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How To Distinguish Bad Seo's From Good Ones?


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22 replies to this topic

#16 Jill

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Posted 29 October 2009 - 08:05 AM

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I thought SEO hasn't changed hardly at all


It hasn't, but it has. And that's really by virtue of it just being so much more competitive. Zillions of more websites equals more competition, plus zillions more who dabble in SEO that you're competing with.

Used to be that you could do minimal stuff and still do well, but it's a lot harder now. Many SEO companies can't keep up cuz they're still doing their craphat SEO that just doesn't work. Unfortunately, their unsuspecting clients don't know this until it's too late.

#17 1dmf

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Posted 29 October 2009 - 08:54 AM

That's what I thought. You just need to know what to do, how to do it and do it well.

I think that's how a lot of [url=http://www.highrankings.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=15499]Seo Myths[/url] grew up, people thinking something was having an effect when it wasn't but as few were doing SEO, they mistook cause and effect.

I guess the SE algo's have a big part to play, closing loop holes, being tighter and better at doing their job. Now you have to really understand what works and how to implement it.

#18 Randy

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Posted 29 October 2009 - 10:39 AM

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Randy, why did you decide to do this out of interest?


Pretty simple answer there really Adibranch. One that sorta does and sorta doesn't come down to money. I've found that a person only needs a certain amount of money, and beyond that it quickly becomes something else. For me it's how much headache is caused.

Part of my decision to move away from being a hired SEO was that I was already tired of clients who wouldn't do what they were told, or wouldn't allow me to do it, even though they were paying for the advice. Those who couldn't follow simple directions were also the ones who would later complain about the worse than (I) expected results. So there was definitely that part on the headache side of things.

The main reason though is that during a 3 month time frame several years ago I'd taken on three new clients, two with brand new ideas/sites and one with an existing but really badly put together site. I was charging each of them my norm at the time, $3,000 retainer to get the ball rolling plus $1,000 per month with a 12 month commitment. All three projects ended up being pretty much ground up development because there was either nothing there or nothing there that was useful.

So I began doing my thing. All three happened to be pretty darned good ideas. Something people needed and wouldn't mind paying for, and as Jill said back then there was just less competition so it was easier. More of a wild west feel with very few startups that had a legitimate chance of real success because too few people understood how to build a real 'Net business, let alone how to market to a niche.

Soooooo long story shorter that it could be giggle.gif 6 months in I'd been paid around $15-16K to develop these three sites from the ground up. When I ran the quarterly reports for these three clients I noticed that during this same 6 month time frame the three sites combined had gross profits of something north $700k.

As you might guess a little lightbulb went on over my head and I went back and looked at the real numbers (both what I made from working on other people's sites vs. how much they made from my work/advice) and quickly realized that a lot of people were making a lot of money based almost totally upon my work. Not only were they making a lot of money I'd never get a cut of, but because putting a good SEO, marketing and business plan in place tends to keep things steady for at least a year or two, even if someone canceled their contract with me they would continue to make a ton of money based upon my work for at least 12-18 months after I stopped being paid if they did nothing more with the site once I'd worked on them.

Since I was already doing everything except coming up with the original idea, and I'd always had ideas that I just didn't have the time to implement, I started out on this path I'm on by not taking on a new client I otherwise would have for a single month. Basically I freed up a little time to hire myself. 8 months or so later my one site I'd hired myself to work on was making me more money, for a lot less work mind you, than all of my SEO/Marketing/Business development clients combined.

This single realization is what got me out of doing SEO for others. It's just easier and more lucrative for me to develop sites for myself. Given these small facts, why would I put myself through the constant wringer of trying to make other people understand what's best for them and their site when I could have one client (me) who already knew and agreed? Especially when working for my own sites made me a better living with the same or less amount of work involved?

From a purely personal perspective it just didn't make sense to make a living building other people's businesses anymore.

The only problem with this concept is I think I have the same bug as most other SEO's. Could I build these little sites and run them for 5 or 6 years and continue raking in the profits? Sure enough, I could, and it would be lucrative in a purely financial sense. Even just 2 or 3 sites would earn me a darned good living and do so for years.

But that's just not where I get my thrill from. I get my personal satisfaction from building stuff and seeing it become successful.

Realizing this (quirk? failing?) about myself I tweaked my business plan a bit.

Nowadays what I do is come up with the new ideas or new twists on old ideas, do all of the market research to make sure the potential profits are there, test it quickly and build it out if it looks profitable. The ones I build out I tend to keep anywhere from 18 to 36 months (depending upon how much fun it is, not how much it makes me) and then sell 'em off to people who are more interested in running a business as opposed to my main interest of building one. I typically sell them for 2-3 times annual earnings, so when I sell one off it's a nice little pot-o-money to roll into my retirement plan, the daughter's edumacation savings or back into new projects.

I did also tinker with the idea of keeping some of them and simply hiring someone to handle the day-to-day stuff, where I retained ownership of the sites. This "boss" approach just doesn't suit my personality. It is another way someone with a development bug like I have to do it though, if someone wanted to build a large 'Net empire. And there are plenty of people out there willing to do the daily work. In my experience if you're going to do this and keep a handle on everything you either need to have an office where people show up to work every day or you need to find a few folks who are really well disciplined if you're going to try to do it remotely. I don't want an office full of people so tried the remote thing. The lack of discipline from some folks caused me too much headache to continue it, even though each of those folks had a personal stake in the sites they ran.

So to round it all out, was it a dollars and cents thing? Yes, to a degree. But more about how I could not only maintain but improve the financial side of things with a lot less work rather than just making more personal moolah. The truth is the more attractive thing for me was that switching my business plan from being an SEO to working for myself immediately removed almost all of my headaches and freed me up to work on stuff that actually interests me.

#19 adibranch

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Posted 29 October 2009 - 11:09 AM

QUOTE(Randy @ Oct 29 2009, 10:39 AM) View Post
Part of my decision to move away from being a hired SEO was that I was already tired of clients who wouldn't do what they were told, or wouldn't allow me to do it, even though they were paying for the advice. Those who couldn't follow simple directions were also the ones who would later complain about the worse than (I) expected results. So there was definitely that part on the headache side of things.


agreed on that.. they either pay you for a service, or they dont. Why pay someone and then ignore their advice or methods? Why ignore them? Of all the reports i send out every month, i think 20% of people actually read them... so most of the time they dont even see the request for information, or know how well the service is performing.. so whats the point? The main problem i found , both as a web designer and an SEO, is that people give websites a very low priority in their business plan. They know they need one, they know they need it to work, but it soon gets forgotten about once the daily grind of running the business takes over. I've now stopped web design services completely after eight years, other than that which is required as a necessary part of SEO/Marketing.

The rest is interesting reading.. and i totally understand why you did it. I'm sure there's a lot of us that have thought the same. For me, the thing that stops me doing it is not coming up with the ideas, but following them on afterwards. I'm the kind of person who starts things but doesnt persue them for long afterwards, especially at the point where it comes to any financial outlay.

Really interesting and motivating stuff though, thanks.



QUOTE(1dmf)
So most SEO's are one man bands?


No not all of them, a good percentage though yes. The problem is that SEO is a very personal thing. It's not an exact science. We all tend to disagree on issues of some sort (you only have to look back at some of my posts to see that), yet when you work for an SEO company as a consultant, you are bound to their rules and methology, even if you dont agree with it. I did this for a while until eventually i became frustrated with being a puppet and started up on my own (well, not strictly on my own, i'm part of a partnership with someone else who does office support).


QUOTE(1dmf)
how do you see old school vs new school.


To me old skool have a hard set of rules and opinions, and aren't open to new ones. The die hard rules they've used for years are well proven and reliable, to them at least. However, they've worked in the industry so long they are blinkered to the fact that things have and are changing.
New skool have not been in the industry so long, and as a result have come into at a time when things are changing, and have adapted to them from the onset.

But, being an SEO forum, some will disagree... the old skool of course smile.gif But, really , its just a phrase i pulled out of the air to emphasise a point.

#20 1dmf

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Posted 29 October 2009 - 12:30 PM

QUOTE
As you might guess a little lightbulb went on over my head and I went back and looked at the real numbers (both what I made from working on other people's sites vs. how much they made from my work/advice) and quickly realized that a lot of people were making a lot of money based almost totally upon my work. Not only were they making a lot of money I'd never get a cut of, but because putting a good SEO, marketing and business plan in place tends to keep things steady for at least a year or two, even if someone canceled their contract with me they would continue to make a ton of money based upon my work for at least 12-18 months after I stopped being paid if they did nothing more with the site once I'd worked on them.
lol - told ya adibranch wink1.gif

#21 Randy

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Posted 29 October 2009 - 02:46 PM

But you were wrong 1dmf. pokey.gif

It was a lot more about my basic laziness than money. I didn't want more money. I just wanted to spend less time working and fewer headache clients while making about the same money. hysterical.gif

Adi: You have the same affliction I suffer from. lol.gif That's why I build 'em and sell 'em. I've chosen to let others run 'em because that just doesn't motivate me at all. Luckily for me there are plenty of buyers out there for sites that are already earning 5 or 6 figures annually.

This stuff really isn't rocket science. It's not even that hard if you already have a basic understanding of marketing (with SEO as a subset) or are willing to spend a couple months learning the ropes. Once that's taken care of it's just a matter of developing a little repeatable process that works for you, often from borrowing parts of someone else's, and having the discipline to stick to it. That's all I've done. wink1.gif

#22 1dmf

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Posted 30 October 2009 - 07:34 AM

Ouch, watch the eye!

Anyway your factor of zero story tell me different mf_tongue.gif

Seriously though, if either of us did everything we do for money, well I'd have retired a long time ago!

Though working for yourself is never plain sailing, especially if you employ people, if you have a tough month you can decide not to pay yourself, you still have to find the money to pay your employees however and the bank, tax man etc. etc..

My mum & sister run two businesses together, they always seem busy and stressed, and their houses are mortgaged to the company, so no money either, alot of hard work and stress to just keep afloat from what I can tell.

Come on Randy, it can't all be a bed of roses, can it ?

#23 Randy

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Posted 30 October 2009 - 09:55 AM

Sure it's all a bed of roses 1dmf. But roses do have the occasional thorn. lol.gif

Seriously though, sure the economy has gone in the crapper the last couple of years. The beauty of a multiple site so multiple income stream approach is that none of them get hit equally. And the previously unforeseen beauty of having a repeatable system is that if income goes down 30% because of a bad economy I can either take the temporary pay cut or I can simply throw up a few more sites to make up the difference. So I can work a little harder for a bit. Or I can take a little pay cut and not put as much into savings. The key being, the choice is totally up to me. Which is not the same boat most people are in.

The really strange side effect I've seen over the past year especially is that I'm actually getting more people actively wanting to buy my already established sites. It appears that a lot of people who lost their J.O.B. because of the economic troubles (but have some savings left apparently) are actively looking to get away from ever having to rely on a company for their income. More and more people seem to be at least looking into becoming their own boss to replace their previous incomes. That's one I frankly didn't see coming. But it does sort of make sense when put into context with some of the things being reported here in the US in recent months. Namely the fact that the unemployment rates going down is not that fewer people are unemployed, but that fewer people are collecting unemployment because they've either stopped looking for a job with someone else or their benefits have simply run out. So now they're actively looking to start their own small business.




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