starting an SEO business, advice please?

Discussion in 'White Hat SEO' started by blitzik, Dec 7, 2008.

  1. blitzik

    blitzik Newbie

    Sep 13, 2008
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    I've been researching and doing SEO for a couple of months, and am now planning on hitting the streets - directly contacting businesses and people who could use the service. I'm planning on offering discount SEO service since I'm a fresh startup with no refferences.

    My current job has me going business-to-business, and making first contact with tons of business owners. I always try to make a great impression, get their business card, and offer to contact them in the future. However, since i've had this plan in mind I've always been paired accompanied with another person, so I haven't yet mentioned SEO.

    I need to make about a thousand dollars by new years to keep my apartment, and this feels like a good way to do it. I want to know if any of you have done this, and if so how did it work out? What suggestions do you have to help get this off the ground and some $$ in my pocket?
  2. xplicit

    xplicit BANNED BANNED

    Jul 21, 2008
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    The best advice I can offer is to hit all the freelance sites that are out there and start bidding on SEO postings, Might also want to do a search on CL, theres quite a few businesses looking for SEO work, Wouldnt hurt to think about making an eGay listing as well.
  3. neta1o

    neta1o Regular Member

    Sep 29, 2008
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    You've got the right idea going to local business to get quick $$$.

    Here is an idea. Look through your local yellow pages in various categories...Landscaping, Air Conditioning etc...

    Find the people with the full page ads (shows that they are ready to spend $ on advertising).

    Google Air Conditioning (City Name) and see if they have a website and are in the top results. If they are not contact them and pitch your SEO service to the right person.

    I posted this ebook a few days ago, you may enjoy it
  4. snowwhite

    snowwhite Power Member

    Feb 12, 2008
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    Las Islas Filipinas
    the best advice would be MAKE SURE YOU REALLY KNOW SEO. I have seen alot of self-proclaimed gurus and seo "experts" who doesnt even know the "link:" command in searching for backlinks on google.

    make sure the site youll be putting up for your SEO comp will rank high in whatever local/broad term you intend to optimize it for

    and lastly, if youre really good, you dont need to find clients, they will come running down to you

    $1000 in 20 days is very realistic to earn in doing SEO
  5. bizcredit

    bizcredit Power Member

    Apr 1, 2008
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    Get a few clients that pay monthly in your local area. Tell them for every client they refer you'll waive the monthly fee for a month.

    Word of mouth works, a real estate friend of mine referred 4 website designs to my other friend in exchange for a free design. Same could go for SEO

    I got my first SEO client by making a local real estate blog, I got about 10-20 uniques a day (targetted), got ranked high for some good keywords, then got him to pay me to work on his site as well as link from my real estate blog. Also hook them up with some adwords (tell them how to get a $50 account for $10 or $5 or whatever) and manage it for them. I spent $10 on a $50 adwords account and used it for this guy, he got several real estate leads from it.
  6. ams007

    ams007 Junior Member

    Apr 18, 2008
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    North America
    The problem with a rate plan is that SEO is site specific. It depends on the competition, age of domain, current rankings of the site when you take the job, etc.

    I never quote prices right off the bat. I always need to know more. You should do the same. Too many SEOs throw numbers out without hesitation. Explaining to a potential client how they cannot rely on the numbers given to them by a SEO that didn't ask for details will give you credibility and let them know that you take your craft seriously.

    Set yourself apart. Underpromise. Over Deliver.
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  7. ukescuba

    ukescuba Senior Member

    Feb 24, 2008
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    Mobile Marketer & QR Code Junkie
    San Antonio, TX
    i think it helps if your own site is actually listed on the first page of google when they type in: your city seo or your city internet marketing company, etc

    helps to be at the top of your own game in your own city! :)
  8. vivalafeva

    vivalafeva Supreme Member

    Sep 16, 2008
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    yea i would make sure you are good at seo before you offer your serivices to people
  9. Hierarchy

    Hierarchy Regular Member

    Dec 13, 2007
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    I do this for a living and it is a lot harder then it sounds...You will need to show them proven results, prior clients, and have a good standing with your community (belonging to a chamber of commerce helps a lot), have an office to meet with clients, be able to be put on the spot and answer any question, be able to explain your business practice to people who have no clue how to use the internet, and much more... I would also recommend having a lawyer create your legal agreements that will protect you for when business clients are not happy with your work specially if you are new in the field. I have been doing internet marketing for over 7 years now and it is truly a dog eat dog world. Beware, be smart, and be careful not to make promises you can not commit to! You need to be able to track results and prove to companies that you are worth their time. You also need to be able to know how to create competitive strategies if their competitors already use SEO ;).

    Hope this helps..
    • Thanks Thanks x 2
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2008
  10. SunTzuX

    SunTzuX Junior Member

    Sep 15, 2008
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    Most of your potential clients are going to want references at the minimum and most likely want links to sites you've optimized.

    Get some "experience" by offering to do free SEO for some local charities and non-profits. They will usually be greatful enough to put a blurb and link on their website, perhaps in their newsletter as well. That's a big prize as well since most of the newsletters goto business owners and are already sponored by them, so a positive review and "thanks" goes a LONG way. Not to mention, what sounds better... a reference from a contract plumber, or a childrens cancer charity... Just saying.. your doing a good thing, and it wlil pay dividends.

    Also consider volunteering to optimize political campaigns and organization websites - for instance your counties young democrats/republicans, or their executive comittee. (Getting more official party work even if its on a volunteer basis will required you to be involved, but unofficial political organizations will be open.) I was able to pick up a few local campaigns during 2008 as clients, nice since they are big spenders.

    Another point I just thought of, since you are just starting I assume your going to be doing it all. From keeping the books, to answering phones, etc.

    When you get a warm lead.. don't let it go cold. Perhaps it's just because I also have an automotive sales background, but I never let a potential seo client off the hook until they tell me flat out do not call.

    When your first working them, talk to them frequently. Keep them updated with new stats and ways you can work towards improving their rankings. Always remember they are more interested in hearing about real benefits, aka. more phone calls into their store, or on their showroom. Tell them how you can assist them with tracking their ROI, and then follow through. Otherwise they'll drop you like a bad habbit.

    If they balk, delay or keep putting you off, or worse even stop answering.. do not assume they are uninterested. It can be any number of things, too preoccupied, personal matters, money issues, etc. Call them atleast once a week, leave messages, learn what thier hot button issue is and overcome it.

    Also make business cards. (I like vistaprint they're cheap) then mail a business card or postcard "thank you" to every client when you first speak to them. Stay in their mind, or they will forget you. Offer some free advice from time to time. I can't stress all of this enough to someone starting out. This will make you stand out. I can almost guarantee that no other business they work with will do thoughtful things like this - ESPECIALLY Internet and IT companies.

    You will feel like your getting blown off a lot but it's not really the case. I have a client that I just closed down finally two weeks ago. I was pursuing him since January of this year. That's nearly 12 full months. Calling him and other clients is just clockwork.. (Friday Clockwork to be exact) Don't feel like you are pestering them, when you call over time you'll find they will pick your brains about all sorts of Internet related topics.. even choosing new web hosts. (Offer to host their website for them as a package deal)
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2008
  11. xbox360gurl70s

    xbox360gurl70s Elite Member

    Sep 28, 2008
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    In your wet dreams
    you have just given yourself a headache. LOL

    here's what you MUST do!

    Find a reputable small time freelance company, find clients. Be the bridge on the 2 and by being in the middle you will EARN through arbitrage.

    been doing it for over 2 years now. you could potentially earn around $400 - $5,000 a month
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  12. capflam

    capflam Junior Member

    Aug 7, 2008
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    SEO's not very hot anymore. There's been, and still is, too many scammers. Businesses tend to stick with their web dev or design vendors.
    Now everybody thinks they can do SEO, it's funny. Even your customers will think they can do it. Not a good business model if youre in it for real money. Like over 250k+ in one year.
  13. aftershock2020

    aftershock2020 Senior Member

    Oct 19, 2007
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    There are a lot of people trying to claim they are seo experts out there but it hasn't damaged the business too badly for legitimate, skilled services.

    If you are going to attempt to make money from it , definently pay attention to the point that has already been mentioned here...KNOW what you are doing and that you can and have successfully done it before getting into it.

    Far too often people are using the guru " I'm an expert because I say so and that makes it true " method and it is a crock of crap. If you seriously want to make a business from it, you'd had better know your stuff and bring your A-game because the real experts will run you into the ground.

    Learn/master your craft before claiming it.

  14. the_punisher

    the_punisher Power Member

    Feb 6, 2008
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    first rank for a competitive keyword, the n you can show that as an example of your work
  15. lotus

    lotus Junior Member

    Jan 27, 2008
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    If you had more time here's what I'd do. Pick a business niche. Something that is fairly competitive (as in offline competitive, not online competitive) -say roof tiling or something. Build a generic site and get it ranked on first page of google for some keywords. Then take it to roof tiling business that has no website and offer it for set amount plus monthly maintenance fee. Advise the lead that you will take it to their competitor if they don't want it.

    With little time and no site established, you might discount your fee (but not really) for a cut in the increased turnover.

    For any kind of direct selling I recommend the small but priceless book "Questions are the Answers" by Allan Pease. People won't say "no" to a buy question if you have previously baited them with "yes" questions. I used this for years with an incredible closure rate on total strangers.
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2008