I am currently in the starting phase of starting a SEO Agency to escape my 9-5 boss after been working for almost 3 years now and be my own boss as you said. Going through this post, I realized I have also committed many mistakes that I shouldn’t had done. Thank you Nathan for sharing your experience. It will surely be helpful to newbies like me in the SEO Industry trying to build up a certain level of business and make money.
Because we know very well what’s these days. And in online we see lots and lots of cases where your partner won’t work well or want to break the company. In some cases not getting equal share might be a problem along with many legal litigations etc.
I’m curious if folks would agree that SEO is much harder today. It used to be, I think, that most people didn’t know much about SEO, most websites did none of it and the search engines were less saavy. So…you could do simple things to get ranked higher.
Interesting article! Although I know quite a bit about SEO, I don’t think I would ever want to start an SEO company. One reason is that some shady SEO companies are ruining it for everyone by sending out mass spam emails. Check your spam box – probably 50 from people selling male enhancement products and 10 from SEO services claiming to make your traffic skyrocket. These emails leave a bad taste in people’s mouths. Another reason is that Google keeps changing their ranking algo. This will most likely lead to unhappy customers is they get deindexed or slapped in the rankings regardless of whether it is your fault or not.
There are lots of SEO experts around, and one option, besides working for a company, is to offer consulting services to other businesses too. However, if you choose this path, you will have to invest in education, marketing and business organization if you want to obtain some profit too.
And this explains why the demand for SEO services and experts is on the increase. If you have a good knowledge of SEO, you can make a lot of profit by starting a local SEO, which would cater to the SEO needs of individuals and businesses within your city, state, or country.
Social signals. Set up as many social accounts as possible. Provide useful content, gain followers and link social accounts to your site. Make sure your website has your local keywords in your content.
The last, but not least, piece of advice I want to give you is to never stop giving. One of the major ways I grew the SEO agency is by helping people for free. When I first started, people helped me for free, so I would try to pay it forward by doing the same thing.
Here’s an example for Taco Spot, which appears within the local pack for [Los Angeles Tacos]. While it’s great that they use “Tacos” in their title tag, they should consider including Los Angeles as well.
My advice for you, if you really want to do SEO, is to specialize in a particular service or industry. Get really good at link building or E-Commerce SEO…or specialize in travel or real estate SEO… something very specific that you can master. Once you build connections in a particular niche (writers, site owners, bloggers, directories, etc. etc.) the results will be much easier to attain and duplicate. Then you build a name for yourself in that niche and you can easily sell potential clients and get tons of referrals from existing ones.
Anything you can do at this point to instil fear and urgency in the client should be used, they must feel like if they don’t grab this opportunity now, they are going to be missing out and losing ground to their competitors (Which in reality is true).
You’re opinion is correct if you think people getting paid thousands of dollars to do fundamental SEO anyone could figure out in a week of research using Google is true. I’m sure this does happen or has happened.
It is good to start earning money once you get clients. You, however, need to start outsourcing your work when you are burdened with work. That’s when you need to outsource. Outsourcing is crucially vital to help you succeed as a freelance SEO. Initially, you can start outsourcing your work to selected people. But once you start getting more, more work, you can register your firm.
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 use 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.
Perhaps the best piece of advice is to dive in. A lot about running your own business isn’t knowable until you do it. so if one of your new years resolutions was to quit the day job and strike out on your own, then go for it!
SEO and ranking in Google is something you will definitely get better at over time. However, if you are going to start a business and handle it for other sites, I would make sure you know what the best working methods are and how to avoid any Google penalties.
Whether you’re doing work hourly or for a fixed rate, think about how many hours it will take you. Try to be as accurate as possible. If you think an SEO Strategy Report will take about 20 hours, then charge them a fixed rate of about 20 hours. It’s up to you to stay in the time frame. Here’s a breakdown of current hourly rates in the SEO industry.
Excellent article.You definitely hit it on the head regarding your cheapest clients being the most demanding.Working with clients with large marketing budgets and high value per client is a rather pleasant experience I’ve found in my business.The ones on a shoe string budget are always wanting you to carry their entire business and don’t understand the value of the service.I’ve actually found most of these clients don’t pay on time either and often fall off completely.
In the short run, you will lose money on business development. In the long run, however, you’ll be able to make it up. The quickest way for you to increase your revenue is to become the outsourced arm of bigger agencies.
What we found was that quite often the contract in question would be given to someone who has done a really fluffy, shiny, glossy, visually lovely proposal in comparison to ours. More often than not the proposals said very little and we would have to read between the lines to work out what the agency said they would do for the customer.
The title tag of a page is the main text that describes an online document and remains one of the strongest SEO signals that a webmaster has complete control over. Moreover, it is the first interaction your site is having with a searcher and possibly the only thing they’ll read before deciding whether or not your site will answer their query effectively.
One thing that has made cold calling expensive in the past is that most people who wanted to cold call businesses either had to dial direct from the phone book/yellow pages, which is extremely inefficient and tedious.
What I’m about to show you, is something I never had. A step by step, ultimate guide on how to start a SEO business. I had to learn everything through trial and error, which took an incredible amount of time and energy. I wish someone had posted a detailed guide that would have saved me the time and money I spent learning the business side of SEO. That being said, I’m going to tell you everything I learned starting a successful SEO business and going from making a few hundred dollars a month to making over $120,000 per month. Eventually, my SEO company was so successful a huge agency in Chicago acquired it, which is how and why I founded MySiteAuditor. But that’s another story.
If you are already doing SEO for your own websites, have tons of curiosity, and can communicate well, you should be able to get a job in the SEO field (and getting a job is easier than getting a client regardless).
You should note that it’s never a good idea to pitch your business in QA forums like Quora. Just be helpful. People will see your profile, and hopefully you’ve linked to your company’s website so they can reach out to you for business if needed.
What I also learned through this process is that though the majority of our customers were mid-sized businesses, they wanted to see all of the large Fortune 500 companies we worked with even though these customers themselves were nowhere near that size. When we showed our potential clients all of the small and medium businesses we worked with versus only showing them large brands we worked with, our conversion rate of locking them in as a customer decreased by almost half.
Although they’re both inbound marketing strategies, organic search differs from paid search (or PPC) in that organic listings are not paid for and the order of the rankings is determined by search engine algorithms. Here’s a visual distinction:
And if you are stupid enough to expect someone to write and frequently update an entire business plan for you publicly FOR FREE & guarantee success with it, let me know if there is some market instrument to bet against you, as I will gladly make that wager all day long.
That’s not to say that a freelancer charging $5 per hour will be better than someone charging $3 per hour, the only way to really know is to give them a try. It can be a long and frustrating process but when you find a good freelancer among the rubbish then they can make your life a lot easier.