Q: What "IS" an SEO Specialist?

A: Someone who helps you create income!

An SEO Specialist is someone who provides answers and information you need so you can optimize your own Web site and push it to a that elusive page 1 search position. I don't play games or avoid answering questions. I am "up-front" and honest so that you will know what I am doing and why. I'm here to help you with answers, teach you, work with you. If you would rather hire me to perform the work for you, head to this form where you can provide some preliminary information to get a bid on your project. If your business serves a local community, such as Bellingham, WA, then the work becomes easier. Bellingham SEO Specialist would be the term best used to address a local search for my work, although I work Nationally.

What "you" want is traffic. Traffic to your site means sales, because you get "numbers" - and numbers mean sales. Regardless of whether you are selling a product or service, you want traffic to your site. An SEO Specialist is the person you turn to in order to make that happen. Request A Bid NOW!

Becoming an SEO specialist requires at least 5 years experience applying optimization to Web site pages with great success. Of course success is a matter of opinion in many cases. Bellingham SEO success means getting pages of a Web site (even just 1) into a page 1 Search Engine Results Page (SERP) for a highly relevant search term (keyword term) to the content on the clients' page in order to increase your traffic. What that means to you is, a specialist is someone who has learned the skills and knowledge to successfully optimize pages of a Web site to generate more traffic. It takes years to learn what needs to be done and even longer to hone those skills.

You've worked hard on your Web site. In the end, you have to drive traffic to your site in order to make all your hard work pay off. But you do not want just "any" traffic. You want "qualified" traffic. That means, you want traffic to your site that is interested in what products or services you are selling. Many people will tell you they can get your site into the top of the search engines, but they don't tell you that they got you on page 1 for "flavored crackers" when you sell shoes. That would be "un-qualified traffic".

Search engine optimization is just 1 of the tools to do that, although it may very well be the biggest tool. What is "best" for you is something that an SEO specialist and you should discuss because there may be a better tool for you and your situation. With an honest and highly experienced SEO specialist, you will learn what works well, and what works in your specific situation or demographics.

Can someone begin to apply SEO in less than a few years? Yes - well maybe. But to call themselves a "specialist" is wrong without having the background and "time on the job" to gain the experience necessary. Paying someone who has not attained the knowledge and expertise of a specialist usually ends badly for the customer. So beware about hiring someone who "sells" you on their services. If you feel as if you are being "sold", pass on that person and search for someone who is not selling, but providing accurate and useful information about what they find in the pages of your site. You want the developer to tell you all about what they found in your site, and how it should be fixed.

Where can I learn to become an SEO Specialist? Are there classes somewhere?

YES! Right here within T.A. Garrison, LLC!

Weekly Meetings

That's correct! Every Wednesday at 11:00 (Pacific Standard Time - PST), we stream a 1-hour meeting on one aspect of SEO which is different each week. Eventually, we circle back to similar topics, but the meetings are "always" different no matter how many times we've discussed the topic.

In the menu at the fop of this page, click on the down arrow next to "SEO Specialist" and you will find a "Live Stream Registration" link. Click on that to register for the next meeting. As an alternative, you can also join in Zoom through "SEO for Small Business". Additionally, all meetings are recorded and found in YouTube.com/@SEO-Tom where they have been growing weekly for nearly 2 years. All the meetings are free, but do require registration.

SEO Specialist Defined

Bellingham SEO specialists, along with any other territory, should have at least 2 years of instruction or learning from a credible source. Basically, a specialist should have at least 7 years experience under his or her belt that includes positioning many Web site pages into a page 1 position before telling people they are a specialist and that they can do what you need for your site pages. Those who have search engine optimization experience through that amount of time understand what's necessary and know how to avoid being pulled into the "latest greatest" information that is usually from a highly suspect source. I have nearly 25 years experience.

You may even ask why the specific term, Bellingham SEO Specialist is used in this page as opposed to "some other" term that is more highly searched. When you are optimizing a page, and you always work on 1 page at a time, it's best to begin with a "local" keyword term. Even if you are doing business nationally or internationaly, start with local. It's easier and faster to attain a great local search position. Once you have that, you can optimize "another" page (or pages) for national searches. After you have attained that great local position, "that" page creates more authority for your Web site overall so that you carry more weight. At that point you'll have a better chance for another page of your site to attain a page 1 nationally.

Search engine optimization requires a great deal of experience in order to quickly review and understand what and how things need to be addressed. Unfortunately, it's difficult for a developer to prove that a site found in a page 1 SERP was the work of that particular developer. Many site owners make significant changes to their site pages and that pushes the pages from a page 1 SERP to more than 10 pages back in the search results. There are many reasons that a site is no longer in a page 1 SERP, so you have to understand that the developer may not be able to show you sites that have been successfully optimized and attained a page 1 SERP.

Someone recently said a mouthful when they were talking about how a developer and Web site owner should be "teachable". That means both parties need to communicate well and "listen" to the other and be willing to do something - perhaps differently than they may have thought. An "expert" did not become one by ignoring people.

Additionally, any SEO Expert will tell you that the best way to learn is to practice which means literally using your talents to get a page into a page 1 SERP position and repeating that with other pages until they are comfortable with the process.

SEO specialists need to review a clients' site to find what to change, where, and if the text needs to be increased or where to add keywords. In general, we're looking for a lot of text. Why? Because a page about any subject in a Web site needs to have more than simply "Here's Our Product" (or service). That doesn't tell anybody anything about the product. You need to write as if you are talking to someone. Make the text conversational. Search engines look for not just a lot of text on the page, but text that is written as "conversational text" - like you are just talking to someone.

Today, it's not enough to just have some keywords, headings and a few paragraphs. Why? Because when you search, do you stay long on pages that don't answer your questions, resolve a problem, or provide what you really came to find? The answer is "No". So do not expect your own Web site pages to "engage" people if you do not write compelling text as if you were talking to someone.

Content Needs Passion

True or false? When you talk to someone about your product or service, you are very passionate. That passion needs to come across "naturally" in the text for the page you expect to attain a good (SERP). That means, getting into a page 1 or page 2 position. So if you do not have a lot of text on one page (and Google, in 2022, wants to see between 600 to 700 words on a page) then you need to stop your attempts to optimize the page and reconsider the text on the page(s). TEXT is what SEO is all about - NOT images or fancy whatever. And keyword phrases do not hold the same authority they used to have. Today, google is not as interested in all the number of times you used your keyword terms as much as they are training their bots to read the text and see if it's "natural", "conversational", and not something from an AI...that will get you into trouble.

When you are considering a page to optimize, you need to plan. Part of the specialists job is to"research" keywords (A.K.A. keyword phrases / keyword terms). Now you don't just search 1 word at a time. Nobody searches with one word. So don't consider anything less than 2-word combinations. Single keywords will appear in your writing just by thinking you are talking to someone about your product(s) / service(s), which is the best method I teach people about how to write good content. To be clear, you should and will most likely research keyword terms for a few days. Why? Because there are many, many ways that people search to find what "you" have in your Web site. Using the terms in natural, conversational text on your pages is what the search engines require.

Today's SEO Specialists know that search engines now place a much higher value on quality, engaging content compared to just a few years ago.

Keyword Terms / Phrases

SEO for your page needs to begin with keyword phrases research. There are a number of different sites where you can research, but ultimately you are trying to satisfy google. Therefore, do your research "in" google using the AdWords Keyword Planner. If that link doesn't take you directly to the planner, or where you log in to use the planner, please let me know because google likes to change things all the time. There are suggestions while you search and you need to be aware of them so you can look through the list to see if "something else" might be better than the keyword phrase you are planning.

Keyword phrases must be your starting point. You begin searching with terms / phrases you believe are good for the page. As you search your term you will see a lot of other terms appear in a list below the term you searched. Each of the lines of terms has a number indicating how many searches are done monthly for that particular term. If the term has fewer than 1,000 (A.K.A. 1k) searches monthly, seriously consider a different term. Always look for terms that have the highest number of searches monthly.

Let's say you used the term you had initially and you got the page into a page 1 SERP. But, the term has less than 1k monthly searches. On average, you will be "lucky" to get 1% of the number of monthly searches to click on your link to your site page. If you are happy with 10 people monthly coming to your site, then continue your approach. If you are like most, you will look for terms that have a "minimum" of 1k monthly searches. You want terms that are searched often by as many people as possible. If the best you can find is 10k, that's fine. The idea is to get several pages of your site into a page 1 SERP and not just 1 page. Each page will use different keyword terms because each page has different information / a different subject.

NOTE: Your home page is not usually the page that appears in a page 1 SERP. Generally, your home page is not specific to 1 thing (unless you only sell 1 service or 1 product). Optimize your site pages so that each page targets a different term. Optimize each page properly and with however many pages you have in your site, you have that many chances of getting a page 1 SERP.

I've created "step-by-step" information about how to go through the optimization process. In order for you to learn the steps and tricks, please read the "Learn to Apply SEO FREE". There are several pages and each is written so that even the novice can understand. In fact, I wrote the information specifically for those who know nothing about optimization. You won't find most of the information anywhere else.

What Should I Look For in a Developer?

That's a great question. Think about the above paragraph - Passion. If the developer is passionate about his or her work, you'll know. They don't just keep trying to "sell" you. The passionate developer loves to talk about and teach (at least a little) people what's important and why. An "unqualified" developer will continually "sell" you on using them for their services. A "qualified" developer will listen to you, ask a lot of questions, and provide a tremendous amount of information - for free. So ask yourself this. Have candidates (individuals as well as companies) always "sold" you their service(s)? Do they act like they have had too much coffee and want to hurry and get started? Or, do they listen to your needs, ask about your business to understand what you are selling as well as provide information that nobody else has bothered to tell you?

Think about the last time you had an "awesome" experience purchasing something from a person who truly listened to you and provided you exactly what you wanted. Wouldn't you say that person was very "passionate" about their work? Would you also say the person listened so closely that they provided exactly what you wanted when others never even came close? THAT is passion!

Any SEO expert will tell you SEO is a very complex and convoluted subject that requires "hands-on" experience with hundreds of Web sites. In order that the developer truly understands, as opposed to simply learning the basics and hanging out a sign that says they know how, the developer must learn by "hands-on" optimization applications. Think of it like someone who is "book-smart" but not very "street-smart". Classroom learning is absolutely good as long as it's with a qualified teacher. But the problem begins with those who either take just a "few" classes, or learn from gathering information on the Net and don't study "enough" information. It can take years to pick up "enough" information, verify that information, test that information, learn more and....pretty much, "rinse and repeat" for years to be able to push a site from hundreds of pages back to page 1 search results.

An specialist should be teachable / coach-able and not be so "rigid" that they refuse to do things other than their own way. This person needs to show you that they are willing to listen and apply what you feel is necessary. It takes a great deal of communication from both parties to get a project completed that leaves everybody happy.