The news of Mr Slawski’s death was announced by Go Fish Digital, who said in a tweet on Thursday, May 19: “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.”
According to his friend, Barry Schwartz, Mr Slawski passed away on Tuesday, May 17.
“Bill Slawski is someone I would coin the mentor to the SEO community,” Mr Schwartz said.
“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.”
He added: “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 correcting 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,” he said.
“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.”
He added: “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.”
Following the news, fellow SEO community members, as well as friends and family, paid tribute to Bill.
Search Pilot CEO Will Critchlow wrote on Twitter: “RIP Bill. He had a huge influence on me, and I’m thankful he came to see me speak that time I built a huge part of my presentation as a tribute to ways of thinking I learned from him. So sorry to hear this.”
Real estate podcaster Matt McGee said: “So, so sad. He was such a smart and generous man. A true legend in SEO. We’ll all miss him tremendously.”
Another person wrote: “Great loss for his family, colleagues and whole SEO – Web Community. You inspired enourmous number of SEOs all around the world about how to think and understand search engine. Thank you so much for all your contributions to SEO community”
“I’ll never forget meeting Bill at that SEO meetup in the Arlington library all those years ago. I learned a lot from Bill while working with him for the past 9 years. He helped GFD and the SEO community every day! We’ll miss you Bill!” said another person.
One person wrote: “So sad. I’ve known Bill for more than 20 years. He dropped me a note just recently when he found out my new HQ was in San Diego and I’m due to go there in a couple of weeks. I really valued our long time friendship, and such a great contribution to the industry. RIP Bill.”
MOGmedia Founder Martin MacDonald wrote: “If anyone, ever deserved a Lifetime Achievement award for services to our industry, it’s @bill_slawski. Rest In Peace man.”
“My heart is broken,” another person said.
Sad day. RIP, @bill_slawski. One of the greats,” wrote another Twitter user.
“Bill Slawski was a good friend. Originally we met at Crea8asite Forums and he gave me the confidence to launch SEJ. A few years later, I somehow talked Bill into quitting his Court Clerk job and working together on SEO full time in Havre de Grace, MD.” a friend wrote.
The cause of death has not been released.
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