SEO pioneer and expert Bill Slawski passes away

We have just learned the shocking news that Bill Slawski, an SEO expert, educator and pioneer, has died.

Slawski was the Director of SEO Research at Go Fish Digital, a digital marketing agency. His company just shared the news of his passing on Twitter, moments ago.

We don’t know many details about his death. But we do know he leaves an incredible void in our industry, a wealth of knowledge and countless SEOs who are better off both directly, and indirectly, as a result of his mentorship, insights and expertise.

About Bill Slawski

Slawski was doing SEO before Google. Heck, before SEO was even called SEO.

He started his career when it was simply known as internet marketing and web promotion, in 1996. He provided consulting services to help make websites easier to find online, help make them easier to use, and increase conversions and revenue for clients.

Throughout his career, Slawski worked on all types of sites – nonprofits, Fortune 500, educational institutions, e-commerce, professional services, consumer goods, B2B and more.

SEO by the Sea

For many in our industry, Slawski was probably best-known for researching, interpreting and writing about Google and search-related patents and algorithms at SEO by the Sea. He started the SEO by the Sea blog in June 2005.

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On SEO by the Sea, Slawski covered it all – from the classics (PageRank, TrustRank) to today (machine learning, the Knowledge Graph, entities).

Contributions to the search community

They were many.

Aside from writing on his own blog, Slawski contributed articles to the Go Fish Digital blog and other search marketing publications.

Slawski was a contributing author here at Search Engine Land from December 2006 to July 2008. You can read Slawski’s articles here.

Slawski was also a popular speaker at several search conferences, including several SMX events. He also did several webinar presentations and was an in-demand guest for multiple SEO podcasts.

Aside from that, he was extremely active on Twitter. He was particularly vocal about debunking SEO myths and misinformation.

‘Our teacher, our professor, our mentor’

That is how Search Engine Land’s own Barry Schwartz described Slawski in 2020.

After Slawski suffered a stroke, Schwartz created a tribute site: billslawski.com. Schwartz asked SEOs for stories about how Slawski had helped them in their career. And they sure delivered.

The site is filled with hundreds of stories and memories, published on a near-daily basis, from Dec. 15, 2020 until May 10, 2021.

Community reaction

We are all still in shock and processing this devastating loss.

News quickly spread of Slawski’s passing on Twitter and word-of-mouth. Here’s just a small sampling of reactions from the search community, upon learning of Slawski’s death.

This story is developing. Check back for more updates shortly.


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