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Seo, How Did You Get Into It?


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#1 Narcotic

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 12:32 PM

I found it by accident after messing around with social networks as a promotion stunt.

I'm a DJ / Producer and my myspace wasn't showing as the top result in google, not even on the first page at one point and I had no idea why. Now it does and I seem to have a bit of a thing for SEO.

How did you get started?

#2 qwerty

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 12:42 PM

After going back to school to become a software developer, I got my first job as a programmer, but the company that hired me used a development environment that made no sense to me. I never really got good at working with it.

Luckily, they had other roles for me to take on, and since their website at the time was one page with an AOL email address, it was pretty easy to convince them that one of those roles ought to be webmaster. The company's marketing guy told me I should read up on using the site to market the company. We hired a design firm to create a new site for them, and by the time they finished (it took a lot longer than we'd been promised, of course), I had learned enough to see that our brand new site kind of sucked.

#3 Randy

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Posted 16 March 2010 - 02:30 PM

hmm... Well I've always "designed" sites of my own, though back in the early days they didn't look all that good. The did function though. My first site was a midi jukebox thing that I hosted on my AOL account space, which at the time was unlimited because I was a guide there. We're talking late 80's here, so there wasn't much of anything out there. My little midi jukebox at one point was the 4th most visited site on the entire web.

After that I kept designing, mostly my own stuff, and only because it fascinated me. I didn't make any money from the sites. It was just fun!

From that I started to get a fair number of companies who were on the leading edge of the Internet Revolution contacting me to design or redesign their sites. This was in the early nineties. I started taking on design clients for hire as a side business to my real work.

Eventually the design business that I was doing strictly on weekends began earning me more income than my actual job. I was sort of known for simply elegant designs and back end apps built mostly with javascript (hey, it was all we had at the time!) that did amazing things at the time that would be child's play today. And I constantly had people waiting for me to finish up a site so that theirs could get into my funnel.

So I quit my day job and started designing full time.

Of course when you do this for a living and the search engines were just starting to become drivers of traffic (mainly Alta Vista and Yahoo back in those days) eventually some design clients wanted me to figure out how to get them listed. So I turn to the only "market" if you will that had any competition at all in those days (yes, your guess would be right) and through up a half dozen or so sites to start testing some different strategies. I also read everything I could find on the subject. There wasn't much and most of it was simply wrong. But over the course of a couple of years I learned most of what I now take for granted.

Applying just one of these strategies to customer sites usually jumped them straight to the top of the heap. There just wasn't any real competition for most sites back in those days. Nor was links or so called off site optimization important. Everything was done right on the site's pages. When Google came on the scene in the late 90's was the first time one had to worry one iota about link building.

I then spent a few several years optimizing other people's sites got hire. Charging them what would appear to be a princely sum because I basically could guarantee a Top 3 ranking for pretty much any keyword phrase. It was good work and a good living. But it did eventually start to bother me that I'd charge somene 5 grand to optimize their site and they'd make it back in additional profits from my work very quickly. Usually within the first month, never more than 10 weeks after I'd started. Often before I'd even been fully paid.

So then I got the bright idea that maybe it would be a smarter use of my time to build and optimize my own e-commerce sites. So that instead of being paid that 5 grand once I could get it every month for the same amount of time I was putting into other sites. This happened in the early 2000's.

I stuck up a few sites of my own in my spare time, which continuing to design and optimize for others. Just as a test of the theory. Within just a couple of months my own little sites were making me more money, with far less work and basically no headache, than the client site work.

So I stopped taking new clients, and eventually weaned existing clients off to either do it themselves or to hire someone I'd personally recommended. Today and for the last several years that's all I do to earn a living. Run my own little sites. I typically start anywhere from 2 to 5 new sites per year, after weeding down the list of possibles from the 40-50 range. And each year I'm also selling off already profitable sites or giving them away to family.

Could I continue to run 'em all? Yes I could. But to keep all of them would mean I'd have to hire staff and have an actual office. I don't want that. I like being able to work from home when I want to. Plus the joy for me isn't in running sites, it's in building new sites and businesses, and getting them to the point of being highly profitable endeavors. Then teaching others what I've done, why I've done it and handing them the reins.

The moral being that I'm spread out enough that I'm basically immune from any single market taking a downturn. Apparently my setup is also more immune than most from a total market downturn. Because while my sales per site are down a little bit with this huge global recession everyone has had to deal with, I can't say I'm hurting financially. In fact, I'm one of those few folks who has been expanding my business to make up for the small shortfalls in individual markets.

So there's the condensed version of the 20 year history that's led me to where I am today. None of it was exactly planned, but nevertheless here I sit.

#4 1dmf

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 08:17 AM

QUOTE
I'm a DJ / Producer and my myspace wasn't showing as the top result in google, not even on the first page at one point and I had no idea why. Now it does and I seem to have a bit of a thing for SEO.
How on earth did you change your title tags? I can't find that option on my myspace account?



#5 harpsound

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 11:49 AM

My first attempt at a site was in 97.
Dreadful!
In 2001 I switched from Publisher to HTML.
A whole world of possibility opened up - I could change title tags!
In those days give or take a bit I discovered Jill.
Just followed her since.

I have about 11 sites now - all co-ordinated to drive clients to our core businesses.
I have had dreams of doing packages for others but the money is not good for time spent.
This spring I got rid of my clients bar one who is dwindling into retirement.

It just made sense to optimise so I did.
Simple frugal stuff.
Much of my success comes from starting early and being conservative regarding trends.
I could never understand gaming the engines - a fool's game.

I am turning 60 next year.
I am busy preparing my business and sites to be operable by a 70-80 year old.
They will hopefully fund my retirement years - IE work til you drop.
I do not expect many government handouts for the boomer generation moving forward.

I enjoy the challenge of placing a site in a market and tweaking it.
If you have to tweak it a lot you are entering the wrong market.
Look for the open level playing field.
Do not choose one already full of teams.
Keep to the narrow focus on each site - life is sweet.



#6 Narcotic

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 12:26 PM

Legendary replies as expected folks.


1dmf.

I went to google webmaster tools and signed up and tried to add the site as normal using my myspace domain. I inserted the code it gave me into my Bio section which just left a dot on my profile then submitted it to google that came back as failed (which is obvious now I have learned a bit on Seo) then 2 days later it was at the number 1 spot and I still have no idea why after it said failed.

The title tag changes with your main Name that sits above your picture.

#7 PatrickGer

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Posted 17 March 2010 - 04:29 PM

I programmed PC games in elementary 24-7 (only in quick basic :-)) until my early high school years....then I was more interested in playing sports again and obsessed about that...then I obsessed about some "nerdy" stuff again for a few years: I taught myself English and French (mostly using the internet). I learned English surprisingly quickly, then I took up French which didnt come that quickly, but I still ended up being the only student with straight A's during the last two years of my high school's French major (German school system). Hope it doesnt sound like Im trying to brag - it's just that I had been a C-student or rather a D-student all of my life (despite trying), and never thought I could be good at anything other than playing sports (b/c somehow I never did well in a school environment, I guess - I got mostly D's in French class for the first couple of years in school, too until I learned it on my own).

Not surprisingly I had my mind set on pursuing a career in (or at least with) foreign languages...but the more research I did, the more I had to realize that trying to pursue a career in foreign languages was a bit of a dead end (there simply don't seem to be any great jobs where languages are the main thing). Simply the wrong market segment of the labour market, so-to-speak....(not very lucrative no matter how good you are + boring/monotonous).

So, I tried to transfer whatever I had done with languages to another field (finding something I could be passionate about & that overlapped with my natural abilities)...but a field that pays better/is more fun - I researched every possible career out there using the web (I asked questions on forums for air-traffic controllers, reseached a career possibility in computational linguistics, I didnt leave out much I guess!).

I felt that it was crazy to choose a career youll do for 40 years x 50 weeks x 5 days x 8-10 hours...based on 50-100 hours of research (though I can understand why most high school graduates are motivated by that social pressure...when I mentioned Id take 1 semester off to find a good career path, people would consider me "lazy").

I didnt think of it in those terms back then, but I think every business/finance person would be considered crazy if they made such an important decision based on so little information (considering how many other career possibilities are out there). If you do that research the additional risk is losing 1-2 years of your life, but the potential upside is to drastically improve one of the most important areas of your life (Not saying "making lots of money" is the most important thing in life, but that you spend about half of your time awake at work, for almost the rest of your life).

I realize people have quite a bit of room to switch jobs nowadays (wouldnt be surprised if I end up on a slightly different career path later in life), but I think finding the right direction is crucial. If you study to become a dentist you sort of limit your career possibilities to being a dentist. By deciding to major in business I have basically excluded becoming a dentist or a lawyer from my future career possibilities. I think there should be a class in high school dedicated to helping students find out about c areer possibilities....or it should be considered normal to take a year off and research possible career paths rather than rushing that decision too much.

Anyway, I'm glad I've found this Internet Marketing/SEO/web analytics thing, as it seems to be a great path for me.


#8 1dmf

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Posted 18 March 2010 - 10:34 AM

Narcotic - that's odd, because on my pages it auto adds...
QUOTE
on MySpace Music - Free Streaming MP3s, Pictures & Music Videos


And I dont' seem to be able to stop MySpace adding this crappy text diluting my title keyword relevancy plus duplicate keyword titles for every damn user!

#9 Mhoram

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Posted 19 March 2010 - 09:40 AM

Starting in 1997 or so, I was administering web servers and creating a few sites, and clients kept asking me how to get to the top of the search engines. I'd always tell them I didn't do that, and I didn't think there was a whole lot you could do about it other than to create good content and submit the site to search engines. If they wanted to pay one of the places that promised top rankings, I'd tell them to make sure there was a money-back guarantee.

A few years ago, I got a client who was really insistent about rankings, since nearly all their traffic and revenue came from search engines. They wouldn't take no for an answer, and they had already done some link building and on-page optimization, so I wound up implementing SEM stuff, though I still avoided making any recommendations. I found this forum, which helped me sort out questions about what they should and shouldn't do on their sites, and I started picking up the basics here. A couple years ago they paid a big, reputable place five figures to audit their site and provide a large report full of recommendations, so I got to read that and find out there was nothing mysterious about it that I couldn't do, and the money looked pretty good.

At this point, it's mainly a service I offer to clients I've already done other work for, so I still don't do a lot of SEM work or market toward it, but I'll take it if it comes along. I prefer work where I can guarantee a certain outcome -- if I install a mail server for you, it will work and meet your requirements -- so I'm still wary of a field where you can't promise something concrete. Especially what people really want: page one (or #1) ranking for their pet keyword. But if they seem capable of understanding that, I'm confident that I can recommend actions that will improve their situation.

#10 bwelford

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Posted 19 March 2010 - 09:59 AM

I guess it depends on how you define SEO, but I'm not really 'in SEO'. However people think I am and come for help. For many clients I take on we eventually end up covering the whole set of factors involved in Internet Marketing starting with the business and marketing strategy. As Google Analytics promises, I want clients to attract more of the traffic they should be looking for, and help them turn more visitors into customers.

I've been working on marketing and strategy since before those Google lads were in long pants. As they have changed the nature of the world, it's inevitable that you must do things in a search-engine friendly way. To my mind, the biggest and most useful part of SEO is not doing the wrong things. Most of the right things in SEO you would do naturally as you try to market to customers online.

#11 Aresvista

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Posted 08 July 2010 - 03:40 PM

You must realize that people have lots of room to switch jobs in todays enviroment for example I have changed careers 3 times in the past 10 years. I remember about 20 years ago when experts were stating this was going to be the case. I didn't believe it then But I do know. You have to find a niche that fits you. I agree that there should be a class in high school dedicated to helping students find out about career possibilities'. Sometimes though, depending on the market enviroment this may not even help. You may just need to be a fortune teller. Good luck!

#12 PatrickGer

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Posted 08 July 2010 - 06:09 PM

QUOTE
Sometimes though, depending on the market enviroment this may not even help. You may just need to be a fortune teller. Good luck!


I know what y ou mean..hehe... but I think some stuff will always help - e.g. understanding your strengths and weaknesses and that finding a job that fits those might be a good idea ...and I dont think your grades in maths/physics necessarily show that, esp. as there are many important abilities for your career that absolutely dont matter/show in school - "emotional intelligence" & creativity for example.

Also how much room youll have to switch jobs depends a lot on your degree. With a degree in business or computer science you'll probably be way more flexible than if you studied to become a doctor or a teacher (in that case youll most likely stay a teacher/doctor for the rest of your life - at least here in Germany).

#13 Mooro

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Posted 08 July 2010 - 09:24 PM

Years ago I worked as a radio presenter, it was all I'd ever wanted to do, my careers teacher told me I didn't stand a chance so I left school without any qualifications except an A++ in truancy

The station I was with contra'd a 15K GBP site for advertising airtime and we'd got three pages of nothingness, an index, contact and thanks pages.

I hacked the HTML in pure frustration after three months of hating the 'under construction' pages and made it change from "Powered by Provider" to "Powered by Robbing Scum"

At that point my boss told me I was in charge of the web new site. I had no idea but took to it as best as I could, I swapped my copy of Cool Edit Pro with a mate's Coral Web Design which was good enough to do X and Y but lacked the control I wanted for Z so took to hand coding and have done ever since.

I fell into the web by accident and had left the radio industry within a year after I started.

New management on that station tried booting me out, I was under a decent contract from the old manager and the stupid thing is they told me I was sacked ten minutes before I walked into the studio to present the second biggest audience puller they had; Drive-Time. Stupid, never light a fuse then put that person in front of a live mircophone. Show, then sacked, end of, it's media luvvy management and the only way to do it. The guy who sacked me messed up.

After a chat with a Solicitor I opened the microphone and blurted out what happened to several thousands listeners, my last song I played was Alanis, You oughta know, at the end of it I said 'You oughta know the new boss is trying to push me out, I'm contracted but I quit, my Solicitor told me I could leave now, I'm leaving now. Thanks, bye.' Or words to that effect fuelled by anger and adrenalline!

I got paid to the end of the contract in one hit and partied it away. I even got invited back to work the contract, they were told to get screwed. The guy that sacked me got sacked. I laughed my ass off.

I blundered my way along making sites for fun, then cash for bands I'd featured 'in session' plus companies that advertised at the station, then found a product to sell myself (ringtones) and at last had an aim. At that point I had no option but to harness as much organic traffic as possible. I was skint and on my ass. SEO or bust, worse: I was bust by that point, it was SEO or die. All that partying maybe not such a great idea......

I've begged, borrowed, stolen traffic and even sat in chat rooms pretending to be a 21 year old girl who's horny; knowing full well I'd have hundreds of idiots try to hit on me, they'd all get pinged back spam. Shameful but it all helped us get a footing! Picture of a pretty girl, some saucy words and you've got a drunken idiot magent, half these people were mashed so when they did spent they did it without thought. Sales. All I care about. SEO is a means to sales.

I miss the radio, it's much more social, much more fun, loads of free stuff, loads of female listeners! In many ways I find working for myself full time on my web projects much more rewarding but I have recently been on BBC Leicester as a guest and have a taste for broadcasting again. I also miss the chicks that ring up wanting me to play them a song or enter a competition, such a shame the law has changed so you can't manipulate who wins anymore.....

(I could have just said accident but that would be dull)

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#14 PatrickGer

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Posted 09 July 2010 - 06:23 PM

QUOTE
I've begged, borrowed, stolen traffic and even sat in chat rooms pretending to be a 21 year old girl who's horny


Thanks for making my day biggrin.gif

#15 Mooro

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Posted 10 July 2010 - 05:45 AM

QUOTE(PatrickGer @ Jul 10 2010, 12:23 AM) View Post
Thanks for making my day biggrin.gif

Hey, you're welcome, things you gotta do to get traffic in the early days eh.......

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