Thursday, December 31, 2009

SEO Careers

Will this be the year you start up your own SEO business? Let's talk about a few of the things to think about depending on your directions and goals for starting a new SEO business.

A career in SEO and search marketing can have many different rewards depending on:

a) The foundation of your SEO skills.
b) Your focus and planning you do to build a reputable business.
c) and of course your ability to keep up with all the industry changes.

You might be choosing between a couple of different type of SEO career paths initially.

For example:

1. A career in affiliate marketing by using your skills to build your own high quality, authoritative Web sites that consistently earn you commissions.
2. An SEO career that entails building a client base and helping others gain top visibility and become very successful.
We will talk about each of these separately in a few minutes but first let's step back to those first three points. Regardless of which type of career you are building in search marketing, the best way to commence is with building your own comfort level with your abilities to know you can positively achieve the results you need.
So many people seem to be anxious to take on clients and hang their shingle out before they have that solid foundation that's going to help them build the solid reputation they need. There are plenty of ways to begin getting yourself up to speed through a variety of training organizations, study courses, workshops etc.

The choice is really entirely up to you based on the options

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you prepare yourself with the new skills you need:
  • Be sure to choose a training organization that is focused on teaching you the genuine skills and can demonstrate that they actually practice what they preach. For example Pay Per Click training has its own benefits to offer but PPC is really more like paid advertising. There are so many more topics to gain a comfort level with these days than there was even 5 years ago.
  • Be aware that there are some training companies out there that say they teach "search marketing skills" but then in the end you'll find out they are trying to sell you some special software, some special tool set or some gimmicky software application. What you should be after are the skills that prepare you for getting the job done accurately and without a lot of stress. No hidden agendas should surprise you at the end.

  • Some professional tools are fine (and there are some good ones to know about,) but in the end if all you have and all you can rely on is the same tools that everyone else is using, then where is your true advantage?
These days, there is far more to good solid SEO and SEM skills training than just keywords and Meta tags.
Search marketing skills today entail strategies that will teach you how to build genuine, authoritative, Web sites that reflect top visibility amongst competitive landscapes. There are strategies that involve solutions for dealing with technical and design challenges, techniques for preparing for the future trends including Web 2.0 and Social Media as well as new ways to accurately gather your data and understanding the full scope of influences that are at your disposal. There are new ways to examine the data too for both threats and opportunity analysis and even right down to the specific industry.
SEO Career Variations: Where will you get started?
Okay, so let's get on to talk about the two most common SEO career variations and their differences as well as their benefits. Of course once you are on your way you'll find there are many more than two directions but these are the most common ways that people get started.
Let's have a brief look at affiliate marketing first.
1. A career in affiliate marketing by building your own high quality, authoritative Web sites that consistently earn you commissions.
  • Complete freedom and flexibility to build your content the way you know it should be built.
  • No clients to report to, your time is used for tackling the job productively with complete freedom and liberty.
  • Develop the kind of high quality informational sites that will be useful to your readers and no need to bill clients, try and convince the client why one recommendation is better than another.
  • You are 100% in charge of all the choices from choice of topic matter to choices of which methods and techniques you wish to employ.
You have heard of Web sites that run on auto-pilot. A good affiliate marketer applies a whole range of influences to their site so that it continues to:

a) Serve readers with engaging and useful information that satisfy the reason why they searched. (Genuine value)
b) The consumer can place an order for a quality product and have the order filled. (Profitability)
c) Have a system in place to measure and benchmark their customers interests and needs as well as satisfaction level.
d) Have a means for customer interaction, through a related blog or through polls or other means engaging Web 2.0.
e) Most great authority sites have very original content to serve up while often the order fulfillment may be done by a third but reputable party.

Unlimited income potential even if you remain a sole proprietor:

You can literally build one project after another and have each successful project run for years without stress and without major ongoing time commitments. True affiliate marketing can generate as many streams of "passive cash flow" as you wish.

The most successful affiliate marketers are ones that build their content based on topic matter that they personally enjoy and are very knowledgeable about. This serves three important purposes.

a) If you have expertise in a given topic, you will never run dry of new topic matter.
b) If you enjoy your selected topics to the point that you might even say you are passionate about them, then you will enjoy your work. The advantage here is that if you enjoy your work enough, it does not even feel so much like work.
c) Most good affiliate marketers understand the value of building a dedicated readership (over making a fast buck.)
In other words, they respect their readers and any marketing they do, comes with the highest respect toward their readers and individuals that make up their list. This is the ultimate use of a Web site in my books. To forge genuine and lasting relationships with other human beings.

Any of the top names in affiliate marketing that I have personally met, are genuinely caring people. They care about their readers and in doing so they only distribute what they believe to be their very best information. I could write much more on the topic of affiliate marketing and I think I may just do that in the near future.

But, let's switch gears now and look at another second possible SEO career option which is common:
2. An SEO career that entails building a client base and helping others gain top visibility and success.

This type of an SEO career will appeal especially to those who enjoy the reward of helping others. Not only can you earn exceptional income with the right skills but you also enjoy the privilege and special rewards of knowing that your new business is helping others to prosper. Do not underestimate this "reward value" as it is pretty amazing, addictive and exceptionally satisfying.

If this is the type of search marketing business enterprise you want to start up, then it will also serve you well to fully scope out the full range of services that you or your company will be offering.

As you may know not all services are the same and it's up to you to shape and define the niches at which you wish to excel and become known for. The last thing you want to be is just another SEO out there amongst the masses. You want to consider ways of setting yourself apart from the average services that are out there. It's funny when we ask new students about their Unique Selling Proposition. They all seem to know they need one, but most folks never go on to work out exactly how they will be different.

For a client serving type business, you should also be aware that there is a limited ceiling of earning potential (if you intend on remaining a one person operation.) However, you can grow well beyond your expectations if you recruit other SEO skilled talent to work for you or work with you in tandem, so that you can continue to expand your client base.
Again it is essential that you build yourself an exceptional reputation for getting genuine results that contribute to your clients bottom line profits. This is one industry where building your range of skills properly really can contribute to building yourself a positive reputation.
Of course their are other types of career niches that focus more on programming skills and yet others that head off in the direction of PR and publicity services and content writing.

2007 and now 2008 is what I think will continue to be the "year of the writer." For anyone one who knows how to write good articles and content, but has not made the transition to the Web yet - this is a perfect time to be getting into the business. Never before has there been such a massive demand for original, well written Web content. So what ever your interests, the single most important thing is to make up your mind and decide to "get started" somewhere.

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