Big Names

Researchers and Practitioners in the fields of Website Visibility, Search Engines and Information Retrieval

Matt Cutts


Matt Cutts is one of the public faces of Google – he regularly speaks at SEO and other conferences, where is normally swamped by queries and comments about Google.

  • He works for the Search Quality group at Google, who specializes in SEO issues.
  • He is known in the SEO community for his involvement in the Google Webmaster Guidelines, and its fight against spamdexing.
  • Matt received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from Kentucky University.
  • His field of study was computer graphics, search engines and information retrieval.
  • Matt Cutts has resigned from Google at the end of 2016 and is now the new director of engineering at the US Digital Service.

Clyde Lee Giles


Clyde Lee Giles is an American computer scientist and the David Reese Professor and Interim Associate Dean of Research at the College of Information Sciences and Technology at the Pennsylvania State University.

  • He is also Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, Professor of Supply Chain and Information Systems, and Director of the Intelligent Systems Research Laboratory.
  • His graduate degrees are from the University of Michigan and the University of Arizona and his undergraduate degrees are from Rhodes College and the University of Tennessee.
  • His PhD is in optical sciences; his advisor was Harrison H. Barrett.
  • His academic genealogy includes two Nobel laureates (Felix Bloch and Werner Heisenberg) and prominent mathematicians.

Dirk Lewandowski


Dr Dirk Lewandowski works at the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, where he is a professor of information research and information retrieval.

  • His research interests are Web Information Retrieval and users’ interaction with Web search engines.
    Before that, he worked as a part-time lecturer at the Heinrich-Heine-University Dusseldorf and also spent time doing an independent consultation.

Chris Sherman


Chris Sherman is Executive Editor of and President of Searchwise LLC, a Boulder Colorado based Web consulting firm. – With over 25 years experience in interactive technologies, he is frequently quoted in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Business Week, USA Today and other publications, and has appeared on CNN, NPR, CBS and other television and radio networks.

  • Chris is a Web Search University faculty member, and is an honorary inductee of the Internet Librarian Hall of Fame.
  • He is the author of “Google Power: Unleash the Full Power of Google” from McGraw-Hill.
  • From 2001 through 2006, Chris was Executive Editor of and Conference Chair of the international Search Engine Strategies events in Canada, China, France, Italy, Sweden and the U.K.
  • From 1998 to 2001, he was the Web Search Guide for
  • Chris holds a master’s degree in Interactive Educational Technology from Stanford University and a bachelor’s degree in Visual Arts and Communications from the University of California, San Dieon.

Danny Sullivan


Danny started Search Engine Watch (SEW) in June 1997 after he posted research about search engines, called A Webmaster’s Guide To Search Engines, in April 1996.

  • SEW was a website with tips on how to get good search engine results.
  • Shortly after beginning in November that year, he sold it but stayed on to maintain the site, and be the editor-in-chief.
  • SEW was considered by Matt Cutts of Google as “must reading”, and Tim Mayer of Yahoo! as the “most authoritative source on search.”
  • Danny has also staged the Search Engine Strategies conference six times each year, attracting 1,500 to 6,000 attendees each time.
  • Search Engine Land is a news website that covers search engine marketing and search engine optimization.
  • It was founded in 2006 by Sullivan after he left Search Engine Watch.

Mike Thelwall


Mike Thelwall is Professor of Information Science and leader of the Statistical Cybermetrics Research Group at the University of Wolverhampton, UK, which he joined in 1989.

  • He was formerly Reader, Senior Lecturer and Lecturer at the University of Wolverhampton.
  • His PhD is in Pure Mathematics from the University of Lancaster.
  • His current research field includes identifying and analysing web phenomena using quantitative-lead research methods, primarily web link analysis and blog analysis, and he promotes an information science approach for link analysis.
  • Mike has developed a wide range of free tools for gathering and analysing web data, including the research web crawler SocSciBot and software for statistical and topological analyses of web structures (LexiURL, SocSciBot Tools) and site and blog content (Cyclist, Mozdeh).

Shari Thurow


Shari Thurow has been designing and promoting Web sites since 1995, and she is outsourced to many firms worldwide.

  • As a pioneer in the area of search-engine friendly Website design, she has a 100% success rate for getting client sites ranked at the top of search engines.
  • She is the author of Search Engine Visibility, which has been translated into French, Japanese, Korean, Polish, and Russian.
  • Her new book, When Search Meets Web Usability, which teaches how to bridge the gap between a search-engine query and your Web site.
  • The book was released in April 2009.
  • Shari has designed and successfully marketed Web sites in the following industries: medical, financial, scientific/biotechnology, software/computer, online stores/e-commerce, real estate, manufacturing, art and interior design, marketing, insurance, employment, education, legal, and Web portal sites

Jill Whalen


Jill Whalen is a pioneer in search engine optimization, beginning in the field in the early 1990s and founding High Rankings in 1995.

  • Since that time, High Rankings has grown to be one of the pre-eminent SEO companies in the United States, working with hundreds of clients in more than 40 industries to enhance their presence through proven and dynamic search engine strategies that lead to increased traffic, more conversions and enhanced sales.
  • The company is committed to helping small to mid-sized businesses understand and implement techniques that maximize the potential of their websites, so that these organizations can fulfill their mission, meet the needs of their stakeholders and contribute as worthwhile members of the Internet community.
  • Expert SEO consulting, website audit reports, SEO campaigns and in-house SEO training classes are just a sampling of the services offered through High Rankings.
Search engine optimization is about increasing rankings on search engine result pages