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Who is the World's Number 1 SEO Expert? A Comparison of Top SEO Specialists

Search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial for businesses wanting to rank highly in search engines like Google. Hiring the right SEO expert can make or break your website's visibility and traffic. This article compares some of the top SEO experts in the world and analyzes what makes them stand out.

Rand Fishkin - Founder of Moz

Rand Fishkin is one of the most well-known names in SEO. He founded Moz, one of the most popular SEO software and resources sites. Some key facts about Rand Fishkin:

  • Co-founded Moz in 2004 and served as CEO until 2018. Moz provides SEO software tools, resources, and training used by millions worldwide.
  • Created the Beginner's Guide to SEO and the world-famous Whiteboard Friday video series, which have educated countless SEO practitioners.
  • Prolific public speaker at industry conferences like Pubcon, SES, and SMX. Generously shares his SEO knowledge and expertise.
  • Author of books like "Inbound Marketing and SEO" and "Lost and Founder," which provide insightful business knowledge beyond just SEO.
  • Created SparkToro, a tool that helps users do audience research and generate creative ideas by analyzing billions of social media profiles and posts.
  • Ranking as high as number one in some surveys of top SEO experts. Often referred to as the "Godfather of SEO."

Rand Fishkin has had an enormous impact on the SEO world through Moz's tools and resources and his own public speaking and training. He has likely done more to spread SEO knowledge than any other individual. Even after stepping down as Moz CEO, Rand remains highly influential as a speaker and thought leader.

Neil Patel - Cofounder of Kissmetrics, Crazy Egg, and Neil Patel Digital

Neil Patel is another prominent name in the SEO and online marketing world. Some accomplishments include:

  • Cofounded Crazy Egg, a website heat mapping tool, along with Hello Bar and KISSmetrics. These have become widely used online marketing tools.
  • Runs Neil Patel Digital, a popular online marketing blog and consulting firm assisting companies with their digital marketing efforts.
  • Consistently publishes high-value, in-depth content marketing advice on his blog and YouTube channel. Neil Patel Digital attracts over 1 million unique visitors per month.
  • Authored best-selling books on online marketing like "Hacking Google Ads" and "Artificial Intelligence Marketing."
  • According to Search Engine Journal, referred to as "the number one name in digital marketing."
  • Named the #1 Online Marketing Influencer by Entrepreneur Magazine.

With numerous successful software companies and over 100,000 social media followers, Neil Patel has established himself as a thought leader. The constantly practical content he produces reaches millions of marketers worldwide seeking to improve their skills.

Brian Dean - Founder of Backlinko

Brian Dean is renowned for his SEO and content marketing knowledge. Some of his achievements:

  • Founded Backlinko, one of the most popular SEO and online marketing blogs. Gets over 1 million visits per month.
  • Creator of widely read posts like "How to Build High Quality Backlinks" and "Skyscraper Technique," which have shaped link building best practices.
  • Launched software tools like Link Clouds and Backlink Checker used by SEO professionals.
  • Has generated tens of millions of visitors and over 100,000 customers for brands through SEO and content marketing.
  • Brian Dean's proven SEO techniques have been featured in Entrepreneur, Forbes, Mashable, and other major publications.
  • Ranked in the top three SEOs in the world by several surveys and studies.

As both a successful SEO consultant and go-to authority for SEO training, Brian Dean is highly influential. The evidence-based SEO and content marketing advice he provides on Backlinko continues to help shape best practices across the industry.

Eric Siu - CEO of Single Grain and Host of Marketing School Podcast

Some major accomplishments that demonstrate Eric Siu's SEO and digital marketing expertise:

  • Founded and serves as CEO of Single Grain, a leading digital marketing agency that has worked with companies like Amazon, Uber, and Salesforce.
  • Hosts the Marketing School podcast that has over 500,000 listeners. It covers practical online marketing tips daily.
  • Popular speaker and author for platforms like Entrepreneur, Search Engine Journal, and Marketing Land about growth marketing.
  • As part of Single Grain, has successfully grown revenue for clients ranging from startups to Fortune 500 companies. Case studies include Uber (+427% leads) and Amazon (+242% more revenue in 6 months).
  • Created widely praised SEO resources and tutorials like "10 SEO Tips & Tricks to Drive Search Traffic in 2022" and "Content Marketing Strategy: A Comprehensive Guide for Modern Marketers."
  • Named one of the top online marketing influencers by Forbes, Inc, and other major media.

Eric Siu is very influential through Single Grain's impressive client results and his reach to millions of marketers as a speaker, author, and podcast host. His performance-driven approach to digital marketing has delivered proven outcomes for both B2B and B2C brands.


SEO ExpertKey ContributionsAwards/Recognition
Rand FishkinMoz SEO tools/training, Whiteboard Friday, booksOften called "Godfather of SEO"
Neil PatelCrazy Egg, KISSmetrics, Online marketing blogs/trainingNamed #1 marketing influencer by Entrepreneur
Brian DeanBacklinko blog, SEO training, software toolsRanked a top 3 SEO globally
Eric SiuSingle Grain agency, Marketing School podcastnamed top online marketing influencer by Forbes

While they have some different areas of focus, all four are pioneers and thought leaders within the SEO and digital marketing industry. They produce insightful training content that reaches millions looking to improve their SEO and marketing skills. Their successful tools, companies, and clients further demonstrate their expertise and ability to drive real results.

These SEO experts stand out for their knowledge, influence, accomplishments, and devoted followings. However, they are not the only great minds in SEO. Some other names that deserve mention include:

  • Matt Cutts - Former head of web spam at Google. Well-known speaker and blogger about SEO and Google algorithms.
  • Danny Sullivan - Founder of Search Engine Land and an authoritative voice on search marketing.
  • Matthew Woodward - Creator of successful SEO training sites and courses like Niche Pursuits.
  • Sean Si - CEO of SEMrush, the popular SEO and marketing tools platform.
  • Matthew Capala - Founder of the large SEO agency Alphametic. Regularly speaks at conferences.
  • Britney Muller - SEO expert for Moz with thought leadership content reaching thousands.

This is only a small sample of standouts in the SEO community. New experts and thought leaders continue to emerge regularly as search marketing and content creation evolves.

Key Takeaways and Advice from the Top SEO Experts

While their areas of specialty differ, there are recurring themes and tips shared by the top experts that can benefit any SEO or digital marketer:

Create High-Quality Content: Writing valuable, engaging content optimized for target keywords is critical. Focus on addressing searcher needs rather than just ranking keywords.

Prioritize Technical SEO: Master on-page optimization best practices like title tags, site speed, structured data markup, etc. Technical SEO establishes a strong foundation.

Build Authoritative Backlinks: Quality backlinks from reputable websites remain one of the best ways to rank higher. Prioritize earned placements rather than artificial link building.

Leverage Data and Testing: Use data from keyword research, SEO tools, and analytics to guide strategy. A/B test content, backlinks and design to determine what works.

Stay Up to Date: Search engine algorithms and best practices constantly evolve. Continuing SEO education and awareness of trends is vital.

Create Content for Users: Optimizing for search engines is important, but creating content that offers real value for audiences should be the primary focus.

Be Ethical: Follow search engine guidelines and avoid shady tactics like keyword stuffing, hidden text, purchased links, etc. that can get you penalized.

Patience and Persistence: Ranking high in competitive SERPs takes time and continuous effort. Results won't happen overnight, but compound over months of disciplined execution.

While expertise and strategy varies between the top SEO experts, a commitment to continuous learning, providing value, and staying on the leading edge are shared traits that contribute to their success.

Frequently Asked Questions About Top SEO Experts

Who is considered the best SEO expert in the world?

There is no definitive single "best" SEO expert. Rand Fishkin, Neil Patel, Brian Dean, and Eric Siu are consistently rated among the top worldwide by various surveys. They have demonstrated extensive knowledge, influential companies and content reach, and proven success for clients.

How do you become an SEO expert?

Becoming an SEO expert takes continuous learning, experience, and staying up to date as algorithms change. Some tips:

  • Master on-page optimization including title tags, meta data, site speed, etc.

  • Study off-page SEO like link building and partnerships.

  • Read SEO blogs, forums, and listen to experts like the ones compared in this article.

  • Get hands-on practice optimizing sites and content for target keywords.

  • Analyze competitors and stay aware of algorithm updates from Google and Bing.

  • Consider getting certified in SEO from organizations like the Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization.

  • Never stop learning. The SEO landscape evolves rapidly.

What makes a good SEO expert?

The top qualities and capabilities of a skilled SEO expert include:

  • In-depth knowledge of both on-page and off-page optimization best practices.

  • Understanding of search engine algorithms and how they evaluate websites.

  • Ability to perform keyword research and competitive analysis.

  • Strong analytical skills to interpret site traffic and performance data.

  • Proficiency with SEO and marketing tools like Google Analytics, Moz, SEMrush, etc.

  • Ability to identify issues negatively impacting search visibility.

  • Capability to create optimized content that also provides value to readers.

  • Commitment to staying updated on the latest SEO trends and algorithm changes.

  • Results-oriented focus on improving organic search rankings and traffic.

How much does hiring a top SEO expert cost?

The cost to hire a top expert SEO consultant can vary greatly depending on their level of experience, your project scope, location, and other factors. Some typical price ranges:

  • $80 - $200 per hour for individual SEO contractors and consultants.
  • $5,000 - $15,000+ per month for retaining an agency with SEO experts on staff.
  • SEO software tools cost $100 - $200+ per month generally.
  • SEO training courses can range from $500 - $5,000+ depending on length.
  • Hiring well-known experts like the ones profiled in this article for speaking, training or intensive consulting engagements will have much higher costs.

While they require a serious investment, the ROI from increased organic traffic and revenues often outweighs the costs of working with an expert SEO.

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