According to his Twitter bio, Bob Gladstein was an “organic SEO guy; unhipster from a hipster town” – which is an incredibly accurate and self-aware term for him to use. A 22-year SEO veteran, Bob exuded humility and helpfulness. There wasn’t a bit of pretentiousness in his personal or work life demeanor – and he routinely took the time to answer search questions from fellow SEOs.
Bob spent 9 years serving as a tutor at the now-defunct Search Engine College – an online training institution offering instructor-led courses in search engine optimization. He served as a moderator for the High Rankings Forum for 13 years, where he made helpful contributions to the SEO community. He worked for a variety of websites, including Monster.com, GSN Games and Liberty Mutual – and did freelance SEO work for 19 years through his Raise My Rank SEO Services company. In 2015, Bob joined Overdrive Interactive, which is how I met him.
Working with Bob for six years, I got to experience his SEO expertise first-hand. When I was an SEO manager at Spectrum Enterprise, we hired Overdrive Interactive as a partner SEO vendor. Bob was instrumental in identifying technical SEO problems on our website, as well as finding new content opportunities. I would routinely ask him how he discovered specific technical SEO issues – to which he freely shared with me his go-to tools. Each year we brainstormed new SEO tactics, such as launching hundreds of new FAQ pages, crafting hyperlocal pages to target key local markets, and engaging in focused keyword operations involving internal cross-linking to boost rankings for specific keywords. Every tactic we engaged in worked – and we tracked our results in BrightEdge. We met in person every quarter to celebrate our wins, brainstorm new ideas and talk about life and cats.
On Friday, July 16, 2021, Bob passed away unexpectedly at the age of 57. His death was a loss for the greater SEO community and for me personally. If it weren’t for Bob, my knowledge of technical SEO would be greatly diminished. In many ways, I owe my growth as an SEO to my collaboration with him and the Overdrive team. I wouldn’t even know what to look for in a technical SEO audit, if Bob hadn’t conducted such audits multiple times for Spectrum Enterprise. On a personal note, I hope to be as helpful to up-and-coming SEOs as Bob was to me. May we all be as humble and helpful as Bob – the unhipster from a hipster town.