Meet Brian Harnish – Developer, Strategist, Speaker, Author
As a developer, strategist, speaker, and author, Brian has a solid foundation of experience in coding, SEO strategy, public speaking engagements, and authoritative articles on Search Engine Journal and Search Engine Land. Brian’s skills run the gamut from development with HTML and CSS, to Adobe Creative Suite, to performing successful execution of SEO strategy. He has spent the last 17 years in website design and development, with the last 10 years as an SEO professional.
Brian’s education began with teaching himself HTML and learning Photoshop. With super flair for the creative and technical endeavors, he spent his time from then on learning the details about graphics and coding, to the point where he can code an entire website from scratch. Of course, certain tools are now in place to speed up development so Brian can spend more time doing the stuff he loves: art, writing, graphics, and design.
How the Industry Found Him – Quite by Accident
One of Brian’s first clients was Cleavant Derricks, an actor, singer & performer who just so happened to be Rembrandt “Crying Man” Brown on the immensely popular Fox TV show Sliders. Brian first met Cleavant via a referral from another existing client who knew him, and the rest is pretty much history. Since 2001 Brian has proudly hosted & monitored the upkeep & maintenance of Cleavant’s official website with the occasional updates. Brian has had a number of clients through the years, with solid professional experience thrown in.
After a Few Successes, Brian Found His Calling in SEO
In 2006, Brian was hired at Advanced Access as a customer support representative. There, he learned a few lessons about client communication and technical communication in general. If it’s not in the email, it’s not going to get addressed was one of the major rules of engagement. Eventually, a restructure happened, and Brian was promoted from Senior New Accounts to Website Marketing Specialist.
The experience here was invaluable. Brian learned to juggle over 190 clients every month, which included website evaluations, calls to discuss those evaluations, and making all the essential SEO changes to client websites. This position was an SEO Strategist, SEO Specialist, and SEO Manager all rolled into one. You were expected to handle reporting, changes, client contact, and everything under the sun while identifying opportunities for website growth and improvement.
Brian’s First Foray Into Law Firm Website Marketing
In 2010, Brian was hired into the Law firm Bisnar | Chase Personal Injury Lawyers. Brian got his first taste of extremely large websites, and relished the challenge of completing impossible-for-normal-people projects and watching rankings increase. This site was a behemoth, topping out at more than 1,000 pages. In addition to his regular job functions, Brian was also accepted to speak at conferences worldwide including SMX Toronto, SMX East, and SMX West. Brian also contributed in a great way to taking BestAttorney.com traffic from 7,000/mo to an astonishing 15,000/mo.
In fact, in a future position Brian ran into someone who kept a very close watch on BestAttorney via SEMRush, and they commented “Wow you did that? You guys have done some pretty epic stuff!!” All Brian could do was smile. His skill set continued to rapidly expand, not only gaining experience with in-house SEO, but also learning PHP, and updating his coding skills with CSS. Now Brian has experience with both in-house and agency SEO, with a sly intelligence and almost psychic insight into how clients work and think on the other side.
Back to Agency Work
At James Publishing, a website marketing agency for lawyers, Brian was hired on as an SEO Director. This position involved managing SEO deliverables, departmental resources, and capabilities for over 500 clients. Using his keen knowledge and ability to mobilize a team, Brian was able to completely redefine how James Publishing executed website projects with SEO in mind. By redefining department processes, much less on-site SEO was needed after the launch of client websites. JP websites and SEO techniques benefitted from being in compliance with Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. These efforts also doubled department efficiencies, brought client load times down within ranges of 2-3 seconds, and translated to more effort able to be spent in other areas that were priority to obtaining higher rankings.
When he is not hard at work on SEO, in his spare time you can find Brian learning to play piano, drawing, listening to music, and tinkering with all forms of website geekery.