An SEO expert witness is a person well-versed in On Page and Off Page SEO. That is, first, he can explain how web pages (and websites) are built to be Google-friendly, by inserting keywords and semantic text into strategy locations such as the TITLE tag, META DESCRIPTION tag, and the production of content. Second, he can explain how external or Off Page SEO tactics are used to communicate to Google. This can involve link-building, social media authority, and even the use of social mentions. Third, an efficient expert witness in search engine optimization is a person who can also explain metrics. What are the KPIs and goals? How are these measured in common analytics programs such as Google Analytics?
Next, an expert witness is a person with trial and deposition experience. That is, he is a person who has been in front of a judge and/or jury, and preferably certified in federal court or state court as an SEO expert witness. Those are the technical qualifications someone needs to be an expert witness in digital marketing.
After the technical requirements, however, an SEO expert witness – one who can really help your lawsuit or litigation – has something extra. What’s that? That something extra is the ability to take complex concepts and break them down into simple forms so that a judge, juror, or other attorneys can understand what is meant by Google, Bing, or Yahoo optimization.
Common Issues in SEO Litigation
Here are some of the more common issues in litigation involving search engine optimization. First, there is the issue of whether (or not, or how effectively) a website was optimized. Who did what, when, and how? SEO can seem like black magic to the uninitiated (judge, jury, opposing counsel), so the first common issue is to explain, forensically, what was done, when, by whom, and how. Obtaining the facts and analyzing the historical data is a key part of this first part. Second, there’s the issue of metrics and rank. Were records kept of the site’s rank over time? If so, a diligent and thorough SEO expert witness will create spreadsheets and other types of reports for the Court that indicate the website’s rank over time vis-a-vis the target keywords. Related to this, one needs to know the website traffic and whether that traffic resulted in goals such as sales leads or actual sales, as measured in a common e-commerce platform like Big Commerce or Google Analytics.
Second, lurking behind these basic metrics is the issue of so-called Black Hat vs. White Hat SEO. Black Hat SEO is the aggressive use of non-Google approved measure such as link farms or other types of surreptitious link-building. White Hat SEO, in contrast, is the use of more above-board techniques from Google, such as the proper use of Google Search Console or Bing Webmaster Tools to communicate with Google, Bing, or Yahoo. (It should be noted that Bing powers both Yahoo and Bing, whereas Google of course is its own pure play search engine).
Third, common issues in SEO litigation can be domain names, trademark infringement, and even copyright infringement due to “scraped” or “duplicate” content. A savvy SEO expert witness will have experience with these sorts of issues and be an asset to your legal team. He can obtain the facts necessary, interpret those facts into a report (if required) and stand ready for a deposition and/or witness stand should your litigation go all the way to trial. A smart SEO expert witness works hand-in-hand with your legal team. His job is to obtain the facts, interpret those facts based on his expertise, and to help you understand those facts vis-a-vis any legal issues.
Technical SEO vs. Content SEO
Most experts in search engine optimization come from a technical background. They may have a Ph.D. in computer science or job experience working as a computer programmer. The fact is that SEO, like web design, began as a technical skill. The reality today, however, is that it is not only a technical skill but also a marketing skill. To succeed at SEO, one needs an awareness of technical aspects such as “On Page” and “Off Page” SEO, but one also increasingly needs an understanding of Internet marketing, including but not limited to issues such as brand identity, brand-building, reputation management, and content marketing.
Good vs. Great SEO Expert Witness
Moreover, while a good expert witness in SEO has a firm technical foundation, a great SEO expert witness can take complex ideas and explain them to the “mere mortals” who would be a judge and/or jury.
As an SEO expert witness, I bring to the table:
- An understanding of the technical aspects of SEO, grounded in twenty four years experience working in Internet marketing and Website design.
- A background in teaching and training that allows me to take complex ideas and explain them to a judge and/or jury.
- Both trial and deposition experience.
- Experience researching and writing in-depth analyses of complicated SEO issues in a litigation environment.
Call me at +415-655-1071 or email me – I am happy to discuss your expert witness needs for free, no obligation! It’s no wonder that when people search for “SEO Expert Witness” or “SEO expert in San Francisco,” that they find Jason McDonald. The proof of the pudding, as they say, is in the eating.
Common Deliverables in an SEO Expert Witness Project
Many of my SEO consultant deliverables are transferable to the SEO Expert witness domain. I work with companies nation-wide, but often I consult with companies in the San Francisco Bay Area or Silicon Valley companies. Because of the Internet, it doesn’t really matter where your company (or lawsuit) is physically located. What matters is that you want an expert witness that has the credentials, the real experience, and the communicative abilities to speak to attorneys, judges, and juries. I provide professional SEO expert witness services based on the following search optimization tasks –
- Goal Assessment – what are / were the SEO goals? Web traffic? Goals? Inquiries?
- Keywords – Keywords are the foundation of good Internet marketing and SEO. Understanding the keywords at issue in any lawsuit is of paramount importance.
- On Page Optimization – on page SEO is the art (and science) of making website “talk” to Google, Bing, or Yahoo. In a litigation environment, this means assessing the extent to which a website did, or did not, succeed at this task.
- Off Page Optimization – off page SEO is largely the building of links to a website but also includes social mentions and social authority. This can range from white hat to gray hat to black hat SEO. I can “reverse engineer” the inbound link portfolio of either a plaintiff or defendant.
- Metrics – Google analytics and beyond. Today everything is about metrics, including PPC (pay-per-click) or AdWords advertising. Let me explain what mattered (and what didn’t) in your litigation or dispute.
- Rank – measuring where a site is on Google means measuring the starting point of the customer journey.
Any questions? Please contact me as your potential customers are out there searching, today!
SEO Expert Witness – California, San Francisco Bay Area – Silicon Valley – San Jose
I work with clients all over the world on their Search Engine Optimization, but many clients prefer to meet face-to-face. If you are not in the San Francisco Bay Area, San Jose, or Silicon Valley California, don’t worry. I work with many companies on their SEO needs over the phone and Internet, using the Gotowebinar software to consult with you as if I were in your office. For really large projects, I can even travel! But, that said, if you prefer to meet face to face, and are in the San Francisco Bay Area / San Jose area, we can formulate a great professional SEO expert witness relationship.
Updated: November 12, 2018