Do You Want to be Just an Average SEO?
As a marketer, I’m fascinated
by television commercials. One commercial I saw recently talked
about how no one grows up wanting to be “average.” That really
shoved the right side of my brain into overdrive.
No one wants to be an average Webmaster, graphics artist, CEO,
educator, programmer, or SEO. We all want to excel at what we do
. . . or do we?
Would any of us hire an average SEO? Would an average programmer
be in high demand? Is the CEO of General Electric just average?
In my opinion, the answer to those questions is a resounding
Let’s Take a Look at the Average SEO
What kind of results would we expect to get from the average
Would we expect the average SEO to keep up with the current
happenings in the SEO industry?
How would the average SEO expect to compete with the
above-average SEO, or the top-notch SEO?
Would the average SEO result to using spam strategies in order
to compete? Maybe, or maybe not.
How would the average SEO differentiate himself from other SEOs
in the industry? What would make him different? In other words,
what would be his USP, or Unique Selling Proposition? Chances
are, he wouldn’t have one. Being “average” is certainly not a
How would the average SEO learn SEO strategies in the first
place? From an outdated book? From someone online who may or may
not know what she’s talking about? Your knowledge is only as
good as whomever you’ve learned it from.
Who does the average SEO associate with? Chances are good that
she associates with other average SEOs, as opposed to top-notch
SEOs who share their strategies with other exceptional SEOs or
conduct research on their own.
An average SEO may not be paid as well as exceptional SEOs who
really know what they’re doing and who have a portfolio of
success stories to prove it. Therefore, they may not put the
time and effort into forming relationships with their clients.
Clients come and go, and they may leave quite dissatisfied.
Your Goal: Become an Exceptional SEO
If you’re an exceptional SEO, you won’t be able to get rid of
your clients, even if you wanted to, and they’ll refer
additional clients to you and so forth.
So, how does this work?
1. Obviously, you need to know search engine marketing from the
ground up, or surround yourself with the best in the business to
where your firm can specialize in each area.
2. You have to keep up with what’s happening in the search
engine industry. Pick and choose who you listen to, and read
those newsletters, blogs, or forums carefully. Make sure that
you’re listening to the right voices – those with experience who
don’t spout off based on hearsay. You want the facts based on
research and trial and error.
3. You need to know when to say “no” to a potential client and
not take her on when you feel for whatever reason, you may not
be able to provide the help she needs. Exceptional SEOs actually
walk away from clients rather than take on any client that comes
their way. A client who has had every domain he touches banned,
or who sells items that you personally don’t want to work with,
would be clients that you might turn away.
4. When you take on a client, keep a virtual paper trail of
every piece of e-mail written back and forth between you and the
client. Save screenshots of the client’s entire Web site. Run
ranking and log reports before you ever begin work.
5. Treat your client’s Web site as your own. If you see any
problems, notify the client immediately. Phone calls are fine,
but follow up with an e-mail so that everything is in writing.
6. Remember that if you employ any spam strategies, it will come
back to haunt you. Any red flags that are sent up to the search
engines are red flags for every single client you have. Don’t go
If you’re truly an exceptional SEO company, you’ll play it
straight for your clients’ sake and for your own reputation. If
your reputation becomes tainted, it’s extremely difficult to
Remember: word gets around very fast in this industry that’s
full of blogs, forums, and newsgroups.
7. Build your portfolio with success stories: long-lasting
success stories where those rankings are there to stay.
This is where your Unique Selling Proposition comes in: what
makes you unique from your competitors. Why should a company
choose you as their SEO company versus one of your competitors?
There needs to be a well-thought-out reason – usually more than
8. Exceptional SEOs can charge big bucks for their services,
because you’re worth every dollar. You know how to optimize for
competitive keyword phrases while staying within the guidelines
of the search engines. You understand that it may take time, but
you know how to talk to your clients and explain how the art and
science of SEM works. Every piece of SEM works together, which
is the beauty and intrigue of the industry.
9. When search engine optimization and technology have taken you
as far as they can, the exceptional SEO understands how to bring
in the missing element of search engine marketing: creativity,
so that no brick walls are ever erected for your clients.
10. Report back to your client often through reports, phone
calls, and e-mail. Let your client know you’re working hard on
their behalf. If your client doesn’t hear from you, this is
where communication problems can occur. This is particularly
true if you’re a techie, because non-techies expect a lot more
in the way of communication than most techies are willing to
No One Wants to Hire an Average SEO
No one wants to hire an average SEO for their Web site. They
want exceptional work for their online business. Therefore, your
goal should be to work hard to build a solid reputation for
taking care of your clients, following the search engine
guidelines, and treating your clients’ sites as if they’re your
Client support is crucial. If they don’t understand, take the
time to explain. Believe it or not, your client with the pet
store doesn’t understand what “keywords” are. It’s up to you to
introduce him to the “technical jargon” of the SEO industry. You
just need to explain to him that this particular page needs to
be focused on the word “dog baskets,” and he’ll understand.
Your “job” as an exceptional SEO goes much further than the
optimization and technical aspects of a site. You’ll also be an
instructor, a hand holder, a cheerleader, and your client’s best
friend. After all, who else but you will understand what it
means to achieve a #1 ranking in Google? You’ll be there on the
side lines celebrating with your client . . . if you’re an
exceptional SEO. This enthusiasm is so important to your
relationship with your client.
Don’t settle for being average. You have so much more potential
Aim for “exceptional.” The sky is just at the top of the stairs!
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Robin Nobles conducts
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in locations across North America. She also teaches
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Copyright 2002-2006 Robin Nobles. All rights
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