Personalities That Make Great SEOs

by Peter Attia on December 4, 2012

SEO Personalities

SEO is an interesting industry in that it’s rare someone became an SEO on purpose. Search marketers are composed of several different interests and come from a multitude of backgrounds. That’s one of the things that makes the community so lively. Here are some popular personalities that can be found within the industry.

Note: These “stats” do not represent anyone’s skill set and should not be taken literally. This was all meant in good fun.

SEO Gamer

Gamers are some of the most competitive people around. They play to win and will do whatever it takes to get better. This is what makes them so great at SEO. Although they might not have an expansive skill set right out of the gates, if they need to learn something to make shit happen, they will spend sleepless nights doing so.

They’re quick learners that are great at teaching themselves, allowing them to complete tasks without the help of others. This ability to adapt makes them fantastic at link building and time sensitive campaigns.

Gamers You May Know

Jason AcidreJason Acidre
You may know him as the CEO of Xight Interactive, but before he was an SEO, Jason played Counter Strike professionally.

JP ShermanJohn Paul Sherman
Not only is JP the Sr. Marketing Manager for Five One Nine, a social gaming company, he’s also a reviewer and critic of gaming titles.

Justin BriggsJustin Briggs
Movie buff. Geek. Zombie lover – Justin is the Sr. SEO & Social Media manager at Big Fish Games and rocks a tattoo of the Hylian crest on his forearm.

SEO Artist

The creative side of SEO comes out with these guys. They know what makes one website stand out from the rest and have a strong sense of color coordination and design.

They’re intuition for design makes them a valuable asset when it comes to creating things like infographics, banners, and email campaigns.

They’re great at coming up with creative ways to solve a problem, whether it’s design related or otherwise.

Artists You May Know

Paul David MaddenPaul David Madden
Paul is a search marketing specialist by trade, however in a past life, he was a cartoonist and still finds peace with a good pen, moleskin, and some music.

Shelli WalshShelli Walsh
Shelli works on creative content for online marketing, but it should come as no surprise that she’s touched on everything from illustrations for greeting cards to screen printing.

Akvile HarlowAkvile Harlow
This internet marketing & advertising operations manager for Third Door Media spends her free time throwing anything from acrylics to spray paint on to blank canvases.

SEO Nerd

Long nights of coding and drinking mountain dew is what created these gentle giants. Hand them a good wireframe and they’ll be able to bust out a fully functional site faster than anyone else could even dare.

Nerds are quick to learn programming languages at blazing speeds, and if they don’t know something, can do the research to figure out how.

They may not be the most socially graceful of creatures, but that doesn’t mean they don’t like to go out and mingle with people in their industry. I think most SEO’s would agree that there is a bit of a nerd in all of them.

SEO Chef

Cooking skills may not seem directly related to the search industry, but they accent each other in ways that may not seem obvious. Recipes require a huge attention to detail as one mistake can ruin an entire dish. Beyond that there are other qualities to be perfected; such as presentation; timelines; and the ability to be experimental.

Search marketing isn’t a science, it changes constantly and everyone does it a little differently. This relation makes chefs great at adapting and understanding the inconcrete laws of SEO.

Chefs You May Know

Pamela LundPamela Lund
A previous employee of BlueGlass and now self employed PPC Specialist, Pamela spends her free time blogging about the art she’s crafting in the kitchen.

Sean RevellSean Revell
SEO director at Evoke search and search marketing blogger, Sean has a passion for cooking and said he would consider being a chef for a living if he wasn’t an SEO.

Gisele Navarro MendezGisele Navarro Mendez
SEO consultant and Social Community Manager at Upstream, Gisele has always been in the kitchen, because she believes every-single-meal should taste delicious.

SEO Bartender

Lots of people have worked within the service industry at some point in their lives. The service industry teaches you how to work in synchronization with several other people as well as how to be socially fluid at meeting folks for the first time. However, there is one job that relies on these traits more than the rest and that’s bar tending.

Bar tending will quickly get you comfortable with meeting people of all sorts for the first time. They also have to work fluidly with everyone else or things get thrown out of synch. This makes them cooperate with others like a well oiled machine.

They’re great with the social side of online marketing, like outreach, social media, and networking. This also makes them great at training new employees.

SEO Musician

Hours spent with a pen in hand created these lyricists. It takes serious dedication and motivation to excel in musicianship and the same goes for SEO. Musicians will stretch themselves to the limit to do the best they can and reach that end goal.

They’re good at working with creative content wether that be for a landing page or a promotional piece. There’s also a technical side to musicianship with understanding scales and chord progression. This can make it easy to digest algorithmic factors.

Let’s not forget that they’re completely used to being on stage infront of a crowd. An invaluable asset for presenting and speaking.

Musicians You May Know

Bill SebaldBill Sebald
A Search marketing consultant with a passion for CRO and UX, Bill fell into his career from a record shop that strived to take things online. He plays infront of a live audience to this day.

Stephen CroomeStephen Croome
Stephen isn’t just an SEO, he’s a man of biology and a lover of startups who expresses his passion for music through his guitar.

Anthony PensabeneAnthony Pensabene
He may be an SEO, blogger, and content writer, but Anthony’s also had a passion for the drums since he was just a kid. Eventually playing gigs in Philly and LA.

SEO Geek

A secondary trait for most people who work in the tech industry, Geeks can have a multitude of different interests. They like spending their time on blogs, forums, and other online communities to read, discuss, and share with people of similar interests.

While Geeks tend to be savvy developers, they enjoy collaborating with like minded people. This makes them great with social projects such as running a blog, webcast, or any online community based effort.

SEO Punk

A love for the underground scene and a mind built for analytics is what molds these interesting players. They’re strong charactered, but carry a heart of gold.

Data is their friend and they’re great at using a large variety of tools to attain it. Allowing them to perform their tasks more efficiently and at a larger scale.

Their strong willed nature makes them great at both leadership or being a one man army.

Math Punks You May Know

Julie JoyceJulie Joyce
Founder of Link Fish Media and author for Search Engine Land, Julie studied calculous and can often be spotted listening to The Clash, Buzzcocks, and The Sex Pistols in the office.

Bill SlawskiBill Slawski
Bill follows patent filings to analyze how search engines work. He was once a frequenter of Trenton watching bands like Flipper, The New York Dolls, and The Ramones.

Garrett FrenchGarrett French
Garret is known for his link building agency, Citation Labs, however he’s also a fan of punk influences and math rock bands; like Battles, Marnie Stern, and Slint.

Embed this as an Image:

A huge thanks to Adam Ellis; creator of character design.

What kind of personality are you?

{ 50 comments… read them below or add one }

Barry Adams December 4, 2012 at 10:50 am

You should add The Scientist. We seem to have an increasing amount of scientists-turned-SEOs in our midst, who are contributing superbly to our industry. Alessio Madeyski and Branko Rihtman spring to mind (both happen to be molecular biologists as well).


Peter Attia December 4, 2012 at 10:54 am

Barry, you have no idea how much I wanted to add that! I didn’t think of it until I already got the artwork back and I couldn’t get back in touch with the guy =\ I went to school for marine biology myself!


Rank Watch January 11, 2013 at 4:25 am

There should be one more. Social, with sub-categories as: with fellow online users, with bloggers, with designers, with developers, with book-worms too. And lets see how much one can get engaging and make follow-ups?


MartiniVision December 4, 2012 at 10:52 am

Great article Pete!


Peter Attia December 4, 2012 at 10:58 am

Appreciate it Marty!


Iain December 4, 2012 at 10:53 am

Peter, are you not going to tell us where you would slot yourself?


Marshall Owen December 4, 2012 at 10:57 am

Peter is clearly in the “Geek” category; why do you think he left it blank? :)


Peter Attia December 4, 2012 at 10:58 am

Iain, I think I would consider myself a gamer mostly. However, I also play music and have bar tended in the past :)


riyas December 5, 2012 at 4:35 am

I was searching for where you fit in it. You are a real gamer :)


Steven Jacobs December 4, 2012 at 10:59 am

Any chance of making this an infographic? I’ll give you a link back and spread it like wildfire.


Peter Attia December 4, 2012 at 11:02 am


Best I’d be able to do is screenshot the whole thing.



Sean December 4, 2012 at 11:07 am

Dude, add a copy and paste option in case people want to use the images in the future.

Thanks for the inclusion :)


Peter Attia December 4, 2012 at 11:12 am

Trying to figure something out :) Cheers Sean!


JP Sherman December 4, 2012 at 11:09 am

I love this… absolutely love this! (I’m a bit honored too)

bloody amazing.


Peter Attia December 4, 2012 at 11:15 am

Cheers JP! :)


Gisele Navarro Mendez December 4, 2012 at 11:10 am

I was so looking forward to this article! Now I wonder how many of us chose SEO from day one…


Ezekiel December 4, 2012 at 11:41 am

Dude, please make this all into one image……THIS IS AWESOME!!!!!! :D


Peter Attia December 4, 2012 at 11:48 am

We’re working on it! :) just need a few more minutes.


Ezekiel December 5, 2012 at 2:40 am

Thank you!!! :D


Riyas April 6, 2013 at 4:44 pm

Extremely interesting findings. Infact there could be a new research on people moving down from distant fields and niches to internet marketing :-)


Stephanie Beadell December 4, 2012 at 11:58 am

Great post! I love this. I’ve also found that a lot of former journalism students / news junkies do well in SEO. (Optimal copywriting and analytical skills.)

Anyway, I’m totally using this over the holidays when I face the inevitable “So what exactly is it that you do?” questions from my family. Thanks, Peter!


Peter Attia December 4, 2012 at 12:02 pm

Sure thing Stephanie! There were several other personalities that I would’ve loved to incorporate. May have to do another post to include them as well :)


Jeremy Rivera December 4, 2012 at 12:33 pm

I definitely fall into the Geek Category!


Brett Snyder December 4, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Nice post Pete, love the fact that you made the distinction between nerds & geeks…they are definitely different and have their own particular charm!


Peter Attia December 4, 2012 at 2:03 pm

Thanks Brett! There’s a difference for sure, but I think everyone in SEO has a bit of each in them :)


Peter Attia December 4, 2012 at 2:37 pm

Ok, image created. You can copy the embed code at the bottom of the post, or use this image –


LaurentB December 4, 2012 at 3:19 pm

I hope you don’t mind, but I created the French version

Very fun !
Thank you


Peter Attia December 4, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Not at all! :) It looks great!


Caleb Donegan December 4, 2012 at 4:31 pm

This is great! Since nerds and geeks are broken out, would have liked to see dorks get a mention as well, but good enough. Nice work!


Matt December 4, 2012 at 4:53 pm

Clipped the image from comments into Evernote but shared the actual post so hopefully people see the blog itself.

Love this. I’m part gamer, part chef, part geek.


Chris December 4, 2012 at 9:09 pm

Very unique article Peter. I think I’m some sort of combination of a Gamer, Geek and Math Punk.


Marcia Fox December 4, 2012 at 9:24 pm

I must be an anomaly — I WANT to be an SEO – - on purpose – and I’m trying to figure out HOW!!! LOL


Peter Attia December 5, 2012 at 10:23 am

Marcia, an easy way to get started is to approach an agency. They’re always looking for new talent, especially people with interest. I would recommend looking for one in your area to get your foot in the door and go from there.


Aidan December 4, 2012 at 10:31 pm

Damn – I should of linked to this in my last post at work but missed. If you ping me I’ll add it in (I’m a flaky artist so I have a shit memory :) )


shelli walsh December 5, 2012 at 3:01 am

Hey Peter
Love the article, very impressed with the illustrations – I can see I have competition LOL.
Brilliant piece with a fresh approach – thanks for including me, i’m very honoured : )


Peter Attia December 5, 2012 at 10:24 am

Thanks for being a part of it Shelli! Was a fun post to put together!


Danielle Spark December 5, 2012 at 3:23 am

Man – I don’t know where the hell I fit in there. I’m guessing the math punk? Defiantly will be looking at myself more in the mirror to determine where I’m at. This is an amazingly refreshing post in our sum what over hyped industry. Well done Peter


Peter Attia December 5, 2012 at 10:26 am

Appreciate it Danielle! Glad you liked it!


chris December 5, 2012 at 6:07 am

no named geeks! ca va sans dire :)


hyderali December 5, 2012 at 7:27 am

What a fabulous post! Love the graphics & how you differentiate all the SEOs in their personalities. Well, I do have one query, why didn’t you mention people in The Geek, Bartender & The Nerd personalities?

Also, I’d be glad if you can add @madeale aka Alessio Madeyski in the Musician category. He seems to be very much in musician & he perform his SEO task while listening to music only.

I think, I’d be better in the geek personality. It suits me well :)



Peter Attia December 5, 2012 at 10:33 am


Glad you liked the post! The reason I have the Geek and Nerd category blank, is because they were a little broad. Most people in SEO could be considered a geek or nerd :)

As for the bartender category, I didn’t want to mess with anyones professional appearance. I didn’t really feel comfortable approaching people about it.

Putting SEO’s in the post was actually an afterthought to the post. If I would’ve planned on it from the beginning, I would’ve chose personalities that were better suited for the post.

I tried to reach the illustrator to get a biologist or scientist category, but he was out of town. I wanted to put Alessio and Branko in there :)



Dennis December 6, 2012 at 12:15 am

I am a Gamer. I love playing online Games. Especially DOTA 2. Great article mhan. Thanks for sharing it.


Annalisa Hilliard December 6, 2012 at 1:13 pm

Love it, Peter! If you end up doing a part II, I think English majors and athletes could make good additions.


J. Evan Wade December 6, 2012 at 3:51 pm

As a somewhat failed SEO, I got to look at the industry from an insider’s perspective for just over a year…

I think Alcoholic, recovering or Not, might be a useful subcategory…

I jest, of course… But in my brief stint in the industry, I met lots of SEOs who could drink me under the table… Maybe that’s a subcategory of the bartender…


Teresha Aird December 6, 2012 at 11:56 pm

Definitely a chef.

Fab post and great illustrations.


Samantha G December 12, 2012 at 1:33 pm

You are totally missing the Marketer. Those that have come in from a Marketing background & embraced this new modern type of the “Marketing” industry.


Peter Attia December 12, 2012 at 1:53 pm

While I get where you’re coming from, I feel like that’s a little too close to home. SEO and marketing go hand in hand.


Diane Vukovic December 19, 2012 at 9:25 am

Funny that you didn’t give examples of Nerds or Geeks. Worried about offending people?

You forgot about the most common type of SEO though: The poser. The one without his/her own style and jumps on any new trend in the industry.


Da Brain March 31, 2013 at 7:34 am

I am somewhere in between of designer / geek. I love writing software but if I get fed up with code I go and design stuff.. really cool article.


John December 23, 2013 at 1:53 am

Great article peter, These professionals really performs good in the way you have explained using their skill in SEO as all these profession require focus and persistence which also key feature of an SEO professional.


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