The majority of my income comes doing Search Engine Optimization, positioning, research and marketing for small business. I spec- ifically targeted this demographic, knowing that many small business owners cannot afford to play in big leagues with major internet companies. Many large corporations spend $3,500 to $10,000 monthly to gain and then maintain good search engine positioning so that they rank well in key search phrases related to their products online.
Many major retailers spend those monthly amounts on multiple segments of their web site to maintain market share of comparable product sales, knowing that their competition is doing same with their web copy.
But my customers are very often one-person shop in which owner does it all, including building and maintaining their web site! When they come across my articles discussing SEO techniques in small newsletters, they'll contact me asking what I can do for them within their marketing budget. That budget, more often than not, is less than what they spend monthly on their yellow page phone book ads or their (very small) office rent.
Faced with that level of spending, I knew that I would have to do high-volume of work in order to make a living. What I decided to do was to create an online tutorial that explains in detail how to go about achieving good search positions. That tutorial would rank well in search engines for all phrases relevant to Search Engine work and attract lots of customers seeking to improve their business online.
What I expected was harried business owners too pressed for time to do reading to find out how to improve their own search engine rank. They'd come seeking information on metatags, keyword density, linking campaigns, page architecture and when they arrived, they'd realize it would take them more time than they could afford to effectively learn and implement those ingredients into their sites. The idea was to offer lots of free information for them to read, then when they find out how complex work is, they would say, "Ummm, I'm too busy this week, could you do it for me?"
What I got was harried business owners too pressed for time to read all that FREE information provided in hundreds of pages which I already offer FREE. Not surprisingly, they DO then ask me to do it for them, but being frugal and diligent, they ask me HOW I do it after they hire me - through voluminous email during my work for them. Sometimes they ask me how to do it before they hire me, at which point I tell them that it is all in my search engine tutorial and they can read it for them- selves. The address is . . .
But then they remember that they don't have time to do it and agree to pay me for my services and let me begin work. During job, they will look at what I've done on their site and ask "Why does change of order and frequency of words on my page effect my search engine rank?" Then I refer them back to tutorial.
Even though I provide a report at conclusion of job, clients ask same questions repeatedly as I am working and I've decided to short-circuit that experience by providing a parody of a sales letter for all potential clients to read before they hire me. It's all meant in fun, but helps silence those who ask lots of questions as I work. A typical email:
"My main intent is to be able to get into search engines. I want to be able to submit to Yahoo, pay submission fee (UGH!) and get in for sure with a decent ranking. Will you explain how to do this when you write your report?"
I'll explain it right now and make report shorter.
I want to be certain you understand that there's a big difference between search engines and directories. Yahoo is a human reviewed directory - nothing can be done to influence reviewers short of quality content and submission to proper category, that is