SEO consulting is one of the most potentially lucrative online ventures, and with the right skills and dedication anyone can succeed in the business. It does, however, require an in-depth knowledge of search engine optimization, the ability to keep clients satisfied and a willingness to remain at the cutting edge in a highly competitive industry. Breaking into it is not an easy proposition, but it is still possible.
SEO can be thought of as a specialized branch of marketing. This means that many experienced consultants are able to prove their value to clients simply by reaching them, but getting started can be daunting. The good news is that the Internet economy continues to grow in leaps and bounds, meaning there is always work available for those who can find it.
Studying the Theory of SEO
At its heart, search engine optimization is understanding a computer program well enough to return consistent, positive results for clients. Although you do not need an advanced degree in computer science to be an SEO consultant, knowing how Google and other search engines identify, categorize and prioritize information is at the base of all SEO.
Before taking on any work, spend time learning everything there is to know about optimization. Visit established websites and note what methods they employ. On-site SEO such as keyword placement and coding is only the first step, as a consultant’s job also generally entails marketing and building a natural, positive link profile. The best SEO consultants know how to quickly improve a website’s ranking without resorting to black-hat methods that will endanger their clients in the future.
No one would entrust his or her health to a surgeon who had only read textbooks, and the same is true for SEO consultants. There are many content publishing websites that offer a free platform to learn the ropes of search engines. Publish often and pay attention to what works and what doesn’t in terms of traffic, reader participation and page ranking.
Once you are familiar with SEO, it is wise to invest in your own domain and bring it through the rankings. This is visible proof of your abilities to prospective clients and will provide invaluable experience that reading alone cannot give.
Build a Client Base
Like many other service-based industries, the most difficult aspect of getting into SEO consulting is attracting initial clients. This can be gone about in two ways. The first is to begin bidding for jobs on any of the many freelancing sites online. This work often pays little and is not glamorous, but it can lead to important reviews and referrals to larger opportunities. The second option is to approach local businesses, which typically have a poor online presence and may be glad for the increased visibility.
After some time, if your work is good enough, your reputation and marketing should begin to bring in a healthy stream of clients. Because the industry moves quickly, a constant flow of businesses is to be expected, so remember not to become complacent during busy times. With the right mindset, SEO consulting can be a steady and rewarding career that shows no signs of slowing down in the coming years.