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The last day of September in 2003 was almost like any other day. I woke up at 5:30 a.m., showered, got dressed, and began my one hour commute to work in my 1999 Honda Accord. I got there at about 6:59 a.m., sat in my cubicle, and pretended to work for an hour or two. What I was really doing was mentally preparing myself to walk into my boss’s office and quit! But I wasn’t just quitting this job, I was quitting corporate America. I was done with hours or traffic, 12 hour days, cubicles, and bosses. My plan was to start an SEO business out of my kitchen, in my tiny two bedroom apartment in the Ukrainian Village neighborhood of Chicago, IL.
3) Integrating all marketing & sales channels (traditional and digital) to work in unanimous military regime that is fully aware who is doing what and how they can help each other out towards the common goal.
Many successful SEO companies do this. Whitespark offers $4-5 per citation with a report. Yoast offers specific SEO auditing ranging from $600 – $10,000. Moz Local will keep your top 15 citations consistent for $89/year. The trick is to be specific in your services. This should also avoid people wanting to pick your brain for free.
Having a process in place, preferably written down, is what separates the amateurs from the experts. This is more evident as you start to hire support personnel. To avoid bottlenecking in the growth stages, it’s necessary to delegate or outsource more repetitive and lower-costing tasks. Without a process in place, effectively shifting those responsibilities can be fraught with complications or worse yet, errors.
Secondly, and what is typically been the case for me in the past, if you start delivering these results quicker than the time frames you have set out, it makes the client even happier (think referrals and testimonials!).
“I’m calling because I emailed the business owner a couple of days ago regarding a local joint venture business opportunity and am yet to hear back from them. I thought I’d just follow up with a phone call to make sure that the email reached the right person.”
You can use a tool like Bright Local to check out any existing citations you have and then update them so that they’re all consistent. You can also use the tool to track your competitors’ citations and add your own to the same websites.
I’m so glad you wrote this. I’m in the process of starting my agency and have thought about each of these points along the way. My biggest worry was taxes, so I’m glad you included that part. Thanks for all the value!
The problem is that self-employment, especially if you’ve worked in the corporate world before, has all the allure of the pipe dreams sold in The 4 Hour Work Week (I guess Tim Ferris doesn’t count self-promotion as work, even though he does it about 100 hours a week 🙂 ).
You need to understand what On Page and Off Page SEO is and the techniques needed to make them work. You also need to know how to carry out a competitive analysis, do keyword research, get quality links and perform a proper SEO audit.
How many projects are you working on right now? You may already have a few clients from your time as a freelance SEO, or you may be starting from scratch. Either way, you need to grow your market to start making money. Obtaining a leads list from a lead generation company gives you a head start.
Never short change yourself. Believe in the quality of the service you can offer and stand by your pricing structure. Your customers will appreciate your service and what they pay when they start to see the results.
Finding clients’ is just one phase of the game, educating clients is a different ball game entirely. There is a high probability that most of your clients will be small business owners that have neither heard of the word “SEO”, nor know how it works.
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.
95% of IM’ers have great relationships with clients who also advertise offline and with people. Stop missing out on that cash and leverage into it. PM me if you are an established marketer and want to find out how.
Ideally, this should be a top down approach that looks at the goals of the business and determines where the opportunities are in search and the wider digital landscape. There is a good Whiteboard Friday on this over at Moz.com.
Professionals go on about SEO, but how can you actually rank higher on a search engine results page? The way everyone makes it sound, it’s easy to see why a beginner would perceive it as a magical concept.
One thing any good business owner knows is to ALWAYS have business cards on your person at all times, as you never know when an opportunity may present itself! Hand your business cards out to everybody and anybody.
I am sure that things are easy for you as you own some of the largest online blogs so ranking website on the top 3 positions is just a matter of few links from these high authority blog. So I would like you to tell your readers the truth that even if they own SEO agency making it 7 Figure SEO agency is only possible if they own such authority blog or websites. Or at-least if they are friend with people like Neil Patel who own authority blog.
Pre filled standing orders – I always have standing order forms filled out and ready in case that’s the client’s preferred method payment. All that is required is the business owner to enter his details on it and then I can simply leave it with them to hand in at their bank once completed.
Keep in mind that I recommend targeting bigger keywords like “SEO Albany” from day one. You’d be surprised how easy it might be to get on page #1. Many of your SEO competitors fail to do a bunch of easy SEO tactics, and instead they just rely on their domain’s age and authority any that’s not always enough. There is more than one way to skin a cat in SEO. Here are a few SEO tricks I did to dominate page #1 of Google for “Chicago SEO”, the #1 keyword for SEO services in all of Chicago. Keep in mind, my agency’s website to this day, has consistently stayed in the top two or three organic spaces in Google.
When people hear the words ‘cold calling’, it often makes them want to run for the hills. However, it still is, and probably always will be, one of the most effective, quickest and cheapest ways to generate new clients for your business.
Another great tip that I picked up from Greg Gifford‘s recent talk at BrightonSEO was to create a page on your website that gives instructions to your customers on exactly how they can review your business (i.e. yourwebsite.com/review-us/). You won’t believe how effective this is when it comes to getting in touch with customers, especially the non-technical ones!
Hi Gotch, this is like a manifesto of my life! So much of what you write resonates with me it’s scary. Of all your points I think the one that is THE most liberating, as a local SEO, is getting rid of clients who are demanding, time wasting, blood sucking leaches. Once I had the first “sacking” under my belt life as an SEO became so much easier.
I dabbled a LOT with hiring a link builder on upwork.com and freelancer.com. Even though some of them got great results (I was the #1 WordPress SEO Consultant in Google), don’t do it. Not only did I learn the links were spammy, but I got a penalty on my website.
Why Whitespark? Because all their submissions are manual one-time fees (unlike Yext) and they have a 4.9 star review on Google with 200+ reviews. Just send them an intake which you can fill out on their website, and they will build the citations in 3 weeks. You also get a report of the citation URLs and one universal login. If you want to learn more, check out my Whitespark citation building review.
SEO is an inbound marketing strategy that drives organic search traffic from search engines like Google and Bing. This means that your business interacts with potential customers while they’re actively seeking your services (like when you search for “Nike running shoes” and Google shows you ads for exactly that).
The local results above the organic search results are known as a “local pack” and pertain strictly to businesses with a physical address within close proximity of the searcher or, in the case of [Los Angeles tacos], the location specified in the query.
JFK’s quote, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” seems apropos here. The “violence” is the efforts of blackhat SEOs and advertisers to take back their share of what was lost through whatever methods they can use to circumvent Google’s guidelines.
Sherry Bonelli has 19 years of digital marketing experience. She specializes in SEO, Reputation Marketing, Social Media, Content Marketing, Retargeting and Display Advertising and other integrated digital marketing strategies that help make local and national businesses successful online. She LOVES combining digital strategies to get results! Sherry holds a Master of Internet Marketing and is a frequent speaker at industry events and webinars. She is also a contributing guest columnist on leading digital marketing websites. As a SCORE mentor for the SCORE East Central Iowa chapter, she enjoys volunteering her time to help small- to medium-sized business with their digital marketing strategies. Sherry is the owner of early bird digital marketing, a digital marketing agency that helps businesses get found on the Internet. She also serves as BrightLocal’s local search evangelist.