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phoenixrising 12-10-2010 04:56 AM

Local Business SEO Journal
 
Sup Dudes,

I had an old journal related to PPC that I let die in here a while back - since then I've been working on SEO, building a couple properties to learn the game.

Luckily, my first property has actually at least paid for itself, and my second one has profited slightly. I've learned a bunch in the last few months and even though I havent put it into MASSIVE action, I've definitely made some progress.

A few days back I landed my first Local SEO job through a friend. The guy that owns the company basically realized he needed someone like me when longtime customers were coming to his store wondering why he had no web presence, barely any reviews on review sites, etc.

I plan to update this journal with thoughts and notes as I go through my first relationship with a client. I find this sort of stuff really helpful when I learn things so I figured it would help me learn and hopefully help some nubs along the way.

Strategy

The owner has had a few malicious customers (which are heavily outnumbered by the positive reviews) take over top spots on sites like Yelp, Local Yahoo, etc. His main concern is getting a fair representation of his business online, which I plan to do by creating dummy accounts and posting real customer reviews on them on the various review sites.

His website is optimized for "geography" + "business niche", which is pretty solid for grabbing the top spot. It's pretty fuckin' niche, evidenced by the fact that he's got 8th spot after only a month of the website existing. I plan to get him up to first using the following strategy:
  • Bookmarking with top 100 Social Bookmark Sites
  • Optimizing onpage SEO

Honestly, I think that's all it will take to get him to the top, but I might pick up a link building package and do some article marketing if I have to to nudge him to the top.

Onsite Shit

The guy who built the page used WP, which is great because I know it pretty well. He's only got a homepage and a specials page, so I plan to create an about us, company history, detailed contact us, and reviews page and add them to the site, optimizing keywords/etc within the pages.

Directories

I'm going to be registering his business with about 8-10 of the most prevalent online business directories (I found most of them in the Traffic/Content stickies section)

Questions for Non-Noobs:

What is a fair price to charge? I'm semi-noob at this, but I really feel like I'm qualified to do what he needs. I was thinking of some sort of pricing scheme like $xxx for the initial deliverables, and then $xx for a monthly maintenance fee to keep his web presence and online reputation in check. Any thoughts on this and about how much the $xxx and $xx should be?

Thanks and I hope this journal will help some of you guys!

AustinP 12-10-2010 07:38 AM

A three figure sum is the base tag that SEO professionals charge. Check out to see the financial situation of the company. New companies do not mind paying to get started. Older ones will want to cut costs. Also you need to prepare two quotes for them. One - a time oriented quote and 2 - a result oriented quote. Giving them options is always the best way to go. Make sure that whatever you charge them is providing you a net profit of atleast 25% for the first six months and around 75% for later. If you are working alone on this, make sure you dont tell your client that. You can get a fair idea of what rates are like by having a look at the BST section. Optimization can be a pain in the ass if your'e doing it wrong. So make sure you are prepared to cut your losses as well. You will also need to take into consideration from which part of the world you are from and which part your client is from.
I would recommend $299 a month if the keywords are not too tough to handle.

dchuk 12-10-2010 02:22 PM

atta boy

phoenixrising 12-11-2010 03:16 PM

Sent the site in to lalit.burma for the 100 social bookmark package, should be done within a few days I hope.

Still waiting on the wp-admin details from the dude who 'designed' the site for 1.5 years (just bought a domain and put a wp theme up, lol), so I can't do any onpage optimization or add any content.

Going to be signing him up for google places and about 7-8 other business listing sites, and then creating some more reviews on yelp and local yahoo today.

phoenixrising 12-13-2010 07:48 PM

Social bookmarking has been done, I'm currently working on a bot that will pull data from a .csv and automatically register for about 10 business directories like Yelp, Local.com, etc. I figure putting in the time to automate it now will pay off when I have future clients.

I'd be down to release the bot when I get it working so its pretty much fully automated besides entering the business details.

dchuk 12-13-2010 10:08 PM

check out https://www.ubl.org/index.aspx

phoenixrising 12-16-2010 05:05 PM

got a message back from the designer of the page, he says he'll be done by the weeked so i'll have a login and pw for the website. Can't wait to get started (and finished) doing the onpage stuff, shouldn't be TOO difficult.

after that, i'm going to meet up with the guy on Monday to take a look at the business and try to figure out how much a jacket costs so I can figure out a way to charge him. Talked with dchuk and it seems like a good way to charge him is based on the amount of potential customers i can add to his business.

if a jacked is $150, which doesn't seem unreasonable, even just delivering 3 customers a month would be a 5.4k increase in revenue to the guys business.

Need to get on the review sites as a next item though.

phoenixrising 12-17-2010 12:57 AM

I just got off the phone with my client. We chatted and I told him that since the 'designer' (using that term very loosely) of the site has been commissioned to produce for about 12-13 months and so far has produced an essentially blank wordpress template, that I would prefer it if those duties were also handed over to me and I had sole authority over his businesses' online presence. He was very excited to hear this, I think he's been frustrated that the guy has been SO slow to act.

We chatted a bit more and I told him some basic details about what I've done for his site so far. I have gotten it from #9 to #3 for his exact match domain with just some simple social bookmarking.

He mentioned he's been getting business from customers in locations that he's never serviced before, and asked them where they heard of his business. Their response? "Online." It makes me feel awesome to know that I'm already impacting this guy's bottom line and I'm literally only getting started.

I've got some great ideas that I thought I'd share:

1. Get him ranking for any iteration of [business type][geography] that I can, for example:

Culver City Blue Widgets
Blue Widgets Culver City
Blue Widget Culver City

etcetcetc.

2. Have him include a form for his customers to see where they found out about his business (this is in order to have some tracking on the leads that my services have delivered and determine a fee to charge)

3. In addition to getting his main site to rank at #1 for his keywords, I might as well get business directories and review sites that feature his business to rank below him, see if I can take up as much traffic for the words that I can.

4. On his site, feature the handwritten reviews in a 'Reviews' wp page to add a trust building element to the website and give it more of a local feel.

5. Optimize his onpage SEO and landing page (might need help with the latter, I don't have much copy/design xp)

TIME TO OWN, BITCHES!

l3msip 12-17-2010 01:40 AM

Quote:

2. Have him include a form for his customers to see where they found out about his business (this is in order to have some tracking on the leads that my services have delivered and determine a fee to charge)
Worth a try, though people often ignore these.

To do something similar for website visitors, it should be a fairly simple matter to pass the search terms to the contact form.
That way every customer (if they dont use the phone) that contacts him via the site will automatically send their search terms.
You can set this up to be included in the email he gets, or just in one to your self.

I think i have a current customers site set up like this using contact form 7 (excellent WP plug in). If i can find it i'll post more details if your interested.

Also get some tracking on the site asap, might a well use GA but set them up with their own account. That way you can monitor all sorts of things for yourself, and send them monthly updates along with your invoice.

phoenixrising 12-17-2010 02:53 AM

l3m, thanks for the info.

Contact form 7 is awesome, going to be putting it on his Contact Us page as soon as I have the wp-admin details. Can it pass the search terms? That would be incredibly useful from an optimization standpoint.

Thanks again!

jackie 12-17-2010 03:51 AM

Great to see you getting your local SEO business started. Inspiration for others who are yet to take the leap and start a business of their own.

If you want some really awesome tracking for visitors and keywords, one that I use is getclicky.com. Even though it's not free, the amount of detail it goes down to for each individual visitor is awesome. Well worth the money imo.

phoenixrising 12-18-2010 09:19 PM

Thanks for the info jackie

Update:

He's #1 now for his exact match domain, and he said that he's been getting business from areas of my city that he never has before. Great news, now I need to get him ranking at or close to number one for a bunch of iterations of his business+geog

turbolapp 12-18-2010 10:47 PM

Glad to hear exact matches are still pwning. Supposedly, they might be losing their mojo soon. I've got one now that I just started with last week, fairly competitive (for local) is already on page 2 for bing and yahoo but not in the top 500 on google yet so I was concerned this exact match thing had already started.

Perhaps I should give it more than a week before wigging myself out :-/

phoenixrising 12-19-2010 03:07 AM

God damn this 'designer' is taking his sweet fucking time handing over the admin details. Charged the guy $1300 to reg a domain, get hosting and throw up the simplest WP page you could imagine past "Hello World!"

RAGE

dchuk 12-19-2010 04:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by turbolapp (Post 1104146)
Glad to hear exact matches are still pwning. Supposedly, they might be losing their mojo soon. I've got one now that I just started with last week, fairly competitive (for local) is already on page 2 for bing and yahoo but not in the top 500 on google yet so I was concerned this exact match thing had already started.

Perhaps I should give it more than a week before wigging myself out :-/

google has been slow as fuck lately. make sure you get some amit bookmarks on your site asap to get it out in the open and on the radar

phoenixrising 12-22-2010 01:11 AM

Meeting with the guy tomorrow, he's been swamped with christmas work. Hopefully I can get the fucking wp-admin details.

shawnhag 12-26-2010 12:52 AM

i know you dont have the wp-admin u/p but do you have the hosting auths? if you do, you can do a db rewrite and if the site is as simple as you say, you can just wipe it clean and throw up a new site in minutes...

just lookin out. my local seo company has been up and running for a few months now, let me know if you want to exchange ideas. ive made some mistakes but have also had some great ideas that got me some good clients.


Quote:

Originally Posted by phoenixrising (Post 1107937)
Meeting with the guy tomorrow, he's been swamped with christmas work. Hopefully I can get the fucking wp-admin details.


phoenixrising 12-26-2010 03:36 AM

Hey shawn -

Don't have the hosting auths either, he wasn't able to meet the day I posted that, HOPEFULLY I can meet and touch base this week as it's getting annoying that I can't get this really basic information. Would love to share some ideas with you though, will send pm soon. :)

omgyams 12-26-2010 11:41 AM

I primarily work in local. Have you considered call tracking? In my experiences calls occur 4-5 times the amount of email submits. It allows much more accurate tracking of progress - especially if you serve a different phone number per medium (organic & paid).

omgyams 12-26-2010 02:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jiri2 (Post 1112553)
u know of any call tracking for spain, france and the uk?

Nope I only work in the US market

turbolapp 12-26-2010 07:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dchuk (Post 1104411)
google has been slow as fuck lately. make sure you get some amit bookmarks on your site asap to get it out in the open and on the radar

Amit's the first guy i go to with a new site. Have since done dfb, blg, Matt and Jason's service that doesn't have an acronym that I know of, linkilicious...all of this has gotten me to 4 and 5 on yahoo and bing but only 134 on google for one keyword and still not on the map for the other main ones.

Google is the ultimate cockblocker.

(Oh and +1 for the call tracker. )

MikevanderHeijd 12-26-2010 07:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by turbolapp (Post 1112832)
Amit's the first guy i go to with a new site. Have since done dfb, blg, Matt and Jason's service that doesn't have an acronym that I know of, linkilicious...all of this has gotten me to 4 and 5 on yahoo and bing but only 134 on google for one keyword and still not on the map for the other main ones.

Google is the ultimate cockblocker.

(Oh and +1 for the call tracker. )

Are you layering your BLG blasts? I found great results by creating initial squidoo, wordpress, blogger (Tier 1) etc. then blasting those with interlinked BLG blasts day 1 (Tier 2) then using the variable in day 2 and interlinking Tier 1 and Tier 2, then following up with Profile/comment/xrumer blasts.

For local it has worked a charm, front paged for keyword + city (albeit not competitive) but with no keywords in the domain.

Then I wrinse repeat for important pages in the site (services, individual service/product pages) to solidify rankings.

Chianti 12-27-2010 08:16 AM

> u know of any call tracking for spain, france and the uk?

Call Measurement, Call Tracking and Call Reporting by Calltracks
Not used them - they're probably really expensive.
If you get pricing info post back or PM me, especially if they are any good.

I'm currently looking into whether a SkypeIn number could be used for cheap, simple call-tracking. All I really want to know is how many phone leads a website generates for a client. It can't be that difficult!

phoenixrising 12-27-2010 02:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jiri2 (Post 1112556)
wot u using to code the bot?

ubot, but this mini-project is on hold because i'm such a noob i can't even figure out how to do it.

meeting client today (finally) will give an update after the meet.

omgyams 12-27-2010 09:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jiri2 (Post 1114065)
are your call trackers just like normal telephones, as in same price as a normal phone number for whoever phones from the website, great number of people stop when they see surcharge and head off to yellow pages or whatnot)?

I can buy a phone number that matches a local area code or use a toll free 1800 number. I've tried both, and found that people are more willing to call a local number than a 1800 number, at least for my niches.

phoenixrising 12-28-2010 03:09 AM

Not a whole lot to update, met the guy today and him/his family seem awesome. Very passionate about their business and very excited to grow it in the coming year.

He's going to have the wp-admin and hosting details to me by Thursday and we're gonna meet back up and talk strategy/compensation. I think I have to figure out the pricing scheme pretty soon.

Can't decide exactly how I want to do it, anyone have any suggestions?

Uptime 12-28-2010 01:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by phoenixrising (Post 1114424)
Not a whole lot to update, met the guy today and him/his family seem awesome. Very passionate about their business and very excited to grow it in the coming year.

He's going to have the wp-admin and hosting details to me by Thursday and we're gonna meet back up and talk strategy/compensation. I think I have to figure out the pricing scheme pretty soon.

Can't decide exactly how I want to do it, anyone have any suggestions?

phoenix congrats on the client and thanks for creating and updating this thread.

In regards to the extended delays of getting a simple login id and pw something doesn't sound right. You mentioned that the current site basically has nothing to salvage. If another delay occurs I would take control of the hosting for the client and and point the domain name to the new server. Maybe I'm miss-understanding the situation but the multiple delays for simple login info smells.

Whatever you do make sure don't lose any current rankings with your updates and additions. 301 / .htaccess / etc to protect what you have so far.

As far as pricing I internally forecast my time, effort and expensives involved to achieve the objective and make sure my min hourly rate is met plus a margin. This is given to the client as a package price based on attainable results met not as an hourly rate. I personally prefer to work off of a set price vs. hourly whenever possible. Wish I could give $ examples but every clients website complexity seems to vary and the competition determines the effort needed to break into the top 3. I also weigh all of this against the business they are not getting presently. Then what it will mean to the owner by getting even the low end prediction of highly targeted traffic. Sounds like your client doesn't need any convincing of the impact so you are 3/4's of the way there. Don't short change yourself on the price and be careful how you phrase potential results.

I've had good success with local in a couple of different regions but I also don't consider myself an expert. So take the above with a ton of sodium.

turbolapp 12-28-2010 01:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MikevanderHeijd (Post 1112837)
Are you layering your BLG blasts? I found great results by creating initial squidoo, wordpress, blogger (Tier 1) etc. then blasting those with interlinked BLG blasts day 1 (Tier 2) then using the variable in day 2 and interlinking Tier 1 and Tier 2, then following up with Profile/comment/xrumer blasts.

For local it has worked a charm, front paged for keyword + city (albeit not competitive) but with no keywords in the domain.

Then I wrinse repeat for important pages in the site (services, individual service/product pages) to solidify rankings.


Like the 3 and 4 day projects? Or are you talking about a different method?

And yes I do that.

Davin Black 12-28-2010 02:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Uptime (Post 1114878)
In regards to the extended delays of getting a simple login id and pw something doesn't sound right. You mentioned that the current site basically has nothing to salvage. If another delay occurs I would take control of the hosting for the client and and point the domain name to the new server. Maybe I'm miss-understanding the situation but the multiple delays for simple login info smells.

Seems pretty straight-forward to me:

Quote:

Originally Posted by phoenixrising (Post 1104339)
God damn this 'designer' is taking his sweet fucking time handing over the admin details. Charged the guy $1300 to reg a domain, get hosting and throw up the simplest WP page you could imagine past "Hello World!"

The designer doesn't want to lose his unsuspecting customer by having someone with skills/experience (in this case, phoenix) point out what a weaksauce site s/he put together. When I take over sites from other hosts, getting the credentials takes a simple phone call (since trading such info over email is admittedly much riskier).

@Phoenixrising: while I really hope it's just a misunderstanding and that you do get the admin info, I wouldn't be surprised if you got stiffed again.

phoenixrising 12-28-2010 04:22 PM

As far as the login details go -

The product my client sells is produced in-house, and orders spike during christmas so he's literally been slammed for the last week or so. He just didn't email the designer, so that's part of the reason I haven't gotten the details. When we met I stressed the importance of getting the information, and he totally understood. If it does happen to go badly and I don't get the details, is it possible for me to redirect hosting of the site without knowing any of the original hosting information?

As far as compensation -

He sells a product that is best marketed through high schools - of which he's in 30-40% of the ones in our city so far. There is even room to expand within the 30-40% of schools, not to mention adding additional schools. I think that the online presence will extend his reach to schools outside of an X mile radius that might not hear about his business through normal channels.

Based on this it seems like some sort of performance-based compensation might be the best play - they don't know anything about IM or keeping an online presence, so is it fair to charge them based on customers referred through the internet?

It was not hard at all to get his domain to #1, but I was thinking that I would register 1-2 more domains targeting variations of his product and populate them with his business information, etc. Good idea?

phoenixrising 12-28-2010 04:23 PM

Oh also -

If I want to expand this into a full fledged business, how would I go about setting up reseller hosting and domain names, or where would be the best places to go?

Scattered 12-28-2010 04:34 PM

I sign these businesses up with my preferred hosting company using my affiliate link and get $50 per hosting account sign up.

Uptime 12-28-2010 05:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by phoenixrising (Post 1115129)
. . . If it does happen to go badly and I don't get the details, is it possible for me to redirect hosting of the site without knowing any of the original hosting information?
. . . .


He who controls the DNS trumps all others. If your client has the domain on his credit card then even if he doesn't have the registrar login details he can get them. Setup new hosting and point the DNS to the new server. I would seek council with the elders here about the best way to keep the juice just to be safe.

However with the new information that the owner just dropped the ball on emailing the guy hopefully that can be avoided.

phoenixrising 01-05-2011 10:10 PM

Been a bit of a delay, but I finally go the wp-admin details today. Yes!

I'm gonna get to work doing basic onsite SEO stuff and throwing some content and theming edits on there, excited to actually get my hands on this bitch and GO. I don't think I'm gonna get hosting details from the designer but I really don't care, my work doesn't really require it.

My client said he's already referred me to 2 of his suppliers who don't have ANY internet presence at all and also said I'm a 'member of the family.' I think I'll be able to charge a fair price for the value that I've provided based on this info.

We're going to meet on Friday to discuss strategy and compensation.

I think I might even throw an HD video of him talking about his family's business on the site.

p.s. I think I can get local high schools to link to his website too, BADASS

belko002 01-06-2011 08:07 PM

For reviews, do you write them yourself? If so, do you do it from a different IP?

phoenixrising 01-07-2011 03:10 AM

No, I use reviews that he has collected from real customers.

mrphantuan 01-07-2011 05:48 AM

God damn this 'designer' is taking his sweet fucking time handing over the admin details. Charged the guy $1300 to reg a domain, get hosting and throw up the simplest WP page you could imagine past "Hello World!"

RAGE

dchuk 01-07-2011 11:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mrphantuan (Post 1126546)
God damn this 'designer' is taking his sweet fucking time handing over the admin details. Charged the guy $1300 to reg a domain, get hosting and throw up the simplest WP page you could imagine past "Hello World!"

RAGE

hey xrumer, want to go out later? drinks are on me!

phoenixrising 01-17-2011 06:00 PM

Has been a while, but here is what's new:

1. With my first client, we have worked out a payment structure that consists of an upfront fee for deliverables and work performed to get things up and running, including link building, basic seo, and a site redesign. Additionally, a monthly retainer for statistics, upkeep, and basically full service on the internet side of his business.

2. He has referred me to a friend that does bail bonds in my city. He has paid firms to get his website ranked for bail bonds related terms in the past and they have failed. He manages his own PPC, but says that he is spending more than he should and doesn't know if his return is good.

This will be a much more challenging project for me. I don't think I can go after 'bail bonds' or even 'my city bail bonds', so I was thinking about breaking it down into the various communities he services, and running some 'satellite' sites that all point to his business. Is this a good strategy?

shawnhag 01-17-2011 06:20 PM

phoenix: congrats on your first client! i have been in the local seo business for several months now and now have multiple accounts, in addition to my personal SEM endeavors. work your ass off for your clients, and watch the referrals roll in!

as far as point number 2 is concerned, lose that negative attitude! i know that there are a lot of competitive niches out there, but remember, you are not promising number one spot, only more business. take that aproach when pitching them. im not saying that targeting the micro communities is a bad idea, thats actually good. but you would be surprised at how many people say the same thing you do and dont bother.

alot of these seo companies have been dropped by their clients and are falling further and fruther in the SERPS, and arent hip to the new algorithm parameters.

if you ever have any ?s please feel free to PM, there is plenty of $$ for everyone to go around!

DocApocalypto 01-19-2011 06:47 PM

i'll be on pins and needles waiting to find out how many months it takes you to get the login credentials to the bail bonds site! this is exciting! lolz.

sorry to be sarcastic, but this thread is ghey. too many words, too little happening.

phoenixrising 01-19-2011 07:45 PM

Feel free to not read it.

Filmed a short video for client's site yesterday, had lunch and took some pictures to add to the gallery, as well as worked out the payment.

Putting together an email to send to bail bonds guy today.

oxherder 01-19-2011 10:13 PM

Keep us posted phoenix, be interesting to see how it turns out.

Coolof 01-20-2011 01:08 AM

Phoenix nice thread, keep posting!

Quote:

Originally Posted by DocApocalypto (Post 1142896)
too many words, too little happening.

so why wasting your time reading it?

imkazu 01-20-2011 02:21 PM

good to see that things are moving forward.
interesting to read about local seo posts, keep it up

phoenixrising 01-21-2011 01:17 AM

Today I scanned a shitload of pictures in, and created a directory of schools to showcase photographs of his customers according to school. Took me a bit to figure out how to hide all of the pages, but I have it in a two column page layout listing all of the schools, with the pages hidden from the top.

I know for a fact that I have gotten him something like 3-4 new clients (as well as one from a new school) via the Contact Form 7 plugin that bcc's me when a customer emails him through the form.

In light of that, I think I am going to ask for more for the upfront deliverables, I was originally going to ask for $500 but I think that my services have provided a significant impact to his business (his product sells for $300-600 dollars) to ask for more.

He also said that he has given my information to another client, so I could potentially have two new clients by the end of this weekend.

Out of town this weekend though, will update soon!

copyguy 01-21-2011 03:11 AM

money loves speed and ur the proof of that. keep up the great work! ur firing me up to work! :D

phoenixrising 01-25-2011 01:51 AM

Ok so hosting failed today due to (I think) a failed credit card. I think he has a new one that needs to be updated. But, I can't get into the hosting because the retard designer doesn't know the password to log into the HostGator cpanel...

How do I get the domain back up and hosted on some other host without being able to access the cpanel of the current host?

Uptime 01-25-2011 06:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by phoenixrising (Post 1149620)
Ok so hosting failed today due to (I think) a failed credit card. I think he has a new one that needs to be updated. But, I can't get into the hosting because the retard designer doesn't know the password to log into the HostGator cpanel...

How do I get the domain back up and hosted on some other host without being able to access the cpanel of the current host?

From about a month ago
Quote:

Originally Posted by Uptime (Post 1115160)
. . . If your client has the domain on his credit card then even if he doesn't have the registrar login details he can get them. Setup new hosting and point the DNS to the new server. . .


phoenixrising 01-26-2011 01:04 AM

/facepalm should have realized this. Thanks, emailed him with instructions and he's gonna get the information.

On a more global note, I think I need to tie up as much of the work for this client as I can, get paid, and move on to more clients. I'm stalling and dragging my feet too much.


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