The 25 Most Influential PPC Experts

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The paid search industry is full of people blogging, tweeting, and sharing PPC wisdom.  But which experts are considered the best of the best- when they speak, we listen?  We researched over 100 PPC experts to find out who are the most influential and took into consideration social media networks and connections, blog contributions and publications, speaking engagements, etc.- not just the ones with the largest number of Twitter followers or connections, but those who actively engaging the paid search industry through multiple mediums.

The professionals who made it into our top 25 most influential list are knowledgeable in paid search, and share their SEM tips, tricks, and articles through their social networks, blogs, and speaking engagements.

We have been lucky enough to have several of these folks speak at Hero Conf and featured in Heroviews. These 25 experts are people you need to know.  You will want to follow them on Twitter, add them to your Google + circles, and subscribe to them on Facebook.  Check out their blogs, and see if they’re speaking at a conference near you.  These professionals are well-versed in PPC, and not afraid to share their knowledge and findings!


To learn more about the process behind this list, read our methodology post.

Top 25 Most Influential PPC Experts:

1.) Bryan Eisenberg

Bryan Eisenberg impressed us with his visibility in every single medium that we looked at.  He keeps active professional profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google +, and Twitter, sharing SEM tips and articles with his followers.  Bryan is a best-selling author and speaks at a large number of conferences around the world.  Look Bryan up on YouTube, and you can watch dozens of his interviews, speeches, and SEM tips.  He has co-authored several books, and is an advisory board member of several organizations including Search Engine Strategies, the eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit, and BoostCTR.  Bryan has an incredible presence in the SEM industry, and highly deserves our title for him: Most Influential PPC Expert.

2.) Danny Sullivan

Danny Sullivan has a staggering number of followers in multiple mediums.  Of all the PPC experts we looked at, he has by far the largest number of Twitter followers or Google + circle followers.  There’s even a Wikipedia page about Danny!  He is the Editor-in-Chief of Search Engine Land, produces the Search Marketing Expo series, and is a sought-after SEM speaker.

3.) Marty Weintraub

Marty Weintraub has done a great job of establishing himself as an influential PPC expert through his international speaking engagements and active blog writing, which extends beyond his company blog to additional Internet publications such as Search Engine Watch and Search Engine Land.  He maintains professional profiles on all of the social networks we examined, and still has found the time to author “Killer Facebook Ads” (Wiley/Sybex 2011) and run his Online Marketing Agency, aimClear.

4.) Joanna Lord

Joanna Lord describes herself as a PPC expert, social media enthusiast, blogger, and coffee drinker.  It’s no surprise then that she is one of the most influential PPC experts out there!  Joanna has thousands of fans who loyally follow her on Twitter, add her to their circles on Google +, and befriend her on Facebook.  She is an acclaimed speaker, and writes both on her personal blog as well as on the SEOmoz blog.

5.) Tim Ash

Tim Ash, CEO of, is well-known as a speaker, author, and entrepreneur.  He is the Founder and Chair of Conversion Conference, and has written on ClickZ, Search Engine Watch, and other popular publications.  Tim hosts a Landing Page Optimization podcast on, and keeps up his social networks with active professional profiles on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

6.) Dennis Yu

7.) Jeff Ferguson

8.) Brad Geddes

9.) Kevin Lee

10.) John Rampton

11.) Lisa Raehsler

12.) Kent Lewis

13.) David Szetela

14.) Stefan Weitz

15.) William Leake

16.) Laura Thieme

17.) David Rodnitzky

18.) Frederick Vallaeys

19.) Andy Atkins-Kruger

20.) Noran El-Shinnawy

21.) Larry Kim

22.) Rick Galan

23.) Mona Elesseily

24.) Matt Van Wagner

25.) Justin Seibert

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31 thoughts on “The 25 Most Influential PPC Experts

  1. Rick Galan

    Why I appreciate the inclusion on the list, I’m not sure I would have made the same choices. For example – I certainly have no business being on the list when Joe Kerschbaum isn’t on there. 🙂
    I might have opened this up to a poll.. Would be interesting to see what the “popular vote” brings.

    1. Bill Leake

      Jiminy Cricket, David, who the heck are you?  And why the hating?  So I had a client a couple years ago for whom I did a VERY SMALL (in $) amount of consulting work & training, and that I actually ended up getting stiffed by in terms of payment.

      They were trying to transition away from a really scuzzy and nonworking consumer model to a less scuzzy (and far better value proposition than ReachLocal IMHO) B to small B model — they discovered me after they changed out their management team and jettisoned one of their early founders, a real piece of work!  They never were able to get many clients, and it faded away.  I think they ended up w/ fewer than 100 total clients signed up for the product / service package.  David, you must just do mostly affiliate stuff?  Have you never had a client relationship that didn’t wholly work out?  Though I don’t know you or even of you, I’d hardly call you a “joke” based on one or two regrets in your choices of clients.  My company,, has built more Inc. 500 and more Internet Retailer 500 companies than any other player in the space, so am not sure where the joke is.

      Want to take this offline?  Coming to PubCon in Vegas or SES SF?  First couple of drinks are on me.  Or just call me, I’ll take the call.

      1. David Kyle

        who I am is irrelevant to the issue.   With your level of education you thought it was a good business model?  Tell me…  after all the downline payouts, overrides, and all the other MLM nonsense, what percentage was actually going to ad spend? I bet ReachLocal could say their’s was greater in respect to what they charge.

        The “joke” reference is you participated in something that obfuscated the nature of PPC via a smoke & mirrors sideshow.  i.e. “get on top of Google with no pay per click charges, one monthly fee, etc.”  

        Shocker you were burned by that family of carnies, but don’t play victim here. I listened in on some of those brainwashing sessions Rayner would have via phone. You participated in one where 90% of the stuff coming out of his mouth was total BS, yet you sat there and affirmed things he was saying as the subject matter expert.  You sold PPC out, which is why i said it was a joke for you to be on the list.   Real influencers don’t participate in things that confuse the general public. I don’t argue that you’re not accomplished.  

        I manage PPC accounts, and I haven’t touched AM in almost 10 years (too shady for me.)  Sure I’ve had clients that didn’t work out, but I’ve never been less than 100% transparent in dealing with them whether it was an agency or direct relationship.  I’ve turned down anyone trying to get me to steer away from that.  

         I’m not here to make friends and could care less who knows me. You are not the real issue here, the people who should have been listed are.  The majority of what PPC Hero puts out is good stuff. This one was an exception. I was floored that they left out George Michie and that Brad Geddes was outranked by certain people. I was the first to bring it up, and a lot of people said the same exact thing. Real PPC people know those two have contributed more to the PPC community than the rest of that list combined.

  2. Tad Miller

    Quick question. How many in the top 5 actually logged into an Adwords interface today?  These are very influential people that I like but I wouldn’t consider many of them PPC Experts.  Any list without George Michie, and Craig Danuloff isn’t really accurate. The fact that Brad Geddes isn’t in the top 5 doesn’t ring true either.   

    1. Bill Leake

      Tad — absolutely wonderful question.  And THANKFULLY I can actually answer this in the affirmative (was in Adwords this morning, and BING yesterday).  Honestly, though I’m not there EVERY day anymore, as I spend lots of time w/ clients, w/ team members, and teaching / training others.  Total props to you for calling out Craig Danuloff et. al.  There are many talented folks in the space.  I’d also have voted for Brad in the top 5.

      1. Tad Miller

        Bill I’m not doubting your skills or involvement at all.  I just think the list has a lot of people who are very popular and have a lot of knowledge about search.  They just aren’t what I would consider to be specifically influential on PPC.

    2. Jeff Ferguson

      I’m not top 5, but I don’t go a day without logging into AdWords (and a half dozen other interfaces).  Don’t sweat it too much, lists like these are like the Rolling Stone greatest records of all time lists… they have their way of calculating and not everybody will be on board.

  3. Shaun Causer

    Do we really need to start getting into the realm of ‘SEO Rockstars’ and ego massaging. I’ve always appreciated the PPC community for not engaging in these popularity contests.

    Whilst I appreciate and respect the influence of brand ‘Sullivan’ I think Danny would be the first to say he’s flattered by the inclusion, but its far from accurate.

    Where are George Michie, Craig Danuloff, Chad Summerhill, Alex Cohen, Martin Rottgerding, Tom Demers, Aaron Levy…. I could go on.

    These are who I expected and wanted to see on this list. Thought leaders that share, create, engage and whose opinions I respect. 

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  5. Martin Macdonald

    As awesome as Danny is (and he is), I’d classify him as a journalist.
    I think he himself would agree: “Personal blog of Danny Sullivan, a journalist who covers search engines but writes here on other issues.” is the meta description on his own blog….


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