Working With Michael

Who You’re Really Working With

I do the core technical SEO work and research. While I do have staff to do some of the more cut-and-dried things, the audit and on-page recommendations are going to come from me. At any time when I feel you’re better served by having someone else do a task, you’ll know exactly who it is who’s working for you.

I have a handful of employees and subcontractors (e.g. Mark Pernotto, Adelle Dittman of Dittman Design, and Rich Bergland of Bergland Design) whom I work with who do things like implement my recommendations on web pages, web design of new pages, invoicing, keyword research, directory listing inconsistency cleanup, building out social media profiles, etc. As well, I frequently refer clients to colleagues whose work I know well and trust thoroughly–for things like paid search, Google shopping feed work, PR, link-building, content creation, etc.

In the fall of 2016, I partnered with Matt Brown (formerly Chief of Product Strategy and Design at Moz, and before that, Director of Search Strategy for the NY Times Company). If I’m backed up with existing projects, and/or the client’s business calls for Matt’s experience with big publishing sites, I’ll offer the client the option of working with Matt instead of me. And, on occasion, a client may request both of us to look at some or all of the SEO tasks just for the safety of a second opinion.

If I can’t take on a client because I already have a client who’s a competitor, I’ll generally refer them to other SEOs I know well and trust: Aaron Rains, Scott Hendison, or John Doherty’s GetCredo site.

At all times you’ll know the names and contact info of the people doing the work for you.

Communicating With Me

I don’t answer unscheduled phone calls. I recognize I bill at a fairly high hourly rate, and don’t think it’s fair to take a call when I’m in the middle of doing work for another client. Even if I stop and restart my task timer, there’s often a substantial amount of time involved in getting my head back around what I was looking at for that client, and they shouldn’t have to pay for that extra time.

I typically fill my calendar solid about two weeks out with tasks and appointments for calls with clients. I try to leave a little bit of unscheduled time to handle “stuff that just comes up”. Some weeks that works better than others!

Working With Me Long-Term

You shouldn’t be.

After the initial keyword research, site audit, on-page recommendations, and some coaching calls, you’re not really going to need me going forwards on a monthly basis. You should stop spending money on people like me!

You WILL need to do ongoing marketing work, of course–involving people with better marketing skills than I, PR experts, content writers, etc. Do outreach, get yourself written up in the paper or an industry blog, or do a guest article for another site. I’ll coach you on getting started with that, and help you figure out how to find the right experts for that kind of work, but it’s not me, and it’s not SEO: it’s regular PR and marketing.

You will also need to do some ongoing work on your social media channels, promoting content and interacting with customers and communities. I’ll coach you on getting started with that too, and we can help you set up your social media profiles and process if you’re not already there. But on an ongoing basis, that’s going to be YOU doing the social media work.

Many (maybe most) of my clients come back to me on an occasional basis with little questions, or looking for a review after a major website update…things like that. No problem–my invoicing and time tracking system bills by the minute, so you can get an answer to a 5-minute question without breaking the bank. And if it’s really quick, I won’t bother charging at all.

Independent search engine optimization (SEO) consultant Michael Cottam. Independent SEO Consultant Michael Cottam
56859 Gina Lane, Bend, OR US 97707 (503) 283-0177
PO Box 4279, Sunriver, OR US 97707 (503) 283-0177
43.865158 -121.480477