Jill Whalen Says The SEO Industry No Longer Needs Her

Oct 31, 2013 • 8:34 am | comments (18) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Search Engine Industry News

Jill WhalenThere are few people in the SEO industry who have been as consistent and giving as much and for as long as Jill Whalen.

To many, Jill is the Queen of SEO. She has been working in SEO for almost 20 years, even before the term SEO was around. She has been speaking, writing, education and servicing in the industry for longer than most. Heck, I've been writing about search for 10 years, she has been doing it for almost twice as long. And I am considered a SEO geezer by most my readers.

Well, Jill announced in her last high ranking newsletter she is hanging up the towel after two decades and moving on to new things.

Why now? She said thanks to Google's Penguin and Panda algorithm - SEOs no longer need her preaching about great web sites and great content. Now, SEOs are preaching it because the alternatives are incredibly hard or impossible.

Here is how Jill put it:

Finally, however, Google put their money where their mouth was with their Panda and Penguin updates. At last the only real way to do SEO was what I had been espousing all along. And it’s a beautiful thing! Today’s SEO blogs and conferences are bursting with SEO consultants talking about how, when you create amazing websites and content for your users, the search engines will follow.

Imagine that!

Which means, my friends, that my work here is done.

We cited Jill on this site hundreds of times. Heck, she is one of the incredibly few SEOs to have a Wikipedia page. She is and will forever be an icon in our industry.

For some reason, her saying goodbye to the SEO industry doesn't feel like a real goodbye. For some reason, I still expect to see her at future events. I know, probably not - but hey, the best in all industries do make guest appearances.

Jill, thanks for everything and wishing you the best going forward.

Forum discussion at Facebook.

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10/31/2013 03:01 pm

I wish Jill well in the next chapter of her life. I have seen other much lesser known seos leaving the industry too. I suspect they see the writing on the wall that Google is becoming a paid search engine and organic seo services can't do anything to outrank paid ads. Some seos are moving more towards sem with a greater focus on adwords. But with already thin margins, the corporate giants are the ones that will rule as they have the buying power and it staff to provide consumers with the impersonal shopping experience that they are embracing. Jill leaving the industry, along with many others, is something I view with sadness. I view these events as a part of the consolidation of wealth occurring online which has excluded many small businesses from conducting commerce online either due to low margins that exclude them from participating in expensive paid advertising opportunities in search engines, alleged penalties and/or competitor sabotage by negative seo. For small businesses, the future looks rather gloomy these days...


10/31/2013 03:56 pm

I'm going to miss Jill too - she's a true lady and the Queen of SEO!


10/31/2013 04:11 pm

Just as Google wished, isn't it? They want the SEO community to be dead in the water. 80% of SEO companies I know are closed. Merely, the websites exist, because they don't bother to take it down. 60% of SEO lost their jobs in the last 2 years. 'Whitehat SEO' has become oxymoron. 'Anti-Google' revivalist Aron Wall posts are no where to be seen these days. I guess he realized there is no point in writing them anyways. Google might have put their money where their mouth is, but I suspect whether Jill Whalen did so. If so, Panda and Penguin updates should have created more demand for her, not less. Sounds like sour grapes to me. Still I have hope. Microsoft thought no body can touch them, till Google came along. Google thought no body can touch them, till...just a matter of time.


10/31/2013 04:47 pm

seo-ers talking not about this. Seoers talking about sites on High PR properties. It only one what google love now + social of course + high pr links. But it really make google serp looks empty (and so high pr spammy) & show to peoples what google not a search engine anymore, it matt cutts ad-engine :)


10/31/2013 04:50 pm

there is no such this as whitehat or blackhat. it all about googlebot love, peoples placing links to own sites in one way or another. so it all blackhat. and even google is evil blackhat now. lets wish panda & penguin for google together!


10/31/2013 04:54 pm

thank you, google, for destruction of small/medium online business, havoc, chaos and dictatorship. But we know what money do not smell.


10/31/2013 07:07 pm

It's a real shame what's happening to the SEO industry the past couple of years due to Google. Don't SLEEP ON BING! You must have noticed that Bing has improved drastically lately and is climbing really fast.

Scam Cutts

10/31/2013 09:01 pm

"Jill Whalen Says The SEO Industry No Longer Needs He" Oh yeah, she charged clients a fortune because the "SEO industry needed her." Face it folks, Google killed small sites and non-paid traffic so Jill is broke and is spinning faster than Mutt Cutts. Maybe she's hoping Scroogle hires her? . Google now is pay2Play, SEO is dead, ad clicks and adwords are taking over.


10/31/2013 09:54 pm

"She has been working in SEO for almost 20 years" 20 ? Why not 50 ? Or even 100 ? "The first publicly available description of HTML was a document called "HTML Tags", first mentioned on the Internet by Berners-Lee in late 1991" I suppose, that according to the SEO mythology, Tim Berners-Lee was the first SEO and she was the second ))


11/01/2013 12:06 am

I hear they used inbound strategies and SEO when they built stonehenge.


11/01/2013 12:48 am

Yup, Stonehenge was built to host one of the early SEO conferences. They discussed Old Testament of SEO and decided to move to Egypt. Stupid historians believe, that Pyramids are about Pharaohs. This is what happened when one reads wrong blogs and attends wrong conferences.


11/01/2013 07:57 am

SEO is and was snake-oil selling business all along. Now more than ever it is difficult to sell snake oil due to constant Google algo changes so it's no wonder more and more people are leaving the business. No one wants to pay SEO consultant 300$ per hour and listen "maybe" "it might be" "perhaps" results, or even worse be hit with a penalty after the works has been done by SEO.


11/01/2013 10:51 pm

What an arrogant thing to say 'The SEO industry no longer needs me'. Did it ever? No, it didn't Jill.

John Terrius III

11/03/2013 08:51 am

Please rate this up if you agree because its really important that you don't buy into this nonsense! The best SEO has always been about building amazing websites. The problem is that Jill can't define what a great website is anymore, since Google are redefining that on a continual basis and making it more difficult for an SEO to guess what works and what does not. Until the day when we can simply make a website the way we want to (just like we make the best printed catalogue or a power point presentation), we need to possess a level of expertise. If Jill's logic were true, then people who ALREADY HAVE great websites and GREAT COMPANIES would NOT NEED to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars per year for Adwords to get found by their clients.


11/03/2013 12:41 pm

I would expect most SEO´s who had reasonable sized accounts are now subject of court cases perused by their disgruntled and mislead clients. I would imagine they are running for the hills.

I know Jill

11/06/2013 06:53 pm

In another words... Jill couldn't cut it anymore. Her shallow level of SEO knowledge stops at... if you build it they'll come. This is what happens when you preach basics forever and not progressing any further. I remember her stating at one of the SES conferences a decade ago... "I proclaim that web spam is dead".... well... it took a long time for this to be somewhat true. Thank you Jill for not contributing to noise anymore.

Fionn Downhill

11/21/2013 01:43 am

Mark, I am not so sure about those statistics where did you get them from. We are busier than ever but have made a shift to development and building the search friendly sites which we would have liked to do all along but there is more demand for it now.

Frank Rebelo

12/19/2013 09:51 pm

If you have ever met Jill, you wouldn't be all that surprised at that comment.

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