1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Reality Check: What it Takes to Build a MILLION DOLLAR SEO/Online Marketing Business!

Discussion in 'White Hat SEO' started by t0mmy, Feb 11, 2016.

  1. t0mmy

    t0mmy Executive VIP Jr. VIP

    Jun 5, 2011
    Likes Received:
    Home Page:
    Reality Check: What it Takes to Build a Million Dollar SEO/Online Marketing Business

    The sharing on this forum lately has been nothing short of amazing, I started out sharing content here around 2 years ago. The purpose was to breath some life back into the forum, help the community that's given me so much, and of course grow myself as an SEO authority and brand (anyone that says any different is bullshitting you) by demonstrating my knowledge publicly.

    The knock on effects I've witnessed from this content crusade have been epic, the forum is ALIVE again. People are sharing left, right and center. lightningblitz is dropping bombs almost daily, Leith just dropped a nuclear arsenal and lots of others are getting involved. It's a great time to be a member here. I like to think I've helped inspire some of this, and now those guys are inspiring me, the knock on effects have come full circle. Today I'm going to touch on some lessons I've learned over the years..

    I have had what I would like to call decent success in the industry, so far, and it has resulted in a never ending flow of emails and private messages asking for advice. There are a lot of people that consider starting an SEO business and they want to know how to grow and scale or they have basic questions about how the industry operates.

    It's a very tricky industry for many reasons. There isn't an operations manual for starters that will guide you to success like other business opportunities. If you wanted to open a McDonalds franchise you would simply pay the fee, let their team help you secure a location, and then you would be sent off to training and given their system to follow. Everything is done the same, no matter what country the McDonalds is located in. Their operations are perfected and that's why they are so successful.

    If you want a business that won't require you to handle all decisions, save yourself the headaches and open a McDonalds franchise. I'm serious.

    My first big financial success in the industry came with Speed Rank, most of you will be aware of this already. We were first to market and introduce the SEO community to Sape. The service is still going after several years and it's been a constant learning experience. Since then, I have launched several other successful services and even sold some of them. My journey in the SEO industry has led me to my latest project - SerpLogic. It's a bit different from what I have done in the past, because it focuses on white hat SEO and larger corporate clients.

    The success that SerpLogic has experienced so far has been nothing short of exciting. The growth has been snowballing since day number one and there is no sign of it slowing down. It has allowed me to create jobs and build a solid SEO team to service our clients. There is no doubt in my mind that we will do seven figures in 2016/2017.

    I wanted to write a detailed post that really breaks down what it takes to build a successful SEO and online marketing business. Not many people want to discuss the realities of it, but I'm an open book and think this might help shed some light on just how hectic this industry is and also maybe help some people that have been considering exploring a career in SEO.

    Most of what I've learned in this industry, I've learned it here on BHW. The lessons below might just save you years of the trial and error I went through.

    I broke down this post into fifteen parts so it was easier to read. I hope this helps some of you in one way or another.

    You have to fully believe in (and back up) what you are telling/selling other people.

    The one thing that utterly pisses me off in this industry is the number of SEO gurus that talk about one thing but do the other. They want to paint a picture of being so white hat that Matt Cutts would endorse them and buy them a nice steak dinner and a blowjob, but behind the scenes they are as dirty as they come. They preach content is king, but they don't explain why they REALLY create content.

    They will tell their loyal group of brainwashed sheeple idiots that all they need to do to rank is to blog. Just post content on your blog and watch the website traffic roll in, right? WRONG. These content preachers are guest blogging all over and I can promise you it's for one thing and one thing only: LINKS!

    There is so much bullshit in their posts and advice. I would respect them much more if they would discuss the REAL reason content marketing is king. It's because it allows you to get your hands on links! I'm not shy when it comes to speaking about the truth in the SEO world. I'll be the first one to tell you that links are king and content is just a means to get those links.


    I believe everything I tell people. I don't write posts to appear to be the white hat king. I say it like it is and I back up what I say. Why do you think I guest blog on websites like Ahrefs? I do it for exposure, a nice link, and referral traffic. That is why EVERYONE guest blogs. Anyone trying to spin some elaborate story as to why they guest blog for reasons other than the ones I listed is trying to sell you some bullshit. I promise you that.

    If I am writing a blog post about something then you can be 100% certain that it's because I am doing it myself or have done it in the past. Too many SEOs will say one thing and do the other. It's sad and I don't see it changing. Intelligent business owners see through the bullshit and appreciate honesty, which is something that I believe has really helped SerpLogic explode.

    Here is an example - Recently I was contacted by head of marketing for one of the leading Poker websites in the world, they found me through a guest post on Ahrefs. They choose to reach out to me personally on twitter rather than some of the other authors on ahrefs, inbound or what ever. Why? The guy liked my style, he liked the no bullshit approach. I'm in talks now with these guys around running the content management for their Affiliate portal.. anyone in the gambling industry will know how lucrative this deal could be.

    You have to push out a large amount of value without asking for anything in return.

    When I launched SerpLogic I had one mission: to put out as much valuable content as humanly possible. With running a full time SEO business, multiple additional SEO services, and having a little child and family, it means that my "down" time is almost nonexistent.

    I still didn't make excuses and I just made it happen. I would wake up early in the morning or stay up extra late to get my content written. Even now, as I write this, it is late at night and I would much rather be in bed but I know that pushing out content that delivers a real value is what fuels my SEO company's growth. Those that have been reading my content since the beginning can vouch that I have never once asked for anything in return. My content is 100% free to read and you never have to give me a penny. Hell, you don't even have to give me your email address or a social share. The content started here on BHW, it only moved over to SerpLogic later on after all your feedback and suggestions here.. So I tried to keep the same approach with the blog.

    There are plenty of SEO blogs out there that gate their content and require you to enter an email address or "unlock" it with a social share. I'm a firm believer in truly free content. Know what's funny? The content that is usually gated is complete shit and provides no value whatsoever. So, why do they gate it? Because they know it's pure crap and they know the only way they have of getting a possible lead is to collect info before their content is shown. When you really provide value you don't have to play those games.

    When someone reads my blogs they are going to either find it helpful, continue to visit and then maybe eventually buy a service or hire us to handle their SEO, or they will just become life long readers. There is no pressure on my blog. I can tell you that some of my largest clients have come through my blog and it's usually after they have visited a few times that they contact us for a consultation. All that value eventually triggers them to reach out entirely on their own without any nudging from our end. Those are the best kind of clients to land.

    You have to be there to answer questions and talk to your potential customers, again, without asking for anything in return.

    When I post new content I get buried in comments, emails, contact requests, and private messages. Know what I do? I respond to every single one of them. Yes, even the ones that I know will not lead to any kind of sale or business gain. Please don't take that as an invitation to start PMing me.

    Why would I do this? Because I know that it's part of the value equation. Just putting the content out there isn't enough. People are going to have comments and they are going to have questions. When you take the time to reply to them and acknowledge their existence it makes your content even more powerful.

    In the SEO world there are two main types of people. There are those that have no idea what SEO is and they have a million questions. Then there are those that have been burned by one if not more SEO companies in the past and they are under the impression that all SEO is a scam. These people can be completely exhausting, but you have to give them equal attention and time if you want to eventually turn some of them into clients.

    I see so many SEO companies blow off the skeptics because they aren't confident in their abilities. They would rather ignore someone like that than try to explain how SEO really works. This is because they know their bullshit will eventually cause that person to quit their service like they have all the previous providers.

    Then, they ignore the people new to SEO because they aren't interested in long term clients. They want people that are ready to tell them their credit card number over the phone with little to no explanation of what they are even getting in return.

    If you just take the time to TALK to people without expecting anything in return you will see an increase in clients because:

    • The ones that are new to SEO will appreciate that you took the time to fully explain how it works and what they should expect. They will also stay on as long term clients because you explained that SEO isn't an overnight process and it takes time to build up solid results.

    • The people that got burned in the past by shady SEO companies will appreciate your honesty and the fact that you took time to explain how SEO really works. You will see that they are an easy close because they already understand they need SEO. They were just waiting to find a trustworthy provider to work with.

    You have to be willing to take kicks to the nuts over and over.

    This is a big one. I see a lot of people get so defensive and upset. There is NOT A SINGLE business that has 100% happy customers and supporters. Google any large business and you will see pages of pissed off customers and people that aren't even customers that just voice their disapproval.. everyone on the internet has an opinion.

    The larger and more popular a business gets, the more attention they attract and the more negativity is thrown their way.. it's the price of fame. Do you think McDonalds lets a few negative articles or some social media posts about an awful experience ruin their day? Fuck no, they sure don't. While they might address them or attempt to fix them, it's business as usual. They are completely comfortable knowing that not everyone will like that.

    All the negativity won't even come from their actual customers, either! There will be vegetarians that will slander McDonalds because they don't like meat eaters. There will be those who love Burger King and will talk nonstop shit about McDonalds for no apparent reason at all. It happens in business every day.

    I've had people message me telling me my SEO service was shit. These were people that just wanted to stir trouble (and probably a competitor) and I have had previous clients cancel service after 15 days because they weren't ranking #1 on Google. I've had idiot competitors write fake press about me online. I've had sites DDosed, attacked and all sort of nonsense. We had a lot of angry Russians looking for our heads when we outed sape to the mass public.

    You take low kicks to the nuts all the time but that is part of the business. If someone is complaining and being a pain in the ass after 15 days I'm refunding them and writing it off as a loss. Most SEO companies would keep them locked in a contract and suffer their wrath for months just for a few dollars. It's sad, really.

    No matter how big your business gets or how successful you are financially, there will always be people aiming to kick you down. Some kicks will hurt more than others. You can't let them bother you or throw you off track, because that's what they want.

    Brush yourself off, get back in the game and show them who is boss.


    You have to accept the fact that SEO and this industry changes all the time and be willing to adapt and invest time and money into changing along with it.

    Can you imagine if I was doing the same type of SEO today that was popular back in 2005 or 2008? What if I was doing what worked just a few years ago in 2012? I would be getting every client penalized and slapped out of the SERPs very quickly. I would have every client fire me and I would be a failing business. When it comes down to it, you HAVE to have a great service. Even all the content marketing in the world can't mask a shitty SEO service.

    If you want to run a successful SEO service, whether it's a small service on a forum or a large agency, you have to stay up to date on what works, what doesn't and what is changing. SEO is a constant education and you have to be willing to always test and learn. Some ways I educate myself every single day:

    • I read multiple SEO forums, and look or discussions about algorithm changes and also different ranking strategies. I also look at new SEO services to see what people are offering.

    • I read every SEO blog that you could imagine. Some are better than others (you can read a post about what I think of many of the top SEO blogs here), but I like to check them all out at some point just to see what the industry is talking about. I don't necessarily put all of the info into action, but it's always wise to keep up to speed on what the SEO industry is talking about.

    • I test theories and strategies daily. I build blogs and let websites age just for the sake of testing. I spend a lot of money just to maintain these sites for testing purposes. I buy new content all the time for them and treat them like real websites. I can promise you that not many SEO companies put the time and money into this like I do. I also credit our success to this, so tell me: is it worth it? I think so!

    • I subscribe to almost every single SEO tool that exists, even if I don't use them for my client campaigns. I like to know what people are playing with and how they can be used. This costs money and time to test, but if you aren't testing and trying new things you will never become a better SEO.

    • You have to be willing to spend money to make money.

    This is something that really separates the beginners from those that are ready to transform into an agency and experience growth. One of the reasons my Speed Rank service was such a success to the tune of seven figures in the first 18 months was the amount of advertising we were doing. I was spending close to a quarter of a million dollars a year to advertise. While the service was something that hadn't been seen before and would have done decent without that budget, it would have NEVER done seven figures without the aggressive advertising approach I took. Someone couldn't visit the forum without seeing our Speed Rank offering.. the half naked chick banners became a thing of legends around the forum.

    If you look around you will see that there is a very small handful of SEO agencies that are blanket advertising. They dominate the PPC results and they have fairly aggressive banner ad campaigns. You see them on all the popular SEO and business websites and if you visit their website their remarketing follows you all over the Internet.

    They have huge budgets, but they know the only way they will maintain that level of growth is by spending money. I would say that it's safe to say 95% of SEO companies are small one man operations. They might try to pretend they are bigger, the reality is that most are run out of someone's home and they outsource everything. They have a few clients and get by, but they don't have the volume to dump $10,000 - $20,000 into ads every month. I'm not trying to say this to discourage anyone, but if you want to build a million dollar SEO agency you need to be willing to invest 25% of your revenue back into marketing.

    When you add up all the PPC and content costs to get your name out there it becomes a very large number. I've seen a few services that cleaned up and made a pile of money, but then an algorithm update ruined their service. Since they weren't investing money back into marketing and branding they were left with nothing. They had to start over fresh, and that is always going to be an uphill battle. By investing consistent money into branding you become more than just a single offering. You become a complete SEO and online marketing solution.

    You can't assume your audience is composed entirely of noobs and insult their intelligence.

    I want you to do something real quick.

    Visit: https://www.quicksprout.com/blog/

    Now, scroll down and find the little widget that says "Do you want more traffic?"

    DO NOT enter in a URL. Just click the "Analyze" button and watch what happens.

    Amazingly, this tool is finding website errors and you haven't even given it a website to analyze. People think Neil Patel is some marketing god, but he is snake oil salesman. As soon as the analyzer is done it will tell you how many errors it found and then take you to a form to complete so Neil can help you and save the day.



    He prays of noobs. They will fill that out because they truly believe that Neil's magic analyzer found errors that need to be fixed. He will then sell them some bullshit.

    No sane business owner would fall for that shit. Now, Neil Patel makes a lot of money I'm sure, but I would HIGHLY doubt it's from consulting for big companies like he claims. I'd bet that it's from milking noobs.

    The fact that the website analyzer tool on his website is FAKE is a slap in the face to anyone with common sense or even a slight bit of intelligence. He is one of these SEO gurus that will tell you one thing, yet do the complete opposite. I saw one of his recent speaking gigs and he discussed the analyzer and how they put up a fake one to "test" and see if it would generate leads and then he said after they found out it did, they put up a working one. LOL. Lies. Bullshit. Crap. Yet this is a guru the SEO industry looks up to. It's sad, pathetic and a little amusing all at the same time.

    If you want to build a solid agency you need to treat all of your website visitors and blog readers with respect. Don't assume they are all noobs and try to pull a fast one over on them. That's a quick way to push them away and lose a potential big client. You can impress them without bullshitting and lying.

    Extra Reading: You can read more of my thoughts on "SEO Gurus" like Patel here.

    You have to actually give a shit about your clients.

    This one is big for me.

    When I take on a new SEO client I am genuinely interested in helping them improve their business. If all I cared about were getting my monthly fee from them I would lose a lot of clients. You see, the more success they experience, the more money they will spend with me. I know, it's a crazy concept!

    If I get them ranking for a lot of strong keywords their sales go up and they can throw a larger budget towards SEO, allowing us to rank them for even more terms and bring in more traffic. Then, when they really start seeing the cash come in they will then start to buy infographics every month and multiple standalone services.

    I recently took on one of those auto sale search engine sites. This project is huge, 1000s of pages and growing daily.. the site is dynamic, it pulls data from dealers and manufacturers. These guys are in their first round of funding (almost $1m first round), they approached us to work on a small budget to begin with so they can show some ROI from the SEO side in their second round of funding - $4k per month, they did this to test the waters. At the end of this 2 month test phase they are in for $10k per month, no messing around with companies like this.

    This is how the big boys do it. They aren't making millions of dollars by selling $500 SEO packages. They are mixing in all kinds of services and diversifying their income across all kinds of offerings. If you have visited my website you will see that we offer custom SEO, but we also have a handful of standalone services that our clients buy. This gives them more options and it gives us multiple sources of revenue.

    If there is ever a huge shakeup and one of the services becomes less effective, we simply turn up the traffic and marketing on the other offerings. This ensures that our revenue never just drops off.

    That's something that really hurts some SEO companies. If a big shakeup occurs and revenue dies the business sinks, because the expenses don't stop. While the monthly fees from SEO clients might sow down the office rent, utilities, SEO tools and software bills and staff expenses are still very real. A couple of bad months with slow sales can destroy an SEO company and we see it all the time in the industry. I can't tell you how many times I see the same "face" on a new SEO company after just a few months.

    The simplest way to make sure your clients stick around and actually spend MORE money with your company is to treat them right and actually care. When you do that, you help them, which in turn actually helps YOUR business. This is Business 101, something that a large percent in this industry miss out on.

    You have to be honest when discussing what you can do for a business and actually deliver on what you have promised.

    "We will get you ranking #1 on Google for all your main keywords!"

    "20 Days? Heck, we will have you on top of the SERPs in just 15 days!"

    "Penalties? We only do Google approved SEO!"

    "Our SEO is Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird friendly!"

    There are a lot of SEO companies that will lie through their teeth to get a sale. This goes back to the fact that a lot of these "companies" are being operated out of a 1 bedroom apartment and the "CEO" is dependant on getting a few new suckers every month to pay the rent. I'm not saying all are like this, but there are a lot.

    It doesn't matter if you ARE a 1 man show working out of your apartment or the owner of an SEO agency that does $50 million a year; you have to be honest with clients.

    If you have a small local client and they have zero competition and you really feel like you can get them ranking high in the SERPs in a month, then tell them two months. This way, when you DO get them on top in a month you look like a hero. It is always better to deliver faster than promised, then later. A lot of SEOs think that a client won't sign up if they tell them the truth. Guess what? They will LEAVE if you DO NOT tell them the truth.

    Honesty is always the best policy.

    If you have a potential client that is going to be difficult to rank just be straight up with them. If it's going to take 8 months to see any kind of possible traffic increase tell them that. If they are serious about working with an SEO company that will deliver solid results they will accept your opinion. If they think that the results should happen sooner then let them go find another company. I can't tell you how many times I've had potential clients go with another company because I was telling them 6 months to see significant results but someone else was promising them results in a month. Guess what happened after a month and no results? They come crawling back and say "We should have listened to you the first time."

    I very rarely take a client on after they didn't listen to me and went with another company. I have no idea what the other company did and more times than none they damage they did will be more work than I want to deal with to clean up.

    Lesson: just be honest.

    Extra Reading: Check out this Epic Fail list - 10 Examples of SEO Lies, Myths and Complete Nonsense.

    You have to know what clients to not take on and understand that not every dollar is a smart dollar.

    Taking on every single SEO client with money in hand is not a smart business decision. This is why so many of the SEO mills have horrible reviews online. I'm not going to name and shame some of the big boys here, but a quick Google search will bring up the biggest offenders. What gets them in trouble? Two main reasons:

    1. They offer the same package to every single website and every single business. It doesn't matter if it's a local flower shop or a national finance company. They all get 100 Facebook shares, 200 re-tweets, 10 "PBN" links, and a bunch of other packaged crap.
    2. They let anyone sign up for service, as long as the credit card is valid.

    There is absolutely no screening process set up to review clients before they accept them. Some of my services are just buying/renting links, so we don't offer any consulting. We do such large volume that we have to trust that people buying our links know what they are doing.

    For my agency, SerpLogic, everything is custom. We completely review every website and do a competition analysis and link report that we look at internally to determine if we want to offer our services. That is a luxury, but it's also smart business.

    If a website is spammed to death or penalized already, do you really want to take on that headache? It might mean a quick couple thousand dollars, but the headaches and troubles it will cause down the road will far exceed that money. Focus on working with businesses that you can help and you will see your customer support requests plummet. With SerpLogic, I can honestly say that we have never taken on a bad client and that is because we have the luxury of being picky.

    You have to understand the potential lifetime value of each customer you bring on.

    When I first started selling SEO services it was all new to me. I was excited to see that fast money because it was something I hadn't experienced before. I focused on the "now" money, which is something I think everyone does when they first start. You see thousands of dollars hitting your merchant account and that is all you focus on. You want more. You want that number to get bigger every single day.

    If I can give you one piece of advice (and it's something that is really helping me grow my new ventures) it would be to focus on the LTV (life time value) of every single person you collect money from, rather than just the initial sale.

    You see, the SEO industry is becoming very competitive. There are new companies popping up every single day and guess what? They all claim to offer the best service and they price cut to get that "now" money. A lot of business owners fall for it and they will jump ship if they think they will get the same service for a lower price.

    You need to do things that no other SEO company is doing or willing to do, in order to get that client to stick around. I'm not necessarily saying that you should lock them into contracts, either. Just provide something that nobody else is. This makes you stand out and gives them no reason to ever entertain other offers. And trust me, they are receiving emails, phone calls, and mail every single week from other SEO companies.

    Even if your service needs to become so elaborate that you don't make a profit for the first few months, you have to look at the big picture. Would you like to take on a client that you make $500 a month from for a period of 3 months before they jump ship ($1,500 total) or would you rather not profit for 3 months and then make $500 profit for several years?

    I made the mistake in the beginning and it took me a while to really understand that it's all about life time value. That is how you build a huge book of recurring revenue and how you can build your agency to that seven figure level.

    You need to accept that EVERYONE starts small.

    I was a small operation when I started. Even the biggest SEO agencies all started small. An idea, a business license, a domain name, a website, an email address, and a dream. I sometimes get vocal about scammy SEO companies and I don't want people to think I bag on all small SEO operations. Trust me, I know several people working from home that are one man operations and they are making a lot of money.

    The number of employees or the size of your office doesn't mean anything in the SEO industry. I know people working from their home office that do bang up SEO and are making half a million dollars a year consulting. They are more experienced and knowledgeable than the SEO agencies with 100 employees that are doing $XX million a year.

    If you are thinking of starting an SEO company don't get down on yourself because you don't have the fancy website or the fancy office. None of that matters. When it comes down to it your clients want results. If you are a business owner do you care if your SEO is working from his backyard poolside or in a top floor office in the city? If they are delivering results and you are making money it doesn't matter.

    Remote working and home offices are more popular now and it's not a red flag like it once was. When I first started if you said you worked from home or used remote workers the business would look at you like you were some SEO hack. I lost many clients in the early days because I didn't have a brick and mortar business location. Thankfully these days it's more common to work from home. If someone doesn't want to hire you because you work from home or are a smaller operation don't let it bother you. I would get all bent out of shape and upset, but I should have just focused on signing clients that actually wanted to work with me because of what I could provide, not the size of my business.

    Every SEO company starts small, so don't be discouraged when you are just starting out. Let your skills dictate your success, not your business size. You can remain a one man show and be very successful in the SEO industry.


    Extra Reading: Check out my First Year Update thread, you'll see just how small I was starting out.

    You have to have motivation other than money and being wealthy.

    When you start to make money your mind starts to spin...

    "I want to buy a crazy sick car!"

    "I'm going to travel the world and party my ass off!"

    "I need this $30K watch because it will show the world how successful I am!"

    "Money is everything!"

    Those are just a few of the things that will run through your mind once you start to experience financial success. It happens to everyone, I can promise you that. Some people won't admit it or think that they won't be like that in the beginning. You will. I promise that. I was. I know several of my mates that thought like that also. It's human nature.

    The trick is to quickly realize that money isn't everything and if that is your only motivation you will quickly lose interest in what you are doing. At one point you will realize that it's just money.

    When I had my child and started a family it made money such a small motivation factor. Yes, money is important to be able to live in a nice place and take care of my family, but it isn't what gets me out of bed in the morning every day. Just thinking of them and knowing that every ounce of work I put into my business is to benefit them gets me going. Even after a night out with the lads (and a killer hangover) I am excited to work the next morning.

    So, my advice to you is find your passion. Find out what drives you aside from money. Set goals and work towards them. Do you want to travel the world? Take care of your family? Money makes it all go around, but you need motivation beyond just money to have the determination to keep building your business until you hit that seven figure number.

    If someone told me this when I first started I would have laughed at them (like some are doing now, I'm sure) but trust me. I've been there. I was single and living the life when I started to make real money, I partied in Madrid for a full year. My success really started to bloom after I figured out what really motivated me beyond the money, which is my family.

    You have to accept that you are a service business and not just an SEO provider.

    Results are very important and it's the results that ultimately make a SEO company successful, but customer service is just as important. This is something I had to learn myself the hard way. I didn't have anyone there to tell me how important support was, so please take my advice, as it will save you heaps of time and money!

    This circles back up to focusing on the "now" money, which is something almost all new SEO businesses will do. It can be an exciting time, but if you don't focus on your support it will be short lived. When you start out you have to handle most of the duties, which could include generating leads, closing sales and doing the actual SEO work. The last thing you want to do is reply to emails from clients with basic questions. But, if you ignore them and don't reply right away they will become very irritated and possible quit your service.

    Since SEO takes time, there is a lot of down time in the clients' eyes. They naturally want to see traffic and ranking improvements, so they will send in questions. Sometimes they do this just to test you. They want to feel like their SEO investment is safe and in good hands.

    Here are some tips that I highly suggest that won't cost you much money at all and will help you provide A+ customer service, which is a major key to becoming a big SEO player.

    • Reply within 24 hours: This is so simple to do if you just put in the effort. Make it known that you reply within 24 hours and then follow through with that promise. Your clients will greatly appreciate it.

    • Use a ticketing system for tracking: A system like ZenDesk keeps everything organized and you can make sure nothing slips through the cracks. It also gives you a very professional appearance.

    • Try live chat: Some people like this and I suggest you try it. I found that we got a lot of tire kickers that were just bored and wanted to chat. But, you might find it to be a good support outlet.

    • Hire a VA: I have a dedicated support employee and it's the smartest investment I have made in my business. I can say with confidence that my agency's support is top notch and my clients would agree. This is worth every penny!

    You can't be afraid to charge what you are worth. Don't worry about what other agencies and providers charge.

    SEO doesn't have a set price. It has a different value to every single business.

    If a small mom and pop shop will make an extra $2,000 a month because of great SEO then they might be willing to spend $750 a month with you. If you can deliver a great strategy to a large company and they will make $50,000 extra a month, then they will gladly write you a check for $10,000 month after month.

    When I first get started in this industry I paid too much attention what others were charging and I assumed every business wanted $200 - $500 a month SEO. I missed out on so much money because I sold myself short. Now, all my SEO contracts are custom and priced accordingly.

    I factor in the time and work it will take to get the client the results they want and I also factor in what my time is worth. I don't care if they come to me with multiple quotes. I don't try to beat prices. I know my service will deliver results because I charge what it will take to get the job done, not what it will take to get the client to sign up.

    If you just throw the lowest price out there you might get some to sign, but they won't stick around. DO NOT SELL YOURSELF SHORT! Charge what is fair to both you and the client. By this I mean charge a monthly fee that will allow you to provide a great service while also making money.

    If I figured out this point earlier in my SEO career I would have built a seven figure business a lot faster. Learn from my mistake and charge what you are worth, not what a client wants to pay.



    There you have it. I hope that after reading through this post you realize what separates the clueless SEO companies that just want to collect money from those that actually care about the success of every client they have. It's a very competitive industry and there are more bad companies than there are good ones. Just look at how many horror stories are out there. There is no denying that the word "SEO" makes most business owners cringe. It's because they have been burned so many times by the scam artists and low quality service providers.

    Not every SEO company that is doing bad work means to screw over business owners. A lot of the blame is caused by the provider they are outsourcing to. Until every SEO company is doing their own work there will always be cases of SEO companies thinking they are delivering quality service but they are really firing off Fiverr quality. It's sad but very true.

    If you are a business owner or looking to hire a SEO company, I hope you found this helpful and it allows you to find someone capable of delivering SEO that's worth your money. While I'd love for you to hire my company, I understand there is a lot of business to go around. After all, every business needs SEO these days. That's why you won't find me pressuring for the sale or consultation in my content. It's all about providing value.

    If you are thinking of starting an SEO company, please take it seriously and don't take shortcuts. They won't work out and nobody will win in the end. If you are willing to work hard and have integrity, then go for it. As I mentioned, there is plenty of business to go around.

    That's it for today. This post has my fingers hurting from all the typing.

    I hope you all enjoyed the read. Questions, comments and feedback welcomed below. Until next time.. Ciao for now! ;)
    • Thanks Thanks x 99
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2016
  2. enjoyinglife

    enjoyinglife Registered Member

    Nov 25, 2014
    Likes Received:
    Kudos :) It was a good read.. Little long though.
  3. asap1


    Mar 25, 2013
    Likes Received:
    This is a long one, bookmarked :)
  4. Leith

    Leith Jr. Executive VIP Jr. VIP

    Oct 30, 2011
    Likes Received:
    This is on my list to read by tonight.. but I quickly skimmed through it (the part with Neil Patel and his bs tool is so true). Look forward to reading this properly tonight.


    BHW is finally moving in the right direction again. Can't wait to see what happens throughout this year.

    P.S - You're right about the inspiration bit. I did share quite often back in the day (2011/12/13) but it was your recent threads/lightningblitz' that made me get back on the sharing habit again.
    • Thanks Thanks x 2
  5. Dennyboy007

    Dennyboy007 Junior Member

    Oct 4, 2015
    Likes Received:
    I'll read this when i'm finished with Leith's book.
    • Thanks Thanks x 2
  6. t0mmy

    t0mmy Executive VIP Jr. VIP

    Jun 5, 2011
    Likes Received:
    Home Page:
    Spot on Leith. It's the domino effect I've been banging on about in Jr Exec for months, great times to be a member here.
  7. Jlm.R

    Jlm.R Newbie

    Oct 14, 2010
    Likes Received:
    The Netherlands
    that was a long read... great info T0mmy!
    The first BST I ever bought was speedrank and it worked like a charm.
    Its good to see that you made it this far. Hard work pays of ;)

    One question: Why didnt you focus on linkbuilding software (english sape version) or something like that.
    Im thinking of building something like it for my country because everybody is asking to buy links on the local forums.

    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  8. 1morenoob

    1morenoob BANNED BANNED

    Nov 17, 2014
    Likes Received:
    Nice post, congrats on your success.

    Think I read you're 28-29? What did you do before seo out of interest?
  9. PHPInjected

    PHPInjected Elite Member

    Apr 25, 2014
    Likes Received:
    100% Unique Content Writer
    Overriding Methods
    I remember seeing threads that contained no information or lead people in the wrong direction or were bitching because methods weren't being shared. This barrage of threads by the Jr Execs and others is a great thing for the forum. I'm glad to see the love being spread.
  10. Ziptie

    Ziptie Newbie

    Jan 17, 2016
    Likes Received:
    I'd like to share my experience over the years of using BHW and why I appreciate your threads. I may be new to the forums in a sense of signing up but not new to buying thing's on BST's. I really appreciate people like t0mmy. Basstrackerboats, rabbitking, and a handful of others. Hell even ste when he was ste Hugh's,wilson and others. Over the course of years I've spent money chasing pipe dreams, sure it sounds good but it 99% crappie investments. You get what you put into it. I've blown a few hundred dollars on auto blogs with spun shit content. Micro niche sites that where built solely for whoring adsense and a handful of other stuff. Domain names, blog comments. I could go on forever. A hundred dollar bill might not be much to someone else, but to me it's extremely important. Let me give you a picture. I live in townhouse, I've bought and pay a mortgage payment on and have home owners fees. I survive and feed my son and wife on 1700 a month. I bust my balls but some how I get and enjoy doing it every day knowing I can feed and give my family a home. So that money for me is golden. Everything else is irrelevant in my life. My sole goal is providing for my family. Sorry if it seems I'm rambling on but I want you to understand life in my shoes. In the five or six years I've been here I've wasted a lot of money. Trust me people don't give a fuck as long as your ready to buy there service. It starts out good and ends with your dick in your hand. It's happened to and it will happen to you if you do like I did. There are no golden paths to easy money. This is why I love reading Tommy's post, it makes me feel some type of way. You can tell he is passionate about his business and I love it. I love the Internet and the various types of people on it. This forum takes a good 4 hours of my time a day. I'm confident one day I'll find something I can make money online with. Currently I've ventured into porn sites. It fun and a nice learning experience. So in conclusion this is what I'm saying, the members here that give a shit you can tell as they are always posting useful things and helpful. I'm not dick riding members here just saying thanks for everything all of you do.
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  11. t0mmy

    t0mmy Executive VIP Jr. VIP

    Jun 5, 2011
    Likes Received:
    Home Page:
    Jelmer, thanks man. I remember you well.. you were a regular client, bought a lot of those links from what I can remember. Good times!

    I've thought about it, and more recently the option became available through developers I've met. We've discussed it, there are a lot of aspects that need to be considered.. the funding of sape is a huge one when you reach a certain threshold. There actually is an English version already, its been around for years and I'm pretty sure it's owned by the sape guys themselves. They never really marketed it though, the links there are much pricier - SerpZilla.

    I just turned 28. All sorts, anything that paid well and had weekends off - Tele-Sales, Dell Tech Support, Seagate.

    Thanks for sharing that, Ziptie. We have some great members on this forum and a wealth of information, there isn't a community out there that comes close to what we have. I've been in your position, keep going.. you'll eventually get to where you want to be.
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  12. mistaree

    mistaree Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

    Apr 24, 2015
    Likes Received:
    Awesome thread tommy. I agree, for me the past couple weeks on bhw there has been some crazy good info bombarding us members, also not just from jr VIPs but also from the rest of bhw community. Being upfront and honest about what ever service/product your offering, is the best service one can offer.

    and also at the end of the day, yes the service is your business to help provide for your family. But people/customers coming to you for help are most likely in the same position(providing for their families). And by being straightforward with them, your helping them continue to do that.

    ps that last part wasn't directed at anyone in particular :)

    as always im adding this thread to my data collection lol:)
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  13. lightningblitz

    lightningblitz Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

    Nov 30, 2014
    Likes Received:
    Service Review
    Cant believe I did not see this sooner. I am honored to be mentioned as one of those breathing life back into the forum.

    Although most of it I 'knew' I am book marking this anyways. If I ever decide to scale SEO services up I want this in my back pocket. I already did the hard part (Testing and ranking sites) and it seems like the next logical step. A couple small local clients does not cut it for the amount of testing I do.
  14. Zwielicht

    Zwielicht Marketplace Mod Staff Member Moderator Jr. VIP

    Aug 31, 2013
    Likes Received:
    Home Page:
    Another great post, Tommy!

    Concerning Quicksprout, I remember back in May of last year, WPRipper created a thread about how that website analysis tool said Google needed some work done. In that same thread, I noted how it appears that Neil is using a random number generator as a website analysis tool.

    I'm surprised he still hasn't taken it down, that is unless people are still unfortunately falling for that fake analysis tool.

    • Thanks Thanks x 3
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2016
  15. onelettershor

    onelettershor Supreme Member

    Aug 4, 2015
    Likes Received:
    Land of sheep
    Dang blackhatworld is becoming more and more valuable with all these threads by successful blackhatters. Thank you!
  16. deal with it

    deal with it Power Member

    Sep 30, 2015
    Likes Received:
    Great read i must say. I have one question for you.

    1. How do you calculate a sites earning potential, for example Adsense ? What all mistakes you have done when analyzing this part of a project, i mean site making. I have been asking this question to different members :D, now its time to ask you. I know its very tough to actually tell this part, we can only guesstimate. But still i want some experienced person to give me more insight into this. It is not going to stop what im going to do but still i wanna know...
  17. The Nix

    The Nix Power Member

    Jan 1, 2012
    Likes Received:
    Weaver of Words
    Another gem from t0mmy!

    Thanks man. This is really a thing of beauty.

    The best part is really customer service. It's the best kind of marketing one can ever do. Keeping customers happy can open a thousand doors for your business.

    Keep it up man! Inspired as hell to hustle harder.
  18. Lauriat

    Lauriat Power Member

    Oct 23, 2011
    Likes Received:
    I have first hand experience on how money alone can not get you ranked, don't think if you have decent funding for your project you are guaranteed to succeed, no matter what's your budget if you are paying that money to wrong people you will not see return on investment, reason is they don't give a shit if you rank or not. One thing i have realized now is that finding a good seo company or freelancer is hardest part of seo journey.
  19. iamgoutam

    iamgoutam Junior Member

    Dec 6, 2014
    Likes Received:
    long one take 30 minutes it's good.
  20. yogi31286

    yogi31286 Elite Member

    Dec 30, 2009
    Likes Received:
    Where do you think? BHW :)
    Home Page:
    Really inspirational thread! Will keep the points in mind and move forward with them.