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AMA: Client SEO -

Discussion in 'White Hat SEO' started by SEOMemj, Aug 19, 2016.

  1. SEOMemj

    SEOMemj Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Hello everyone,

    You may know me from my Journey to $100,000 thread, or not, that's cool too :cool:

    Basically, I've been doing client SEO for over 4 years. I make a good living based on my age. Most people I know are struggling to make 25k/year and pay their rent, car, and student loans. I'm lucky enough to not have to worry about money, will be buying a house next year, and waiters/waitresses love me because I always tip 60%+.

    That wasn't to brag, just to showcase that I'm doing well for myself.

    I've worked with over 200 business. Some small businesses, some multi-million dollar companies. I've been fired, I've made mistakes, I've made great results, I've gotten piss poor results.

    There are still aspects of client SEO that I struggle with and am always trying to improve on but I've come a long way and want to share my knowledge and possibly convince some people to give client SEO a try.

    I have no problem with keeping this thread active for years if people are interested for that long

    A couple quick facts about my work:
    • I consider myself a gray hat SEO. Most of my career was white hat but for the past 8 months I've been using some black hat tactics.
    • Before client SEO I had a history of marketing. As explained in the journey post I have a degree in marketing and used to work in Corporate America.
    • I've worked for too many industries to count but I try to specialize in Real Estate and Law Firm SEO as often as possible.
    • Client SEO is my main source of income but I do have a few side projects. Client SEO has been, by far, the most profitable but also the most time consuming.
    So guys, ask me anything.:p
     
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  2. validseo

    validseo Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Litmus test. :) What are your best SEO tactics?
     
  3. MajorKusanagi

    MajorKusanagi Registered Member

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    Q1 - How do you deal with the situations where your SEO tactics causes the ranks to drop?

    Q2 - How do you figure out the amount you're going to charge your clients? I assume it is not fixed rate model as the the effort required must vary between the projects. An example would be appreciated.
     
  4. deal with it

    deal with it Power Member

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    What's the difference between a "new post" on a PBN (do--follow link) and a new post or new page on a web 2.0 or "some" public non-indexed non-spammed high authority high pa da high tf cf do--follow link ?
     
  5. Aty

    Aty Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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  6. buzz

    buzz BANNED BANNED

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    Do you wear underwear?
     
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  7. nikchaing

    nikchaing Jr. VIP Jr. VIP UnGagged Attendee

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    what kind of mouse pad do you use?
     
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  8. SEOMemj

    SEOMemj Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    • Content Marketing
    • Authoritative link building
    • PBN's (When done right)
    • Local SEO
    I wanted to give 3 but as this is on the white hat forum, not everyone opts for PBN's.

    Content Marketing

    Content marketing is a great way to become an influencer within your industry, drive social media traffic, and it can secure links to your site. Let's be honest though, unless you're a news site or already one of the largest companies in your industry most people won't link to you. My approach is simple:
    • create content that is long and informative
    • Click bait the fuck out of it
    • Blast it on social (IFTTT is a time-saver)
    • Use Quuu if you don't have a large follower base
    Social signals are pretty helpful today and I've had posts picked up by some big industry names before. Whilst this was based on location: A small bakery's blog post tweet was shared by a large (local) online baked-goods retailer with a follower base of over 150k including local media outlets. Having your links shared on social, brand mentions, follower increases, etc. Can all be used as more than just ranking signals as well.

    While I haven't done any research into this, I had a small website that wasn't ranking for anything and it had a FB page associated with it. The FB page didn't really rank for any of the mid-high KW's either. Eventually, the FB page got some pretty nice backlinks (PBN) and after the FB page shot up, the associated website did too. Causation or correlation? Not sure.

    Authoritative link building

    I probably don't have to tell anyone here that link building is a major ranking factor. Both the Real Estate and Law industry is highly competitive and comes with a shit ton of federal and state laws about marketing which does restrict me in some cases.

    My approach is editorial links. I've gained relationships with some writers at places like The Huffington Post and am always reaching out to other writers. Not only is the rankings from links like Huff Po and Entrepreneur huge but content can go viral.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I also contact local events and non-profits about sponsorships. These can be sites that have DA 40+ and charge $100/year for an image link. I still use old tactics as well such as press releases and blogger outreach.

    PBN's (When done right)

    I used to think PBN's were a bad idea. That if you used a PBN Google would find out and destroy your rankings (MWAHAHAHA). Well, that's bullshit. When done right, a PBN can rank you overnight. That's a Private Blog Network NOT a Public Blog Network. I create a unique network for each client and only go about 5-10 sites large per network (unless it's a massive client with thousands of good backlinks). I could spend the time to explain how to do it right but that's a thread for another day plus, there's already some great ones on BHW.

    Unless you decide to make your network public or go into the 100's in size, you're pretty much safe as long as you take some basic precautions.

    Local SEO

    I hope this one was a given. Local search is...YUGE and most business's just can't compete with national markets. Even if you are targeting nationally, you can still take advantage of local SEO. This is one of my favorite ways to keep a client happy while they wait for the high competition KW's to move.

    If a site is targeting nationally, I choose a state & a city to create a new website for.. I find low competition KW's related to the client's product/service and the entire new site is optimized for 2-3 keywords. The point of the site is lead gen. Build it up and it'll become a good backlink for your main site as well. If you estimate based on the clients existing conversion rate and average traffic those KW's bring in, it can be pretty profitable for the client. I've been able to, in a few cases, be successful enough that my monthly fee was covered with just a couple of these sites. Being able to deliver wins to the client is critical as they don't want to wait 6-8 months to see their national KW's go up, even if they said they know it takes that long.

    That is just what I do with national clients while I wait for everything else to take effect. For local client's I just do regular local SEO as well as everything listed above.

    Key things to take care of for local SEO:

    • Citations
    • GMB
    • Using your target city in titles, content, and headers
    • Schema
     
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  9. darko1x

    darko1x Regular Member

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    i gonna bookmark the shit out of this post ! give us more details about the social signals vs organic trafic, when to focus on a specific strategy ? for exemple: a print and custom gifts firm. how would you promote this ?
     
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  10. SEOMemj

    SEOMemj Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Q1 -

    Mainly I do white hat SEO so my tactics don't usually cause big drops. Sometimes I'll reformat things like the title tags and see rankings fall a bit but nothing that won't recover after it get's changed back. Rankings don't always constantly increase, Google Dance is still very much alive and some keywords will drop 60 spots for a couple days a go right back to page 1 after. Others move from #1 to #11 on a daily basis.

    Q2 -
    Depends on how much work needs to be done. Some clients already have great rankings and they're just looking for someone to maintain them and build some links. I like asking the client directly what their budget is and what they expect me to do with it. Some clients are reasonable and say "We can only afford $200/month and just need someone to do onsite work for a couple hours a month".

    Things I factor in when I send a quote:
    • How much time I need to put in
    • Market their targeting (Ranking for NYC is a lot harder than some small town in the middle of Kansas)
    • Size of their business
    • Am I paying for things like tools or are they?
    Generally, anything under $500/month is a no and $500/month still won't get you much.

    The difference is how much Google likes the link and how likely it is to work for you in the future. PBN's can be effective but if it's a public network you run the chance of getting the PBN site deindexed. How much the links helps also depends on the metrics of the site. Web 2.0's aren't as effective as they used to be. Generally, PBN's will pass a lot more link juice and if done right, will be up for a lot longer than a 2.0.

    You're not gonna get much, if anything, from a non-indexed page. Even if the site's metrics are high.

    I have too many clients to do all the work myself. I currently employ 3 people part-time to help me. I'm planning on expanding my client SEO which will require more hiriing as well. I do about 50-90% of the SEO any given client site. I don't like some tedious work such as cleaning up citations.

    Hiring people has also allowed me the lower my rates a bit. For clients that don't have a large budget I'll assign about 50% of the work to one of my team members and do a lot of QC. That way the client still gets serviced up to my level of quality but doens't have to pay as much.

    Depends, is it laundry day?

    Not a serious question, I get it. But a mouse pad with wrist support is life changing.
     
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  11. SEOMemj

    SEOMemj Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Cheers!

    You should utalize every traffic source there is. If you want to keep clients on a long-term basis then you need to increase conversion rates. It might seem great to them at first if they're ranking #1 but if their monthly revenue increase is only $200 and they're paying you $500/month then it's only a matter of time before you get let go.

    I HATE social media. Most of my accounts stay dead for months at a time and I hate when clients ask if I can take over their social media accounts. Most social work I do is automated with IFTTT. Post a blog post and it gets shared on FB, Twitter, G+, Tumblr, etc, etc. Quuu Promote is a nifty service that helps promote that blog post.

    For service providers I generally don't use SM to generate sales. I use it to drive traffic to the content. For product providers I'll promote blog posts and the product.
     
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  12. TheUnborn

    TheUnborn Elite Member

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    Congrats on your success.My main source of income is also client SEO .My main customers are mostly from europe,france and have been making a good living out of it. Thanks for the tips on Content Marketing and what is the best tool for you to find Low competitive keywords?
     
  13. mickyfu

    mickyfu Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Sounds like a commando to me.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2016
  14. visitorstoleads

    visitorstoleads Newbie

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    Great stuff. Thanks for the info. Always good to see what others are doing. What are you doing to get clients mainly?
     
  15. The Curator

    The Curator Senior Member

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    When it comes to guest post outreach do you do it, have someone in your agency do it, or outsource it? If you or your employee/colleague does it, what tools do they use to help with the process?
    When it comes to content development and promotion, have you ever had a client create an ebook? If so what kind of promotion strategies did you utilize?
    Nice thread!
     
  16. PureHustle

    PureHustle Regular Member

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    Whats Your Process for Client Acquisition?
     
  17. SEOMemj

    SEOMemj Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Nice! My clients are mostly US and CA.

    Use Google itself. Look at who ranks on page 1 and use the suggested searches at the bottom of the SERP to find more search terms. After you have a list of potential terms, I use keyword planner for average monthly searches. Granted, they know only give you a range such as 1k-10k unless you're a big PPC spender.

    There are some other tools such as SEMRush that give you average monthly searches but I don't know how accurate those are (if anyone has a suggestion, I'm all ears).


    I'm a big fan of using every resource at your disposal. I also do some gray hat sales (I'm planning on making a detailed thread about this in the near future)
    • Craigslist - Shitty place to look unless you like $50/month gigs. There are at least 3 posts a week for people needing an SEO. For these, I have a copy & paste email I send out. Takes maybe 5 minutes to send 3 proposals. Every once in a while, there will be a decent job that comes out of it.
    • Upwork - Less shitty but quality is always going down. Most people who post on Upwork have no idea what SEO is or what it costs. There's also the downside of them getting 25+ bids meaning that unless they know what they're doing they'll hire than $3/hour guy from India who says they'll be rank #1 by morning. Needless to say, this has been great for client acquisition. I get interviewed 90% of the time for clients I can tell, based on their post, know what they're doing. I get hired about 75% from that 90%. From those client's I also run "deals" in which if they're able to refer someone that needs SEO services to me, I'll give them 1 month of free SEO. A lot of agencies also hire on Upwork and they generally pay well and have consistent work.
    • Manual outreach - Meetup.com around me has a lot of groups for networking. It's cool to meet aspiring business owners or established business owners. Bring your laptop and be willing to show them how their online presence is, and how you can improve it. I also do some cold emails. There's a local farmers market that happens every Tues and Thurs in which companies that sell food products online (energy bars, chocolate products, etc) attend. It's a great place to find out more about them, drop a business card, and follow up later on.
    • Outsource it - Some companies specialize in doing outreach for you or you can hire someone to do it (solo - not a company). I've never done this before but I did sign up for a free test with a BHW provider to see how they do.
    • Gray hat sales - Use a FB account to post on a businesses page that you had trouble finding their website on Google, leave a review on their Yelp/G+ page asking if they have a website because you can't find it (use accounts with different names than your own and spread 2-3 of these out over the course of a month). Then, contact them as you about how their search presence isn't great and people are even posting online about it. Ethical? Eh. You draw your own line. If I'm able to get them profitable results then I don't see the harm.
    • Social media - as much as I don't like it, I do occasionally get messages about my service. Mostly through LinkedIn (which is the only social page I keep updated). Usually, it's someone trying to hire a full-time in-house SEO in which I politely decline, spend 10 minutes looking at their website to point out issues with their onsite SEO work and then offer my services as a freelancer - either to do work or consult with their marketing/dev team.

    Depends on the client and how I'm feeling. Some weeks I'm really overworked and I'll pass guest post outreach off to someone else as it's usually just a generic email that looks unique. I use Google as my tool of choice. I also try to keep a record of all websites I've come across that allow guest posting.

    "Guest posts for [industry]"
    "[Industry] + write for us"
    "[Industry] + this post was written by"
    and other searches like that. Check out this Quora answer
    keyword + “this post was written by”
    keyword + “want to write”
    keyword + “Want to Write for me”
    keyword + “want to write for us”
    keyword + “we accept contributors”
    keyword + “We accept guest blogs”
    keyword + “We accept guest posts”
    keyword + “write for me”
    keyword + “write for us”
    keyword + “writers needed”


    I haven't had a client create an Ebook other than a client who specifically sold Ebooks. I know how to utilize them as a marketing strat as well:
    • Email sign ups
    • Sales funnel (lawyers often offer free consultations so an Ebook about how to make the most out of your free consultation has good potential)
    • Use it for lead gen
    I would make the Ebook obvious. A pop up after X time on the site or if the user goes to leave (there are scripts to detect mouse movements) is a way to showcase it. You can also put it into a CTA either as a button or a text link to the download. Social media is also a valuable resource for getting the word out. Twitter loves the word "FREE". If you use the Ebook for lead gen (which you should be - I mean if you optimized the Ebook for lead gen) you can throw a FB ad up about the free Ebook which should lead to a landing page optimized for downloads and brand awareness. Make sure the social media icons are there to share and follow/like.
     
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  18. Sherbert Hoover

    Sherbert Hoover Jr. Executive VIP Jr. VIP

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    Two and a half hours in and this is already one of the most informational threads I've seen on BHW in a while. Great stuff, OP.

    My question(s):

    How have your clients paid you historically? Lump sum? Monthly? Pay by performance? And what payment method? Do you prefer PayPal, check, wire transfer, etc?
     
  19. SEOMemj

    SEOMemj Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    I appreciate it! I used to lurk on BHW for a couple years, made an account back in Dec but only started posting on here about a week ago-ish? BHW is a great community and I want to give back.

    How I get paid and when depends on the method of hire. If you look at this answer I gave I outline a couple of ways a acquire clients.

    I have hourly, monthly, and some "when I buy" -for some services that I offer - payment. I prefer bi-weekly payments based on a monthly price as well as some weekly payments. This keeps my bank accounts growing so I don't need to dip into my savings to pay for a service for a client before I get my next payment.

    Upwork uses an escrow service. Payment is guaranteed for hourly jobs (even if the client disappears, they'll cover you) and monthly payments go into escrow.

    For payment-based-on-trust (and contract) I use an invoice client called Zoho. They handle card payments through Stripe and also allow for PayPal. It's free to use as well, which is great but they do take a reasonable fee per payment.

    I only accept card or PayPal and I try to limit PayPal as using regular PayPal takes a ton away from you in fees or PayPal business which is $0.50 flat fee but takes 5-7 days to authenticate, meaning they're 7 days you have to wait to see if a payment fell through. Unless clients ask if they can pay through PayPal, I don't include the PayPal option on their invoice. It can be a hassle.

    Some contracts do have bonus's worked into them (mostly for agencies - they generally give a bonus every 6 months) and I'm willing to work in a monthly rate + pay per performance for a client I believe I can do a lot of good for but doesn't have the trust in me to meet the budget.

    I've been using Upwork & Zoho the entire time. With Upwork you can do direct deposit or paid to PayPal. Zoho also offers other payment methods that I'm not familiar with.
     
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  20. zacc255

    zacc255 Junior Member

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    Thanks for sharing your advice with us mate!

    What are your tips/advice for someone that just wants to start client SEO? Where to begin getting clients and so on?