Whiteboard Friday

A complete history

Brought to you by Edge45 Digital Marketing Agency in York

Whiteboard Friday...

It's the place where everybody who's anybody in the world of SEO cut their teeth.

The place where ideas are the currency that dissipate out through an industry thirsty for innovation.

And the place where concepts are aired, and opinions shared on how to take things forward in the best ways possible.

This interactive infographic pays homage to Whiteboard Friday. To what it stands for, and what it has helped to achieve.

Because after 11 years WBF is more than just a vlog. It's a way of life.

Join us as we drill deep into the history of the series to find the most common topics of all time, and over time; the biggest contributors, and the one-hit wonders; the milestones in its rich history; and, most importantly, the many faces (and shirts) of Rand Fishkin.


Let's dive in!


What is the best Whiteboard Friday content

It didn't take long for WBF to hit its stride. A whole load of big SEO names contributed their ideas, and the content began to flow. But how has engagement evolved over the years, and which videos have resonated most strongly with the audience?

A lower like count doesn't necessarily mean lower engagement, it's just one metric.

Confused? Let us clarify: each dot is a post, each line is a year. The graph shows spread of likes for each year's content.


What are the most popular topics

Since its inception, WBF has had its finger on the pulse of the SEO industry. In tune with the ebb and flow of the zeitgeist, but immune to a shallow reliance on buzzwords.

Moz only started categorising WBF posts in 2014, which is why this graph doesn't cover the whole 11 years..

Advanced SEO 51
Content 43
Link Building 34
Basic SEO 33
Keyword Research 22
Search Engines 19
Technical SEO 13
On-page SEO 12
Marketing Industry 9
Local SEO 8
Paid Search Marketing 7
Analytics 6
Tools 6
Conversion Rate Optimization 5
User Experience 5
Blogging 4
Community Management 4
Competitive Research 4
Reporting 4
Branding 3
Consulting 3
Copywriting 3
Mobile 3
Social Media 3
E-Commerce 2
Moz Tools 2
Public Relations 2
Design 1
Events 1
Marketing Psychology 1
Online Advertising 1

The takeaway?

The most popular topic is advanced SEO, with 51 posts total. Content is next with 43. Mobile barely gets a look in with just three posts: Surprising given the increasing dominance of handheld devices.


Who are the biggest WBF kahunas?

It's no secret that Rand Fishkin is top dog, but who are the other most prominent SEO brains?

There are some triple-digit contributors, and lots of doubles, but do you know what most contributors are? One hit wonders.

Triple digit contributors

These guys are the marrow of WBF: the giants whose shoulders all the other contributors stand upon.

Without them, it's fair to say, WBF would not have become the institution that it is today.

To make things extra confusing, some videos posted by Scott were presented by Rand.

Rand Fishkin

262 posts

Scott Willoughby

144 posts

Double digit contributors

Aaron Wheeler

88 posts

Casey Henry

16 posts

Cyrus Shepard

15 posts

Dana DiTomaso

10 posts

Britney Muller

10 posts

Danny Dover

10 posts

One hit wonders

The folk whose contributions are no less important, but admittedly less glorious in number.

We've linked some of these WBF alumni through to their current projects - check them out.

Benjamin Estes • Sam MarsdenBarry Adams • Serge Stefoglo • Lea Pica • Shannon McGuirk • Jim Ewel • Marie Haynes • Samantha Noble • Ryan Stewart • Rebekah Cancino • George Freitag • Tom Anthony • Dan Petrovic • Ed Reese • Gianluca Fiorelli • Kerry Bodine • Michael Cottam • Ben Lloyd • Wil Reynolds • Adam Singer • Lena West • Nathalie Nahai • Ross Hudgens • Mackenzie Fogelson • Phil Nottingham • Brittan Bright • Danny Sullivan • Ron Garrett • Lauren Vaccarello • Rachael Gerson • Andrew Dumont • Erica McGillivray • DanaLookadoo • Nick Sayers • Dan Shure • Jonathon Colman • Jeff McRitchie • Rhea DrysdaleRob Kerry • Marshall Simmonds • Rick Perreault


What are the notable firsts?

Whiteboard Friday wasn't always the powerhouse that it is today. To achieve this level of greatness requires baby steps.

Here are some of the most notable milestones in the WBF history.

Rand's first moustache

Meta Eat Your Wheaties

Episode #1, March 29th 2007

Mr Fishkin is known for his refined style and hipster handlebar moustache, so we were expecting to have to dig deep to find this. But it turns out he sported a top-lip adornment from the very early days!

The first woman

Mozzers Take Manhattan

Episode #2, April 6th 2007

No room for controversy here. Unlike other industries, Whiteboard Friday didn't need protracted pressure to feature female presenters. Rebecca and Jane presented with Scott in the second edition, and the presenter list has continued to be mixed ever since.

The first non-Moz guest

Dingo Ate My Whiteboard

Episode #22, August 30th 2007

Lucas Ng, who is now head of marketing for a company in Sydney Australia, was the first guest not employed by Moz. A momentous occassion that hinted at Whiteboard Friday's increasing popularity and credibility.

The first transcript

How to Pitch SEO to Potential Clients and Employers

Episode #134, August 12th 2010

Initially you had to watch the whole video to get at the tasty insights it contained. Then videos were accompanied by written content. Since 2010, each video has had a transcript to read through at your leisure.

The first screenshot

Remove Unnecessary Steps & Win More Links, Shares, and Conversions

Episode #276, April 12th 2013

A screenshot of everything on the whiteboard was added as another aid to digesting the video's content.

The first categories

Breaking the SEO Rules: When Not to Follow Best Practices

Episode #334, May 30th 2014

Before this, WBF posts were just tagged "Whiteboard Friday", with no deeper organisational structure. Categories were introduced a whole six years after the episode where Scott talked about the importance of content categorisation (Episode #41, January 10th 2008).

The first video formats


"Meta Eat Your Wheaties"

Episode #1, March 20th 2007

TWELVE years ago..! Back when they were still called "Vidcasts".


PPC Basics

Episode #42, June 20th 2008

Looks like Moz need to tidy up the WBF posts that used Vimeo, because they are no longer accessible.


Keyword Strategies: Kill the Head or Chase the Tail

Episode #105, January 7th 2010


How have things changed over the years?

Today, the Moz blog is slick and WBF has highly polished production values; but it wasn't always so. The early days were a lot more ramshackle.

We dug deep into the Wayback Machine to find previous iterations of the Moz blog we know and love.

If you've been a Moz fan for a while, prepare for the sweet tang of nostalgia.

The takeaway?

It took a few years and a few facelifts for Moz to find its groove.

Around 2013 - several years after launch - they found the theme they like and stuck with it, barring minor tweaks.

If it's taking you a while to land on your site theme - don't fret!

Fifty Shades of Rand

Here's what you've been waiting for...

One of the perks of increased production values is a veritable cornucopia of fashion statements from Mr Fishkin.

What started as jazzy shirts and a moustache with a lot more wax than the average has slowly involved into a fancy dress extravaganza, and to be honest, we admire his dedication.

Here are some of his most audacious outfits.

Hover over an image to zoom in.

Plain Rand

"A popsicle in my favourite flavour... Plain!"

Comic Rand

Slightly better than Comic Sans.

Science Rand

That's right, test that hypothesis.

Drake Rand

He knows the memes.

Inigo Montoya Rand

You killed my father. Prepare to die.

The Incredible Rand

You wouldn't like him when he's angry.

Suave Rand


NFL Rand

Check bases!

Hamlet Rand

To SEO, or not to SEO?

Goro Rand

We're sure he's 'armless.

Santa Rand

Have you been naughty, or nice?

Magic Rand

"Et voila!"

Bluegrass Rand


Boxing Rand

Put up yer dukes!

Mission Impossible Rand

Tom Cruise, eat your heart out.

Siege weapon Rand

Because why the hell not?

Soccer Rand

(You mean football, right?)

Pogo Rand

Bouncing straight into your DMs.

Newspaper Boy Rand

Read all about it!

Air Force Punk Rand..?

Is there a joke we're missing..?

Magic Rand 2

This magician is of a different era.

Racing Rand

3, 2, 1... RAND!

Orator Rand

My fellow Americans...

Begging Rand

Spare any change links?

Fourth Wall Rand

Look at him break it.

More Jpeg Rand

I said more.

Swag Rand

Moz HQ definitely has a champagne fountain.

Dollar Store Zeus Rand


Hipster Santa Rand

So that's who delivers presents in Silicon Valley...

Kung Fu Rand

He's gonna kick your ass.

Claw Machine Rand

A prize every time!

Galvanised Rand

Net neutrality is very important.

Balloons Rand

Party over he-ere!

Woodsman Rand

He's an intrepid fella.

Carpenter Rand

Just look at him carpent!

Scooting Rand

Two wheels are better than four.

Mic Check Rand

Is this thing on?

Mythical Creatures Rand

Maybe unicorns are real.

Vintage Penguin Trainer Rand

... We don't know either.

Peeping Tom Rand

911? Yes, there's a man on my lawn.

Anchor Rand

That's "anchor" without a W.

Bomb Rand

Watch him EXPLODE!

Detective Rand

It's elementary, Watson.

Cocktail Rand

Shaken or stirred?

Scifi Rand

Robots and spiders aren't just for SEOs.

Janitor Rand

It's a noble side hustle!

Radiation Rand

Fetch the Geiger counter!

Clickbait Rand

You won't BELIEVE this one crazy SEO tip!

Mad Prof Rand

Full of great ideas.

A Rand of Many Hats

Sums it up, really!

Fifty Shades...

This guy loves to play dress-up. These fifty are, believe it or not, just the tip of the iceberg.

Built and researched by Chris.

Data collected and figures correct as of June 14th 2019.