Jill Whalen, currently 56 years old, was literally one of the pioneers in the SEO industry, starting in 1995 and championing the “white hat” following for about 20 years. Jill officially retired from her business and the SEO space back in 2013 but has continued to be an inspiration for many existing and new SEOs in the industry. She is married, with 3 grown kids ages 30, 29 and 24 living in Massachusetts in the same house for almost 32 years.
Dianna Huff, who nominated Jill for this series wrote:
Jill is no longer an SEOer but she was instrumental in helping me build my career when I first started doing SEO in 2001. Her book, “The Nitty Gritty Guide to SEO Copywriting” was one the first books I purchased.
I read her newsletter and listened to her at conferences for years.
On a more personal level, I was always a bit shy and hesitant when I attended the big SEO/SEM conferences as I knew the “big” names but they had no clue who I was. I’ll never forget the day that Jill said hi to me at a conference and invited me to sit with her over lunch — which became the start of our friendship.
I’ve always admired Jill’s approach to SEO, websites, and marketing in general and am happy to say that I still follow her advice, which pretty much is, “Keep things simple; make your website the best it can be.”
She left a real void when she retired.
For me, Jill has fought hard over the years for SEOs to take the white hat approach, even in the days when it was easy to spam Google. She was the voice of content over links, that quality content will drive quality links, will drive traffic and long term success. Then Panda hit and she was literally validated, oh and then Penguin hit and it was like a double bonus.
We all owe a lot of what we know about SEO to Jill, even if you did not read her book or her newsletters or heard her speak – those you probably did learn SEO from, likely learned from Jill.
Jill Whalen’s Bio:
Jill Whalen was a pioneer in the SEO industry from 1995-2013. For the past 20 years, she has consulted with companies big and small, and spoken at conferences all over the world.
Jill is currently a transformational speaker and mentor to businesses, individuals, coaches, leaders, groups and organizations. She helps them uncover their natural well-being and happiness so that they can operate from a clearer state of mind and take their lives and businesses to a higher level.
Jill is the author of Victim of Thought: Seeing Through the Illusion of Anxiety. Her blog, What Did You Do With Jill? is a personal account of what she’s learned throughout her transformational journey. Jill has many “viral” articles on LinkedIn and is a contributing writer to P.S. I Love You. Stay abreast of Jill’s latest musings and offerings by subscribing to her newsletter here.
Favorite thing about the SEO community? The sharing of knowledge among member of the SEO community.
One piece of advice to the SEOs out there? Forget about SEO and think about marketing.
Favorite things in general? My favorite color is red. My favorite foods have changed a lot through the years. Most recently, my super healthy veggie lunches would have to be it. Each day my lunch is prettier and yummier than the day before! Favorite things to do are currently singing karaoke, practicing yoga, Barre classes, tennis, and as always…hanging out online and sharing my knowledge and discoveries with the world via my writing and speaking events.
What you want to be known for in the SEO space? Being the one who spoke out for true SEO that made websites better not worse. And showing everyone that spamming the search engines was optional, not necessary
You can see more about what Jill is up to now at her new site WhatDidYouDoWithJill.com.
Jill Whalen, this is the search community honoring you for all you have done!