Warning: you are NOT going to find common names that you can read about anywhere.
In true Dori Friend style… you won’t read about Rand Fishkin or Brian Dean here. No matter how much of a big deal Neil Patel is you won’t find him on this list either.
This isn’t the typical list you see on most of the “corporate” sites who publish top SEO lists of SEO’s that have “jobs” in the corporate setting. This is the list of the “real” SEOs who most of the corporate SEO’s get their information from!
This is the list of top SEOs that are underground, doing SEO for themselves or their own agency and use SCIENCE to predict what works and doesn’t on Google. There are many so many in our circle that are absolutely incredible, but we narrowed it down to 10 of whom we thought were the top SEO Influencers in 2017 and will continue to be in 2018.
These influencers are part of our S.I.A. SEO network that has been quietly underground making Google their b@#%h. And today… I am going to expose & honor these SEO Influencers with the S.I.A. “BEST Influencer Award.”
I also chose to share with you “just one” of many great tips these top influencers have shared with us in the past year in the S.I.A. Enjoy! – Dori 🙂
Top SEO Influencers Think Differently
Our List of TOP Search Engine Optimization Experts
(The Real Google Code Crackers!)
SEO Influencer #1
Clint Butler – You always have to be on the lookout around Clint because his SEO mind explosion nugget can’t be anticipated.
Often understated and underestimated, Clint’s tactics are lethal and deadly to the competition.
As a retired Non-Commissioned Officer in the United States Army and a 21 year veteran of the military police corps, Clint is tactical with his SEO.
He has educated hundreds of entrepreneurs, freelancers, agency owners, and business professionals on how to get REAL results from SEO, social media marketing, and video marketing.
Over the past 7 years, he has held educational webinars on the topic of SEO, founded a digital marketing agency and created online courses for Facebook marketing.
Visit Clint at: https://www.digitaleer.com/
Clint’s 2018 Nugget of Wisdom for you:
“In 2018 On Page SEO is going to be the foundation for which all SEO will be built on.
Those willing to go beyond the basics and learn both technical and visual aspects of on page SEO will find themselves competing better in the SERPS and having to build way less links.
On Page SEO, to do it right, is boring and takes a long time. Clients will hate it when they have to wait for you to do it right, but they will love you when they get the benefits from the results.”
Follow Clint: https://www.facebook.com/clint.a.butler
SEO Influencer #2
Holly Starks Cooper – Holly has had a rebirth. If you have not met her or seen her speak, WOW! Because you are missing out.
Her rebirth made our jaws drop. Coming from being so black hat she made people feel dirty when she talked about her ranking tactics, Holly has decided to play more by Google’s rules and exploit them from the inside.
And she does it so freakin’ well.
You also probably don’t want to be in a niche she decides to go after…
Because she is THAT good.
Her dominion is Video Marketing.
She has live streamed over 3.5 million video’s per year, had close to 150,000 Youtube Accounts, and has been dubbed ‘The Youtube Queen’ in some circles.
Holly is renowned as both an online and offline marketer and hosts several live events through out the year helping other marketers reach their full potential in Video Marketing.
She is an industry favorite and has garnered the attention and respect of the top video marketers online. She is also quickly becoming a sought after speaker.
Holly has also created 5 tools and has released 4 courses that have helped propel her to internet stardom.
Holly’s 2018 Nugget of Wisdom for you:
“For 2018 blow out prediction … I predict YouTube to overtake the #1 search engine, #2 to be google and Amazon to be a close 3rd. Amazon is opening their own video section to compete with youtube next year so I suspect they will continue to pick each other apart.
That and BTC will hit 50k by the end of 2018. Lol”
Follow Holly: https://www.facebook.com/greeny1232
SEO Influencer #3
Derek Booth – When Derek isn’t uncovering a gold mine of converting keywords that very few people know about, he is busy creating a Google AdWords blueprint and step-by-step courses to help reduce waste in advertising accounts.
Derek found a unique way to merge PPC and SEO that can help give any page in any niche an edge. He is in the process of developing his own software ‘The Marketing Brain’.
If you’ve struggled at adwords ads or want to up your SEO game in 2018, Derek’s PPC can help give you the edge.
Visit Derek at: https://www.sigmaweb.co.uk
Derek’s 2018 Nugget of Wisdom for you:
“When 1st setting up CPC prices I use two options depending how much time I will be spending on the project. If this is a big spend and I will be putting a lot of time into it I always start with around 50% of the first page bid price. If this is not such a heavy account I would start with 75% of the price.
In the first few days I keep going in to the account and slightly increasing the bid price.
This will result in lower click cost for the duration of the key word providing you don’t jump the bid price.
Always gradually increase the price and in the first 10 – 14 days be patient.”
Follow Derek: https://www.linkedin.com/in/derekboothsemseo/
SEO Influencer #4
Stephen Grealy – Don’t let his Elvis impersonations fool you, this funny guy gets serious results with CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization), FB Ads, and SEO.
When you can’t get something to move in the SERPS, he is a definite go to for help.
Stephen really gets the conversation going when he drops SEO nuggets in the SIA Skype chat. He shocked everyone with his depth of information and willingness to give at the SEORockstars event.
Stephen has been doing SEO professionally for 15 years. He specializes in the Finance sector and ecommerce. His information can span any niche.
He is a favorite for CRO, landing pages and automated sales activation – a great all rounder.
Stephen has a couple of must have courses that will be launching in 2018.
Stephen has been such a best kept secret that he doesn’t even have public profiles to follow him… yet. However, if you are on the SIA email list, you will hear more from him.
Stephen’s 2018 Nugget of Wisdom for you:
“Google’s gotten lazy but beware the sleeping crocodile! The future for GMB is top contributors. I can see that google will ignore reviews unless they are trusted in the future so you should find out who your top contributors are locally and invite them to review your site – the alog will change over time and you will be so far ahead of everyone else.
You will not need to geo tag your images or keyword the GMB. I am a level 5. Google gives me a list of everywhere I have been for the week and asks me to review so unless you are using a mobile phone that records the real location these review will more than likely be removed.”
SEO Influencer #5
Jeff Lenney – A newcomer to the SIA this year, Jeff jumped in with both feet and started sharing his years of experience right away. We also found that a little Jonny Walker will loosen him up and get him to spill even more of his secrets.
He’s like an energizer bunny of SEO. His affiliate and launch jacking business has earned him the title of King of Launch Jacking.
He earns rave endorsements from Anik Singal, Jimmy Kim, and Aiden Booth.
Jeff has become the lethal weapon with SEO and Launch Jacking that you want to know.
He made a 6 + figure income in one weekend, without buying ads! That’s how powerful his SEO is. He’s protective of his information but will regularly release some mind bombs that earn him the title of a top SIA SEO.
His 2017 course was in high demand, so we expect his 2018 courses to sell out fast.
Visit Jeff at: https://jefflenney.com
Jeff’s 2018 Nugget of Wisdom for you:
“Once you master ranking, focus on quality content that CONVERTS. I sometimes spend hours tweaking one review or blog post to make it not only read well but LOOK amazing as well.
Use Headings, Bullet Points, Numbered Lists, and Bold Text you want to draw attention to.
Use CTA text on your buttons instead of just Click Here or Buy Now text.
While this may seem like it is Not mind blowing, I’m still surprised how many people DON’T put time into conversion optimization stuff within their content itself.
There’s a lot you can do to increase your earnings (or your customers earnings) with the same amount of traffic you already have.”
Remember, Jeff can make in a day what a college degreed engineer can make in a year. His advice is worth paying attention to.
Make sure your content stands out!
Follow Jeff: www.facebook.com/jefflenney
SEO Influencer #6
Carolyn Holzman – Carolyn is a serious powerhouse in the SEO world. She’s a self-proclaimed super nerd, but we think she is a super genius.
Don’t think she is unrelatable because of her super genius status… she has the ability to break down complex SEO solutions.
Even someone newer to SEO can understand what she teaches.
In her previous life, she was a professional violist so her brain is naturally wired to look at SEO in a very unique way. She can read between the lines and see what other marketers can’t.
In 2016, her presentation dropped our jaws at the SEORockstars conference.
Not only does Carolyn have years of experience and certifications, she has been trained by some of the world’s most renowned experts.
She is definitely someone you should be following. Get out your gel pens and write down her 2018 tip.
Visit Carolyn at: americanwaymedia.com
Carolyn’s 2018 Nugget of Wisdom for you:
“This one is fresh out of the oven – found it around Christmas time.
Words that are hyperlinked to content sections within the same webpage have their own permalink. e.g. http://www.domainhere.com/#anchor-text
This link can be used to build links back to the page – which I believe ultimately will build relevance to whatever the topic is on that section.
I’m currently setting up a test to see if a link using this url is a ranking factor – will get back on this once results start to come in.”
Follow Carolyn at: http://twitter.com/carolynholzman
SEO Influencer #7
Ryan Hough – As one of the SIA official testers, Ryan has a lot of knowledge of what works in the SEO world and what doesn’t. He loves sharing his knowledge and experiences fully.
As with an ISTP personaliy, Ryan loves learning from the SEO world as he goes. He’s not afraid to roll up his sleeves and dig in to find out what really makes something tick. He loves troubleshooting and trial and error.
This means he sets his sites high.
In his own marketing company, he focuses on helping small to medium sized businesses increase sales by 50-300%.
One of the great things about Ryan is his dedication to always over delivering.
Visit Ryan at: http://www.perthmarketingcompany.com.au/
Ryan’s 2018 Nugget of Wisdom for you:
“My SEO tip for 2018 is to create more content that answers questions. I’m seeing good results from this now so I expect this trend to continue in 2018.
For example, “What is keyword” or “How much does keyword cost?”. This content is great for adding to web 2.0 properties and interlinking these articles together.
You can find plenty of content ideas on Quora (or any Q&A site that serves your industry). This type of content is easy for writers to rewrite and can be produced at low cost. Usually the keywords are long tail/ low competition and so good on-page, interlinking and a small amount of traffic can quickly result in top 10 rankings.
This content can start a snowball effect of traffic to your website and I believe traffic will be the most important SEO ranking factor in 2018.”
SEO Influencer #8
Simon White – Here is a SEOer that you want to fanboy (or fangirl) over. Even though he sounds like a member from the Beatles, his claim to fame is rockin’ SEO results.
When he is not searching to find English style fish and chips, he is helping to rank some powerful companies.
Simon is involved in numerous SEO groups to help spread the truth about SEO and continue to stay ahead of the Google game.
Visit Simon at: https://localblitz.com/
Simon’s 2018 Nugget of Wisdom for you:
“Don’t follow SEO Guru’s advice blindly!
Use science and engineering methods to test and tweak your SEO efforts. Single variable testing methods are extremely helpful in determining the true ranking influence of a particular SEO factor.
Another great approach for 2018 is to analyze your site against your competitor’s sites to discover opportunities for improvement.
Integrate CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) into all your SEO efforts in 2018. At the start of every project we install Tru-Conversion (similar to hotjar) for heatmaps, site visitor recordings, funnel conversion tracking and form fill tracking.
Increase your SERP click through rates with Title Tag and Meta Description testing and optimization.
Encourage your clients to use live chat on their sites as it boosts conversions and time on site. We use Drift but there are many others.
There are too many SEO Guru’s who just regurgitate untested SEO theories. Science and engineering is the true way to influence your work in SEO.”
SEO Influencer #9
Jose Ponce Jr. – Half of a Dynamic Duo, Jose and his business partner, Mitchell From burst onto our radar this year.
Jose adds his skill for problem solving to SEO. He leaves no stone unturned and will work to make sure people have exactly what they need. He doesn’t believe in cookie cutter approaches to SEO.
With his background in IT, he brings a different view of SEO to anyone lucky enough to follow him.
Jose and Mitchell put their heads together to come up with some 2018 predictions.
Visit Jose at: https://authoritysolutions.com/
Jose’s 2018 Nugget of Wisdom for you:
“As we wrap up the fourth quarter of 2017 and reflect on how SEO has evolved this past year it is important to begin strategizing to position ourselves ahead of others in our industry. Below are four areas I feel are the most important to focus on for a successful campaign strategy this coming year.
Authority Building – continue to explore what Google deems to be an authoritative citation and focus on ways of maximizing the transfer of it to our properties.
Visibility Development – with the rise in mobile search trends, Page speed optimization is a crucial skill to learn and develop moving forward. Consider implementing the WP-Rocket in conjunction with CloudFlare for some quick gains in this area.
Engagement Intensity – as we’ve witnessed a huge shift in SERP layout changes with Ads, and other featured snippets like Answer boxes, and carousels this last year; mastering CTR is going to be something extremely important to stay on top of in order to capture your targeted audience’s attention and heighten that “Look at me!” factor.
Conversion Sovereignty – As we at Authority Solutions™ have personally experienced the evolution (over the last few years) of going from being an “SEO” to stretching ourselves and morphing into a full-fledged Internet Marketing Agency we have come to understand the importance and role of reporting on conversions over rankings alone. At the end of the day what really matters to the client is ROI.
So to wrap things up I leave you with this, 2018 is set to be an exciting year for Internet Marketing. Aside from what I have mentioned above, one of the most crucial things I can relay to those of you looking to take your skills to the next level is to silence the noise, and stop chasing shiny objects. Implement what you know has been thoroughly tested and undoubtedly proven to get results!”
Follow Jose: https://www.facebook.com/authoritysolutions/
SEO Influencer #10
Josh Bachynski – Do you know anyone that has done a Ted Talk? We do… and here he is. His Ted Talk was titled, The Future of Google Search and Ethics.
The title probably gives you a pretty good idea of why he is on our SEO Influencer list.
With 3 black belts in martial arts, he’s a definite SEO Warrior. He focuses his energy on listening and interacting with every Google talking head that rises to the position.
He knows the tricks. He can see through the lies. And he is REALLY good a deciphering Google SEO speak.
Consider him the best Google decoder you could ever hope to meet. He also has a YouTube show called White Hat–vs- Black Hat every Wednesday.
Visit Josh’s Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_VoVYVFhtWDhYYXSiYQbNA
Josh’s 2018 Nugget of Wisdom for you:
“I predict in 2018 AI will become a major factor in SEO in a pronounced way!
Google is at the head of AI in the world – they recently made AIs to beat any poker player, the top Go players, and any chess players, and an AI that makes its own (better) AIs.
John Giannandrea (their former head of AI) has been the head of search for a couple years now.
They have invested heavily in AI already: Rankbrain being chief amongst them, at least 30% of the algorithm, they call themselves an “AI first” company.
It has long been Larry Page’s policy not to hire humans to do what a computer can do.
BUT they just hired thousands of humans to deal with the “fake news” crisis.
It is a given they will make or continue to use some AI in 2018.
And I think, given what they have done already with poker and Go, they are positioned to make a killer AI app this year, maybe a smart(er) assistant, maybe AI based rankings in general in some areas, and or maybe an AI to police highly politicized searches to make sure their answers are always more politically correct.
This also Includes “fraud detection” (he was talking about financial fraud) but they could easily apply that to search fraud aka black hat seo, easily.
Also “video understanding” so ranking videos on youtube or google based on what us said / done in the video… and “reading and understanding a document” like a human does…”
Josh can go on with what this means for SEO in 2018, but if you follow him you’ll get the latest breaking Google news.
Follow Josh: https://twitter.com/joshbachynski
These Top SEOs haven’t just been able to rank in the past; their finger is on the pulse of what is coming.
2018 SEO Trends
This is just a sample of the SEO trends that will dominate search engine rankings in the future:
- Mobile first rankings
- Voice Search
- Schema will continue to gain importance
- Featured snippets
- Relationship building through content
- Technical SEO
- Unconventional linking – our SIAer’s make linking fun
- How to use AI to your advantage
There was a time when people had an attention span of 7 seconds. Then you had to grab their attention in the first 3 seconds.
There is really NO attention span in the online space.
This means you have to learn how to stand out.
You have to grab someone’s attention instantaneously.
It’s not enough to just have a few SEO tricks up your sleeve anymore… You have to stand out.
This is one thing that our influencers have incorporated into their SEO knowledge.
But… I’m not done pulling back the curtain just yet…
SEO Ranking Software
The SEO influencer list would not be complete without mentioning the most groundbreaking and powerful software that has given our influencers super powers…
This software is named Cora.
It was created and continues to be evolved by Ted Kubaitis.
This is THE software to have in your SEO arsenal in 2018. It makes knowing exactly what Google wants in your particular niche as easy as reading a report.
If you’ve got your on-page SEO strong, this tool will be the one your competitors do NOT want you to use.
It can be as powerful as a nuking your competitors… if used correctly.
If you can follow a map, you can follow the SEO suggestions that Cora gives you.
Cora measures over 400 SEO factors in your individual niche. This helps remove any of the guesswork of what you need to do.
Or what you should avoid.
Your time is important, right? If you are doing business online, time IS money. Wasted time means you are throwing money right out the window.
Cora will tell you exactly what to do. And what is most important for you to go after.
Chances are you are in business to make money not lose it.
Cora is one of the FEW pieces of software that truly lives up to its hype.
Don’t waste another day in 2018 spinning your wheels trying to rank your sites…
Last but not least…
Here is a ninja 2018 SEO tip from yours truly (Dori)…
LOCAL SEO Expert Ninja Tip… I bet you don’t know.
Now we all know that mobile is/has come on strong and currently comprises 75% of all Internet use, and According to Google, a third of those mobile searches are LOCAL!
And, Google also let out that that local searches on mobile devices are growing 50% faster than mobile searches as a whole. But you probably knew that.
But I bet you didn’t know what else has grown recently and is the genesis of this “Local Ninja Tip,” and that is the number of searches with the words “near me” in them.
These local modifiers have increased in spades and “near me” has doubled in just the last year. Here is good old Google Trends data to prove it. 🙂
So here is the ninja tip.
Add ‘near me’ copy on your pages.
I can just hear you saying, “yo Dori, seriously?” And I say back.. “Yep, you heard me right, those two words will increase your click-through rate by 81%!” ::mind blown::
Don’t believe me? lol There was actually a study that covers this over at CDK Global.
They studied 82 auto dealers over a five-month period and found that those that added ‘near me’ content got that striking increase in click through rate, AND it also increased impressions by 15%. HA!
That is a pretty easy hack if I do say so myself, but you are wondering how to incorporate that, here is an example below.
So needless to say LOCAL SEO is on the rise.. STILL.
Go follow these influencers, grab the Cora software, use the tool and put the information to use. In a couple of months, send us an email letting us know how much your business has improved in 2018.
Make sure to look for this badge to know if you are following an SIA Influencer!