Women Who Shaped SEO

By Janet Driscoll Miller | Mar 20, 2018
More Articles by Janet


Since March marks Women’s History Month, I thought I’d take this opportunity to recognize several of the pioneering and groundbreaking women of SEO. I met most of these women in the mid-2000s, seeing them share their wealth of knowledge at conferences like Search Engine Strategies and SMX, and through their blogs and newsletters.

Lisa Barone

Lisa Barone is now the CMO of Overit, a full-service creative agency. But Lisa got her start with Bruce Clay, and in the earlier days of SEO, she was one of the best live-bloggers around. You could find her in the front row at Search Engine Strategies or SMX, quickly typing notes. Her great synopses of the presentations at these conferences served as a window into these sessions for many years, helping SEO’s who couldn’t always be present in a session to discover the same great information as those physically present. Lisa, thank you for all of the years of great conference reporting. You made us all a little wiser for it.

Christine Churchill

Christine Churchill is the founder and President of KeyRelevance. You may have caught one of her articles on Search Engine Land, or one of her workshops or presentations at SMX. Two of my favorite topics that she regularly covers are keyword research and SEO tools. Chris is one of the first people I met in SEO, and she’s always willing to share some of her great knowledge and experience with others. Thanks, Christine, for offering us all sound advice, great tools and being such a fantastic person to work with in SEO.

Rae (Hoffman) Dolan

Rae Dolan is the co-owner of PushFire, a digital marketing agency, and many will remember her from her blog, Sugarrae. While she’s also an expert in affiliate marketing, Rae has been offering SEO advice and guidance for about twenty years. She’s been a frequent speaker at industry shows, including Search Engine Strategies and SMX. Rae is no-nonsense. She tells it like it is and gives her frank opinion on SEO, regardless of whether it’s popular. And she’s not afraid to be direct with the search engine representatives on panels either. She asks the questions many of us might sometimes feel intimidated to ask. So thanks, Rae, for keeping it real and helping us get the answers we need.

Rhea Drysdale

Rhea Drysdale is the CEO at Outspoken Media, but she got her start in SEO many years back, and from the beginning, she was a source of great SEO knowledge and discussion. She’s been a frequent speaker at SMX and Pubcon for many years as well. One great contribution Rhea made to our industry was back in 2010, when she led an effort to stop the term “SEO” from being trademarked by an individual SEO consultant. She won that case, and in doing so, protected the term for all of us to continue to use to this day. Thank you, Rhea, for protecting our industry and taking a stand for what was right.

Kim Krause Berg

Kim Krause Berg founded Cre8siteForums.org in 1998, which is a forum dedicated to SEO, UX and web design. From the very beginning, it’s been a great place to discuss issues with other SEOs and help get great problem-solving advice. She runs Creative Vision Web Consulting and provides usability audits. From the beginning of SEO, Kim has provided steady guidance at balancing usability with SEO. Kim offers great tips on her own blog and has also been a writer in the past for Search Engine Land. Thanks, Kim, for all of the great foundations you have given all of us when it comes to usability and SEO.

Cindy Krum

Cindy Krum, in my estimation, is the queen of mobile SEO. She was focusing on mobile SEO before most anyone else was. Cindy currently is the CEO and founder of Mobile Moxie, She also writes for Search Engine Land and is a frequent speaker at SMX. She is also the author of the book Mobile Marketing: Finding Your Customers No Matter Where They Are. Thank you, Cindy, for making us sit up and pay attention to mobile and for giving us the foundation to understand what we need to know.

Heather Lloyd-Martin

Heather Lloyd-Martin is the of SuccessWorks and has been focused on SEO copywriting for nearly 20 years. She’s a regular on the speaking circuit, and her newsletter is chock full of good copywriting tips. As I transitioned into SEO, it was Heather’s sound guidance that helped me to learn how to adjust my writing for the web and also for SEO. Thank you, Heather, for teaching so many of us how to transition from writing for print to writing for the web and for SEO. You helped make a lot of websites better for it.

Debra Mastaler

Debra Mastaler is the founder and President of Alliance-Link, and Debra recently took on the role of Features Editor for Search Engine Land.  Debra is undeniably the queen of links! Whether it’s inbound, outbound or internal linking, Debra covers it all. Link building can sometimes feel daunting, and even scary, these days. But Debra applies a pragmatic approach, offer sound advice and gives great ides for linking opportunities many of us often overlook. She is a regular SMX workshop leader and presenter, so be sure to catch her links presentation! Thank you, Debra, for always providing such sound guidance on linking so that we all follow the right path and can avoid being penalized.

Shari Thurow

Shari Thurow is the founder and SEO Director for Omni Marketing Interactive. I’ve followed Shari for nearly 15 years, and she is best known for her incredible technical SEO insights. She has written for Search Engine Land and often speaks at SMX. Every time I hear her speak, she gives great takeaways that I immediately want to take back to the office and implement. She’s also written two books on SEO. Thank you, Shari, for all of the great years of fantastic technical SEO advice.

Jill Whalen

Jill Whalen founded High Rankings and was an SEO consultant, although she has now changed careers. Jill is probably one of the first people I followed in SEO, subscribing to her awesome newsletter, High Rankings Advisor. I owe a lot to all that Jill taught me over the years through her newsletter and her presentations. Thanks, Jill, for giving so many of us a solid start in SEO. Your newsletter launched so many careers in this space, and I’ll be forever grateful for that.

Without these women, SEO would not be what it is today, and without them, many other women may not have followed this path. So thank you, to all of these founding SEO women. Your leadership and advice have helped encourage countless other women to follow your lead.

Share this article

Facebook Icon Twitter Icon LinkedIn Icon Pinterest Icon