For those who spin all the ethics stuff, do you think Google knew of the problem and was lying when they said it was no big deal? If so, is it ethical for them to tell blatent lies? If not, how is it that SEOs know more about their search engine than they do and they generally disocunt the whole concept of SEO?
Yahoo! Q Challenge: whats up with a $5,000 prize - that surely is not much payout for the value they could create with that contest. I might need to create a similar marketing program for myself. hehehe
There is a website that qualifies you and prints out your ordained ministor certification in under a minute. A person today tried to justify me giving away my business model to them because they spent the minute to print one out.
Not that it is huge news for the average SEO, but when SEO Inc was removed from Google the story got so much negative coverage and the SEO Inc PR department botched the issue that it was just a really bad thing for them.
Another great example of how you reacting to something being more important than what actually happens.
Right now I am not getting SEO Inc to show up for their site name and the like, but their home page was cached in Google 2 days ago and is showing up under Search Engine Marketing Firm.
The Motley Fool wrote an article about the death of affiliate marketing, talking about how AdSense text ads were better at selling than typical banner ads. Of course he is right, banners are generally useless compared to what can be done in affiliate marketing because they scream "I am an ad. Please ignore me."
Yesterday I had one fairly well targeted visual AdSense group display a couple thousands visual ads, and it had a zero percent clickthrough rate. People do not want to click on banners.
While some of the affiliate marketing companies may have stocks that will continue to falter, that in no way means that affiliate marketing as a whole is dead.
Many smart affiliates create testimonials, or factual looking review based content with affiliate links embedded in it.
The two highly successful affiliate techniques I know of are:
Creating useless spam sites chuck full of affiliate links or AdSense. Make the sites so ugly that people have to quickly click on something. On these sites AdSense might work better, and since Google does not enforce any legitimate publisher quality standards you can create tons of these sites.
Create smaller sites that review most every product in an industry. If a page only makes a hundred or few hundred a month and you have 10 to 50 pages of useful related unique content per site then it does not take long to build a few revenue streams that can make you well over $100,000 per year.
Just yesterday I got a random check in the mail for unknown reasons, which tells me that bad affiliate marketing probably still has a while left, let alone good affiliate marketing, which will only get better as time passes.
Visitors to Yahoo's Music Unlimited will pay $6.99 a month for access to Yahoo's 1-million-song library. That's less than half what Napster and Real Networks' Rhapsody charge for similar services that permit the transfer of songs to portable music players. source
From my limited perspective there are a couple major recurring flaws in the buying / selling cycle of selling SEO services.
Client ignorance of pricing: some clients view SEO as free money. This leads them to hire a cheap guy or someone who heavily markets the free money angle. Either of which stand a good chance of leading to fraud.
Client ignorance of process: some clients assume they know how to do it or that SEOs are messing it up based on slow feedback loops.
Rapid changes: this kinda goes hand in hand with the ignorance of process since most available information is dated. Some search algorithms are changed in ways that could best be described as random.
Big leap of faith:
many SEOs want to sell a $10,000 + package right out if the gate.
Not that I am actively seeking lots of clients (because I am still bad at pricing and still am not sure what I want to do when I grow up) but I have found that by being not available demand is much higher.
Another thing which works well for me is to do an hour long or couple hour phone consultation. Then when you are done go through the clients site and write a report for them giving them specific action points for improving their sites visibility.
In doing that you can easily sell a $500 to $2,000 review package where you might be able to make a few hundred dollars an hour while still avoiding the longterm commitment of performing ongoing SEO services.
You get to feel the client out and they get to feel you out. At the end of that report you can say that if they have any questions or need any help they can get ahold of you.
By charging a decent bit off the start you help the client assume there is value which filters out many of the worst clients.
As long as the suggested improvements report and phone call do not sound like a sales pitch you start to build trust. If you and a client click you can go forward from there with a bit of trust built up.
I see tons and tons of sites sell full service SEO solutions, but few people seem to be looking for that middle ground where they can still deliver good value without expecting a longterm or big dollar commitment from the clients.
What are some of your favorite business models or sales techniques within the SEO space?
AdWords Spying: GoogSpy looks scrapes hundreds of thousands of searches from Google to determine who is bidding on what terms. The idea is killer, but the implementation is a bit lacking. Link found from ThreadWatch.