Michael Martinez lives in the metro Atlanta area with his family and is currently in his 50's. Michael may be one of the few people in our industry that may have thicker skin than I do. Michael has been contributing to the community at large for several years, actually, for as long as I can remember. And he is one of the few people who consistency posted comments here, despite often getting harassed and targeted.
Michael is a special person because he is always, no matter how hard it is, trying to get the SEO community to think different. He is always trying to get people to think bigger, larger picture and understand the concepts in a different way than some others might think of it. It is because of that, that some people just don't get what Michael is saying and feel maybe threatened by him. But he is no one to fear, he is someone we should all look up to in how he contributes to the community, why he does it and how consistently he does it.
He is both confident but yet caring. He has shared more content on SEO than most people have read. He is very active on his blog, in the comments section here, on social media and through other media. He is always sharing, trying to help people learn SEO and help better the community at large.
He was nominated by someone I know but asked to be unnamed:
It would be an absolute travesty if Michael Martinez did not have pride of place as an SEO legend.
I have never seen anyone else so ready to step away from the group think that plagues all industries and make points that challenge minds. He could have course never bothered and had an easier life. His published content is unique and thought provoking, it is miles apart from the more typical SEO content that rewrites & re-brands existing knowledge.
Michael Martinez Bio: Michael Martinez graduated from Kennesaw State University with a degree in Data Processing Technology and a degree in Computer Science. He worked as a computer programmer and DP manager for about 30 years. In the 1990s Michael became interested in the Web and the blossoming commercial Internet. He built his first Website in 1996 and launched a large science fiction domain, Xenite.Org, in 1997. As an expert in the fiction of J.R.R. Tolkien Michael has been interviewed and quoted by magazines, newspapers, on radio, and on television. He has spoken at numerous science fiction conventions and used to help run conventions.
Although Michael's Web career began in 1996 he only took an interest in search engine optimization in 1998 after achieving considerable success through community marketing strategies. Michael became active in several search marketing forum communities, assisting as a moderator or administrator. His early research helped to confirm the importance of building strong linking relationships between Websites.
Michael launched the SEO Theory blog in December 2006. Inspired by a random comment from another Web marketer, he dedicated two years to publishing a new article every week day. As a theorist Michael brings together computer science, large systems analysis, and community dynamics to interpret the dynamic Searchable Web Ecosystem. Instead of focusing on individual techniques, Michael's take on SEO theory is to look at how the entire system operates. "Theory is just an attempt to explain the known facts," Michael says. "Hence, everyone who has ever explained how search engines and the World Wide Web work - regardless of how correct or accurate their explanation - is an 'SEO theorist'."
Favorite thing about the SEO community? The unquenchable thirst for knowledge in this community is what keeps me going. There are people who have been "doing SEO" or marketing on the Web for as long as I have, or longer, who strive to keep learning. They have embraced the truth that "change is the only constant". How can you not admire that in the crazy, insane world that is the Internet? It's hard to be conservative in the SEO world. Search optimization conservatives risk becoming obsolete very quickly. The best people keep looking under the hood and discovering (and sharing) new stuff all the time.
One piece of advice to the SEOs out there? Push for industry standards. "Standards" are not the same as certifications. Standards level the playing field. No one has to pass a test to adopt a standard. If we had a true standards body everyone both inside and outside the industry would know what to expect from a typical search engine optimization strategy, from the people who perform the service, and from the community as a whole. Until we begin establishing true standards for metrics, key performance indicators, and "best practices" hiring anyone to do SEO work - either in-house or as an outside provider - is a very risky proposition for everyone.
Favorite things in general? Favorite color is a deep, rich blue. Favorite food is a garlic burger, either ground beef or bison.
I spend a lot of free time walking in the woods but I still enjoy seeing new science fiction and fantasy movies at the theater.
What you want to be known for in the SEO space? If people only say I inspired them to question everything they read and hear about search engine optimization and Web marketing, and to think critically about the assumptions and claims that are shared every day, that will be enough. But I hope they enjoyed the jokes, too.
Michael also told me a story about his family: My father is a World War II vet who served in both Europe and the Pacific. As an army medic he helped find and treat survivors of the atomic bomb strikes in Japan. My mother was a nurse and lab technician. She also held administrative positions in multi-doctor offices and family planning clinics. Both my parents taught me to stand up for what is right regardless of the odds. My wife shares my love of the outdoors and we have spent a lot of time hiking in the woods. We have crossed the USA together, and with our dogs. She is by far the better mountain hiker.