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.
My SEO company landed the business of many of the top real estate firms in Chicago simply by adding our name and link in the bottom of a small real estate agent’s website we were working with. We got this guy to page #1 for “Chicago condos” and of course, all of the big real estate firms wanted to know how we did it and if we could do it for them.
To start as an SEO, start doing SEO. Learn about SEO from the reputable information publicly available. Find (or create) a site to which you can contribute, note its current ranking for key queries, and then optimize the site and retest the rankings. What the rankings change and the traffic grow in analytics. Then start sharing your knowledge with others, giving back to the community and to the industry. If you’re serious about your work, and you have the skills and passion needed, you will see success. Good luck!
If you gained nothing from this post then feel free to write your own better & deeper post. I hope some ignorant jackass then comments on it calling it deceptive spam because it didn’t precisely fit their opinion/needs/wants/desires.
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.
Great information. When I got started with SEO I don’t think it had a name. I realized that the yellow pages were no longer worth paying for and had to keep my site being seen. Learning the process was just part of keeping my business alive.
What is your current position? What is your background? What is the purpose of your business? What is your competitive advantage? Who are your competitors? How will you exploit their weaknesses, and counter their strengths? How will you increase capability and capacity? How do you plan to grow?
Find the sites that psychics read to learn about how to manage their businesses (e.g. PsychicBiz.com) and offer to write a post for free about some super interesting thing you figured out about how to market psychics online.
If you’re new to the business, you might think you need a great website to start, not true. While an excellent looking website helps, I’ve seen many SEOs sell their asses off with rough-looking websites or no website at all. So don’t let this be a reason to hold you back from starting initially, it’s just not a core factor to your success.
I think the most important lesson I’ve learned is that you have to have a scalable process in place if you want scalable and predictable results. Such an eye-opening lesson, after learning that from the NYT best selling book, The E-Myth Revisited.
Learn about using Schema structured data markup to include Name, Address, Phone (NAP) for a LocalBusiness. Schema can also show reviews with star ratings on individual blog posts, pages, products, and services in Google rich snippet search results. There are WordPress themes with Schema built in and some WP Schema plugins.
Not being able to outsource all that upfront is probably a good thing. Many attempts at outsourcing fail because the outsourcer is not competent themselves in those particular tasks. Having experience in these areas is helpful because if a freelancer or staff member leaves you hanging, you’ll be able to keep things running efficiently while you search for another staff member.
Search engines are geo-locating results more and more – not just the local results block but the core web results as well. This means you need to make your content as locally relevant as possible and to make it work great on mobile devices (where a ton of local searching is done).
Lots of people want freebies, and I’ve been reluctant to give away too much…I will give clients a quick overview of their site/competitive environment as a way of justifying the need to hire an SEO agency; but I find that some have no intention of buying because they see this as a freebie and hope to get more freebies…I’m wondering how much one should ‘open the kimono’ during these early stages, and if one realizes that the company isn’t going to be a client, whether it is worthwhile to say: ‘Look, I’ll make you a deal, we’ll do x for you as a free service in return for allowing us to wear your logo on our site.’?
Hopefully, people will want to set-up a legitimate SEO business and I would never encourage ‘dodgy’ activity. Having said that, I’m sure many will because it’s a way to cut corners, but that only results in cheating themselves because, as you say, these ‘dodgy’ methods don’t work.
Many people think that lack of initial money to start your own business is what is stopping them from leaving their jobs. Yes, it is true that money can limit us, but that is only if you let it! A famous Buddhist entrepreneur once said; “Money only becomes a problem when you treat it as a problem!”
The most important lesson I learned was to set the proper expectations with my clients right off the start. I found myself answering too many calls and wasting so much time dealing with needy customers. Now I simply let all my customers know how MY process works. Now I will answer any questions over email and we can have a monthly call to discuss progress if scheduled in advance. Eliminating the sky is falling calls.
Clients only care about results. You can provide all the reports on all the great services you provided, but if they are not getting new customers then it is only a matter of time before they leave you.
Recent changes to search engines’ algorithms have made very easy to overdo on-site optimization, but backlinks remain very important for raising a site’s position in the SERPs. And good backlinking is hard. I read an article by Todd McDonald recently that likened it to being beaten up – long, painful and frustrating!
The nice thing about these businesses is you can “moonlight” and build out a stream of revenue without quitting an existing job, and start to get a sense for where additional clients revenue will come from once you’re full time and building a business.
Don’t forget about Social Media!!! Social signals are becoming more and more critical for an SEO campaign. So much so, that we actually BOOST our likes and shares on the articles we earn for our clients.
Start looking around to find an accountant who will tell you what your tax liabilities will be as a sole-proprietor or a single-member LLC. If you really want to take a kick to the shins, get a quote for health insurance and see how much it doesn’t cover.
I then recommend they begin reading the important blogs in this field. There’s a great list of SEO blogs on the SEO Resource List of The SEO Ace (if I may say so myself). It’s far from complete (my apologies to my industry peers who are not listed!), but you can’t go wrong starting with these folks. I also recommend you get a Twitter account and start following the authors of these blogs to read the invaluable advice they dispense on a daily basis (but be aware that some SEOs have, well, we’ll call it “colorful” and “spirited” personalities. Strong opinions are the norm, not the exception).
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.
You can use a variety of SEO tools and software to start earning money. There are websites which are built to help you track your progress. You can use tracking tools to understand how things work. There is a range of tools and software some of which are paid with which you can monetize what you do. These software and tools are very useful to help you get started. There is a range of ways with which you can effortlessly use the tools. Some of the tools are industry leading whereas some of the tools are very basic. If you need to learn how to properly use the tools and leverage the benefits, you can start using the SEO tools.
Live Chats aren’t the most annoying thing in the world anymore. They actually work really great if set up right. We used Olark for the last couple of years and sold thousands and thousand of dollars in deals because of it. With a live chat on your SEO company’s website you’ll get notified when a potential client is on your site. They can message you for help or you can even message them. Think about walking into store. What if you had a questions but the store had no employees on staff? Strange, right? Be in your store at all times in case a potential customer has a question. Live Chats let you do that.
If you are new to the profession altogether and need to learn SEO, two courses to consider are DistilledU and the Google Analytics Individual Qualification. Completing both certifications should take under 90 hours.
What does make a difference though, is your broad experience base and how much you can apply it to the work you and your coworkers are doing. experience with things like managing social media campaigns, email campaigns, and usability.
All the above – Knowledge is King, and Experience is Queen. If you can get both, then you’ll be the front of others. Sometimes people can talk but cannot deliver. This is why many SEO Guru, cannot becoming the next billionaire.
When my partner decided to take over the business completely I was lost for a little while but as of literally a week ago I decided to brain storm a business name and start getting myself out there to help local businesses. I managed to score a $1000 client in a mere 7-8 days!
Wonderful post Gary. I started a small web design company a few years ago and only recently started offering SEO services also. There are many small businesses that simply have no idea where to begin let alone have the time to learn about it. Inspirational post thanks.
2. If you get cut off, or more likely, the person tells the gatekeeper they are ‘busy’, you now have the owner’s name. This means when you call up again in a day or two you can take a much more direct approach as you already know the owner’s name.
i am totally impressed i have read your story vary interesting . i have loose my confidence but now when i have read your this article . now again my confidence is high i have little bit knowledge in Seo but i want Seo expert like as you hope sir if i need your help in future you will do help . thank you thank you thank you so much .
If you can follow the suggestions in this post, you will definitely start off on the right foot when it comes to your website’s search engine optimization. And hopefully you will start reaping the benefits of getting more visitors through search engines too!