Devil’s in the Data: Scientists of Search Trading Cards

By Monique Pouget

When we first started brainstorming content for our “Science of Search” month, I couldn’t stop thinking about the scientists that made these analyses and strategies possible. Without them, we’d just have a whole lot of data with little interpretation, which would be pretty disappointing.

Thankfully, we have plenty of super smart Scientists of Search that help us understand search engines in new ways, encourage us to take advantage of available resources, and most importantly, show us how to use data to inform decisions. They’re the number crunchers, the data analyzers, the big thinkers. In a nutshell: They’re cooler than you.

Scientists of Search - Thunder SEO

In the spirit of geeking out and having fun, our talented designer created these epic trading cards to share with friends. Without further adieu, here are our six favorite Scientists of Search!

1. Matt Cutts

Matt Cutts Scientists of Search Trading Card

If you’re an SEO, and you don’t know who Matt Cutts is, you’re doing it wrong! Matt’s the head of webspam at Google, where he and his team work hard to deliver the best search results possible.

In addition to bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and computer science, Cutts’ has also earned a Masters of Science, landing him a primetime spot on our Scientists of Search list.

Over the years, Matt has become the face of Google Engineers, often speaking at conferences or sharing interesting insights within the 500+ videos on the Google Webmasters YouTube Channel. Are you a Cuttlet too? Join the club.

Matt’s Blog | Matt’s Twitter | Matt’s Google+

2. Avinash Kaushik

Avinash Kaushik Scientists of Search Trading Card

On the hunt for the ultimate GA resource? Look no further than Avinash Kaushik!

As Google’s Digital Marketing Evangelist, Avinash is the authority on innovative marketing strategies that rely heavily on data. Kaushik shares practical analytical insights on his blog, and if you ever have the opportunity to be inspired by one of his brilliant keynotes, do yourself a favor and don’t miss out!

In 2009, Avinash received the Harry V Roberts Statistical Advocate of the Year award, and in 2011, the Most Influential Industry Contributor award from the Web Analytics Association. At the beginning of 2013, Kaushik joined the intelligent Scientists of Search lineup, clearly his most prestigious honor yet!

Avinash’s Blog | Avinash’s Twitter | Avinash’s Google+

3. Annie Cushing

Annie Cushing Scientists of Search Trading Card

If you’re anything like Annie and I, you think spreadsheets are sexy, and you want to shout it from the mountaintops!

Cushing is definitely my go-to source of wealth for all things data, and I’m positive I’ve learned more from her than any other course I have ever taken. Anyone that’s ever tried presenting Excel tutorials to a huge crowd knows it’s no easy task, but she makes it seem painlessly simple.

From Microsoft Excel formatting to crazy site audit checklists, Annie’s got your back when it comes to powerful data analysis your clients or C-levels will love!

Annie’s Blog | Annie’s Twitter | Annie’s Google+

4. Bill Slawski

Bill Slawski Scientists of Search Trading Card

Did you know there are tons of patents filed by search engines like Google and Bing that give us insight into how these complicated systems work and rank pages?

While that’s awesome, the average SEO can’t interpret these whitepapers, research and filings, but Bill Slawski can! That’s because he’s a former Trial Court manager and technologist who is also armed with a Juris Doctor Degree. Slawski breaks down patents into layman’s terms, making interpretation for us common folk a little more accessible.

If you want to get a unique, and underrepresented perspective on the direction major search engines are headed, check out Slawski’s blog and prepare to be wow’d.

Bill’s Blog | Bill’s Twitter | Bill’s Google+


5. Dr. Pete Meyers

Dr Pete Meyers Scientists of Search Trading Card

In 2010, Google made over 500 small algorithm improvements that resulted in some big changes to search results, and Big G can’t stop, won’t stop. In other words, storm’s a brewing, but thankfully Dr. Pete is here to help predict the weather!

That’s because Dr. Pete and the Moz team created MozCast, a tool to help us keep track of the day-to-day changes in the Google algo.

As the Resident Marketing Scientist at SEOmoz and a proud earner of a Doctorate of philosophy degree, Dr. Pete’s main pursuit is to make data look cool while communicating its meaning to others, and he consistently succeeds.

Dr. Pete’s Blog | Dr. Pete’s Twitter | Dr. Pete’s Google+


6. Vanessa Fox

Vanessa Fox Scientists of Search Trading Card

Vanessa Fox is an esteemed presenter, author, creator of one of our favorite Google Tools, and all-around super smarty pants.

Fox earned her seat in our Scientists of Search series by being a huge advocate of using data to inform marketing decisions, and using this information to acquire customers through organic search.

Whether you’re looking for expertise in search analytics tools, personas, or user experience, get to know Vanessa.


Vanessa’s Blog | Vanessa’s Twitter | Vanessa’s Google+

Did we miss your favorite Search Scientist on this list? While we wish we could include every genius in search, these are the ones that stood out most to us. However, we’d love to learn more about your favorite brainiac, so drop us a line in the comments!

Note: We would LOVE for you to share these cards with your friends, family, neighbors, blog readers, Twitter followers, and the like (Shoot, why don’t you just print them out and wheatpaste them on your local stop sign?!), but we only ask that you please (PRETTY PLEASE!) give credit to Thunder, since we invested a lot of time and research into this project. Full resolution sizes are available by clicking on each trading card. Thanks in advance!

Share with Your Colleagues:
  • Dr. Pete

    I can say, with all sincerity and humility: “IT’S ABOUT DAMNED TIME!” ;)

    • Hopefully, it’s more sincerity and less humility! Thanks Dr. Pete, you rule.

  • Hey I’m getting a 404 under Vanessa Fox for “Favorite Google Tools” Cute idea!

  • These. Are. Awesome.

    FYI: The link to Vanessa’s Google tool is not functioning. :(

    • THANKS ANDREW!!! We’re really pumped on them too! Also, link hath been fixed-eth.

  • Hi Monique.

    I’m a big fan of trading cards – don’t know if you saw the series of trading cards for inventors that the USPTO published on their website a couple of years ago (

    I’d love to see a set of trading cards for inventors at the search engines.

    Arch Nemesis – People stuck on PageRank – that’s pretty much spot on. :)

    Thank you for including me in this post, and for surrounding me by such a great group of people.


    • Thank you Bill! Haven’t seen the USPTO Trading Cards before, but they are so fun! Andrew Norcross also brought these WordCamp cards to my attention yesterday:

      Happy to hear your arch nemesis was appropriate! That field was definitely the most difficult part to research for each Scientist.

      We are so appreciative of your knowledge, so thank YOU for earning a spot on this list!!!