Posted January 22, 2007 10:29 am by with 13 comments

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Last week I received a quick email from Jeremy Shoemaker, asking me who I thought the “Godfather of Search” was. Shoemoney explained that he had heard many difference responses to that question, so wanted to blog about it. Seeing that “Search” has different connotations in our industry – “search marketing” or “search industry – I asked him which he meant. Wanting my initial gut reaction, he didn’t want to clarify his question any further. Fair enough, so I gave him this answer…

I’d have to say Larry Page. Assuming “godfather” means the person that controls a specific industry and has all the power, you’d have a hard time finding anyone with more power than Page (and sidekick Sergey Brin). Without PageRank, we’d have no Google, and without Google, search would not be what it is today. Google controls search, Page and Brin control Google.

Logical, no? Anyway, Jeremy’s posted a bunch of different responses and it appears most intrepreted his question as being the godfather of “Search Marketing”, and it appears Danny Sullivan is the clear winner.

So, my long winded post gets me to this point. If we’re talking about SEM, there is no doubt that Danny Sullivan is the one who’s ring we all kiss. If we’re talking about the search industry, I stand by my initial response.

But, what about the most powerful woman in search? Who do you think is the “godmother” of search?

* Apologies to all the great ladies that I missed off the poll, but I added an “other” for write-in votes.

  • The winner should get a date with Danny at One if by land two if by sea.

  • How about the step-child of SEO? Maybe a famous black-hatter?

  • I’d put my vote in for Jill Whalen.

  • Godmother implies to me someone from the early days. Someone who nutured the industry through its growing years. Someone with grey hair 🙂

  • Hmmm, would she be Canadian too? 😉

  • Lid


    If I get rid of all but those given Jimmy’s blessing :-)(Wikipedia) I have but three potential godmothers: Marissa, Jill, and Barbara.

    Marissa deals with product release AND she’s far too cute – no good!

    So, left with Jill and Barbara…

    Jill has been specializing in SEO since 1997, Barb since 1996….oohhh…very close….

  • Ross

    I’d go for Ed Kohler who has been a piller of strength in the SEO field for so long. And he’s been a bit of an ‘old women’ at times.


  • HmmIn terms of power its realy got to be Marissa and there’s the whole Cylon Caprica 6 Vibe.

  • Chris Boggs

    Although I agree that many of the women presented in this list are very powerful people when it comes to SEM, probably the most influential when it comes to Search being presented to the “outside world” would be Dana Todd. As 2-term president of SEMPO, Dana has been quoted in a large variety of mainstream media and has been a very dynamic and respected speaker invited to countless marketing conferences to introduce SEM to the world. (Barbara has held that position in the first year and she did a great job kicking the organization off)

    So if Godmother connotates the same type of Danny Sullivan-type of response, Dana is the clear winner in my opinion. (Sorry to the rest of my friends on this list. 🙂 )

  • Chris, Dana has indeed taken a strong leadership position and accomplished some great things at SEMPO (you too by the way) but when I think of Godmother I think of someone who has been there from the beginning. Not that Dana hasn’t been involved with seo for awhile but women like Jill and Kim have been promoting seo in forums and such for a much longer time. Nevertheless they all have my utmost respect and admiration since I’m all about search marketing and they are leaders in the industry. They’re all my Godmothers!

  • Oh dear Oh My, oh my , oh Dear

    So many friends but only one vote 🙁

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