You pray about it, believe it holds the key to your future, and spend lots of time trying to learn everything you can about it…

So, how can you possibly argue that SEO ISN’T a religion?!

danny sullivan god

While you do your best to keep up with SEO‘s ever-changing “commandments” (like “Thou shalt not purchase links” or “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s content”), have you ever thought about who the “God” of SEO is?

Matt Cutts might be the first answer that comes to mind. After all, he “knows all and sees all” at Google. He knows things about Google’s algorithm that us “mere mortals” will never be privy to.

However, even he falls short of Danny Sullivan.

Think about it…

Danny has been around since BEFORE the dawn of SEO.

Back in 1983 (a full seven years before “Archie”, the world’s first-ever search engine was created), when he was just a young college student trying to kill time at the library, Danny became fascinated with the way UC Irvine’s electronic card catalog spit out search results on all kinds of random topics. He would type in really broad things like “History” just to see how the system responded.

By 1995 (still three years before Google was even formed), Danny was studying the way search engines indexed web pages. His results — published online in “A Webmaster’s Guide to Search Engines” — became the go-to resource for web designers and marketing types that were still trying to figure out how to make money online.

Consider that study to be his “trip up the mountain”. The publication fetched Danny enough attention that he was able to become the editor of what would eventually become Search Engine Watch. Under Danny, the site became THE source for all things SEO. Whether it was breaking news or carefully-considered expert analysis, Search Engine Watch was (and still is) the go-to source for anyone who wants to harness the full power of SEO.

But just like God does things that amaze us, so does Danny. After all, he shocked the SEO world in 2007 when he announced that he was leaving Search Engine Watch — to start up a competing site called Search Engine Land. So, not only had he built the pinnacle of SEO analysis once, he was trying to do it all over again!

Even the “almighty” Matt Cutts sung Danny’s praises when he left Search Engine Watch to start up Search Engine Land — a sign of just how far Danny’s influence spreads. It goes way beyond the average SEO expert (or, heaven forbid, the “guru” with the giant mailing list!). Instead, he’s respected by everyone — even by the people who he doesn’t hesitate to criticize when he thinks they’re wrong!

And, similar to God, Danny is accessible. He may not be a prayer away, but Danny is only an email, a blog comment, or a Tweet away. Very few big names in the SEO world are as accessible as Danny is. No matter how big he has gotten, he has never forgotten the “little people”. In addition to the work he does over at Search Engine Land, he constantly shares information and insight with his Twitter followers (all 269,000+ of them!)

The details may have changed over the years, but Danny has always dedicated his work to one thing — learning everything he can about how search engines work and sharing that information with people who make their livings from the world wide web. In that sense, he’s been very generous, sharing his knowledge with everyone who has logged onto Search Engine Watch and Search Engine Land (free information? On the internet? Who knew?!).

Of course, not everyone thinks Danny is perfect. There are plenty of people who disagree with him from time to time.

But, then again, there are times when people question God, too.

When you’re that big of an influence, it simply comes with the territory!

Originally published on
Image edited: 4The10
Danny’s image can be downloaded and used from here.