"Michael's depth of experience and success in even highly competitive fields makes him a terrific choice as a consultant or partner. There is perhaps, no greater praise I can offer than this: I've tried to hire Michael personally at SEOmoz. He's that good."
- Rand Fishkin, founder of Moz, founder of Sparktoro
"I've known and worked with Michael Cottam for years. He attacks problems with an intense focus and will not rest until he's cracked them. Michael focus on continuous improvement, both personally and professionally, speak to the well-rounded technologist he is. I'd work with Michael again in a heartbeat; I'd definitely want Michael on my team."
- Scott Hanselman, Partner Program Manager, Microsoft
"I don't know what to say about Michael Cottam other than he's someone who I wish I could get to work exclusively with full time. In 15 years of working within the web in various roles and verticals, I have never met any contractor/consultant, who is as honest and trustworthy as Michael. He doesn't over-promise and under deliver, he does the exact opposite. His business model for his services is literally set in such a way where he sacrifices revenue opportunity simply because it is the honest and ethical thing to do for his clients. Who does that? SEO is a minefield of quasi-professional people, who will sometimes take short-cuts and put your business at risk in order to achieve some quick gains, and often they charge obscene amounts of money for something that could have harmful long term effects. Not Michael, Michael is a white hat operator who truly takes the time to get to know your company, your goals, challenges within the vertical, and a level of detail that I have just never experienced before. I could not be happier with his work performance and my only complaint, which is not a fair one, is that he's not available to work full time for my company."
- Sean Sullivan, Founder & CEO, HealthNetwork
If you want your business to be found by new customers on the Internet, you need to get serious about organic search optimization for your website–especially Google.
Ranking well in Google’s search results can bring a huge amount of new business. You can learn how to do this yourself–I did, over a period of 8 years, for the honeymoon registry and travel company I co-founded, and for 11 years since then, doing SEO consulting–or you can hire someone like me to do it for you.
Improving your search engine rankings today involves many skills and techniques, from link-building to on-page optimization to click-through and conversion testing…and Google, Yahoo! and Bing are changing the rules all the time. What worked great a year ago might not work so well today–in fact, it might even get you penalized by the search engines. And even if your site isn’t penalized today, a thorough understanding of both the Penguin and Panda algorithms is critical as you build content and implement your social media and link-building projects. Google algorithm updates have been coming fast and furious over the past few years, with major changes like Hummingbird, Medic, and the recent focus on E-A-T (expertise, authority, and trust).
Current knowledge of the search engines, SEO tools, and SEO best practices, plus a strong understanding of business, customers, and conversion to sales are key to growing your business and making your SEO investment pay.
I help my clients with the following:
- site architecture
- internal linking strategy
- keyword research and competitive analysis
- topical analysis
- SEO best practices & site audits
- on-page tuning for maximum benefits from Panda
- Google penalty recovery, including backlink analysis for both algorithmic and manual penalties
- local search optimization
- white-hat link-building strategies
- optimization of your social media strategy and processes for SEO
- pagination and duplicate content issues
- rel=canonical configuration
- rich content strategies, including search-optimized photo galleries, Google Maps API, embedded video, etc.
- XML sitemaps
- page speed analysis and recommendations
- Yoast WordPress SEO plugin configuration
- semantic markup via schema.org
I don’t do paid search advertising (PPC) for Google Ads nor for Facebook or other social media channels–while I’m somewhat familiar with each of these, they are not areas I consider myself to be an expert in.
You should not come to me for fashion advice. I like Hawaiian shirts way too much.
I’m an Associate at Moz, occasionally writing articles for their main blog (including a Whiteboard Friday session) and answering questions from the Moz members in their Q&A section. I’m a past board member of SEMpdx, Portland’s search marketing organization, which puts on monthly search marketing educational events as well as the annual Engage conference (aka SearchFest).
I currently live in Bend, in beautiful Central Oregon, with my fianceé and our three children.