You’re thinking about getting involved in SEO, maybe you have an e-commerce store or a business of your own and decided it’s time to get savvy with the internet to grow your business. Maybe you are enthusiastic of what technology can do and know you have a bright future if you switch to business tech. Anyways, I decided to write this post because when I first got into search I really had no idea what to expect. At the time I wanted freedom and flexibility to one day work remote from anywhere (my top priority was travel) but at the same time wanted to grow my marketing knowledge and make some good dough. I began researching, reading MOZ & Rand Fishkin content then found a mentor who grew my technical knowledge. Eventually, I work for two Digital Marketing agencies to learn from the best. With Digital I’ve gotten some pretty amazing opportunities that no doubt I wouldn’t have gotten from a more traditional field/industry and didn’t have any idea what was in store choosing that path. So, with that said, grab a cup of coffee or whatever fuels your motivation behind the computer and read below, because you’re about to get a heavy dosage of what it’s like to be a digital marketing consultant.
- Sometimes non-tech savvy people will think you said CEO not SEO. I get this from time to time, honestly there are much more degrading titles to carry.
- Be prepared to read everyday and not get too attached. You cannot excel in SEO or digital marketing without endlessly following the right influencers, reading relevant case studies and learning about technology. It can be very daunting when looking at a long day of excel and reading data to muster up the will to sit down and read for at least an hour. Oh yeah, and even influencers can be wrong, have content that is thrown out the next month or unaware of Google’s next move.
- You sometimes celebrate solo. Don’t expect your friends or even associates to be stoked on your traffic spike or guest post from Neil Patel. Some clients just want you to report your success and don’t have time to celebrate every good link you earn them.
- Sometimes you make clients very prosperous, sometimes your mistakes are costly.
- Not all software helps, some actually hurt. With so much out there it’s hard to understand which software can give your clients the extra push. My advice: be weary of complete automation software pitching a push and forget model. Unfortunately, the days of using robotics to game the search engine are over and these days the best SEO is combining data from software, marketing objectives and a creative implementation to get higher results.
- You will get screwed. Expect to move forward and not lose sleep when it happens. I learned the hard way, working 25 hours designing and auditing a process for a San Diego Video SEO agency. I delivered the goods and waited for my invoice to find it was never paid. Get paid upfront, if a client cannot pay you prior then the relationship is faulty from the start.
- Many people endorse you for skills on linkedin that you do not know. If you are active online blogging etc. people will begin to get a feel for your quality, expect doors to open and positive introductions prior to actually meeting people on occasion.
- You will get solicited by many, many Offshore “Experts” – “Hi – are you interested in web development service or SEO expertise” is common. Expect to get pitched often by international teams looking to partner up. This came in last night, sometimes these give you free entertainment.
- Other consultants, marketing agencies, etc. will try to give your clients advice. Truth is selling digital is really easy and it’s become highly competitive/saturated. There are some digital sharks out there just expect it to come up.
- Expect to hear “my product or idea is going to disrupt X,Y or Z industry.” Some clients of course are the real deal but most expect the internet to magically make them millionaires.
- Lawyers, Realtors, Insurance Companies. Can you rank me for “DUI Attorney”? Almost a guarantee you are pitched this within the first year or two.
- You may feel burnt out ocassionally, this is natural. We are social creatures. Be prepared to feel isolated, stressed and empty at times. Exercise is very important so do not forget to get that blood flowing.
- SEO’s has gotten a poor reputation with the algorithm shake-ups and saturation. It’s not uncommon for clients to be very nervous to operate in an SEO campaign these days. It’s best to relay your strategy and be as transparent as possible that of course there is never a 100% guarantee.
- “Our budget is small but we want to rank really high”. Many leads will solicit your services and expect a kick ass campaign for a couple hundred dollars. You will have to get used to this conversation on the monthly.
- You may be cookied for some spam, naturally. You will be targeted based on facebook/twitter, etc. ads more than likely if you are active in the industry. “SEO Millionaires” offering their tips on how to “be rich” will take some space in your news feed.
- The internet will cause you to work basically all the time. Everywhere has wifi now and expect your clients to want check ins.
- Expect to rank your clients and not hear anything from them. Oddly enough you often care more about traffic and rankings than your clients, don’t expect to get kudos all the time it doesn’t work that way. Sometimes your clients still think you had nothing to do with their organic success when clearly you did.
- Agencies sometimes want to use you for their clients. This can be good and bad of course depending on the arrangement- but if you live in a tech heavy suburb like me (San Diego) expect an ocassional pitch/lunch outing to see if there is a potential partnership. Typically they are fun and part of why I love consulting.
- You will be using social media. If you dislike social media you are pretty much screwed. Nowadays with Bing integrated with Facebook and google using tweets in the SERPs you gotta be familiar.
- You will know so much more about the media outlets once you are a seasoned SEO. You will learn that much of the media, articles, publications, etc. have agendas or paying clients behind them. Sources such as HARO and other middlemen often play a role in shaping a story one way or another. Not all reporters, editors are biased but no doubt SEO will open your eyes to how this process works. It can be enlightening with how the press truly operates.
So there you have it. These are just a small list of untold truths I’ve personally witnessed consulting as an SEO and after being in the industry. I could have gone on for a much longer post but the truth is I am expecting some responses where I will sit there and say “How the hell did I forget that!?”. What are your experiences from SEO you’ve learned after you got accustomed to the search game?
Photo Credit: Algorithm – http://searchengineland.com/library/google/google-algorithm-updates
Photo Credit: Matt Cutts – http://peterlevitan.com/guest-post-for-fun-profit-5188/