Founder’s Story

Steve Kinney (pictured far right) was born and raised in Wisconsin. His family relocated to California when he was 10. While still in high school, Steve entered the US Navy Reserves where he served as an Infight Technician. After graduating college with a computer science degree, Steve began working as a software engineer. Search Optimizers began in early 1997 when Steve was asked by two separate friends to help create a strategy for their adventure businesses to leverage this new thing called “the internet.” At that time, a website cost $5,000 for a 5-page brochure site, and the term SEO had not yet been coined. Steve had the foresight to know that building the website was only half the equation. Getting the website found was the more difficult half. He implemented a novel approach that delivered results for 200 companies, each having an average of 5 high ranking phrases for a total 1,000 traffic-generating phrases. That experience led him to offer a service for what is now called SEO. This was the beginning of Search Optimizers' 24-year history.

“When we started, Google did not exist yet nor had the term SEO been coined.” Steve Kinney
1991 Internet launches
to the public
1997 Search Optimizers
founded
1998 Google
Launched
2005 Google Analytics
launched
2015 Google shifts
to AI
2019 Google goes
Mobile First

Why Choose Us?

We are SEO-only specialists who have been optimizing websites for 24 years, even before the term “SEO” was coined. We know how to shift with algorithm changes to get repeatable ranking results that are not just a fluke! We are a "White Hat" service, meaning all our activities are ethical and bring your website into alignment with the algorithms. We never resort to shady "Black Hat" tactics, which aim to trick the algorithms. Our mantra is: "Be one with the search engine, be one with the searcher."

Our Mission

Our founding mission is simple - to provide high-end SEO at a price point that even small companies can afford. We have a heart for small and medium sized businesses and want to help them succeed. This starts with our trusted CMO and CSO partnerships, and is realized by making sure all our processes are in place to get the best results, including increased sales and growth.

What is High-End SEO?

High-End SEO is the weekly optimization of the technical backend of a website by making strategic, iterative changes that bring your website into alignment with the algorithms. Many SEO agencies on the market today only do what is called "Search Engine Friendly" SEO, which results in inconsistent and insignificant rankings. High-End SEO is different:

  • It is a long term, forever process.
  • It is not something done for a few months and then it is complete
  • It is getting better results over time, especially after years of services
  • It is a unique, customized approach for every phrase, for every website.
  • It is not a cookbook of tasks done the same, every time.
  • It is an art and science that takes years of experience and is best done by a team of specialists.
  • It is not, something that one person does as part of many other job responsibilities.
  • It is an alignment between meeting the needs of the searcher and of the search engine.
  • It is not just trying to get what I want for my website.
  • It can be a source of repeatable, scalable and cost-effective results.
  • It should not be just an occasional lukewarm lead.

High-End Search Engine Optimization can often times be the “Lowest Cost Form of Lead Generation” if done right… If done wrong, you can damage your reputation with the search engines and lose this valuable source of qualified leads for your business!

Why We Do What We Do

Watch a short video to learn about our "why" and to hear what our partners and clients say about us.

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Leadership Team

Steve Kinney President

Steve Kinney holds a degree in mathematics and computer science. His career has been spent as a software engineer, process consultant for Fortune 100 companies, business owner, business execution coach, SEO Marketing teacher, and Internet Marketing Program advisor. On the personal side Steve was in US Navy Reserves for 7 years where he served as an Infight Technician, spent 3 years as a relationship coach volunteer for Relationship Lifeline, served 4 years on the advisory committee for the California Women’s Conference, and spent 10 years volunteering to build homes with Corazon. Steve is a father of 4 children and lives with his wife in California.

Dave Yanke Operations Manger

Dave Yanke has a degree in marketing and has been the muscle behind Search Optimizers' proprietary software tools for the past 15 years. He knows the ins-and-outs of SEO and manages a team of homegrown SEO Technicians. Dave is responsible for directing the functions that ensure each site maintains top positions for their relevant keyword themes in the search engines. On the personal side, Dave has volunteered in men’s and young adults ministries for the past 20 years. He’s a father of 9 children, and 5 grandchildren. Dave and his wife live in Wisconsin.

Elyse Birkett Customer Service Manager

Elyse Birkett attended the University of Wisconsin-Stout. She has an extensive background in customer support and operational processes. Elyse is both technical and creative (right brain, left brain combination), a perfect fit for the SEO world! She’s passionate about supporting clients and helping them understand their results. She works alongside the operations team and serves as the customer’s advocate, as each client has different goals. Elyse stays abreast of top marketing trends and tools, and understands the big picture. Elyse works in our Wisconsin office.

Kristen Hall SEO Strategist

Kristen’s “superpower” is simplifying things that are complicated. She is passionate about supporting our partners, educating prospects, and assisting them through the decision making process of implementing SEO. Kristen graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo with a BS in Journalism and minor in Business Marketing. She worked for several years as a Technical Writer, Web Administrator, and now an SEO Strategist. Kristen has 4 children and lives with her husband in California.