The 10 SEO Influencers That Shaped Digital Marketing in 2023

The 10 SEO Influencers That Shaped Digital Marketing in 2023

News by Vianca Meyer
Published: January 16, 2024

DesignRush has meticulously selected some of the top voices in SEO for 2024 from both LinkedIn and X (formerly Twitter), considering factors such as expertise, social media followers and engagement, valuable content creation and significant career achievements.

These individuals have played a pivotal role in driving innovation and shaping strategies within the SEO landscape. In the last few years, their notable expertise and distinctive contributions have set them apart, marking a significant impact on the dynamic field of SEO.

Let's explore the backgrounds and noteworthy achievements of the 10 most follow-worthy SEO influencers recognized by DesignRush, arranged by the highest to lowest number of followers, starting with those on LinkedIn.

1. Neil Patel

  • Expertise: SEO, Content Marketing and Digital Advertising
  • LinkedIn Followers: 567,325
  • Location: Washington D.C. and Jackson Hole, WY

Neil Patel is a renowned figure in SEO and digital marketing, known for co-founding influential companies like Crazy Egg, Hello Bar, and KISSmetrics. His ventures have significantly advanced website analytics and user engagement strategies.

Recognized by Forbes and The Wall Street Journal as a top influencer, Patel's expertise in digital strategies is widely acknowledged.

His educational contributions, including a popular blog and YouTube channel, provide in-depth insights into SEO and digital marketing. Patel's development of Ubersuggest, a comprehensive SEO tool, showcases his commitment to accessible, high-quality marketing resources.

As an author, speaker and consultant for Fortune 500 companies, Neil Patel has made a profound impact on the industry. His ability to simplify complex marketing strategies into actionable advice has cemented his status as a leading voice in the digital marketing world.

2. Brian Dean

  • Expertise: SEO, Content Marketing and Link Building
  • LinkedIn Followers: 88,361
  • Location: Boston, Massachusetts

Brian Dean, the founder of Backlinko and a pivotal figure in the SEO landscape, is known for his innovative strategies and insightful, actionable advice.

His groundbreaking Skyscraper Technique transformed link-building practices, and his platform Backlinko has become a go-to resource for in-depth SEO and digital marketing knowledge. Backlinko was acquired by SEMrush, a testament to its value in the SEO community.

Additionally, Brian has expanded his influence by co-founding Exploding Topics, further showcasing his expertise in identifying and capitalizing on emerging trends in the digital world.

In an interview with DesignRush, Brian shared some of his biggest SEO lessons of 2023.

His impact is evident across the industry, where he continues to shape modern SEO and content marketing practices.

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3. Scott Taylor - The Data Whisperer

  • Expertise: SEO, Content Marketing and Public Speaking
  • LinkedIn Followers: 55,835
  • Location: New York City, New York

Scott Taylor, widely recognized as The Data Whisperer, stands out as one of the distinguished voices in the world of SEO, leveraging his expertise in master data and data management. Renowned for his strategic approach, he enlightens business executives on the profound significance of data in driving business success.

As a two-time inclusion in the dataIQ 100, an accolade reserved for the most influential figures in data, Scott solidifies his position as a thought leader and strategic subject matter expert, consistently shaping the narrative in the dynamic realm of SEO.

His unparalleled contributions, including being named one of the Top 10 Thought Leaders by Thinkers 360, showcase his dedication to advancing the field and establishing himself as a guiding force in the industry.

4. John Mueller

  • Expertise: Technical SEO, Google's Search Algorithms and Webmaster Guidelines
  • LinkedIn Followers: 28,543
  • Location: Zurich, Switzerland

John Mueller, as a Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, is a pivotal voice in the world of SEO. He plays a crucial role in analyzing trends related to Google's search algorithms, making him integral in shaping how websites are optimized for search.

Mueller's insights and analyses are key to understanding the intricate workings of Google's search engine.

He is renowned for bridging the gap between Google and the SEO community. Through his regular Webmaster Office Hours and contributions to various online forums, Mueller provides clarity and guidance on Google's search-related policies.

This open communication has been instrumental in building trust and transparency between Google and webmasters worldwide. Mueller's educational contributions, including his work on Google's Webmaster Central Blog, further cement his status as a leading figure in SEO.

5. Peter Shankman

  • Expertise: SEO, Digital Marketing and Social Media
  • LinkedIn Followers: 22,836
  • Location: New York

Peter Shankman stands as one of the leading voices in the realm of SEO, earning acclaim from The New York Times as a rock star with unparalleled expertise in social media.

Renowned for his innovative thinking, Shankman has successfully ventured into various domains, with a notable achievement being the founding of HARO (Help A Reporter Out), a platform that revolutionized how journalists connect with sources, eventually gaining widespread adoption before its acquisition.

As a 6x best-selling author, entrepreneur and sought-after keynote speaker, Shankman continues to shape the landscape of SEO and digital marketing, leveraging his expertise to redefine customer experience and champion neurodiversity in the workplace.

6. Julian Shapiro

  • Expertise: SEO, Growth Marketing and Content Marketing
  • X Followers: 279,200
  • Location: Menlo Park, California

Julian Shapiro stands as a distinguished figure in the world of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), renowned for his deep expertise and innovative approaches in digital marketing.

As the founder of the marketing agency Bell Curve, he has played a pivotal role in accelerating the growth of numerous Silicon Valley startups. His agency is celebrated for its data-driven strategies and successful implementation of cutting-edge SEO techniques.

Shapiro's influence extends beyond his direct marketing work, as he is a prolific writer and educator in the field. His comprehensive guides, articles and online courses on SEO and growth marketing have become essential resources for marketers and entrepreneurs worldwide.

Moreover, Julian Shapiro's role as an advisor and public speaker has solidified his status as a thought leader in the SEO community.

7. Renee Blodgett

  • Expertise: SEO, Social Media and PR
  • X Followers: 87,200
  • Location: San Francisco, California

Renee Blodgett, the CEO and founder of Magic Sauce Media, is an esteemed figure in social media, PR and marketing, with over two decades of experience in strategic communications for global companies.

Her expertise is showcased in her innovative approaches to brand perception and corporate communication, particularly through her influential blog "Down the Avenue" and as the founder of "We Blog the World," a platform for sharing cultural and transformative travel experiences.

Recognized as a top social media influencer by Forbes, Blodgett's work in driving brand awareness, traffic and customer relationships is well-regarded. Her role as a co-founder of "Traveling Geeks" further highlights her ability to foster knowledge sharing and innovation in the global tech community.

8. Lily Ray

  • Expertise: SEO, Creative and Marketing
  • X Followers: 86,300
  • Location: New York

Lily Ray, as the Senior Director of SEO and Head of Organic Research at Amsive Digital, is a notable figure in the SEO community, recognized for her expertise in integrating technical, creative and marketing skills.

She started her SEO career during her studies at NYU, quickly developing a passion for the field, particularly in areas like AI-generated search results, mobile-friendliness, and E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness).

She is a leading advocate for authenticity and proven expertise in SEO practices, emphasizing the importance of transparency and authoritative content on websites.

We had the privilege of having Lily as a guest on our DesignRush Podcast, and her thoughts on playing the long game in SEO being the best strategy were invaluable. 

Among her career highlights, Ray takes pride in her recognition by Google, including a link from Google in an article about recovering from core updates and an invitation to participate in Google Mythbusters.

9. Marie Haynes

  • Expertise: SEO, Google's Quality Raters' Guidelines and E-E-A-T
  • X Followers: 77,200
  • Location: Ottawa, Ontario

Marie Haynes, a renowned SEO expert, is recognized for her deep understanding of Google's search algorithms and her expertise in enhancing site quality. With over a decade of experience in the field, she has made significant contributions to areas such as E-E-A-T, Google's Quality Raters' Guidelines and the helpful content system.

Haynes' career in SEO began in 2008 and quickly evolved to focus on diagnosing and resolving complex website issues, including Google penalties and algorithm changes. She shares her extensive knowledge through speaking engagements, publications and a weekly SEO newsletter, helping to educate and guide the SEO community.

Recognized as a Google Webmaster Top Contributor and a Moz Recommended Professional, Haynes has received multiple awards for her contributions to the SEO industry. She has worked with prominent clients, such as eBay, Glassdoor and Airbnb, demonstrating her ability to deliver impactful results in search engine optimization.

10. Charles Floate

  • Expertise: SEO), Link Building and Organic Traffic Growth
  • X Followers: 69,000
  • Location: Ko Samui, Thailand

Charles Floate is a notable SEO expert, recognized for his in-depth knowledge and application of both white hat and black hat SEO techniques. His influential blog and comprehensive SEO courses demonstrate his expertise and commitment to educating others in the field.

Floate has effectively leveraged his skills in affiliate marketing, creating successful sites that showcase his SEO strategies.

Starting his career at a young age, Floate quickly established himself as a key figure in the SEO community. His contributions through consultancy and engaging content have solidified his status as a leading voice in the world of search engine optimization.

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These influencers are not just authorities in their field; they are pioneers and educators, shaping the future of SEO.

Their diverse backgrounds and unique approaches make them essential follows for anyone looking to stay ahead in the dynamic world of search engine optimization.

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