs her own agency and knows her stuff with search. Also, her surname only uses letters from her first name. They’re almost anagrams of one another. Coooooool.

Follow @ClaireCarlile on Twitter

Eric Enge

Eric is one of the founding fathers of Stone Temple who do some pretty terrific stuff in search. With partner in crime Mark Traphagen (good name too) they do lots of great research into SEO which they share with the community to help make us all better.

Would Stone Temple be as awesome if it was Eric Traphagen and Mark Enge? We’ll never know…

Follow @StoneTemple on Twitter

Glenn Gabe

Glenn is SEO’s equivalent of an investigative journalist.

If Google so much as trembles Glenn’s on it, investigating the cause and sharing his findings – often as he goes, rather than waiting for the perfectly rounded story. If having an early warning siren of Google algorithm updates would be useful to you, you should follow him on Twitter.

He’s got a cool alliterative name too.

Follow @GlennGabe on Twitter

Greg Gifford

Local SEO marvel, Greg Gifford

Five-times winner of ‘Best Beard in SEO’* and current holder of ‘Most sweary talk at BrightonSEO’* – Greg is also a real authority on local SEO.

Furthermore, he’s a terrific speaker. The ‘I could listen to him read the phone book’ kind. That said, he doesn’t just read the phone book he usually packs more actionable advice into a minute than many others manage in an hour.

He also recently starred in a series of free ‘SEO 101’ training videos for SEMrush. Great name, great beard, smart guy and really worth a follow.

* these prizes are made-up. They don’t exist. But probably should.

Follow @GregGifford on Twitter

Julie Joyce

‘JJ’ (which is what no-one calls Julie, ever) is a master link-builder.

Some folk in SEO are a bit sniffy about link building so it’s just as well Julie has a razor sharp sense of humour and doesn’t take herself too seriously. She’s just damned good at what she does and (lucky for the rest of us) happy to share knowledge to make us all better SEO’ers.

Exhibit A: Look her up on YouTube. Even if you just watch the SEMrush webinar she starred in on links, that alone is worth the painful trudge through my ‘witty’ ramblings.

Exhibit B: Julie finds my jokes funny (or at least my one ‘redux’ song about my cat) which instantly elevates her up any list. And if you wanna know the cat song, you’ll just have to ask.

Follow @JulieJoyce on Twitter

Marcus Miller

A regular columnist for SearchEngineLand Marcus knows his SEO. He’s also the founder of BowlerHat marketing based in Birmingham (and, brilliantly just down the road from a place literally called The Custard Factory (and in between is the Yumm Café. I kid you not).

Marcus is also part of the growing cohort of brilliantly alliterative SEO’ers.

Follow @MarcusBowlerHat on Twitter

Martin MacDonald

Martin is right up there in terms of ‘SEO folk you’ve probably already heard of’. He’s worked on some of the world’s biggest brands (Pepsi, Renault and ‘hilariously’ McDonalds of course).

He’s also number two of three on the list with the initials MM. Again – could be coincidence, right? All I’m saying is, if you’re struggling to make your way in SEO and have a few quid to spare, changing your name so your initials are MM too may not hurt your chances of success.

Martin is proof this works.

Follow @searchMartin on Twitter

Melissa Mackey

And if that didn’t convince you, what about Melissa? Another MM.

Melissa’s an expert on PPC (pay per click) which, for some in SEO, makes her on the ‘other side’.

Me? I sit firmly on the side that says PPC and SEO can learn a lot from each other and, by collaborating, can both achieve more.

Melissa’s also firmly on this list as another person that happily shares her knowledge. You can find her in #PPCchat (Thursdays at 5pm UK time) sprinkling gems of information. Well worth a follow.

Follow @Mel66 on Twitter

Taylor Tomita

Taylor almost didn’t make the list. Not because he doesn’t have an awesome, alliterative name but because I just assumed it was a pseudonym.

I mean: Taylor Tomita? Come on. He sounds like a comic book character. Scott Summers, Peter Parker and Taylor Tomita.

His fellow listee, Julie, pointed out his name is not made-up.

Taylor does have a super-power. Link building. He’s good at it. So good he too has featured in an SEMrush webinar about it.

He’s funny too. Or at least, he gets my sense of humour (which is the definition of funny by the way). We once went on a long Twitter ramble about how we were going to hitchhike to the PubCon conference (me from the UK, collecting him en-route – he’s in Idaho).

He’s also created the brilliantly fun SEO Graphs. Which include wonders like this:

Taylor Tomita's 'SEO Years vs. Level of Suffering' SEO Graph
Taylor Tomita’s ‘SEO Years vs. Level of Suffering’ SEO Graph

Well worth a follow.

Follow @TVYLORTOMITV on Twitter

Who did I miss?

A mention  here for Chris Cemper, Founder of Link Research Tools who, in written form, looks like he should have made the cut.

However, his surname is pronounced with an ‘S’ sound, so he’s ruled out. Harsh I know but I don’t make the rules. (Actually I totally do make the rules and Chris is out. Close but no cigar).

You can follow the whole lot of these marvellously moniker-ed mavens of SEO in a couple of clicks (yes, all 23 of them, including the alliterative aces. Yes, I am too good to you).

I’ve compiled them into a Twitter list: #SEOCoolNameClub.

Follow the whole list on Twitter

You should also check out my other handy lists: SEO Gurus (326 members strong at time of writing) and Tech SEO Titans (47 members).

No doubt I missed some though. Perhaps (amongst many reasons) because of my poor grasp of languages beyond English. If your name means: “Seeker of #1 rankings” in Tagalog then I probably missed it. Sorry.

Who is your favourite-named SEO? Are there any alliterative aces I missed out? Leave a comment and I’ll update the list!


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