Natural Search Blog

Top In-House SEOs – Where Are They Now?

There’s been a lot of buzz lately criticizing TopSEOs, a business which purports to rate Search Engine Optimization experts, though ratings are influenced by payments. Both Aaron Wall and Edward Lewis skewered the service with pretty convincing points.

The rating service and talk about it reminded me that I actually did a sort of rating via a blog post here back in 2007 entitled “Some Top In-House SEOs“. In that post I sought to list out the cream-of-the-crop of search engine optimization experts working within major companies.

Top SEOs - On Top Of The Heap

The main difficulty of attempting to rate SEOs is that it’s quite hard to know precisely what they’ve recommended or done to optimize a company’s websites. For instance, you could be an absolute genius at SEO, but if the company is lethargic or incompetent programmers oversee their sites, none of the SEO expert’s talent might be reflected in the actual site. That’s an extreme example, and in most cases some degree of the expert’s recommendations will be properly implemented. But the point is that site configuration may not really be used to reflect an expert’s actual ability, particularly if compared with other colleagues.

Back when I wrote “Some Top In-House SEOs”, I wasn’t really prepared for the large amount of attention it received. I was immediately pressured by a lot of people who wanted to be added to the list, but didn’t meet the criteria I was using. Quite a few people asked me to update the list over time as well, and I quickly saw that it would be necessary if this was done ongoing to be open about the rating criteria I was using — else people would question why so-and-so was listed while so-and-so was not.

The criteria I used back then was very basic. I wanted to list only people who were employees of top companies that performed organic search optimization of one sort or another for those company’s websites. I wanted companies which were readily-identifiable by a majority of people in the U.S., so they had to be MAJOR brand names: top-50 websites, Fortune 500 companies, and Internet Retailer 500 companies. Finally, I had to be able to find/identify the SEOs who worked for those companies, which usually meant that they’d have to self-disclose what they did (many SEOs operated somewhat anonymously behind corporate walls). So, the SEO needed to blog or speak at conferences, and disclose who they worked for. In one or two cases, I discovered individual’s names through news interviews or press releases. I also mined the list of top-linked SEOs from LinkedIn (apparently no longer in operation? formerly:

I made a number of mistakes, of course. I didn’t feel I had time to write to and receive confirmation from each person. In some cases I just “outed” people from behind the corporate curtain for the first time!

For the most part, people loved the attention and recognition! I felt a bit stressed from those who clamored to get in, and I pretty much stated that I wouldn’t add any until I updated a year down the road. In quite a lot of cases, I think that headhunters mined the list in order to lure people away to other companies, so many benefited from the exposure.

Here it is, about three years after the fact, and I thought it’d be interesting to see where are they all now? So, here’s the list once again, with individual’s former companies listed from back then, and who they work for now. Nothing scientific – I merely base this on what their LinkedIn resume or website states. It’s been neat for me to revisit this list! So many of these folks became friends and close acquaintances since I wrote this up! It’s also fascinating to see how many of them have moved on to advanced titles and to owning their own companies.

Some Top In-House SEOs – Where They Are Now:

Amr Awadallah:
Then: Director Product/Business Intelligence at Yahoo! Inc.
Now: Founder, CTO, VP Engineering. at Cloudera, Inc.

Aidan Beanland:
Then: Regional SEO Manager at Yahoo
Now: Regional SEO Manager at Yahoo

Jennifer Blamy:
Then: SEO Manager at
Now: VP – Digital Marketing at Bank of America

Jessica Bowman:
Then: Director of SEO for
Now: Principal at SEO Consulting

Michael Brito:
Then: Search Marketing Manager at HP
Now: Vice President at Edelman Digital

David Carberry:
Then: Director of Search Marketing for
Now: Director of Digital Sales Baltimore-Washington at Radio One, Co-Founder at Local Roll Call

Steve Carrod:
Then: Search Marketing Manager (EMEA) at Hewlett-Packard
Now: Website Marketing Manager at Snapfish

Gene Chan:
Then: Search Marketing Manager at Imaging & Printing Group – HP
Now: Senior Account Executive at MySpace

Michael Cheung:
Then: Search Marketing Lead at Marchex
Now: AVP of Business Development at PT Kreatip Komunikacitra

Kathleen Coughlan:
Then: Strategic Alliances & Search Marketing at Lexis Nexis
Now: Director, Global Brand Marketing at LexisNexis

Terry Cox:
Then: SEO/SEM Manager for Walt Disney Parks & Resorts Online
Now: Search Engine Marketing Director at Walt Disney Parks & Resorts Online

Christopher Curtis:
Then: Associate Manager, Search Engine Marketing at
Now: Senior Director, Traffic Operations at

Darren Dalasta:
Then: Search Marketing Manager at
Now: Search Engine Marketing Manager at

Rudy DeDominicis:
Then: Search Marketing Specialist
at Time Inc Interactive
Now: Associate Director Audience Development- Search Marketing Specialist @ Time Inc

John Ellis :
Then: Online Marketing Manager, Search for ResortQuest / Gaylord Entertainment
Now: Independent Search Engine Marketing Consultant (SEO & PPC)

Matt Evans:
Then: SEO Manager at
Now: SEO Manager at

Duane Forrester:
Then: Manager, Search Marketing at Sports Direct Inc.
Now: Senior Program Manager of SEO at Microsoft

Derek Fulford:
Then: Search Marketing Manager at The Weather Channel Interactive
Now: Search Marketing Manager at The Weather Channel Interactive

Jason Hall:
Then: Director, Search Engine Marketing at
Now: Search expert w/ international experience, currently exploring Brazilian Internet market

Seth Hammac:
Then: Search Engine Marketing Media Manager at CNET Networks
Now: Sales Engineer at Microsoft

Julie Handleman-Baerwald:
Then: SEO/SEM Manager at Citysearch
Now: SEO & SEM Director, Citysearch

Liz Keller:
Then: Manager of SEO Strategy at iVillage, Inc.
Now: Head of Search Engine Optimisation (UK) at Razorfish

Mia Kemp:
Then: SEO and Sr. Project Manger – Marketing at Kaplan University
Now: Manager, Marketing Analytics & Strategy at Sapient

Imran Khan:
Then: Chief Marketing Officer at E-Loan
Now: VP, Worldwide eCommerce Marketing at Symantec

Vic Kuzmovich:
Then: Director Online Marketing at Expert Realty
Now: VP Search Marketing at BodyLogicMD

Rob Lenderman:
Then: SEO Architect at
Now: AVP Interactive Product Development at Interval International – IAC

Jeff Leong:
Then: Sr. Online Marketing Specialist at Symantec Corporation.
Now: Web Consultant

Laura Lippay:
Then: SEO for Yahoo!
Now: Online Visibility (Social Media & Search/SEO) Consultant

Paul Low:
Then: Search Marketing Manager at
Now: Account Director at Camelot Communications

Bill Macaitis:
Then: VP of Traffic Generation and SEM / SEO for Fox Interactive Medi
Now: VP of Online Marketing at

Philip Maher:
Then: Director of SEO at LocalLaunch
Now: Founder at Intuitive Investments

Matt McGee:
Then: SEO for Marchex
Now: Self-employed Marketing Consultant

Sean McGinnis:
Then: Manager, Search Engine Marketing at Findlaw
Now: Director, Online Bar Review at Micromash

Andy Mihalop:
Then: Head of Search Marketing
at Reed Business Information
Now: Search & Performance Media Director – Global Clients at Aegis Media

Melanie Mitchell:
Then: Director, SEO/SEM at AOL
Now: SVP, Search Marketing Strategy at Digitas

Mike Moran:
Then: Distinguished Engineer / Product Manager of IBM’s OmniFind Search Product
Now: Chief Strategist at Converseon

Iestyn Mullins:
Then: SEM Manager
Now: Director Managed Services at

Michael Nguyen:
Then: SEO Strategist at Shopzilla
Now: SEO Strategist at Shopzilla

Paul O’Brien:
Then: SEO for HP
Now: VP Marketing at Outright

Giovanna O’Grady:
Then: SEM/SEO Manager at Intuit
Now: Consultant, Customer Acquisition & Retention at

Paul Pedersen:
Then: Manager Search Engine Marketing at E W Scripps
Now: Manager Search Engine Marketing at E W Scripps

Dan Perry:
Then: SEO Producer,
Now: SEO Director at Turner Broadcasting

David Perez:
Then: SEO/PPC Manager for eHarmony
Now: Cofounder at Convertro

Robert Pettee:
Then: Search Marketing Manager at LendingTree, LLC
Now: Director, Search Marketing at LendingTree, LLC

Amy Pickwick:
Then: Web Communications Manager at USinternetworking, an AT&T company
Now: Senior Project Manager, Go Forward Media

Antonella Pisani Vernier:
Then: Director of Search Engine Marketing & Optimization at ProFlowers
Now: VP, Acquisition Marketing at Provide Commerce (ProFlowers / RedEnvelope)

Roni Raulwing:
Then: International Program Manager – Mobile & Devices at Adobe, Inc.
Now: Web Project and Globalization Manager & Int’l SEO/SEM at a Silicon Valley Company

Greg Reitman:
Then: Manager, Search Marketing at Barnes & Noble .com
Now: Director of Marketing at [x+1]

Jennifer Wood (Rodriguez):
Then: Online Marketing Manager
at The Seattle Times
Now: Online Marketing Manager at The Seattle Times

Thomas Shaffer:
Then: Sr. Search Media Analyst at Microsoft
Now: Product Manager – Analytic Services at Microsoft

Aaron Shear:
Then: Global Director of SEO for
Now: Partner at Boost Search Marketing

Marshall D. Simmonds:
Then: Chief Search Strategist for New York Times
Now: Chief Search Strategist for New York Times

Scott Skurnick:
Then: Director SEO (Search Engine Optimization) at
Now: Executive Director of Search Engine Optimization & User Insight at

Chris Silver Smith: (Huh! I listed myself in this list! Narcissistic much?!?) 🙂
Then: Head of the Technology & Development Department, Idearc
Now: Director of Optimization Strategies, KeyRelevance

Jenn Mathews:
Then: SEO Manager at
Now: VP of Interactive Marketing at

Julie Sun:
Then: Senior Manager, SEO at MTV Networks
Now: Director, Digital Marketing at MTV Networks

David Temple:
Then: Search Marketing Consultant at FindLaw
Now: Regional Digital Director at OgilvyOne Worldwide/Soho Square

Patrick Terrell:
Then: Affiliate and Search Marketing Manager at PETCO
Now: Director, Marketing at SurfStitch

Mike Banks Valentine:
Then: Senior SEO Manager at Fox Interactive Media
Now: Director of SEO at Demand Media

Julie Kosbab:
Then: Team Lead, Search Marketing at FindLaw
Now: Online Marketing/Strategy at Plaudit Design

Tanya Vaughan:
Then: Search Engine Marketing & Optimization, Web Marketing Hewlett-Packard (HP)
Now: VP Internet Marketing at

Alfonso Veggetti:
Then: Senior Marketing Analyst at Washington Mutual
Now: Senior Marketing Analyst – Washington Mutual

Meg Walker:
Then: Online Marketing Manager at Network Solutions
Now: Online Marketing – PRWeb at Vocus

Frank Watson:
Then: SEM Manager at FXCM (Forex Capital Markets)
Now: CEO Kangamurra Media

Anthony Ziehmke:
Then: Search Marketing Strategist at Microsoft
Now: Manager – ASG Search at Microsoft

Sandra Zoratti:
Then: Director, Marketing and Strategy at IBM
Now: Vice President, Global Solutions Marketing at Ricoh IBM InfoPrint Solutions

If I’ve made some error as of the date of this blog post, or if you don’t wish me to list your name, feel free to contact me.

* See also my commentary about this post and rating methods at my personal blog: “Top In-House SEOs Reprised“.

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