What I’ve learned after 7+ years as a successful SEO consultant (not what you think)...

by TheAtHomeCouple 15 replies
Hey Warriors,

My name is Elijah.

I’ve been fortunate enough make a living in the local SEO/consulting game for over 7 years now. And though I've hit bottom a few times, nothing has ever kept me down. I felt compelled to write down some realizations that I've had over the last few months...

1) Quality content will always reign (and rank)

Stop worrying so much about # of backlinks (though they are a top priority) and pay attention to the quality of your client's content first. And by quality content I mean a killer website layout, clean meta tags, engaging copy, and a clear journey from entry to goal completion.

Links build rank which drives traffic, but content is what converts that traffic into sales.

Guess what?

When people stumble upon content that actually helps them, they will tell other people… They will opt-in, fill out forms, pick up their phones, and share with excitement...

Google will love you...

And your clients will love you!

If your content kicks butt (and is tastefully optimized top to bottom) you will rank (and convert) accordingly once your start building links. Put the quality of your website and on page content at the top of the list, and everything else will fall into place.

Trust me on this one… Quality converts every time.

2) It’s not always about high-value leads

Though it’s great to try and land those clients with high-value leads (dentist, doctor, plastic surgeon), longevity in local SEO is more about the TYPE of client you choose to take on. On a business level as well as personal.

One particular client of mine comes to mind...

A few years ago he had an idea, so we sat down over dinner and discussed the market and his options. I built him a website and ranked it... And in the blink of an eye he went on to become a Groupon category top seller, hire his first employees, and outgrow 2 locations in just under 3 years... All while we dominated the serps.

When I'm asked what I do for a living.. I usually respond with "People hire me to market their business online".. but the truth is, it's much more than that. As marketers, we help people realize their potential and in the process lives are changed.

Helping a business go from zero to five figures a month... there’s this bond that forms between client and consultant. It's something real special and deep rooted... Very few people will ever care about that business more than the two of you..

“Care” being the key word here.

When you have a relationship this strong with your client, you will NEVER have to
  • Hunt them down for a check
  • Sell them on the value of what you do
  • Worry about them jumping ship

When your clients are secure, so is your business.

3) Regularly do extra things “off the clock”

Success in this game is all about being a step ahead of your clients. Keep an eye out at all times. What I mean by this is try to regularly email or text your clients with little tidbits, links or things you implemented that will help them.

An example:

“Hey… there’s this new video streaming platform that was released and it’s going to be fu***** huge.. So I took the liberty last night of creating an account to secure your brand name, as well as set up your basic profile - check it out when you get a minute. Gets us a juicy backlink too.”

Always keep an eye out for opportunities to expand your clients reach. Seize the opportunities and report back to them with the unexpected (and proactive) good news.

Even if you had to fix something on their website that was unscheduled or off the clock, tell them about the update and position it in a positive way, emphasizing the time you took to ensure it was corrected and won’t happen again.

If you’ve read a great article that supports something you recently discussed, email it to them with a few takeaways… You get what I’m trying to say here?

It’s about providing value, not squeezing every last time out of your client. Anything you do for free, do it in the name of Karma. It will always come back to you in the end ten fold.

4) Webmastering skills are not optional

I can’t even count the amount of times I’ve gotten an email at 10:30pm from a client who’s panicking because their website is offline, or their email is down. Even if you don’t normally manage their website, as a consultant, you’re the one they’ll likely call first.

No matter how much you try and avoid it, server-side crisis is bound to happen at minimum 2 or 3 times per year. If you don’t know your way around their CMS, FTP, cPanel, then you are useless to your clients…

If you care about success as a marketing consultant, take the time to learn the ins and outs of webmastering, backing up and restoring websites, content management systems, how to troubleshoot page errors, how to edit an MX record etc.

I know it sounds like a lot for some of you, but trust me when I say that if I can learn to edit an SQL database using phpMyAdmin, so can you!

Also...

Knowing your way around CSS and HTML is a huge bonus, and will save your butt more times than you realize. You don’t have to learn to write a web page from scratch, but if you can beef up your “inspect element” skills and write a clean header, you’ll be in good form.

5) Sometimes you have to let your clients make their own mistakes

This can take some time to develop as a skill, but if you ever feel strongly about something your client is proposing to do, and no matter what you say they keep kicking back, you might be better off letting them go ahead with it.

For example, your client has had this great epiphany (likely based on another website they saw) and they want to increase the font size of the site menu and change the links to #FFFF00 aka bright yellow.

You tell them this is the stupidest idea you’ve heard and that it will drive customers away from their website, likely causing an increase in bounce rate… But your client is set on the new yellow menu and no matter how you try to explain yourself, they want it done… So what do you do?

Make the menu yellow.

Then sit back and watch as their analytics back up your theory. They may even lose a position or two in the serps, and that’s okay too. When they call you up a few weeks later to nonchalantly request the change to be reversed, you’ll do exactly that, without an ounce of “I told you so”.

Business owners are a unique breed.

They often need to muck up on their own, make their own mistakes, and reach their own conclusions. Sometimes your job is about knowing when to let them run free, ensuring you’ll be there to catch them when they’ve had their fix.

You will gain a whole new level of respect the day your client comes to you and says “you were right, I don’t know what I was thinking.”

Mmmmm… leverage.

I hope this helps you guys in some way, or at least sparks a deeper conversation on what it takes to have longevity as a rockstar SEO consultant. Without the Warrior Forum I wouldn’t be where I am today, so consider this my first of many attempts to give back.

Cheers,

Elijah
#search engine optimization #consultant #consulting business #i’ve #learned #local seo #offline marketing #seo #success #successful #years
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  • Profile picture of the author yeoman
    This is really great advice. Thank you, for everyone who should be following it right now.
    I'm not an internet marketer, but I've certainly run my own business - and this is gold.
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  • Profile picture of the author nettiapina
    Cool story. Congrats on running a successful business for that many years.

    Point #3 depends on the kind of contracts you're able to secure. If you've got ad agency type deals with companies then by all means serve them the best you can. SEO can be a subcontractor gig, or just another specialist in a string of consultants. Not everyone commands high enough rates to go the extra mile.

    Completely agree on #4, but the scenario you use as an example does not fit that well. If the site is down, usually there's not much you can do except to pass the ball to the web hotel. You need to know all the stuff on your list just to do your work as a SEO. And HTML is a requirement, not a nice-to-have.

    On #5, you're a paid help and ultimately you're there to do what you're told. Of course you need to fight your client's stupid ideas every now and then, but you don't call it a stupid idea. Or rub it in their faces afterwards. I'd make sure to voice my opinion and do it in a mail correspondence to have a paper trail, but it's their site and marketing.
    Signature
    Links in signature will not help your SEO. Not on this site, and not on any other forum.
    Who told me this? An ex Google web spam engineer.

    What's your excuse?
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    • Profile picture of the author TheAtHomeCouple
      Originally Posted by nettiapina View Post

      Cool story. Congrats on running a successful business for that many years.

      Point #3 depends on the kind of contracts you're able to secure. If you've got ad agency type deals with companies then by all means serve them the best you can. SEO can be a subcontractor gig, or just another specialist in a string of consultants. Not everyone commands high enough rates to go the extra mile.

      Completely agree on #4, but the scenario you use as an example does not fit that well. If the site is down, usually there's not much you can do except to pass the ball to the web hotel. You need to know all the stuff on your list just to do your work as a SEO. And HTML is a requirement, not a nice-to-have.

      On #5, you're a paid help and ultimately you're there to do what you're told. Of course you need to fight your client's stupid ideas every now and then, but you don't call it a stupid idea. Or rub it in their faces afterwards. I'd make sure to voice my opinion and do it in a mail correspondence to have a paper trail, but it's their site and marketing.
      Thanks so much for your input, lots of great points to add! I was being sarcastic on #5 though it doesn't always come off well in the digital space.

      Agreed, don't call your clients' idea stupid
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  • Profile picture of the author StevieT
    Interesting post, thanks for sharing your insights!

    Personally, for me, having a killer website layout is a bit of a problem. How would you go about that?

    Cheers,
    Steve
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    • Profile picture of the author TheAtHomeCouple
      Originally Posted by StevieT View Post

      Interesting post, thanks for sharing your insights!

      Personally, for me, having a killer website layout is a bit of a problem. How would you go about that?

      Cheers,
      Steve
      Hey Steve,

      What are you struggling with to be exact?

      If you need to get a website up to sell your marketing services, for example, stick with a simple menu like Home, About, Services, Portfolio, Contact Us.. Then write out the content for each page.

      Then once your content is ready, head to Themeforest.net and purchase a premium theme, sorting by the best sellers or trending.

      Once your theme is purchased and your content is together, head over to fiverr.com and pay someone to install WordPress, install the theme and set it up, and insert your content, images etc.

      You could accomplish the above for around $100 without building anything yourself or touching any code.

      Tell me more about your challenges, I'd love to lend a hand.

      Cheers,

      Elijah
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      • Profile picture of the author StevieT
        Originally Posted by TheAtHomeCouple View Post

        Hey Steve,

        What are you struggling with to be exact?

        If you need to get a website up to sell your marketing services, for example, stick with a simple menu like Home, About, Services, Portfolio, Contact Us.. Then write out the content for each page.

        Then once your content is ready, head to Themeforest.net and purchase a premium theme, sorting by the best sellers or trending.

        Once your theme is purchased and your content is together, head over to fiverr.com and pay someone to install WordPress, install the theme and set it up, and insert your content, images etc.

        You could accomplish the above for around $100 without building anything yourself or touching any code.

        Tell me more about your challenges, I'd love to lend a hand.

        Cheers,

        Elijah
        Hey,

        Thanks a lot for your extensive answer. I was actually thinking of doing that, so it's nice to see you'd advice the same. I've been spending too much time coding in the past while I'm not good at it: such a waste of time.

        Do you know any good people who can make install a theme the right way and fix everything like an optin box etc. Just getting the website up and running fairly professionally looking for around 100 bucks?

        Looking forward to your reply!
        Steve
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        • Profile picture of the author TheAtHomeCouple
          Originally Posted by StevieT View Post

          Hey,

          Thanks a lot for your extensive answer. I was actually thinking of doing that, so it's nice to see you'd advice the same. I've been spending too much time coding in the past while I'm not good at it: such a waste of time.

          Do you know any good people who can make install a theme the right way and fix everything like an optin box etc. Just getting the website up and running fairly professionally looking for around 100 bucks?

          Looking forward to your reply!
          Steve
          Hey Steve,

          Just at a glance, this young lady looks worth a shot:

          https://www.fiverr.com/couthymedias/...xactly-as-demo

          I like the fact that the service is for her to set up the site exactly like the demo. So you just purchase a premium template at Themeforest.net, one that you like, and get her to set it up just like the demo (which usually looks awesome).

          From that point you can just go into the already created pages and insert your content.

          I've actually bookmarked her gig for future use

          Hope this helps!
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  • Profile picture of the author rgesm
    Originally Posted by TheAtHomeCouple View Post

    Hey Warriors,


    When I'm asked what I do for a living.. I usually respond with "People hire me to market their business online".. but the truth is, it's much more than that. As marketers, we help people realize their potential and in the process lives are changed.

    Helping a business go from zero to five figures a month... there’s this bond that forms between client and consultant. It's something real special and deep rooted... Very few people will ever care about that business more than the two of you..

    “Care” being the key word here.

    When you have a relationship this strong with your client, you will NEVER have to
    • Hunt them down for a check
    • Sell them on the value of what you do
    • Worry about them jumping ship

    When your clients are secure, so is your business.

    3) Regularly do extra things “off the clock”

    Success in this game is all about being a step ahead of your clients. Keep an eye out at all times. What I mean by this is try to regularly email or text your clients with little tidbits, links or things you implemented that will help them.


    They often need to muck up on their own, make their own mistakes, and reach their own conclusions. Sometimes your job is about knowing when to let them run free, ensuring you’ll be there to catch them when they’ve had their fix.

    You will gain a whole new level of respect the day your client comes to you and says “you were right, I don’t know what I was thinking.”

    Mmmmm… leverage.

    I hope this helps you guys in some way, or at least sparks a deeper conversation on what it takes to have longevity as a rockstar SEO consultant. Without the Warrior Forum I wouldn’t be where I am today, so consider this my first of many attempts to give back.

    Cheers,

    Elijah
    Great article...do you find the majority of your clients need web design work or just a lot of back links and ways to rank them without doing any on page work?

    also do you find most businesses are long term paying clients?

    I find the average business will stay for about 3-4 months than we provide them a graph with numbers and since no backlinks or articles are being done for them weekly they start to see the decline in the rankings. a good way i keep them.
    I find internet marketers that use us stay for 1 month lol so i tend to not work with them as much.
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    • Profile picture of the author TheAtHomeCouple
      Originally Posted by rgesm View Post

      Great article...do you find the majority of your clients need web design work or just a lot of back links and ways to rank them without doing any on page work?

      also do you find most businesses are long term paying clients?

      I find the average business will stay for about 3-4 months than we provide them a graph with numbers and since no backlinks or articles are being done for them weekly they start to see the decline in the rankings. a good way i keep them.
      I find internet marketers that use us stay for 1 month lol so i tend to not work with them as much.
      Hey,

      Almost always, yes. Local business type clients will need a new or refreshed website 80% of the time.. This is actually the phase where you really learn about what they want (need) and how their business is really doing.

      The good thing about doing a redesign is you almost always know it will produce better results than their current site, so you're almost setting yourself up for the win.

      Long term clients are created out of long term value, so if they are paying you monthly and are seeing results monthly or even weekly, then they will keep paying you.

      As long as your efforts generate business that is worth much more than your fee, you'll be in good form to keep that client for at least a few years.
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  • Profile picture of the author Slade556
    Excellent advice, man! I especially like your approach you described at #2, show them you care! And they will trust you to do your job!
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    • Profile picture of the author TheAtHomeCouple
      Originally Posted by Slade556 View Post

      Excellent advice, man! I especially like your approach you described at #2, show them you care! And they will trust you to do your job!
      Thanks brother!

      Sometimes caring isn't the easiest, especially if your client likes to micro manage etc.

      But if you strive to care about the work (results) you deliver, no matter the client, you will always go to bed feeling good about your day.

      I couldn't live with myself knowing that I was ripping off local businesses, or not performing the tasks I was hired to do.

      Cheers,

      Elijah
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  • Profile picture of the author KellyJoHill
    Thanks so much for sharing Elijah! :-)
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  • Profile picture of the author gcreationz
    Great Post Man !
    Thanks for sharing !
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  • Profile picture of the author jmorris18
    Hello Elijah. Great article ! Can you send me a PM letting me know what you offer and what you charge to assist clients? I am very interested in hearing more about your expertise, and your 7+ years as a successful SEO consultant..

    Thanks,
    Jason
    Signature

    Jason Morris

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