You see, some folks (white hats) want to be successful over the long haul, protect the reputations of their brands and websites, and do the hard work to earn long-term success with legitimate page rankings. The black hat folks want to maliciously exploit weaknesses in the search engine ranking algorithms to fraudulently attain higher page rank than what is otherwise deserved. To be honest, sometimes these efforts do work – for a while. However, once the methods and techniques are discovered by the search engines (and they invest enormous resources to discover and combat this), the sites using black hat techniques can be penalized. Search penalties can range from having their placement in the organic search results artificially lowered far down the list to, in some cases, having the website domain permanently purged from search indexes. Beware of taking advice from the black hats, especially if you want a career as an in-house SEO.
The second business I ever started was an SEO agency. By no means did I see myself creating an agency… I simply stumbled upon it. Before I go into how I built an SEO agency and made millions from it, let me give you a quick background on how I stumbled upon it…
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?
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.
Do some digging around on SEO forums and find an offshore link builder offering services for bargain rates, but make sure they have successful projects they can show you. Talk to at least 5-10 link builders to find out EXACTLY what they provide, see examples of their work to determine the best fit.
The next step is to run some searches on Power Leads Pro X to harvest the details of all the printers, accountants, web designers and any other business that works on a business to business basis in your area. Once you have all the details of these businesses, first thing you should do is compose an email using the Power Leads Pro X mailing feature and send it out to every one of these businesses.
Before Quora existed, I was on Linkedin Answers answering questions and always trying to be helpful. One day I answered a question some random person was asking, and the recipient was so grateful they sent us a RFP (Request for Proposal). Long story short, we signed that client for $20,000 per month… just by being helpful and answering questions.
Starting your own agency takes a lot of grit. If you believe everything you read online you can set yourself up for failure. Setting up your own business isn’t a sprint but a very long marathon. I leaned it doesn’t happen over night but keep setting your goals and moving forward and never compare yourself to others in the industry.
At the end of the night your friend is really happy because he has sold all his paintings and the whole exhibition was a huge success. Your very happy for him, but you end up walking home feeling a little deflated and unhappy. Why can’t you follow in your friends footsteps and leave your job to follow your own passions.
When it comes to working for yourself, it’s hard to underestimate the freedom of picking your own areas of working to your own timetable. These are real benefits. If your goals align more closely with a job i.e. a regular income and a regular time schedule, then you might decide that getting a job with an employer will suit you best. If you value autonomy, then running your own business might suit you better.
My personal preference is to keep my team small and service a limited number of clients, well, because I want to work on more of my own stuff (and family stuff) rather than put more time into building a bigger team and managing them.
“Best of luck”: He’s going to need it!! Jill Whalen announced she’s quitting her SEO career because “the tricks to beat and spam Google, no longer work as well.” MozSEO.com became now Moz.com. You said it yourself in a reply to Mo Johnson: “now it is all about quality sites and information.”
SEO is a vital skill in the modern business landscape. Hiring SEO managers, or bringing in digital marketing consultants, can be expensive. Luckily there are some great tools out there to help you get started with SEO.
I’ve just read the article, one year after it was written and find it of high relevance to anyone who would like to become SEO practitioner. I have only started developing my personal brand online so I could become visible in the industry of SEO and Social Media. Not an easy task for many, including myself but as an old saying says: faint heart never won fair lady. Thank you for the article 🙂
Link building is still one of the most important aspects of SEO. No-one can deny that you need high-quality links if you want to see success in your SEO efforts. But what are high-quality links, and what makes them so important?
I’m Gaurav Jain, a full time affiliate marketer since 2007. Welcome to my blog eMoneyIndeed.Com. During my affiliate marketing journey of 9 years I learned many things and I saw many ups and downs. My reason for starting eMoneyIndeed.Com blog is to help you Save & Make Money Online. In between I will write about Blogging, Online Marketing, Webhosting, SEO, Affiliate Marketing, Startups, Social Media, Email Marketing and more. Hope you enjoy the posts on eMoneyIndeed.Com
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 have done most of these mistakes in the past, so I can definitely relate to you. Now, in my second start up I hope to avoid the vast majority of them. The single most important advice: learn to fire your clients or never get them onboard at the first place.
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.
As a new business, you may struggle to attract your first customers before you gain momentum. This is where relationships come in. Regardless of the type of business you do, relationships are a very crucial element for its success.
Keep the customer firmly in mind. What problem do they have that they desperately need solving? Perhaps the restaurant doesn’t really need their website ranking well, but they do need more people phoning up and making a reservation. So how about running a restaurant reservation site in your town, using SEO and PPC to drive leads, providing customers copies of each restaurant’s menu? Charge the restaurant for placement and/or on leads delivered basis.
“If you decide to work with us then you are the only [insert industry] we will be working with in [insert city/country/continent].” – Explain that while you have been in contact with other businesses in their niche/area/industry, if they subscribe to your SEO services, it will come with a guarantee that they will be the only organisation you work with in niche/industry in that city/country/continent. Obviously amend this based on what sort of company you are pitching to, a local accountant for example will be slightly different to a multi-national company operating in numerous countries.
As you are making your way through the steps of creating whatever it is you are intending to sell, consider logging the process. Create a manual along the way. A manual that is constantly revised as you learn faster, and better ways of doing things will be invaluable to your future growth.
It’s important that you get your business listed correctly and consistently on top online business directories, like Yelp, Merchant Circle, Citysearch and others. You will also want to seek out respectable local directories to get your business listed on. Check with your local newspaper’s website and your Chamber of Commerce to see if they have a local business directory you can get listed on. You can also do a search for keywords like “[your city] directory” to find other local citation sites or directories.
Thank you, Ann! Everyone I talk to in this field has a different story, and each one is interesting. I hope folks interested in this career field find this post to be helpful in finding their focus. There’s plenty of work to be done, and the future looks bright!
The fact is that its impossible to guarantee a move up the Google rankings except by the documented ways that you would expect – get more incoming links etc. There are no ‘secret tricks’, so essentially SEO is based on hoodwinking old company bosses who have no idea how the internet works.
In this business you’ll notice that there are many agencies who specialize in one area of digital marketing. That could be web design, mobile, social media, PPC, online PR, etc. Often times, their clients will ask them about SEO services which they don’t offer. You want to partner with these agencies. Offer them a standard 10% finders fee if they send you any business. In other words, if they send you a client that you sign for $20,000, send them a check within 5 days of signing the new client for $2,000.
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.’?
It’s true that SEO isn’t as easy as it once was. You used to be able to follow a script: incorporate this title tag, put this keyword on your page, repeat it a few times, get links with the keyword in the link text, get even more links with keywords in the link text, and when you’ve finished doing that – get a lot more links with keywords in the link text.
I also only missed out on the first client because they were already finalising a deal with another SEO company for roughly the same price and felt obliged to go with them. I think looking back now after the experience I have gained, I could’ve also won that client’s custom too but that is all part of the learning curve I suppose.