Hi guys, It's been quite a while I know. Part of that has been down to me working on client based activities for a few months. Great in some respects, but not particularly well paid, and a shit ton of "none value added" activities based around communication with the client. That side of my work has been as White Hat as White Hat gets, and it's taught me a few valuable lessons. 1) Expectations of success from those not working in IM is still generally somewhere between "highly unrealistic" and "You fecking WHAT!" Not so much in terms of the end goal, but particularly in terms of time scale. I still get told "We want to be number one in Google" for a highly commercial term, and if 90 days down the line they aren't at least on page 1 the moaning starts. Part of the proposition before we even start work is that Google is not the be all and end all. That interested traffic comes from a lot of different places. We get involved in social media, communities of interest and PPC with some of them. Measure the ROI in meticulous detail. But the desire to be number 1 in Google still is top of the agenda for many. Sigh 2) BH SEO with affiliate sites was a LOT easier and a LOT more profitable in my case. This begs the question "Ok Scritty, so why are you messing with client based work then" Well the answer is pretty simple. Firstly, the work is quite formulaic in the good ol' arena of White Hat. It can be done and taught quite easily. This means scaling up by employing people and taking a cut of net profit once you have your own staff of VA's is pretty simple. (Once you scale up it does get better. Also, I’m getting into product development, and face-to-face time with clients is a vital part of knowing what sort of IM products are needed a (or more honestly are what people want) 3) Google get less important by the year with B2C propositions Sadly most of my real world clients are B2B, this means that most social media outlets, while slightly effective, are not the ideal solution. Linkedin is specific to B2B mainly, but they lock it down tight and paid advertising on that platform is very much more expensive than Google Adwords, and off the scale when compared to how cheap Facebook advertising is. If you are selling to the general public rather than a company, then social traffic is so cheap and simple. A few dollars a day and the right advert can bring you a ton of traffic. Like turning on a tap. Best of all the value gets better over time as your page or profile gets more followers/likers etc. Not the solution to everything but an alternative to Google that works better and better every year. 4) Clients want reports, communication and alterations. All The Time! If I knew how long per month I'd spend creating reports, how different clients want to know different things and how poor the automatic reports that come out of most SEO tools (including MOZ) were at covering all the bases? I might never have gone into this side of business in the first place. So much time taking, writing propositions, testing new markets then writing and sending monthly reports... My own affiliate sites had none of this overhead. Every second spent working on them was adding value. I suspect 40% of my time now is none direct value. Of course it is required, and in that regard has SOME value. But it is not performing any of the tasks that these clients actually pay me/us for. Its pure admin and appearance Number 5 here is the biggy. 5) Even pretty big companies make HUGE mistakes and get banned Most of my client base is at the high end of what you might describe as SMB. No names of course. But the first activity I do is a website report and offsite SEO report. I have probably done 30 odd of these in the last 18 month for companies with between 50 and 250 employees and a 7 figure turnover, About 1 in 4 show a website that is full of errors and a backlink profile that has either got them banned (and they don’t know it, because they don’t look at their Google Webmaster) or is presenting a very serious ban risk. Companies that turn over millions (US or UK) a year who had until recently employed "The boss's nephew" or "some bloke from down the pub" to build links for them. So whenever you read about “making it in the outside world”. Take that with a pinch of salt. You stop being your own boss, start spending huge amounts of time faffing about with client communication, propositions, reports and issues. If you are REALLY good you catch 1 in 3 clients you tender for. Even if you have nothing to do with the website hosting, expect to be brought into any messes that occur regarding down-time or service levels – and after all that if you are like me. Earn substantially less than you did when you worked for yourself. I have a long term plan that involves client based work. Scaling up and releasing products, so in my case the ends should justify the means. But if I wasn’t in that situation, I’d dump “client based” SEO like a hot rock. Take care ladies and gents. See you on the inside.