It pains me to write this – Bill Slawski, a man who has literally helped transform the SEO industry into what it is today, has passed away on Tuesday, May 17th. I’ve personally known Bill for two decades, starting when I first got into SEO and learning from Bill in the old Cre8asite Forums.
Bill Slawski is someone I would coin the mentor to the SEO community. He knew SEO better than most, he understood how search engines work inside and out and he understood how to build sites that work for users and search engines. But no, he didn’t keep that knowledge to himself and look to cash in through easy money. Instead, he mentored me, he mentored you – the search community. From his writing on patents and SEO on SEO By The Sea to speaking at countless events, to hosting webinars and helping people on social. He was never shy when it came to correcting SEO myths and theories or to correct subtle inaccuracies on social. Heck, I referenced Bill’s work on this site countless times. He was literally the man you could go to in order to validate anything on search and SEO.
That man, our SEO mentor, our educator, our instructor, our Bill is no longer with us. It is hard to think of an SEO industry without Bill Slawski. But he has left us with a huge amount of published knowledge on the internet, on social and on video. He has taught us all to be better SEOs, to dig deeper into the truth, to truly understand how search operates and to do it for the betterment of our colleagues and the search industry.
Bill was one of the few people to have two nominations for the say something nice about an SEO campaign I ran years ago, you can read that entry here. As you may remember, in December 2020, Bill had a stroke and he was recovering, he was super active during his recovery in the industry and continued to help the industry throughout. That lead to an outpouring of stories people shared online of how Bill has helped them over the years – take a moment to read some of those stories.
Bill – you have no idea how much you’ve impacted this industry. You will be deeply missed not just by those you’ve directly helped, but all the SEOs you helped indirectly through your knowledge.
We will miss you – may you rest in peace.
Here is some, not all, but some of the industry reaction to Bill’s passing:
We’re devastated to share that our colleague and dear friend, @bill_slawski has passed away. Words simply cannot express our sadness. We are forever grateful for the opportunity to have worked with Bill. We’ll share much more info and arrangements as it comes available to us. pic.twitter.com/5mD6jqw7XR
— Go Fish Digital (@GoFishDigital) May 19, 2022
Bill was a shining beacon for all those who wanted to understand often complicated search patents. And SEO generally. I knew and appreciated his kindness and thoughtfulness. This is a terrible loss. Thoughts to his family, friends and coworkers. You’ll be missed, Bill. https://t.co/yXRzVQEAvj
— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) May 19, 2022
Bill was a mentor and a personal friend, my whole family loved him. He had stories for days and a depth of knowledge that I was just starting to understand. I will miss this man greatly. His work will continue to help & inspire so many of us for years to come. Rest in peace Bill! https://t.co/L1JekLKiKH
— James Castro (@JamesDCastro) May 19, 2022
If you work in SEO, whether you’ve done so for days or years, you’ve been impacted by Bill Slawski. A true legend. Smart and generous. We’ll all miss him. 😢 https://t.co/adihyOXLlI
— Matt McGee (@mattmcgee) May 19, 2022
Bill was one of the first folks I met in the digital marketing world. He took me out for dinner at my first ever conference. He was often critical of my work at Moz, but it always came from a good place.
You will be so missed, my friend. ❤️❤️❤️ https://t.co/6y11zqWKiz
— Rand Fishkin (@randfish) May 19, 2022
I am shocked; Bill was such a great guy and contributed so much to this industry. So sorry to hear this. https://t.co/tKpyFU4pRy
— Bill Hartzer (@bhartzer) May 19, 2022
So sorry to hear the news. Offer my sincere condolences to him. https://t.co/gxCxeUila4
— Kenichi Suzuki🇺🇦鈴木謙一 (@suzukik) May 19, 2022
Oh man, my heart goes out to his friends and family. #SEO https://t.co/ifWEvFRbgh
— Ben Cook (@BenjaminCook) May 19, 2022
This is absolutely devastating news. Bill was a pillar of the SEO community. I’ve learned more from Bill about deep analysis in my professional life than maybe anyone else.
Rest easy, Bill. https://t.co/7aaLCMaAOx
— Yuriy (@YuriyYarovoy) May 19, 2022
I am absolutely gutted and heartbroken to hear this. Bill was always so kind and encouraging and believed in me personally. He had nothing but support and love for this community and we should all take a minute to appreciate that. RIP Bill https://t.co/5nMupzN5lu
— Carrie Rose (@CarrieRosePR) May 19, 2022
Such a massive loss. Bill was always so giving of his time and knowledge. He’ll be truly missed. https://t.co/R4yG5OaRZA
— Matt Burgess (@therealburgo) May 19, 2022
Oh my, this is so sad. Bill was always so lovely to me, and he told me was a a Jersey Boy at heart. The world will be the worse for his passing. ❤️ https://t.co/vbkTEqNPYq
— Amy Toman 🇺🇦🌻 (@BubblesUp) May 19, 2022
Devastated by this news. The industry lost a giant. https://t.co/m0xUU2D5RG
— Heidi Mannetter 🌻 (@ProfMannetter) May 19, 2022
Wow, I’m so truly saddened to hear about this huge loss to the SEO industry.
Rest in Peace, Bill! ❤️
My sincere condolences to his family, friends and everyone else that knew him. https://t.co/2oV0fK4eo2
— Ryan Jones 🇺🇦 (@RyanJonesSEO) May 19, 2022
Oh no, that’s a gut punch. 😢
The SEO community lost a thoughtful and kind man today 💔 https://t.co/MBwSuotUjf
— Maddy Osman (@MaddyOsman) May 19, 2022
Really bummed. Only got to speak to Bill a few times, but he was a legend in the SEO world.
His knowledge of SEO-related patents was unparalleled. https://t.co/wpgPag1e5n
— Garrett Sussman ☕️🥯 (@garrettsussman) May 19, 2022
Absolutely lost for words
Rest in peace Bill
Thanks for your dedication to the search industry
My thoughts are with your family and friends this evening https://t.co/P4kRIatPLX
— Chris Dyson 🍥 (@ChrisLDyson) May 19, 2022
Damn, the SEO world really has lost one it’s greats. Rest In Peace Bill. https://t.co/EUo09SjAex
— Paul Shapiro – paulshapiro.eth (@fighto) May 19, 2022
I learned so very much from this man.
His contribution to the space cannot be overstated, nor his generosity in sharing what he knew with the world.
This is a sad day for me, and a huge loss for the SEO industry. 🙁 https://t.co/IQSGccR5Rt
— Dave Davies (He/Him) (@OnlineInference) May 19, 2022
Words can’t describe how much Bill contributed to the SEO community. I’ve spent many sleepless nights reading his research into Google patents.
My deepest condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.
We’ve lost a legend #Seobythesea https://t.co/kzWnKqG3ze
— Charles Floate 📈 (@Charles_SEO) May 19, 2022
sad day in history for seo. very sad. very very good man https://t.co/6fk9mGyOgq
— Earl Grey (@syndk8) May 19, 2022
Devastating news. Bill left a legacy of knowledge sharing behind with https://t.co/KUnNmV0ruI.
We stand on the shoulders of giants like him. https://t.co/tqvubGMkMJ
— Colt Sliva (@SignorColt) May 19, 2022
RIP Bill, you are a treasure in the industry.
Thank you for everything.
My condolences to Bill’s family, friends and colleagues. https://t.co/Z2sseVUagc
— Dave Sottimano 🇨🇦 (@dsottimano) May 19, 2022
Oh this is awful news. Bill’s work has helped the SEO community advance so much. He has helped me so much.😢 https://t.co/X8I4LXiknY
— Dr. Marie Haynes🐧 (@Marie_Haynes) May 19, 2022
I’m in shock! This is so sad 😞
Rest in peace, Bill 💐 https://t.co/MXWlWOjGNn
— Pedro Dias (@pedrodias) May 19, 2022
This is just the most devastating news. Simply cannot believe it. https://t.co/UgV42gZqdC
— Dawn A (@dawnieando) May 19, 2022
My condolences to his family and friends, this is devastating.
I’ve known him for little time compared to other people in the industry, but it’s thanks to him that many concepts are now “mainstream” in SEO.
Rest in peace, Bill https://t.co/ocsEWuwgr0
— Marco Giordano 🇺🇦 (@GiordMarco96) May 19, 2022
A devastating loss for the SEO industry. Bill will be greatly missed. Terrible news. https://t.co/EJE2ZT8IV7
— Glenn Gabe (@glenngabe) May 19, 2022
This is very sad! I have learned so much over the years from following SEO advice from @bill_slawski . Bill will be greatly missed. My condolences to his family and loved ones. https://t.co/1G5CL8DPb2
— Eddie Nehani (@localseo_help) May 19, 2022
Nearly every SEO who engages in Twitter to understand better how to do SEO owes @bill_slawski a debt.
I for one am going to very much miss his leadership and willingness to share information. https://t.co/DlXiuoPCWA
— Keith Fraley (@FraleyKeith) May 19, 2022
Incredibly sad news. Will be missed by the industry. Thoughts with all family and friends. RIP @bill_slawski 💚 https://t.co/mpZKmyqoF6
— Screaming Frog (@screamingfrog) May 19, 2022
Good bye my friend ♥️
We only met once in person in Milan but had so many great bogus SEO chats with @Ammon_Johns and the gang.
Sad time. A good portion of things I learned about search engines come from Bill and his diligence in studying patents and appreciation of law. https://t.co/54sTaDquny
— Fabrizio Ballarini (@Pechnet) May 19, 2022
— Lily Ray 😏 (@lilyraynyc) May 19, 2022
One of the first figures I interacted with in the world of SEO! RIP @bill_slawski 🪦 💐 https://t.co/wEBk3BvrqP
— siddhesh assawa (@siddhesh_asawa) May 19, 2022
This is incredibly sad news. Rest in peace, Bill, and thank you for everything. https://t.co/GeNin9vl27
— Gisele Navarro (@ichbinGisele) May 19, 2022
This is so, so sad. Bill was one of the greatest SEOs ever. https://t.co/DlS0I6emTD
— Joost de Valk (@jdevalk) May 19, 2022
I’ve learn so much from you Bill. Thank you for a life of sharing. Our whole community will miss you so much. My condolences to family and friends.
Galera BR do SEO, hoje infelizmente um cara incrível partiu. Aprendi muito do que sei com ele. Que ele esteja em nossas orações. https://t.co/McOhq6HF8O
— Fabio Ricotta (@fabioricotta) May 19, 2022
Horrible news. A true legend has left us. Proud of to have shared those conversations, and sad I won’t be able to talk to you in person. My heart goes out to family and friends https://t.co/IQM3TEomXo
— Montse Cano (@MontseCano) May 19, 2022
Although I never met him in person, Bill was always an incredibly friendly, helpful, and unique voice in the #seochat community. 😢 https://t.co/2gFJx9yQfh
— Alex Peerenboom (@alexpeerenboom) May 19, 2022
Bill you and your insights and endless tendious work to make search patents “human readable” will be missed.
It was a pleasure to meet you so many years ago and every interaction ever since.
Thanks for everything.
You only die when you’re forgotten.
— Christoph C. Cemper 🇺🇦 🧡 SEO (@cemper) May 19, 2022
I just couldn’t believe that @bill_slawski has passed away.
My condolences to his family, wish that God give them enough courage to go through tough times 🙏🏻
Rest in Peace, Bill. You will always be in our memories, with the knowledge you shared with us. https://t.co/QyvpevDiq1
— Dipali Thakkar 🇮🇳🇩🇪- Digital Marketing Analyst (@dipalit) May 19, 2022
This is such a profound loss to the search community. @bill_slawski taught me so much through his research and ability to express complex topics so eloquently. Vale, Bill.
This stings. 😞 https://t.co/TslJZW2hqC
— roachdawg (@aaronroach) May 19, 2022
Heartbreaking to see 💔
Have known @bill_slawski so long I can’t even tell you how we met or when it was. The industry will be much lesser for this & I know his presence will be missed by many.
Thank you Bill for all you gave us.
Hugs to all & if anyone needs to talk I’m here. https://t.co/LEXyYHBhhj
— Kristine Schachinger (@schachin) May 19, 2022
Not that @bill_slawski needs any affirmation of the giant he was in #seo but this post is 24 minutes old as I write this. I’ve already seen this picture 30 times while scrolling.
We didn’t talk much Bill, and only here, but I will miss you, and your work. https://t.co/iQVv6HDyPs
— Kevin Webster C 137 (@Kevin_Pondering) May 19, 2022
Shocked and sadden by the news. Thank you for everything Bill https://t.co/7VbZ8q90Ax
— Tim Capper (@GuideTwit) May 19, 2022
Bill’s thinking hugely inspired my own. Incredibly saddened to hear this news – thoughts with his family and friends. https://t.co/ntLg6iAL1C
— Ric Rodriguez (@RicRodriguez_UK) May 19, 2022
This news has genuinly knocked me for six. Bill was such a wonderful and genuine guy.
I had the honour to speak alongside him on stage, interview him, and have many intetesting chats.
He never had a bad word to say against anyone.
He will truly be missed by the whole industry. https://t.co/21Wlq4Z7LC
— Mark A Preston (@MarkPreston1969) May 19, 2022
We have lost the gentle giant of our industry. 💔 https://t.co/HpfgS4z3Hk
— Amit Tiwari (@teamamittiwari) May 19, 2022
Oh no! This is horrible news. @bill_slawski and his amazing insights will be so missed! https://t.co/Es7SOpkAaw
— Cindy Krum 📱 (@Suzzicks) May 19, 2022
Our industry just a lost a legend. Rest in peace Bill https://t.co/iKULMMQuC7
— Valon Saraçi (@VSaraqi) May 19, 2022
RIP Bill. A true SEO OG. https://t.co/SDw2v8UW2F
— Carl Hendy (@carlhendy) May 19, 2022
RIP Bill. A true SEO OG. https://t.co/SDw2v8UW2F
— Carl Hendy (@carlhendy) May 19, 2022
Very sad news. I didn’t know Bill personally but had a few good exchanges with him here. Rest In Peace. https://t.co/56xNqUcWPw
— Joey Shoop (@joeyshoop) May 19, 2022
This is devastating. Bill shared so much with so many people and found a way to get all of us excited about patents. His impact on this industry won’t be soon forgotten. https://t.co/X0phpyXBHD
— Lisa Barone (@LisaBarone) May 19, 2022
One of the corner stones of the global SEO community. Learned so many from @bill_slawski without him knowing that. Wishing family and friends all strength needed … #nowords 😢 https://t.co/VB5zxrHp7D
— Andre Gr (@Orangdre) May 19, 2022
Bill Slawski was one of the kindest and most generous souls in SEO. He was brilliant and was always happy to share his knowledge. Much of our understanding of SEO comes from his reading of Google’s patents and distilling it for the rest of us. Thank you, Bill. You will be missed. https://t.co/i6aAHGZ8Q1
— Darren Shaw (@DarrenShaw_) May 19, 2022
I can’t express the loss this is not just to the industry, but personally.
I learned so, so much from him. As early as the forum days. I wouldn’t be where I am without him. And always good fun.
Just no words. https://t.co/kSrETkYvQM
— Angie Nikoleychuk (@Juxtacognition) May 19, 2022
End of an era. https://t.co/9nIrH1M3Lv
— Melissa Fach 🇺🇦 (@SEOAware) May 19, 2022
Shocked to hear this 🙁 I know Bill struggled this past year or two since his stroke, but he contributed so much to the community and he had such a deep curiosity and enthusiasm for his work. I really valued the few times we were able to just sit and talk one-on-one. https://t.co/HFncxAJnWA
— Dr. Pete Meyers (@dr_pete) May 19, 2022
Terribly heartbreaking news. I didn’t know Bill outside of the #SEO Twitterverse, but he was so generous with his insights and such a big part of the community. RIP, we will miss you. https://t.co/7pGEY7GWl7
— Monica Wright (@monicawright) May 19, 2022
Another sad day for SEO. Bill was one of our best https://t.co/8seyZusOmB
— Mark Traphagen ✊🏾🏳️🌈 (@marktraphagen) May 19, 2022
Heartbroken 😢 Bill was a legend. https://t.co/HlDNtMc7Hr
— Omi Sido (@OmiSido) May 19, 2022
This is devastating. He had such a singular focus on ‘what Google wants’ that at times it almost drove me mad. But he also dropped more knowledge out there, for free, than I have time to even consume. The SEO industry is indebted to this man, and his presence will be missed. https://t.co/ZwrX2XB4he
— Mike M. (@seo_sitch) May 19, 2022
I’m so very sorry to hear that @bill_slawski has passed away 😔 One of the first SEOs I started to follow and read. He and his always insightful contributions in patents analysis in search will be so greatly missed. Rest in peace, Bill, and thanks for everything! 🙏 https://t.co/8dwhaGbWX6
— Aleyda Solis 🇺🇦 (@aleyda) May 19, 2022
We lost a giant today.
Bill gave more to the SEO industry than 99.9%. Prolific, occasionally obstinate, he was unwaveringly generous with his time & knowledge.
More than anything, Bill would have wanted to know that he helped. Hope his website lives on.https://t.co/2hzkZ0uHTj https://t.co/sWAxX3ykcS
— Cyrus – Zyppy SEO (@CyrusShepard) May 19, 2022
He was such a nice person.
He was so gentle with me in my 1st years in the international SEO community, & he was so all the time & urging everybody to learn & own critical thinking.
I will miss him dearly not only for his unbeatable knowledge. https://t.co/kTzb1V20QB
— Gianluca Fiorelli (@gfiorelli1) May 19, 2022
A very sad day. Not many people have devoted so much time to analyze Search patents to produce notable predictions and practical recommendations. I had the opportunity to meet Bill and I’m grateful for his legacy. RIP. https://t.co/ikfXQbJvvp
— William Álvarez (@williamalvarez) May 19, 2022
There is just so much more on social about how much this man meant to us all.
We will miss you Bill!
Forum discussion at Twitter.