For years I ran my business as a sole proprietor, and I paid a lot more into the pot than I really should have during that time. Get incorporated and pay yourself a tidy salary, take the rest of your profits as distributions, so you don’t get hammered so badly by self-employment taxes.
Starting an SEO agency from scratch is probably the most difficult. The startup costs are pretty low, because all you really need is a website and a way to fulfill services. Setting up is easy, but getting clients is tough. Trying to get organic visibility for SEO services will be tough because you will be competing with SEO agencies that have been doing it for years. These agencies will have a track record, organic rankings and testimonials.
Thanks for the great info Neil! You really put the smaller clients into perspective and I like how you seem to focus on the Pumpkin strategy and building bigger clients. I think that’s one area that I can a lot of improvement in. Needless to say I’ll be updating my companies strategies and plan of attack based off of some of these recommendations.
The other thing that is absurd about banning your AdWords account for something that happened almost a decade ago is that people change over time. You may have been advertising something that was wholesome that later became sleazy (maybe after a change of ownership). Or you may have been working on a client project where the domain and site were later sold & became sleazy. Google wants a lifelong ban based on them changing their guidelines after the fact & applying them to you (even though you may not even be associated with the businesses they look down upon). There was also a report of a rogue employee doing spammy crap on the side & then coming into the company office and logging into Google, thus getting the company account torched as well. So you can have ex post facto stuff applied to anything you may have glancing experience with a decade ago & they can buy sites violating their own guidelines & all is well.
Answer the Public is a free tool for finding out what people are searching for. This website helps you find keywords, brainstorm content ideas or understand your overall field. Answer the Public is a good place to get started and pairs well with something like Google Trends, which will be able to tell you how popular a term or search is compared to another.
I do SEO and have done so for about a year and my clients are getting to first place in Google but they only pay a few hundred a month. They are very small businesses. But they are getting me referrals. I wonder how do get it to the next level. Another SEO company much bigger than I am just asked me to do SEO on their own websites. So maybe it’s starting to happen.
Thank you Neil, this post is full of nuggets! We will take what we are not doing now and change. One question, what’s your advice on signed agreements with Clients? Is 30 day, mth to mth good? On one hand you don’t want to make people feel trapped and on the other you don’t want them to quit on a whim without at least being with you for 6-12mths. Is the industry standard of 1-2yr good enough? What’s a good balance between sustainable revenue for agency, and good commitment & partnership between an agency and a Client?
He said doing both would teach me invaluable lessons on doing hands-on SEO and also help give back to the online community. He was right on all counts, and I am forever indebted to him for his sage advice.
It is simply a numbers game, if you are using the correct script and dialling enough numbers per day, there’s absolutely no doubt you will be able to set appointments. The main reason people lose faith in cold calling is because they give up too early, you have to be ready to dig in for the long haul with cold calling, if you do, it can reward you handsomely!
It’s also best if you can educate yourself ahead of time using the resources Neil mentioned above (SEW & SEOBook). Plus check out some tools like SEOMoz and Hubspot. The more knowledge you have about the search engine landscape, the better equipped you will be to find a good company to work with.
Other methods you can adopt for promoting your business include printing business cards, adding your business ad to classified sites like Yellow Pages and Craigslist, networking with website designers and web content writers, advertising in local newspapers, and using forums and online communities. LinkedIn is another platform through which you can attract clients.
Think about it. The longer the contract the longer the decision process. Why make things complicated for your clients? Why make them think harder about whether or not they want to work with you. Again, I’m not an attorney, but shorter, simpler, and clearer contracts close way more deals.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the most widely adopted online marketing strategy by individuals and businesses. This is because SEO attracts highly targeted search engine traffic on a consistent basis, and it guarantees long-term results. Due to the effectiveness of SEO as a tool for attracting prospects; most small, medium and big businesses are now dedicating a significant fraction of their budget to this online marketing strategy.
Some social medias are very popular now, like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+. Like Facebook, you can build the pages for the company or products, and you can communicate with the potential customers conveniently.
SEO matters because, generally, higher rankings will get you more traffic, which leads to more conversions. The exact click-through rate – or, the percentage of people who click on a result from the search engine results page (SERP) – of each ranking position differs based upon user intent, but everyone agrees that the higher the click-through rate, the higher the volume of traffic.
Starting my own agency seemed like a fun and easy idea in the beginning. It was portrayed to look easy by all the courses and “gurus” who promoted the idea of starting your own agency. I soon realized the one issue. Getting clients is not easy. Not at all. I learned that I needed to put in a lot of work and figure out a strategy if I was serious about getting clients for my new agency.
Can you outsource those or do you need to do all the work yourself? When will you want to hire, and what for? What can you charge for those services? Is the value going to correspond to your pricing?)
If you do this, know what you’re getting into. Ask yourself if you’re more likely to be part of the cause or part of the cure. Do you have the stomach to be called a spammer, even if you’re white hat? Do you adapt easily to constant change? If you don’t know, then you’re probably not ready for this. Spend a couple months working at an agency before branching off on your own. Read industry blogs voraciously. Practice on your own websites. Offer free SEO to your friends just for the practice. Measure the effect of everything you do quantitatively. Get your hands dirty first.
I have been constantly improving that audit throughout the last 4 years of doing full-time SEO consulting. You should find it super helpful and can tweak it however you like. I would charge $500 for a micro audit (8 pages) and $900 for a full audit (15 pages). This is a simple pricing structure and will be affordable for any serious client.
Another obvious, but important, thing to mention is that if you are going to a meeting with a business person to ask for hundreds/thousands/tens of thousands of pounds/dollars per month, you really should be wearing a smart suit.
This is a great post, it gives me something to strive towards. I’m still starting out, I know how to rank websites well with SEO, but up until now I’ve ranked mainly personal websites so I don’t have any testimonials other than my own. Based on what other companies do for SEO, I know what I do is top tier, but it’s difficult to get top tier clients without past clients. Any suggestions?
Accordingly ensure you’re always delivering value outside of just the number of rankings or which keywords are ranking #1. Help clients improve their conversion rate, create videos, content, paid marketing and/or other areas you’re already competent in.
Outline your pricing strategy. Here are a few ideas on how to price without engaging in a race to the bottom. Outline how you’re going to sell. What sort of advertising and marketing will you do? Outline your core values. What do you believe? What are your principles? Outline the factors most critical to your success. What are the things you must do in order to succeed?
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Thanks for the great post! I also read your recent one with the site review sample for your website. Do you have any sample proposals that indicate all of the ideas you talked about? It’s hard for me to visualize this for some reason and I think it would be super helpful. Thanks for your time!
This tactic still may not work for some partners, but it will work for many, and the partnership will then be much more valuable in their eyes than simply “having to give up link juice” without any apparent benefit to them.
[sociallocker id=”571″]If you have any questions at all about this tutorial then please feel free to either leave a comment below or click the link below to download the Bonus Download file. Once you’ve downloaded the file, you will have to unzip the folder. If you don’t know how to do this, you can download the free software called 7Zip to do it for free.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a type of Internet marketing that changes websites so that they rank higher on organic and paid online searches. This dynamic business changes often, and experts must learn new ways of ranking and advertising every year. If you are an SEO expert, then you may consider offering your expertise to other businesses, rather than working for a company. You will need to invest in marketing, education and business organization in order to reap profits from the business. Learn how to start an SEO consulting business.
I know you mention outsourcing the SEO to another company, but I wouldn’t recommend it to a newbie. You could end up getting burned because most SEO companies these days are useless and use old techniques that will get your website penalized instead of helping it.
Create link worthy content. Infographics are a great example – you create a beautiful image representing important information and allow others to use the infographic on their own website in exchange for linking back to yours as credit.
Again, I’m not an attorney, but this is what I did. I waited a few months before creating an LLC for my business. I made a little money first, then incorporated. The reason I did this is because incorporating costs money. In Illinois it’s about $500-$600, plus $250 per year. No need to waste that money if you never get business. I asked my accountant, Gaurang Patel of Southloop CPA in Chicago, IL, about this. Here’s what he said:
Before offering anything, understand what you potential clients needs are. Make it a point to learn about his business to make sure that you can offer them help. There is no such thing as “one size fits all”. Making them feel that they are unique and important is what will help you gain their trust.