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 number of small businesses coming online is increasing rapidly. But unfortunately, most brick and mortar businesses are still offline. This is an avenue for you to make extra cash by convincing them to put their business online and educating them about free traffic / customers.
3) Have very clearly articulated expectations. Sometimes it is not possible to have everything clearly defined in terms of what eventually needs to be accomplished. For such projects I have learned over time to make sure to include in the contract (a) clearly defined tangible deliverables and (b) clearly defined activities that I would do. For ex., if I am doing a Needs Assessment for a community-based organization (CBO), I wouldn’t now just say a “report with findings and recommendations.” Because a “report” can mean totally different things to different people. I now would actually spell out anticipated page number range, and actually bring to the client several examples of such/similar reports (my own and others) and nail it down with the client (and “stakeholders”): “Here, is this the kind of report we are talking about? If not, let’s agree what’s different you would like to see, etc.”
The biggest challenge relates to trust. SEO and Internet marketers have become the used car salesmen of tech (no offense to used car salesmen!). There are several reasons why business owners do not trust SEO agencies:
If you keep up with the latest in online marketing news, then you have likely read about content development and content marketing. Content is great for both your website visitors and search engines. The more content you have, the more likely your visitors will stick around on your website. And the more content you have, the more likely search engines will be to put more of your website’s pages in the search index.
I would help them with SEO audits, citations (core online profiles/directories), on-page SEO, speed optimization and Google Search Console. In 3 months my website was getting around 500 visitors/day resulting in about 2 inquiries/day for my services. This was on top of the $600/month affiliate income through my blog.
Your opportunity to learn is great from both sides, but in-house opportunities, especially for new hires, are likely to be harder to get, as companies will expect some previous industry experience (that said, transferring to an SEO role from within your existing company might be a great way to start in your career, assuming you’re “lucky” (as defined earlier). It’s often that “right place, right time” thing again. Agencies, on the other hand, can be great places to start and learn about the business from agency veterans.
An important first step for performing well in local search results is to claim your business listing in Google My Business and Bing Places. While search engines can potentially use information around the web (e.g. from a business’s website, local business directories, Yellow Pages, etc.) to generate local results for a business, only claiming the business will allow the owner to optimize the listing for the search experience. This will help generate more leads and potentially lead to higher rankings too!
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.
Create geo-targeted evergreen pages, create geo-optimized profiles, location pages, support or reseller pages, whatever. No matter how abstract your business is you can find some way to make it locally relevant.
According to the 2015 Form Conversion Report by Formstack, only about 1% of small contact forms (about 4 fields) get filled out on websites. That means only 1 out of 100 people that visit your SEO company’s website will fill out your contact form. The other 99 will leave your website and probably never contact you for SEO services. This is a huge problem. So many potential clients who need SEO visit and leave your site forever, never having contacted you. You need a way to get way more of your visitors, and potential customers, to give you their contact information when visiting your website. As I pointed out earlier, relying on your contact form isn’t good enough.
Well, a good place to check out would be the good people over at RankPay. They provide a very easy to use sign up process that provides you with everything you could possibly need, and more, for your prospective client’s websites to prosper in the search engine.
Done correctly, SEO doesn’t live in a silo, but rather is tightly integrated into a company’s overall digital strategy. The best SEO professionals are well rounded digital marketers who can see both the forest and the trees.
However, you need to understand your relative positions in order to negotiate well. If you’re offering a generic search marketing service and there are ten other similar providers bidding for the job, then your position is likely very weak unless you’re the preferred supplier. Personally, I’d avoid any bidding situation where I’m not preferred supplier.
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!