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
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
— 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.
— 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
— 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
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.