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The Real Truth Behind Client Based SEO in 2016!

Discussion in 'Black Hat SEO' started by Scritty, Jun 12, 2016.

  1. Scritty

    Scritty BANNED BANNED Premium Member

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    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.
     
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  2. MikeyMikey13

    MikeyMikey13 Senior Member

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    Great post! Thank you for all the info
     
  3. davids355

    davids355 Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Nice post. Have come to the same conclusion about expectations as well.

    I find a combination of SEO and PPC works well for that.
     
  4. MaFiaStyle

    MaFiaStyle Regular Member

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    Client always want fast results. But SEO takes time. In fact, some keywords that are extremely competitive can take almost forever to see improvement in ranking. This is why Link building and SEO are not going to make money in the short term for clients (and most of the people on this forum anyhow).

    The irony is that clients (and most of us) need fast results as we do not have the capital to see through the whole process aka NO $$. Clients are still in dreamland whereby they have the believe that it does not take money to make money. 80% of the people on this forum are just dreaming. 20% who make money tend to be too busy to share tips that work like in your case. However when they do share the methods, they will get criticise by negative minded individuals on this forum. On one hand these people criticises but on the other hand they are buying services (aka snake oil) that promises to give them instant results.

    If you want instant result and get ranking immediately on Google, it is possible within 24 hours. What is this magic formula? Just pay Adword for it and you get rank on 1st page. There is no method that is faster than this. So call SEO is a constant work in process as Google is constantly evolving.

    Back to topic, I find that both serving client and affiliate marketing is a waste of time. I rather be selling my own products. Or at the least resell successful products. Personally I prefer the model whereby client pays me first. This way I am not handicapped by 30 /60 days term by affiliate Companies nor do I need to provide lots of reporting to clients.
     
  5. Scritty

    Scritty BANNED BANNED Premium Member

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    I loveaffiliate marketing. However I generally only sell quite decent ticket items. None of this "You get 30 cents for a click" stuff. I also get to know the devs or producers of most of the things I sell.
    But as I said in the OP, my aim is to get more products of my own out the door. Web based, but not specifically anything to do with IM.
    Biggest gripe has to he the admin time once you go "offline marketing" (stupid name).
     
  6. Scritty

    Scritty BANNED BANNED Premium Member

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    We do a little PPC for almost every client. Whether they specifically pay for it or not. Essp B2C clients with a little social boosting/promotion. It is normally a great help, even if only to get content indexed.
     
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  7. redrays

    redrays Regular Member

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    When I went out on my own a few years ago, my plan was to split my time between client work and affiliate sites. I soured on the client part quickly, and lessons 1, 2 & 4 all ring very true to me. I've kept a few very low maintenance clients, and I'll still take a meeting or two, but yeah, this stuff is generally far more trouble than it's worth.
     
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  8. THUNDERELVI

    THUNDERELVI Elite Member

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    Most of the points you make in your OP are true, however you cannot compare the payment you get from clients with affiliate sites, especially BH ones where you always have to grind to be on the top. A client can pay you $1-2k/month for SEO that would take you $100-300 tops to achieve first page rankings and sometimes it just takes on-site SEO only. Compare that with affiliate sites, where you have to be lucky as fuck or the best keyword researcher on the world to find keywords nowadays that can rank top 5 with on-site SEO only.

    The more you scale, the lower the cost per client is. It's true, most of the time you spend will be communication, creating reports (although that can be completely automated with a custom solution by hiring a couple decent coders) and staying calm while explaining to them they cannot rank in 15 days (the hardest thing to do without you wanting to punch the client sometimes), etc... But, if your employees do everything else (on-site SEO, article writing, link building, guest posts outreach, etc...), then it isn't so bad.
     
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  9. soulcollector

    soulcollector Senior Member

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    What expectations are unreasonable in SEO? If I pay for links to be posted on quality sites, I want visitors and engagements and quaility links with real effects. Sure it takes weeks or months to see a Google Serp increase, but I want to see qaulity visualized for me. BHW, this is where the link services fail miserably. Nothing creative, the same bullshit with super hero names or famous names thrown together fora "lower" price than last week. I think most of the sellers on here are blind to innovation or creative thinking skills. Everyone just wants money, nothing about the customer. So who do I want to take care of MY business? People who are just wanting my money and refuse to innovate and give me benefits that I want? People that would take care of me, know what I want, deliver quality results that feel organic, and even if charged a lot the benefits outweigh the pricing models.

    It takes a mind to make something profitable.
     
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  10. craigc0302

    craigc0302 Registered Member

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    Couldnt have put it any better myself client based work can only be successful if the clients get it, and very few of them actually have any clue what happens in the real world.

    Would love to see how some of you guys actually deal with clients who act like that, so you just take it on the chin and give them some report, or do you tell them where to go?
     
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  11. MaFiaStyle

    MaFiaStyle Regular Member

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    I know. You have quite a reputation to upkeep. In fact you are famous in the IM industry due to your good name and good products. But I am still against affiliate marketing unless they pay the moment conversion happens. I just don't like capital to be tied up.
     
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  12. stevenvanlie

    stevenvanlie Junior Member

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    do you offer some kind of special custom SEO service?
     
  13. Scritty

    Scritty BANNED BANNED Premium Member

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    Some great points here.
    Scaling works with client based SEO for sure, I take that point. I service some pretty big names and very few of them, even in affluent areas, have much of a budget. $1000 a month is pretty high end where as recently as 2007 you could get double that. Worth it if you outsource the donkey work and scale. Getting staff who "manage" clients is the key. Deal with the communication on a day to day basis as well as performing the work.

    I also take the point that I am a little lucky (mostly due to my time in the game).

    I'll also admit that - particularly in the Summer - I can be damn lazy. Taking a fortnight off when you are an affiliate is super easy.
    The same when you have clients who expect contact and want questions answered means either constant interruptions or again - having good staff to take over for you. Being one of those people who spend two hours a day on calls and answering e-mails even when on holiday has never appealed to me.
    Preferable work flow is work REALLY hard 60 -70 hours a week minimum for 4-6 months through the Autumn and Winter. Then reap the rewards by cutting that to 25-35 in the Spring and Summer. Most importantly - having entirely transparent clients. Having no-one and nothing but myself to answer to.
    After 20 years in industry and education, my dream was to stop answering "to the man".
    I can't complain though. It's still about the best job in the world. Outside of being a pro Baseball, Cricket or - ahem Adult film star :)
     
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  14. ThopHayt

    ThopHayt Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    I think he's speaking to how clients will get an SEO provider for $700/month and ask them to rank for terms that are impossible to rank for with that budget and without a better website. You may not personally be doing this, but there are clients out there that spend $300 and expect to be on page one for "New York Real Estate" instantly.

    -ThopHayt
     
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  15. Scritty

    Scritty BANNED BANNED Premium Member

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    Love that - my point exactly really (though you couch your reply as if you disagree with me. I think we are on the same wave length). It is precisely about time saving.
    Also all my real world clients are in real business, selling their own (normally physical) products and expect long lasting results. White Hat only. Which takes time essp in some of the crazy tough niches some are in (auto, golf, gaming etc)
    While I could "churn and burn" them and get most of them ranking hot and hard inside 90 days, that's not what they need. The want it - but we all know the risks involved in doing that. Normally these days they want to be on niche forums with a regular presence, be on 2 or 3 social media channels many times a day and have a regularly updated website (even in the driest of niches)
    Expectations are in terms of time frame. Adding 300 links in a month or two to a 15 year old domain (new site - old domain is a typical scenario) that has only ever had 12 links in it's entire life up till now.
    Also not using Google at all works well.
     
  16. MaFiaStyle

    MaFiaStyle Regular Member

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    Possible to get instant ranking. Just pay adwords and you would get that first page ranking for ANY KEYWORDS that you want within 24 hours. Super fast service right? I should write a WSO and sell on warrior forum for this. SECRET SAUCE TO GET 1st PAGE RANKING IN 24 HOURS *GUARANTEED RESULT, IF I CANNOT PRODUCE I WOULD PERSONALLY PAY YOU $1,000*

    Hmmm... Then I would focus the topic on keyword research for adword in the ebook and how to get ranking etc with the right keywords.. haha... Anyone want to buy this WSO?? *Ahem, meant to be a joke..*
     
  17. redrays

    redrays Regular Member

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    It's been a while since I actively prospected for new clients, but this doesn't match my experience. There were some budgets in the $1-2k/month range, but the markets were always quite competitive. People / companies in the "on site only" markets - and I uncovered a few - were looking to spend very little with sky high expectations. That said, good for you for finding a way to make it work. Those are very nice margins and I hope you're able to scale it to the moon :)

    This ~$1000 range is much closer to what I found. When I ran some back of the envelope numbers, the margins were tight and it didn't seem worth it. The few clients that I work with have larger budgets, but I found these through connections and networking, including one of my former employers. The margins are fine, but it's tough to scale this way. I don't control the flow of referrals and not every referral I get is worth doing. It's a nice hedge against my affiliate sites getting smacked, although I still wonder if it's all worth it when you factor in the added stress and loss of flexibility :)
     
  18. umerjutt00

    umerjutt00 Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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  19. SEMWORLD

    SEMWORLD BANNED BANNED

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    Thanks for sharing the resourceful information to us today buddy. I do believe tht as a person who works with SEO on a daily basis, I need such like lessons in life so that I can always stay on check. There are very many issues that we go through in this tasks and we need to get the lessons in every situation we find ourselves in. I have even bookmarked the page so that I can always go back when need comes.
     
  20. bdenzer

    bdenzer BANNED BANNED

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    Do you offer any special custom SEO service?