The SEOptimist

SEO made simple in Winston Salem.

Aside the SEO campaigns and consulting work I do, my mission is to be a resource for small business owners who aren’t sure where to begin or what tools to use. Whether you’re a bootstrapping entrepreneur or an aspiring SEO pro, I’d like to help you grow.

What Aspects of SEO Do You Want To Learn About?

Marketing Commentary

My thoughts, observations, and recommendations about SEO and marketing your business in general, based on 12+ years in the business.

On-Site SEO

What you need to know about writing and structuring your site’s content to help your site rank.

Backlinks

Having a rich backlink profile makes a big difference in your site’s ranking authority, but you need to do it carefully to avoid penalties.

Writing Craft

Rankings don’t matter if your content doesn’t build rapport and trust. Practical tips for stronger content.

Local Listings

Optimizing basics like Google Local and social channels, as well as tools to help you manage local directories.

Keyword Research

Before you can refine your SEO efforts, you have to create a list of target queries you’d like to rank for.

Design Craft

Layout and visual impression also play a huge part in holding attention and establishing rapport.

SEO Tools

Make your life easier with tools that empower and streamline your SEO efforts. Ones I recommend, and ones I don’t.

An SEO resource

This is a pretty complex field and I’ve encountered enough frustrated or perplexed business owners to understand the hurdles it creates. My goal is to break that down as much as possible.

SEO consulting

…can help you determine what’s missing from your site, what to prioritize, and who to follow. Straight to the goods. No fluff.

Hacks, Tricks, & Strategy

Everyone has an opinion about SEO. Some love it, some hate it, some profess to be experts at it, and some offer it as an add-on to a completely unrelated set of services. Who do you listen to?

I’ll tell you that in the 12+ years I’ve been doing this I’ve read hundreds of articles parroting the same information. Some of it correct, but trite, based on the latest assumptions about Google’s algorithms. (Or stuff that worked years ago and hasn’t been viable for awhile.)

My work, especially with this site and my Youtube channel, is largely about demystifying SEO. Whether that’s answering community questions, explaining how to set up and use various tools, or offering my opinions about things going on in the industry. There’s a lot of ego in marketing. I like to think that acting like a real person, having a real conversation, is what people want most — and what will win out.

The SEOptimist Philosophy

While we’re on that topic, let’s dispel a few other illusions.

SEO means a lot of things, and involves a lot of tools. Very few SEOs really do it all (at least without a long campaign), and that’s because that would require more than many clients have a budget for, and many aspects of SEO are a matter of diminishing returns in the short term.

But here’s a protip: it’s less about doing literally everything under the sun each month and more about doing a good group of core things really well.

You’re relying on skill and discernment for an efficient campaign. If there are 100 tools in this hypothetical toolbox, it’s often a game of picking the 25 at a time with the biggest bang for the buck.

I say that to say this: sometimes a person will see a marketer not using a given technique someone else does, and they’ll assume a lack of knowledge. SEOs often differ about the priority of certain tasks, or specialize in different areas, and it doesn’t mean that either are wrong.

Other times you’ll see the opposite scenario. Often times each component of SEO is simply referred to as “SEO”, even if that component is a fairly small piece of it. Owning one hammer doesn’t necessarily make you a carpenter.

Feedback About The SEOptimist From Winston Salem & Greensboro

Ian McIlwraith

Not only was his work high quality, but he offered valuable & easy to understand insights and tips into continuing to boost the SEO performance of the site moving forward. I highly recommend The SEOptimist for the SEO needs of any small business!

Alex Garcia, Wolf Creative

The difference in the site was significant after Brian started making changes — we looked at our Adsense numbers and saw a huge jump in traffic.

Troy Hurst, Planet Reflex

Brian did a tremendous job in shooting a series of video segments, to help promote my business. He was punctual, flexible in creating different video shots and patient, as we did several segments which required re-taping and edits. I would highly recommend Brian and applaud his creativity, attention to detail and production talent and will use him again for future work. Thanks, Brian!

Nelson S. – Nissen House

Brian’s advice and explanations were more thorough and thoughtful than I’d expected, and he is very generous with his time. Thanks a million for the help!

Yamile McBride

Brian is very knowledgeable and passionate about anything he does. He has helped our company find ways to grow using powerful tools that make life simpler. He knows data and why we were not getting the results we were looking for. One thing is to know how to market another is understanding what that translates to. He goes above and beyond finding the best solution for his clients and for that I am confident in our continued growing relationship.

Felicia Jones – Koda’s Plea

As a volunteer web developer for our nonprofit Koda’s Plea, Brian has taken this role seriously by using his graphic design skills and technical computer skills to create, design, implement and monitor Koda’s Plea website. At any time if I see a need pertaining to our website Brian is always eager to assist and completes the task within 24 hours. Brian has shown me that he is a natural leader in developing our website and I am proud to have him to be a part of our volunteer team and has my highest endorsement/recommendation for any company seeking a web developer. Thank you Brian.

Stephen Bagby, Cool Breeze 1250

Brian at The SEOptimist was a game changer for us. His blog posts are relevant and have helped us move up on the organic searches. We highly recommend Brian.

Kim Harvell – Pure And Light Minerals

Brian is so great to work with! He’s very versatile in his knowledge of ‘how to’ and has helped me in many areas of my business. He always takes the time to explain things to me so that I understand how they will help grow my customer base. His skills will help ANY company “locally” whether local in Winston or local in other states. I have recommended him to other entrepreneur friends and highly recommend him to you too!

Kristie Staton – Creative Force

It is refreshing to work with a professional who is on top of his game. Brian Watkins knows his craft in SEO. I was privileged to have collaborated with him on a number of projects. Search engine optimization can be very complex, but Brian has such a strong grasp that he is able to explain it in laymen’s terms. What’s even better is his ability to approach the work so that businesses can actually achieve results after engaging with him.

Joshua M.

Clear SEO explanations spoken like a person and not a marketing person trying to dazzle with flashy language and metrics no one can understand. Brian’s advice made an obvious difference once we implemented it, both in terms of visitors and phone calls.

Andre Bass, A-1 Renovation

Brian listens well with his clients and provides quick results. Phone calls from the website are consistent and drive a lot of our business since working with him.

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