People often ask me why I position myself as an SEO expert witness. Don’t you have enough students in your Bay Area search engine optimization classes? Don’t you make enough money off of your popular SEO books on Amazon? Don’t you have enough adoring fans on your YouTube channel? Don’t you have enough consulting clients that you don’t need to put your finger in the messy pie of legal disputes? Continue reading
People often call me on the phone and inquire about my skills as an SEO expert. I love to joke around, and so I will often ask them, how did you find me? And they will usually say something like I Googled “SEO expert San Francisco,” or I searched on Bing for SEO consultants in the San Francisco Bay Area. And then I will say, “Well, who was at the top of that search?” And then they will usually say, “Well, you were.:
So then I say to them does that imply to you that I might be an expert when I’m near the top of the page, or at the top of the page for search engine optimization in what is arguably the most technologically sophisticated region in the world – the San Francisco Bay Area? I don’t want to sound arrogant, but that usually explains to them that I must know something, and can probably help them.
So the average small business owner or marketer who calls me is actually easy to persuade that I actually know what I’m doing. Moreover, if we actually engage on an SEO consulting project, I try my best to provide detailed reporting, and that reporting usually shows an improvement in their rank on Google or Bing, as well as an improvement in their web traffic and even their sales. In fact, if we don’t improve, then I would expect them to fire me. They can go hire someone else and see if someone else is better. That’s okay by me because I’m not a genius just an expert.
Technical SEO vs. Content / Social SEO
However, in other venues, it is not quite so easy to be seen as an expert in SEO. My beloved SEO industry is plagued by extremely arrogant, technical people. These people come historically out of the original wave of technical SEO and they believe that if you do not know how to code in Java or C, if you did not get a degree in computer science from Yale University, or if you’ve never configured a Novell network, you cannot possibly be someone who is an expert in SEO.
I, however, am not a believer in technical SCO. At least not anymore. So we don’t really get along – this technical SEO camp and the camp I live in, which I would call the content / social camp of SEO.
The reason for this is that more and more, good content is important for Google, and social authority is increasingly important as well. Links remain the most dominant factor that helps someone in their Google rank, and after the Penguin update, it is increasingly difficult to game the system. SEO is increasingly becoming a game of content and social authority. This does not play well into the technical camp, and like so many unhappy campers in history before them, they become increasingly angry, frustrated, and pseudo-arrogant as the curtain closes on their particular skill set. As it stands, it’s best to specialize in a specific industry and do it really well. This means you won’t spread yourself too thin trying to understand the industry your client is in, which is important for good SEO. For example, a roofing SEO company would be able to bring better business to roofers and be able to bring lots of positive change to their online presence.
Another area that frustrates me about being a true expert in search engine optimization is book sales. I self published my SEO Fitness Workbook on Amazon, and am usually in at least the top 10 bestsellers for search engine optimization, if not one of the top two or three in the category. Am I published by some prestigious New York City publisher? No. But does that matter in today’s book selling market? No. What matters is book sales, and what matters is honest reviews by real readers that tell a legitimate tale of a book that actually helped them.
So am I an SEO expert in the eyes of many of the technical smarty-pants of the search engine optimization industry? Probably not. Am I considered an expert by the New York City publishing community? Probably not
But am I an expert where it counts? Yes. I am generally at the top of Google for Bay Area searches for SEO expert or SEO consultant, I generally help my clients to dominate the search engines and provide metrics that substantiate that achievement, and my books not only sell well on Amazon but also receive very good reviews.
An Expert Where it Really Matters: Results
To be an expert where it counts is what matters to me.
I don’t know how your life is, but my life, especially my professional life, is one of work work work work work work work and then finally succeed. I have been teaching classes and courses in both SEO and social media marketing here in the San Francisco Bay area since about 2008. Roundabout 2009 or 2010, I can’t exactly recall, I realized that I needed to put my materials into book format. In fact, I have to credit many of my students who begged, pleaded, and cajoled me into creating my very popular worksheets on search engine optimization.
Somewhere in or around that timeframe, I put the SEO Fitness Workbook together. I got my act together and I published it on Amazon for the first time, thinking that if I made a few dollars from Amazon it would be wonderful, so why not. To Amazon’s credit it has made it easier than ever to self publish, and the royalties that one gets as a direct self publisher are quite a bit better than one would make from a traditional publishing company. In fact, I am not exactly sure what a traditional publishing company brings to the party anymore now that Amazon has nearly complete market dominance, and the bookstore has all but died at a local level, especially for nonfiction.
New 2016 Version of the SEO Fitness Workbook
At any rate, I published a new version of my SEO Fitness Workbook in December, 2015, and this has been my most successful version to date. The book is selling extraordinarily well on Amazon, which generates some money, which I can send send off to an undisclosed Eastern College, where my daughter is a student and that money helps pay for her tuition. Believe me, if you have a child in college, you are anything but wealthy!
More importantly, I am receiving incredibly positive feedback and many wonderful questions from people who are reading the 2016 SEO book. In fact, hardly a day goes by that I do not get an interesting question or comment from someone about the book, and many of those people are not in the United States. I have had questions from people in Canada, Australia, Switzerland, and many countries scattered around the globe.
So, in sum, I am just tickled pink at the success of the SEO Fitness Workbook, and this motivates me to update it for 2017, as well is to work hard on a new Internet job search handbook that is my current pet project. If you would like a review copy of the latter, please shoot me an email.