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Top SEO Women – Just the Tip of the Iceberg

Top SEO Women

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Posted by: Gabriella Sannino

Update: Our Top SEO Women badges for 2010 and 2011 are finally out! As well, we’re accepting nominations for the 2012 year, so be sure to nominate your favorite.

Inspiration happens at the oddest times…

It’s no secret I’m a Twitaholic; I’m not ashamed of it and I like it that way. It’s also no secret that the latest buzz can always be found in the ongoing stream of Twitter chatter. So, imagine my “non-surprise” when this comes across my screen.

50 Women Bloggers You Should Be Reading” – oooh! In my excitement, I started reading down, grinning at names I recognized. It wasn’t until I read the post a second time, however, that I realized none of the women are in SEO. Oh sure, there’s social media, marketing and branding – even marketing to women -, but no mention of SEO. Are women not as interested in SEO as men? Are there so few women in SEO?

I’m not burning bras, people, but I do have to be curious. You know – search engine optimization has been around for just a tad bit longer than social media, people.

I Googled “Women in SEO” The #1 Google was SEO Fanguy with “You gotta love the women of SEO” as a tag line. Of course, I had to read; it sounded interesting. As I’m reading, this comes across the screen: “Could she truly be a sexy woman of SEO? That woman would definitely have to be smart, because she married the man of SEO and she knows SEO.” I can still feel the tea coming through my nose the first time I read this sentence.

Look, I’m not burning flags or waving red ones, I’m just surprised that women don’t seem to be recognized in the SEO community. For some reason, not very much is being said. Anytime a list is made of top women in the industry it’s usually social media, marketing and PR firms. Women in SEO…?

deCabbitHow about Judith Lewis (aka deCabbit) – Well known speaker on SEO and social media, SEO journalist, and regular writer for Technology Weekly. She started out training to be a lawyer with a specialized honours degree in Psychology – she became an SEO consultant instead; that should tell you something. Oh and she digs chocolate.

 

 

Dana Lookadoo, is another great example. She’s launched two web development firms, founded Pixel Position (SEO agency), and has now launched Yo! Yo! SEO, a company providing in-house SEO consulting and training. SEO isn’t easy, but if you catch up with Lookadoo and read her blog: Formula for Reaching the Top – Pain is Growth, you’ll see she’s definitely up for the hard climbs.

 

AnnHave you heard of Ann Smarty, by any chance? Ann runs SEO Smarty, contributes to Search Engine Journal and is the Director of Media at Search & Social (recently merged with 10E20 to become BlueGlass Interactive). The SEO Smarty blog is #7 for June 2010 in the top Wikio SEO blogs… only 6 points below Matt Cutts. Enough said.

 

 

Let’s not leave out Donna Fontenot. Dazzlin’ Donna is the original founder of SEO Scoop. Lest you think a woman by the name of “dazzlin” anything has a fuzzy brain, Donna has been a ColdFusion Web Developer in her past life. She’s also been a contributor at Search Engine People and moderator at the Search Engine Roundtable Forums. She’s currently a busy ebusiness coach/consultant, SEO and an active moderator at Cre8asite Forums, among other things. That’s just the tip of the iceberg…

 

 

Then there is Bonnie Burns. She has been immersed in SEO for over 10 years. Anytime I call her she is available to answer any questions I may have. It’s women like Bonnie that make SEO fun. Thanks for all that you do woman you rock!

Alysson Fergison is another great woman in SEO. Have you seen her Twitter profile? Let me quote “Snarky, progressive & profane. Some say I’m funny. Who am I to argue? I build WordPress sites & blogs and help small businesses with SEO, marketing & stuff.” I like professionals that enjoy what they do.

I’m running out of room, but I can’t leave out Angi Nikoleychuk, Christine Churchill, Meaghan Olsen and Anne Kennedy.

Are the SEO women listed above special because they’re women? Nope, not a bit. However, it must be said that these women are buried in SEO and at the top of the field. People, I like Alan Bleiweiss; he’s a great guy and knowledgeable. Dave Harry, AKA @theGypsy – the man knows more about search than Matt Cutts. Micah Baldwin Search engine marketing and startup business guru. I’m not sure, but he’s probably started more businesses than Donald Trump.

Now you have a long list of great people to gain SEO insight from. However, along with the top SEO men, you can now snag a little info from the top SEO women as well. I may even add to the list as time allows…

Update: Angie Nikoleychuk aka @AngsCopywriting dropped a note. She wrote an article back in October 2009 asking “Where Are All the Women SEOs?” for Search Engine People. It’s good copy and worth reading, but take a gander at the comments – wouldn’t you know it? Women SEOs ARE out there! Some of them seem to be hiding in Angie’s comments. 😉
Thanks, Angie!

Comments (34)

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    DazzlinDonna Reply

    While I’m thrilled to be included in this list, this really is just the tip of the iceberg. There are TONS more women in SEO out there who are doing amazing things in the search world. Lots of amazing things being done in SEO by both women and men, in fact. Fun times to be had by all. 🙂

    July 8, 2010 at 5:33 am
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      Gabriella Reply

      You are absolutely correct. The reason I wanted to start this list is I could not find one out there… seriously, which I thought was odd. I love search, languages, human behavior, and the written word. But you have to admit SEO is a very closed community at least from my perspective. Thanks Donna, you are an inspiration.

      July 8, 2010 at 5:51 am
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    Alissa McAlpine Reply

    Lists like this are so bloody pointless. The people who do the best work are those you’ve never heard of, or those who know the value of shutting up and working hard. Please can we get over these idiotic “top” posts? Such a butt-kissing waste of time.

    July 8, 2010 at 6:18 am
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      JRPittman Reply

      Thanks for the comment Alissa; although a bit unnecessarily forceful, you do bring up a good point. Just because these women are on a list doesn’t necessarily make them the top of the SEO food chain, nor does NOT being on the list put anyone at the bottom. Lists are there to inform, period. They aren’t endorsements of the people or programs. The ones listed are a few that Gabriella personally knows, has enjoyed working with, talking with and getting to know.

      Now, the whole idea of the “top” posts, would you say the same if the post was about the top ten Twitter apps or bookmarking applications? If it was a list of products would you say the same? These people help represent the industry in one way or another. In reality, there’s a huge list for men and women in SEO, but hey – who has the time to write the entire list?

      Lastly, if you don’t like the topic of a post, we do have plenty others on here worth reading. Feel free to read them instead! 😉

      July 8, 2010 at 6:29 am
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    Alissa McAlpine Reply

    They are incredibly pointless when they’re about people. Yes, we’ve heard of these people, because they make a point of being in everyone’s faces on sphinn and twitter.

    There is literally no point in bringing about another “Top X SEOs” list. All the talented people in my office, who you’ve never heard of, agree. Most of the talented SEO people in the world who you’ve never heard of but who are better at it than some “famous” faces agree.

    It’s like listing the best actors in the world and sticking to people who are on daytime TV. No one gains a thing out of this sort of blog post.

    July 8, 2010 at 6:46 am
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      JRPittman Reply

      You “sound” upset, Alissa. Although I’m not quite sure I understand why you’re so adamant, let me assure you that “we” haven’t “all” heard of these people. Consider that hundreds of thousands of people (if not millions) are now looking for information on SEO, either to buy it, read about it or learn about it. So, while this post may not be helpful to you or the wonderful people at your office, it does give a list of links for others to gain information. Quite simply, these ladies do know their stuff and following the links can help SOME people. Not all, but some.

      Yes, there are excellent SEOs that are too busy to be noticed at all, buried under mounds of paperwork, code and clients. Others are shy, hoping they become well known but afraid to get out there. Still others could care less, and just want to work. For instance, I’m the analyst for Level343, but very few people know me. Not a big deal – I don’t care to be noticed; I just do my job to the best of my ability. Then you have the SEOs that work hard, get out there, “strut their stuff” and are still in the shadows because they just don’t appeal to people for one reason or another.

      One last thing, and then I’ll leave it to anyone else who might want to respond or comment: We write what we know, what we like and flatly put – it’s our blog. The glory about it being our blog is that we can write what we want to, although we do try to write what others want to read for the most part – what’s helpful and information (and I think we do a pretty good job of it). However, if you happen to read a post you don’t like, suggest a topic. Suggest a couple, for that matter. Maybe if we have plenty of suggestions that we’re trying to meet, we’ll be too busy writing about those suggestions to write “incredibly pointless posts” like this one. 😉

      July 8, 2010 at 7:37 am
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    Bonnie Burns Reply

    Thanks for including me in your list. Yes, its just the tip of the iceberg. I have always considered myself as one of those SEO’s that stayed quietly in my office for over 10 years just doing my job as best as I could. Its nice when the quiet ones get recognized by ones peers. I know there are many like me…my hat goes off to them as well 🙂

    July 8, 2010 at 7:56 am
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      JRPittman Reply

      At the risk of sounding like I’m “kissin butt”, you’re awesome, Bonnie. I’ve enjoyed the few conversations we’ve had. Maybe one of these days I can snag an interview from you as one of the quiet SEO’s! 🙂

      July 8, 2010 at 8:34 am
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    Mike Wilton Reply

    I love posts like this and I’ll have to disagree with commenter Alissa. Sure, most people who have been in the industry for a while know some or all of the names on this list. I connect with most of them through various social networks and am aware of them. That being said, I had heard the name Bonnie Burns, but was not directly familiar with her. So lists like this DO have a place. Not everyone knows all of the same people or shares the same SEO network. Furthermore, if you are just starting out and looking for resources of some of the top people to follow to get insight or information lists like this are stellar.

    Over the years I have shared lists like this in conjunction with some of my personal favorites to help new SEO’s build a foundation of blogs to read and people to follow on twitter for useful, respected information on SEO. So to say nobody gains anything from a post like this is complete nonsense.

    July 8, 2010 at 8:23 am
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      JRPittman Reply

      Thanks for the great comment, Mike, as well as the Tweet! Looked at your site – love the Social Media icons! I wanted to grab something like that for us but, alas… Gabriella likes clean and all business.. I cried and then went on. lol

      P.S. Google Guide Part 1 and Part 2? Excellent content! Looking for a guest posting spot? 😉

      July 8, 2010 at 8:47 am
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    Dana Lookadoo Reply

    1) I don’t want to make this all about me, but I suggested I NOT be on the list. I mentioned to Gab that regular blogging was my Achilles Heal. It is it hard to be active in the community, take care of clients and have a life. I do feel there are so many other women in SEO iceberg – humbly honored!

    2)Level 343 is at the top of the list (metaphorically speaking) for kicking out content in a manner that sets a barometer for others to follow.

    3) Janelle, kudos to being well-tempered in response to inflammatory comments. Heck, this post is the #4 SERP for “Alissa McAlpine” on Google.

    July 8, 2010 at 9:53 am
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    Dave Reply

    Hey Alissa, since Gabs and JR can’t… I can. STFU. What the world also doesn’t need are drive-by commenters that seems to think they (and peeps in their office) should be telling others what to feckn do. And as for this;

    “The people who do the best work are those you’ve never heard of, or those who know the value of shutting up and working hard”

    How the hell do U know that? So because I write, that puts me in that crowd. I will put my chops up against these so-called masters any time. Are you friggen joking me? I bet I could ask them 3 questions about SEO/Search Engines and they’d get it wrong. I happen to know a thing or two about it ya know…

    “Most of the talented SEO people in the world who you’ve never heard of but who are better at it than some “famous” faces agree”

    Then tell them to put up or shut the f*ck up. Have they worked with them? Not sure how one judges that. They are free to drop a guest post on my blog stating the case why they are better… if not, then it’s also bullshit. Ain’t nothing easy about sticking yer neck out as a writer in the SEO world. Takes cahones. For the record, I do believe some of the best SEOs I know don’t bother with writing nor conferences, but that’s different than nameless shit heads throwing stones. I am also not a huge fan of ‘lists’. But that doesn’t mean I should run around leaving arrogant comments on peeps hard work.

    Enough of that

    @JR… as I kinda said to Gabs earlier in the room, the list for this would be a damned long one if it were me. Soooooo many other kick ass ladies I know in this biz… where to start, where to end… would be crazy.

    @Dana…oh hush up… yer always being so humble… give it up for once, we luvs ya!!

    @Mike….sorry ya didn’t make the list dude… oh, wait… uh… never mind. bwaa ha ha ha ha.

    July 8, 2010 at 11:00 am
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      JRPittman Reply

      Dave, I’d hug you, but you’re like.. you know… there… and I’m sorta… here… but the thought’s the same..

      July 8, 2010 at 11:12 am
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    Alan Bleiweiss Reply

    Gabriella,

    I am going to chime in with my complete agreement in your list and the reasoning. I think it’s obvious in this world that men get too much credit a lot of the time, and women are bypassed way too often. I can’t repeat often enough how much I respect all of these women.

    I’m humbled that you included me in your wrap-up as well. As Dave so eloquently puts it in his comment, “Ain’t nothing easy about sticking yer neck out as a writer in the SEO world. Takes cahones.” and every article I write, every rant I go on over at Twitter, comes with a big dose of anxiety that I’ll be well received, that my contributions to the community will be worthy of acceptance. (Just because I passionately believe in my views doesn’t mean they’re truly contributing, let alone accurate…)

    July 8, 2010 at 11:33 am
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      Gabriella Reply

      Alan, thank you. As much as I would like to see this post as revolutionary, I don’t. It’s nothing new, nor do I take anyone’s comments personally. I’m too old for that. It’s a fact of life. I’m almost fifty and, to be honest with you, I was out of the biz for 5 years. While I was gone, quite a few things changed along the way. These women are new to me, and it’s not about putting my neck out.

      I don’t profess to know the best, smartest or chosen ones. This was simply a blog post I wanted to write in response to something that happened the day I wrote it. Isn’t that what blogs should be about? Observation, information and hopefully some great engagement?

      As far as adding you to the post – it’s only natural; you’re someone I respect and follow. Besides, no matter what people say about you, I still think you rock! 😉

      July 8, 2010 at 12:04 pm
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    Paige Whitney Reply

    Bonnie Burns has worked with us for the past 4 years making our business flourish, provided hands on training for all of our agents and will not build truely competing websites in any market!! We get tons of leads from our website and it is because she keeps us at the top! She is available for any of our agents for advice and has even done training on social networking and other topics that did not provide direct income. Thank you, Bonnie. You are the BEST!!!!

    July 8, 2010 at 11:57 am
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    Ann Smarty Reply

    I am honored to be included, thank you! Yes, there are PLENTY of outstanding women in SEO and you can never list all of them but lists like this one let us discover new faces and make new connections.

    @Dave, just one word (no, two actually), love ya!

    My two cents:

    Those people saying public (famous) SEOs are stupid sounded convincing once but by now this cliche has been repeated too often to sound smart any more.

    If you want to make your career by bitching around saying why everyone who speaks up is stupid, you probably will (I know way too many people who have!), but you need to think of more original arguments to succeed in that!

    OK, sorry for this. I wanted to make my comment all positive but couldn’t help! Thank you again, Gabriella! I am happy to have got connected to you closer and I am glad to have you as SEJ contributor as well!

    July 8, 2010 at 1:03 pm
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    Ciaran Reply July 8, 2010 at 2:25 pm
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      JRPittman Reply

      lol An excellent list – rest assured, I’ll keep that in mind for the NEXT list we’re compiling.

      July 8, 2010 at 2:28 pm
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    Tony White Reply

    Haha! This post reminds me of a song I produced: ‘We are A Listed mate, A Listed!’ ..

    // I am more … more famous than you.
    // May you keep …. a lid on your jealousy.
    // Keep some – some distance from us.
    // And do NOT overcrowd !!!

    Enjoy 😛

    July 8, 2010 at 3:59 pm
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    Bonnie Burns Reply

    I made my statement earlier today. But work day is over and I thought I’d check in to see comments. Well….. The banter was great!! I even chuckled at some of the comments. Let’s put it this way…. The article was a success as it gave some great feedback which means it hit it’s mark.

    Gab and JR…. Your doing great and I look forward to our next conversations.

    Dave… I am a huge admirer of your writings and your comments here were perfect!

    July 8, 2010 at 5:17 pm
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    Zpavlyuk Reply

    I would like to exchange links with your site level343.com
    Is this possible?

    August 11, 2010 at 2:09 am
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      Gabriella Reply

      Exchange? Not sure what you mean…please send me the link you would like to exchange as long as it pertains to SEO Women I think we can work something out 🙂

      August 11, 2010 at 3:05 am
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    Jim Rudnick Reply

    While I’ve never met this woman who isn’t on your list, I was sure that by oversight, sugarRae was not included…

    Seems to me to be a real missing SEO practitioner, eh!

    🙁

    Jim

    August 13, 2010 at 10:50 am
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    Reg Charie - NBS-SEO Reply

    Hey Folks,
    How about Jill Whalen?

    High Rankings Jill Whalen in Inc. Magazine
    July 1, 2010
    Jill Whalen, CEO of High Rankings, was interviewed for an Inc. Magazine article How to Optimize Your Site for Search. Read More >> http://www.highrankings.com/content4936

    best,
    Reg
    NBS-SEO

    August 14, 2010 at 11:54 am
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    Sarah Reply

    Exactly what I have been wondering why less women in SEO. Thanks for very useful information that is very helpful indeed.

    November 15, 2010 at 1:43 pm
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    Jerrick Reply

    Dun mess with girl. Not much girls in SEO, but Girls in SEO all the top person.
    Nowadays girl are so success in blog SEO which they do it by not recognize that they actually also using SEO methods

    December 26, 2010 at 11:31 pm
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    Jimmy curter Reply

    Exactly what I have been wondering why less women in SEO. Thanks for very useful information that is very helpful indeed.

    May 3, 2011 at 7:51 am
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    Armaan Reply

    i truthfully enjoy your own writing kind, very remarkable, don’t give up as well as keep writing due to the fact that it simply just worth to follow it. looking forward to see a whole lot more of your current well written articles, enjoy your day.

    September 22, 2011 at 12:08 am
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    Nadeem Khan Reply

    I only know Ann Smarty in this list. Glad to know some new names of the industry !

    November 10, 2012 at 9:58 am
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    dori Reply

    I am glad to have read this post, I got here by searching Bonnie Burns. Thanks, I found her and some very valuable info along the way 🙂

    June 17, 2013 at 9:22 am
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    Dan Carter Reply

    I am going to chime in with my complete agreement in your list and the reasoning. I think it’s obvious in this world that men get too much credit a lot of the time, and women are bypassed way too often. I can’t repeat often enough how much I respect all of these women.

    December 24, 2013 at 9:47 pm
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    Graig McConnan Reply

    Hmm it seems like your site ate my first
    comment (it was extremely long) so I guess I’ll just sum it
    up what I wrote and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog.

    I as well am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to the whole thing.
    Do you have any helpful hints for novice blog writers?

    I’d really appreciate it.

    September 26, 2014 at 3:59 am

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Top SEO Women – Just the Tip of the Iceberg