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[300th Post] My Journey to $20,000+

Discussion in 'White Hat SEO' started by Sampler, Nov 9, 2011.

  1. Sampler

    Sampler Senior Member

    Nov 1, 2010
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    Hey guys, a month or two back I posted this thread in regards to being asked to join an SEO company in my home town


    As a 300th post (well 310 or so now) I just thought I?d share a bit of what I did prior to getting that interview/job.

    The main purpose I have with sharing this is because I think a lot of the time people try to over complicate things. If you?ve read enough on BHW then that knowledge should already put you above about 99% of the people. Although it might not help everyone, if you find someone in the 1% then you can really go to town on some pretty basic stuff. It?s true, all you need to do is take a bit of action and you?d be surprised how far you can go with something pretty simple.

    Please note the following is something that isn?t super special, but it got the job done and that?s where it is up to you to decide what you need to do. If you can rank well with minimal effort and simple campaigns then why would you do something more complicated/harder/more expensive?

    To start, here?s some basic data on the project.

    The client was a local tree service company that serves a mixed urban/suburban/rural area with .75-1.25 million people. The target area comprises about 20 municipalities. The client already had an existing Frontpage website with a modest amount of content on it.

    I began this project by focusing on the basics. I installed Drupal on his server, had him choose a template he liked, and migrated over his existing content. I generally use WP but for this case in terms of the design he liked, that?s why I went with drupal. The very next thing I did was reconnaissance. I looked at what his competitors were doing, and I used Google?s AdWords Tool to find out what search terms were most popular. It turns out potential customers not only search for ?tree service,? but also ?tree trimming.? ?tree removal,? ?arborist,? ?stump removal,? ?stump grinding,? and a bevy of other phrases.

    From there, I did the kinds of things a beginning SEO consultant ought to do (but often fails to):

    [FONT=&quot]1. [/FONT]I made sure his pages? titles included his company name and appropriate keywords.
    [FONT=&quot]2. [/FONT]I generally cleaned up his metadata so that descriptions and keywords were appropriate for each page?s content.
    [FONT=&quot]3. [/FONT]I reorganized the content of most of his pages using header (h1, h2, etc.) tags.
    [FONT=&quot]4. [/FONT]I added alt tags to most of his website?s images.
    [FONT=&quot]5. [/FONT]I checked for and cleaned up validation errors.

    Again this is probably some of the simplest stuff you can do. While I do see the value with automation tools (I use them often in harder campaigns) but you would be surprised how many people neglect simple on-page optimization.

    Next, I realized that this guy needed some additional content on his website. It was looking pretty sparse. Originally I thought he had an average amount but after looking at his competitors it turned out they were also lacking in content, so a small increase could make a big difference. At this point, I sat the client down and explained to him the importance of content, both for SEO purposes and for establishing credibility with his clients. I told him he could either pay $25/hour for a professional writer to create content, or he could do it himself. Some people may say, ?Why pass up the income opportunity?? but I firmly believe in involving the client in the SEO process so that he starts to understand the work put into it and the value he?s receiving.

    The client created some educational material on oak wilt, the Texas draught and trees? water needs, etc. After that, he decided he didn?t have the time to write anymore, so he commissioned another several thousand words worth of content from me. Which is another reason I gave him the option earlier, sometimes if you give your information away for free people will still hire you because they can?t do it themselves.

    That?s when I realized that his company does something pretty cool. For most of their tree work, they don?t use ladders?they use ropes! In other words, the tree trimmers go swinging around in the trees doing their job. My first thought was YouTube. We arranged for some of his company?s tree-trimming work to be videotaped, and I took some highlights, mixed it with some cool music, and uploaded it to YouTube (complete with backlinks to his company?s site). This is what I would call adding value. So I decided to discount him on the video production but charge him extra for video SEO. It?s the Gillete razor system I guess, sell the razor at cost-price and make your money on the blades.

    I also realized that his company was not registered with many local directories. I quickly remedied this by adding his business to Insiderpages, citysearch, Yahoo!, etc. I also submitted his business to several local business directories. Of course, it?s great having a profile on all of these sites, but it?s not so great for business if you don?t have any reviews. Again, something simple but it makes a lot of sense to do this.

    Before I did anything about that, though, I had to take care of Google Places. My client wanted to be above the fold for ?tree trimming? + <a variety of municipalities>. A little creativity on both his and my part allowed us to establish business addresses in five different municipalities and register them with Google Places. I made sure that these addresses and contact information were also referenced on his website. Originally, I wasn?t super confident with Google Places but I thought I would be a bit of a hypocrite if I didn?t give it a go because my limited knowledge of GP was still better than 99% of other people.

    We fixed the lack of reviews by sending out an e-mail to all of his past clients advertising a fall special?something like 15% off all fall weatherization services, and an additional $25 credit if they?d had a positive past experience and would like to write about it on a review site.

    Since we were interested in local links, we registered for daily deals with a couple of local Groupon copycats who had decent PR to get links with contact information on their sites. We also pledged small sponsorship amounts to some local school projects so that we could both benefit from some traditional advertising and from having his company linked to by the local school sites.

    One major coup was getting a link from a high PR newspaper site. I called one of their editors and convinced him to interview my client about the ?war on oak wilt,? a major issue in some states. They prominently linked to my client?s website in their online article.

    I also corresponded with several local businesses and organizations in an attempt (mostly successful) to land completely legitimate local backlinks to my client?s site.

    I admit to doing some old-fashioned backlinking, but it was important to me to do only a small amount of this on relevant forums and blogs. However, I had done my research and knew a ball park figure of what quality/quantity links I needed to get to get on page one.

    All and all, it?s been a positive experience?and the client is happy. He also understands the kind of work that goes into a successful SEO campaign and knows that when it comes to Internet marketing, quality content has staying power?and spills over into real life as well. Since then, he has not only still signed on to receive my services but has passed on some other good clients to me as well which is great.

    Anyway just thought I?d share this to remind you that if there is a magic bullet out there, don?t worry about it because you may the magic bullet to someone else.


    I?d also just thought I?d quickly add, besides doing this I like to have a bit of fun with IM including things like Fiverr. On fiverr alone I?ve probably made about $3k directly off of their site. But the contacts you can get on fiverr have been worth $20,000 over about 6 months (part time i.e less than an hour a day). Again I followed the principle that I could provide something that 99% of people didn?t know what to do. I chose a gig that could be outsourced and maintain a good margin. I also chose one that would have repeat business with the customers.

    • Thanks Thanks x 2
  2. EricVerducci

    EricVerducci Newbie

    Mar 2, 2009
    Likes Received:
    That was a great story and I think it goes to show how often people over complicate things; your post was insightful. It's good to keep the little things in mind, like classic social engineering and getting newspaper interviews... I guess that's not really fantastic social engineering, but it's better than just a linkwheel, it means more to local people, I think.