Like every thread I post, this starts with a PM which completely wracks my brain. Not going to put anyone on blast (I never do, but I hope you know who you are this time) but I received a PM about a thread I posted about how I handle local SEO clients. The PM essentially went like this: 'How do you keep clients if my area has many SEO's who try to poach clients? I saw your post and you did a lot of work and I cant see myself doing that if my clients are just going to go to someone else after a month.' My first reaction is normal, 'Did you read the post?' Second was naturally, 'Have you ever heard of a contract?' Third is, 'If you actually rank them, why would they leave?' Turns out this particular person did NOT want to do this for Local SEO, but for an AGENCY which kept losing clients. After a month, clients would leave for often a cheaper option, and sometimes more expensive. So I got to thinking and asked WHAT DO YOU DO FOR YOUR CLIENTS, AND WHAT DO YOU PROMISE THEM? This Agency threw the kitchen sink at sites. PBN, Web 2.0, Citations, High PR Article and Bookmark, Profile Links, Weebly / Tumblr / Wordpress Aged Posts, Guest Posts, Plethora of Tier Two, Social Signals, Manual Outreach, Social Media Sharing, ect. I was a bit impressed by how expansive they were. Obviously, the big issue was they promised results, and after 30 days, no dice, hard KWs do not rank. But we then went full circle to the post I made for Local SEO. Clients will ALWAYS leave you for a cheaper option if you: 1. Do not deliver results 2. Someone else is cheaper 3. Someone else promises more It takes being burned by a dozen or so 'smaller' SEO operations for companies, businesses and individuals to educate themselves and pony up for an expensive and professional service. The only thing the person who PM'ed me was missing, is BRANDING. Due to this message not getting across in a post, I decided 'why the hell not post a thread where I spend more time explaining this all?' The #1 Reason You CANT Keep Clients - Branding Deep breath. Okay. What the hell do I mean by 'branding'? In this instance, Branding means controlling your clients brand on EVERY imaginable platform. Your clients 'brand' is the trademark name, business name, CEO name, ect. Any term which people would directly associate with the client you are working for. This is something most Agencies and SEO's overlook because it has no direct SEO benefit. The difference is YOU want to control every platform you brand upon. Let me explain, your client owns the site 'Flamingo.com'. They obviously want to rank for 'Flamingo'. That is not hard. You can do that. Let us assume you rank for the client in 30 days and charge $1000. After you rank (The hard part) another Agency comes along and offers your client to keep it ranked for $100 a month. Why on earth would the client stick with you, if they can save $900 a month? Just be realistic for a moment, unless you have a contract, would you? I would bet no. It is a poor business decision for people who do not know about SEO. Even if you ranked with a PBN, your client does not understand SEO, so they assume the next Agency can do the SAME JOB for 1/10th of the price. The incentive to stay with you SHOULD be you own the clients e-brand. Any mention of the clients name online, you should own. This would mean you can do great damage by tanking these properties or selling them to competition. Not that you would, but you can. This is less of a threat but a shared understanding. You control and manage your clients e-brand, and they pay you money even if the SEO job is done. This never needs to be said, and you can charge them for this. How do you BRAND a Client? This should be BASIC, and I mean BASIC Reputation Management here. Branding can effectively be broken down into three parts for our sake: Web 2.0s, Parasites, and Social Media. Why do I break it down like this? For the simple reason it is easy to explain. First up are Web 2.0s. Here is a list I 'borrowed' from a website (Note, I took this list from http://www.seoupdates4u.net/ - I have no affiliation to them and needed a list): 1 http://wordpress.com/ 9 2 http://www.weebly.com/ 8 3 http://www.blogger.com/ 8 4 http://www.tumblr.com/ 8 5 http://www.typepad.com/ 8 6 http://www.tripod.lycos.com/ 8 7 http://www.jimdo.com/ 7 8 https://www.yola.com/ 7 9 http://www.angelfire.lycos.com/ 7 10 http://www.wikidot.com/ 7 11 http://www.webs.com/ 7 12 http://www.webnode.com/ 7 13 http://edublogs.org/ 6 14 http://www.soup.io/ 6 15 http://www.ucoz.com/ 6 16 http://www.travelblog.org/ 6 17 http://www.webstarts.com/ 6 18 http://journalspace.com/ 6 19 http://www.blog.de/ 6 20 http://www.freeblog.hu/ 6 21 http://blog.com/ 6 22 http://www.webgarden.com/ 5 23 http://snappages.com/ 5 24 http://www.sosblogs.com/ 5 25 http://www.hpage.com/ 5 26 http://www.webspawner.com 5 27 http://www.blinkweb.com 5 28 http://www.devhub.com 5 For Web 2.0s, you do EXACTLY what you think I mean. You build profile links, and blogs with Contextual links registered to the business name. In this case, 'Flamingo.com' or 'Flamingo LLC' and so on. Any match for the businesses name you should register a Web 2.0 for on EVERY top platform you can think of. I am anal about this process so when I do it I do the following things: Create an 'Official' email for the business, and register the Web 2.0s as 'Blogs' for 'Employees' at the business. Bob from HR. Sara who is an intern. They all get a 'blog' to talk about cool things at the company. Sara is REALLY excited to be helping work on a new product! Bob is excited that they are opening a new location! The premise here is each Web 2.0 belongs to a fictitious person who works for the company and can promote for the business on top platforms you control. I do a few of these and for the rest of he Web 2.0s I set them up as 'Review' or 'Testimonial' sites. I hunt online for real reviews and I post them on the sites. I scrape mentions of the business or website on Social Media and Google / SE's and I pluck 'Good Reviews' and post them to the Web 2.0s. This is a tedious portion to write so much content but because it is filler and most of it 'copy and paste' this does not take that long. Next up are Parasites. A list I borrowed from T0mmy because EVERY other list was AWFUL (Original Parasite Thread by T0mmy can be found HERE): http://youtube.com http://facebook.com http://twitter.com http://amazon.com - product pages http://watpad.com http://moonfruit.com http://about.me http://www.rebelmouse.com http://soup.io http://buzzfeed.com http://sportsblog.com http://digitaljournal.com http://imgur.com http://tripod.com http://sites.google.com http://pearltrees.com http://answers.yahoo.com http://wix.com http://www.purevolume.com http://www.savorthesuccess.com http://tribalpages.com http://topix.com http://gravatar.com http://forums.shutterfly.com http://libraryeverything.com http://www.dailymotion.com http://bleacherreport.com HQ News sites (There's countless numbers of news sites you can use as Parasite) - through PRWeb, SBWire, PRLog etc http://twitter.com http://linkedin.com http://www.dailystrength.org http://glipho.com http://wordpress.com http://weebly.com http://tumblr.com http://blogspot.com http://vimeo.com Some of those Parasites are Web 2.0s. Does this mean register twice? Not unless you want to use the property for two different purposes. Generally, no. You just want control of the brand on every platform possible. Some of these are Social Media Sites. As long as you have a property on each platform controlled, that is all we are looking for. I would like to add SERP Woo as a GREAT source to find Parasites in your niche. Or you can do it manually. This is MORE important than generic Parasites. Although some of these are essential (Like Twitter), registering the business name on a Niche Specific Forum - Like 'iloveflamingos.com' is more important. This is because if someone registers the website to the forum and bashes Flamingos, your clients is toast. Making this applicable to SEOs, if my business is operated by 'lightningblitz' and I sell SEO, I need to register an account on BHW and WF with my username. This is only for the sake of preventing some other yahoo from registering an account under my 'username' and trying to sell products. For Parasites I suggest trying to rank them. Some, like HQ news sites can be as easy as a great Press Release. Promote the business and rank each post, even if 200 sites pick it up. You want to control the SERP's for the businesses name. Lastly, we have Social Media (I can actually make a list myself this time): - Myspace - Twitter - Reddit - Facebook - Instragram - Snapchat - Skype - Ect. You want ANY and EVERY Social Media Account to be registered to the business. Aside from Niche Specific Forums, this is the MOST IMPORTANT Reputation Management and BRANDING opportunity you are ruining. Especially with a platform like Skype. You never want the chance for someone to impersonate being your client and providing 'Support'. This is the reason why I also suggest registering a 'business' email account for the client. For 'Flamingo.com', register the email of '[email protected]'. That way you control all '@Flamingo.com' email accounts. Why the Hell should I do ALL this work? Here is the BIG question. Ranking a dozen or so niche related Parasites. Creating a plethora of fake blogs and review sites. Managing a bunch of Social Media Accounts. Paying for business emails. This is all a LOT of work. I charge my clients for this work. For you this may be included with 'Month One' of working with a client. For others, like myself, a flat fee of '$XXX' to 'Secure the Brand'. Or you can just do it and let the client know. But the why should be slapping you in the face by now. You control EVERY aspect of your clients brand online. From Social Media to Press Releases which the contact information you use is your business phone number and email account you own and use for Web 2.0 creation. Your client 'Cant' leave you without ruining their online reputation and tanking their business. On the flip side, no other SEO can even try to tank the business or steal your client away. You are protecting yourself from messy situations in high competition industries with competition trying to rank negative reviews. It is a LOT easier to rank up a Parasite you have on page two over a negative review site on page one rather than starting from scratch. This method allows me to do very little work after I rank my client and I roll in the money and laugh on my way to the bank. After a few months I start creating a PBN for my client for ranking purposes, and I make sure to create some 'Review' websites for them as well as apart of the PBN to have real 'Review' sites appear in SERP's for their product or service. Once again, I have a level of control over their online business not even they have over their physical location. For this simple fact of Branding the clients business, they will never leave you. That is right, you have locked in a client for as long as they are in business. Some SEO's may call this too blackhat for their own liking and state it is essentially holding a business hostage. I always offer to release everything for a nominal fee, or release Social Media accounts for a nominal fee / free and offer to rank them for a Keyword. I am not holding the business hostage. This is mutually beneficial. They have a secure brand. I have insurance my client will pay on time, follow the contract, and refer me to other businesses because I completely took over the internet for their business. My favorite part of this little method of ORM and Branding is once you do the work, you prevent future workload and headaches. Take this for what it is worth. This is a LOT of work but the pay off for stable income is worth it for a day or effort on my part. If your clients matter to you, secure their e-brand and reap the benefits.