Derrick Wheeler

There are a few SEO early birds that got their start at CompUSA in Portland, Oregon and Derrick Wheeler was one of them. He can still get you discounts on Windows! His start in SEO in the mid-1990’s was prompted by a co-worker at the time, Marshall Simmons, when Marshall left CompUSA to join a little company called Multimedia Marketing Group in Bend, Oregon. Little did Derrick know that the move would prompt a the journey that years later would give him the title of Senior SEO Architect for

Jill Whalen

In the early 90’s, Jill Whalen was a stay-at-home mom with three kids. Being an early adopter of the internet, she started a parenting chat room to connect with parents across the country. To her surprise, the chat room became so popular that she got requests daily to start a website…

Eric Ward

Eric Ward, Link Evangelist at and president of, was involved in launching many of the industry’s Internet success stories, including, Internet Link Exchange and…

Aaron Wall

An SEO guru, Aaron Wall is the creator and developer of SEO Book that initially came out in December 2003. SEO Book is a leading SEO blog covering marketing tips, search analysis, and more concerning the search space. Since creation, Aaron has revised SEO Book many times and has transformed it to a membership site with online training modules, tutorial videos, custom SEO spreadsheets, exclusive tools, and a community support forum. Aaron continues to provide SEO consulting working with partner Scott Smith at Clientside SEM.

Dana Todd

Dana Todd initially started out in the world of what was called at the time, “search engine positioning” in late 1995 as Vice President of Bien Logic (later SiteLab), a startup web development company. In her interview with Mark Knowles, Dana mentions that the search engine optimization (SEO) environment was much different than today. She explains that SEOs did not generally know each other and the industry was largely unorganized in its early phase.

Shari Thurow

Shari Thurow is the founder and Search Engine Optimization Director for Omni Marketing Interactive. She has been designing and promoting web sites since 1995. Shari says that the first site she ever did was a search engine friendly site and was for a large school bus company. She created all of their multi-media presentations and built their marketing database. During the process, she encountered two SEO early birds, Danny Sullivan and John Audette, who mentored her and became her good friends.

Danny Sullivan

Danny Sullivan, renowned search guru, nonchalantly says that he was a newspaper reporter that saw the web, liked what he saw and decided to leave newspapers and start working with a friend developing websites. A humble beginning with an exceptional future…

Marshall Simmonds

As chief search strategist for the New York Times Company, Marshall Simmonds has been predicting the end of search since he started doing it in 1997. As we all know, Marshall’s expectations of the search engines’ progression has proved wrong but he still believes it will happen someday. The search engines are still really bad about figuring out what content on websites is about and until the engines are able to extract and classify data effectively, educating journalist, writers, editors and producers to write content for SEO is going to be vital, said Marshall.

Jeremy Sanchez

Jeremy Sanchez, co-owner of Global Strategies International, (acquired by Ogilvy in March of 2007) got his start in search engine optimization (SEO) as John Audette’s Executive Assistant in 1997 at the Multi-Media Marketing Group (MMG) in Bend, Oregon.

Lee Odden

Lee Odden, is the CEO of TopRank Online Marketing based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. TopRank is a search marketing agency integrating natural search optimization with social media marketing and new media public relations. Lee is also the CEO and co-owner with Sue Misukanis of Misukanis & Odden, Ltd., a full service marketing and public relations firm based in Minneapolis.