The web is awash with ‘Who to follow’ lists and reviews of the top SEO experts. Even as I was writing this piece another article of this vein popped up in my Twitter feed.
That put the cap on it – I definitely couldn’t do another one. Especially after thoroughly endorsing a recent Whiteboard Friday piece revealing the results of removing ‘cruft’ from the Moz website.
— Moz (@Moz) August 12, 2017
So how can I make this different? How can I ‘add value’ for my audience (you guys) and not just bloat the web with more “Hey, you should follow Rand Fishkin and John Mueller!” (well duh) cruft?
The 20 top Seo experts you may never have heard of
First, some rules. To qualify for my ‘may never have heard of’ list they can’t have a K. Meaning, they can’t have so many followers Twitter can’t fit the number in and instead says “43k” like for this guy – if more than 10,000 people have found them already they can’t be that obscure, right?
Also, they have to Tweet in English. This isn’t me being close-minded – it’s just a weakness of my education, in that I cannot read any language other than English.
So, whilst there are lots of great SEO’ers in other languages, I cannot vouch for the quality of their posts so they’re out. Sorry.
We both know you’re after the most obscure first so here’s some ‘scroll-bait’ – they’re in order by number of followers from most to least, so if you want to find my most obscure recommendation, you’ll just have to scroll down.
1. Simo ahava | @simoAhava | The gtm guy
Simo almost didn’t make the list – by virtue of having nearly 10,000 followers (just 510 short of the mythical ‘K’ at time of writing) – but he scraped in under the threshold and the quality of the content he posts made him a must have.
Simo is the Google Tag Manager guy.
On his website simoahava.com there are more tips, tricks, shortcuts and handy ‘how to’ guides for Tag Manager than you could shake several sticks at.
Simo’s really at the coalface too, doing this stuff himself and then sharing the benefits of his experience with readable, step-by-step guides on how to do everything from scroll tracking to bathing your dog using Google Tag Manager (I might have made that last one up – but it wouldn’t surprise me if Simo had worked out a way to get GTM to do that too!).
Follow him on Twitter and you’ll get his updates and guides as he posts them, like this gem:
— Simo Ahava (@SimoAhava) May 11, 2017
2. Marie Haynes | @Marie_Haynes | The Google algo guru
Marie was another where I thought: “Can I really include her in a ‘may not have heard of’ list?” – OK, so you may have already heard of her but a follower count around the 7,500 mark shows that not enough people have discovered this sage of the search engines.
My recommending her is not hindered by the fact she’s bloomin’ lovely. I’m still hoping to hook-up some of her ‘awesome sauce’ into the Optimisey SEO MeetUps – despite the fact she’s based in Ottawa.
Her ‘Search News You Can Use‘ newsletters distill her insights into your inbox:
Just published the latest newsletter w info on recent algorithm updates & much more. https://t.co/x1CtmeDNAS
— Marie Haynes (@Marie_Haynes) August 9, 2017
and you can follow her on Twitter as she tinkers with and tries out things the rest of us haven’t even thought of and then shares the results for all to benefit.
3. Yehoshua Coren | @AnalyticsNinja | Analytics ninja
Normally anyone calling themselves a “ninja” of anything would be straight on my ‘nope’ pile – but Yehoshua can genuinely lay claim to the title of Analytics Ninja – hence the unimaginative sub-heading above.
What Simo, above, is for GTM, Yehoshua is for GA – as this eye-opening (for me) Tweet demonstrates – that even had Google themselves getting involved:
If you don’t know about this dimension yet in GA, you’re welcome. 🙂
— Yehoshua Coren (@AnalyticsNinja) August 10, 2017
Plus anyone that has a photo of themselves with a huge pint of beer as their profile pic is alright by me.
4. Kirsty hulse | @Kirsty_Hulse | Freelance phenom
Kirsty clocks in (at time of writing) with a smidgen under 4,000 followers. The founder of ManyMinds – a digital agency that collates and curates the best freelance talent to work on projects – she doesn’t just know SEO but also the stresses and strains of setting up a new business – something I know will resonate with a lot of readers here.
She’s also hilariously sharp witted – as this example Tweet shows:
I quite enjoyed Gmails’ automatic answers until it suggested I start replying “copy that” like some shit business GI Joe. pic.twitter.com/lXh3vZWyfL
— Kirsty Hulse (@Kirsty_Hulse) August 9, 2017
But with the humour comes razor sharp business acumen, blogs which throw a light on the world of the digital business owner and some just plain awww Tweets like this one:
Pro tip: spend your birthday having an impromptu wedding to the love of your life. pic.twitter.com/oeXqeRFxYP
— Kirsty Hulse (@Kirsty_Hulse) June 22, 2017
5. tim capper | @GuideTwit | Mr. Maps
I first really noticed Tim when he was Tweeting around a hashtag he created: #StopCrapOnTheMap
Delving a little deeper I found a guy that has probably forgotten more about local SEO than most.
If you have a business and you’re on Google Maps (you should be, read my Google My Business guide) Tim’s worth following to get updates like these:
Local Pack in Mobile using large blocks for this coffee shop search https://t.co/bPjlTjLrkR
— Tim Capper (@GuideTwit) August 10, 2017
If so much as a pixel on Google Maps changes, Tim’s on the case which can help you and your business keep one step ahead of the competition.
6. jono alderson | @jonoalderson | Futurologist
I fell in Twitter love with Jono (though he’s also recently married – sorry @sam_simpson!) when I saw this presentation:
That video doesn’t actually do it full justice (like all the best bands, it’s better live!) but the content is top notch – much like his Tweets.
If, like me, you love tech, digital marketing and a chunky side order of SEO – Jono is your man… or @sam_simpson’s man, whom we all can borrow, now and again.
7. Arnout hellemans | @hellemans | Dutch Doyen
I was slightly surprised to see Arnout was as low as #7 in this list – but then, that’s kinda the point of the list, no? To surface those SEO stars which may be less well known.
As Arnout’s profile says: “Tweaking websites, that’s my thing…” and, like many of the people on this list when he learns something he’s happy to share it so we can all get better at our jobs:
— Arnout Hellemans (@hellemans) August 13, 2017
8. David sottimano | @dsottimano | the Do-er
David puts in his own bio that’s he’s an Italian-born Canadian, currently living in Spain – I’ve no idea if it’s that cultural mix that makes him so awesome but he’s a real ‘do-er’.
If he cannot work out how something is done he’ll write code until he does – like this cracking tool he set-up using SEMRush APIs:
— David Sottimano (@dsottimano) June 24, 2017
I have a strong suspicion there’s more where that came from – so add David to your ‘must follow’ list.
9. Matthew Young | @MatthewAYoung | #SEOChat scholar
Twitter chats are a great way to keep up-to-date with the latest developments and thinking in the world of SEO.
Matthew is one of the team that look after #SEOchat. I’m sure he’d be the first to say it wasn’t his idea – Greg Shuey (@shuey03) and Ash Buckles (@ashbuckles) are those guys – but the latter doesn’t Tweet much these days and Matthew’s timeline reads as a great encapsulation of all the good stuff from #SEOchat.
He’s also lovely – so if you’re looking to get involved with the Twitter chat he’s really welcoming and it’s a great way to learn – even if you just ‘lurk’ (e.g. follow the hashtag, read and learn) you’ll find out something new.
They vary the topics often, covering a range of subjects and often get in a topic expert to deliver nuggets of wisdom.
10. JP Sherman | @jpsherman | Just good sense
JP is someone I stumbled across in another Twitter chat, #SEMrushchat.
Now, #SEMrushchat is quite popular and some participants can get quite… competitive, trying to be the first to reply to questions or state the most obvious thing the most quickly to show off how jolly clever they are.
JP is based in the US, so I’ve never actually witnessed this but my sense is he sits, considers and then posts scorching ‘truth bombs’ that have me thinking “Of course!” over and over again. Like this:
A5: I throw the word “engine” out of “SEO” & replace it w/ “experience” – then I organize my SEO around topic expertise #semrushchat
— JP Sherman (@jpsherman) July 5, 2017
He’s not just all SEO either – he has a pretty keen sense of humour too – the kind that makes me think I’d like to buy him a beer.
He’s written for Moz and been interviewed by Search Engine Journal – he knows his stuff. Follow him.
11. Martin Woods | @mocwoods | Tech teacher
No, not like your school tech teacher (the PE teacher in a suit, thrust into the computer lab to distract you all for an hour) Martin is a technical SEO. If you don’t know what that means (perhaps you’re thinking: “All of this SEO stuff seems pretty technical to me.”) – think of it like this:
An SEO’er is like a Doctor, your village GP. They know a lot of stuff and can really help you. A technical SEO is like a medical specialist. If you had a kidney problem or a back injury etc. your GP would send you to a specialist. Tech SEOs are specialists.
Martin is the Co-Founder of Salt.agency a specialist technical SEO agency based in Leeds, UK. He can also trace his love of all things digital back to BBC Micro computers – which I can too (ah, games on cassettes that took hours to load… sigh).
He’s interested in all cool things technology but also delivers SEO gems like this:
— SALT.agency (@salt_agency) June 21, 2017
12. Andrew Martin | @AndrewdoesSEO | #nerdgasm
Andrew (great, great name – strong name) has moved from doing digital marketing and some SEO, to just SEO to a specialist SEO position – so he has a really strong, rounded knowledge around digital marketing.
He’s really interested in improving e-commerce, reducing friction for customers and improving UX (user experience) – all things we should all be interested in too.
He’s also massively into schema (you should be too) and conjured the #nerdgasm hashtag for the tingle of excitement us nerds get when we find something cool – like this:
— Andrew Martin (@AndrewDoesSEO) August 15, 2017
13. Matt Lacuesta | @MattLacuesta | The ‘Near Me’ guy
Matt will always hold a place in my heart for bringing my attention to this:
— Matt Lacuesta (@MattLacuesta) August 9, 2017
Yes – that’s a business trying to ‘game’ the Google system and capture people who search for “‘x’ near me” – brilliant.
He also runs @SEObeers (which sounds like heaven) but is, sadly for me, in Denver – but demonstrates his willingness to learn and share learning about SEO.
14. Simon Cox | @Simoncox | Tech for hire
Simon’s another Brit (woot!) and recently left his SEO role at banking giant HSBC to forge out on his own. With a shade under 1,000 followers – if you’re quick you may be able to hire him to work on your site/project.
He’s another SEO’er I came across during #SEMrushchat. If you lurk in that Twitter chat Simon’s comments are always worth looking out for. By following him you know that if he finds a way to make his sites ‘faster, better, more’ he’ll be happy to share it too.
15. patrick langridge | @patlangridge | The screaming Frog
If you haven’t heard of Screaming Frog and their free SEO spider tool you need it in your life.
Patrick is the Head of SEO for an SEO tool – no pressure there then!
They come up with fun stuff like this too:
— Screaming Frog (@screamingfrog) July 26, 2017
and when Patrick gets involved in SEO topics you know it’ll be worth reading.
16. linda hogenes | @linda_tweet | Tri-lingual techy
Confession, I don’t know for a fact Linda is tri-lingual – but she’s Dutch and also has the Belgian flag on her profile… plus the ‘TT’ heading was too much to resist.
Like Martin Woods above, Linda is a tech SEO specialist. She is the SEO at major retailer Coolblue.
Linda is on the schedule at Brighton SEO 2017 and a regular attendee at MozCon – which makes her follower count (under 1,000) utterly baffling to me.
However, her presence at these events not only endorses her knowledge but also means her Tweets are often updates directly from these conferences:
— Linda Hogenes ヾ(ツ)ﾉ (@linda_tweet) July 19, 2017
17. Eoghan henn | @Rebelytics | rebel with a cause
Eoghan is a someone I’ve only recently stumbled across through the magic of Twitter.
Like me he runs an SEO MeetUp too – in Galicia, Spain; like me he’s fond of a bit of Google Tag Manager; unlike me he has the smarts an initiative to do some really cool stuff with ‘GTM’.
— Eoghan Henn (@rebelytics) August 11, 2017
Definitely a bit of rising star of SEO – one to watch.
18. Michelle Race | @Shelliweb | Tech tooler
Michelle brings us back to the UK (where all the best SEO’ers are, right?).
She’s another technical SEO – so liable to throw in the odd “What the….?” tweet that blows the minds of us mere mortals – but also shares some really great, actionable stuff and shares things that, as someone interested in SEO, you won’t want to miss.
19. sergey Alakov | @sergey_alakov | news maker
Sergey is another rising star. When an SEO sage like @rustybrick starts quoting someone it makes you notice a guy, who (for now) has just a few hundred followers himself.
Another Canada-based SEO, Sergey is often the first to spot changes in Google SERPs (search engine results pages), like this:
— Sergey Alakov (@sergey_alakov) August 4, 2017
If you want to steal a march on your competition – it might be an idea to click “Follow” on Sergey.
20. Jason Barnard | @JasoninEnglish | fab francophone
Bit of a swizz that Jason is number 20 given this account, in English, is quite new (@jasoninfrench was the original) but even combined the two accounts have ‘just’ over 300 followers (more than @optimisey has so I’m casting no aspersions!).
Jason popped up on my radar when he wrote this piece on Schema Markup.
Even if you just take up that loveliness from Jason you’ll be putting your site ahead of many others. Better yet, add Jason to your follow list and make sure you catch the next one whilst it’s hot.
Can’t you make this easier for me?
If only there was a way you could follow all these people easily.
Oh go on then. Here’s a Twitter list I’ve made called SEO Gurus. It has these 20 plus 227 other SEO whizzes and you can follow them all with a click on that list.
247 SEO experts a bit much for you? Then follow @Optimisey. I cherry pick the best, most actionable stuff from all those 247 people and share it.
How was it for you?
Did I miss someone? Who is your favourite ‘SEO’er under the radar’? Add your suggestion in the comments below – and maybe I’ll feature them when I update this piece!