A search engine optimization expert is a somewhat ironic title.
SEO is an enormous topic. No one man or woman could ever know everything about search marketing. It touches too many other digital marketing disciplines.
In my view, a true “SEO expert” would also need to be a:
- Full-Stack Web Developer
- Branding Specialist
- Content Marketing Strategist
- Social Media Strategist
- Public Relations Expert
- Sales Consultant
- Google AdWords Expert
This is actually what I strive for.
To hire these skills in separate people, you’d need a minimum of $400–500K in total salary.
It’s no wonder low-level SEO consultants start at $75/hr. On the higher end, you’ll see over $350/hr. Some of the best SEOs may even go for a percentage of revenues.
If I like your business model enough, I might even trade SEO for a piece of it.
Well done SEO is the foundation for 7 and 8 figure businesses across many industries. Given the proper budget and support, it’s the easiest marketing medium on the planet to guarantee ROI.
But the question remains:
Is it even possible to be an SEO expert?
The total subject matter is HUGE!
But there’s just one big problem.
Nowadays, it’s easy to call yourself an expert — even if you’ve just started.
In fact, that’s exactly what I did.
Holding Local Titles
Now I’m a bigger know it all than most.
If not for that, things really could have gone off the rail.
It was really easy for me to get to the top of google for search terms like:
I did it in 2 months, when I was just transitioning from SEO copywriting to local SEO consulting.
I completed my SEO campaign thinking I’d have at least six months to make my site pretty and learn more about the consulting model.
That’s not how it happened. I got to the first page of search engines much quicker than I anticipated. What’s more, I quickly ranked number one for almost all of my Greensboro keywords.
I got a flood of clients.
I never got around to tightening up my site. Instead, I learned everything I could and put it into practice for them.
Even as my team has grown, we have spent about .00001% of our man hours on GreensboroSEOPro.com.
My exposure in Charlotte, Raleigh, and the rest of NC has fallen. Yet, I’ve increased my grip on Greensboro SEO. Search optimization is a bit harder than when I started. Fortunately, most of the changes work in my favor.
Our recent redesign marks the beginning of a renewed campaign to conquer the whole of North Carolina’s digital marketing landscape.
A True SEO Expert Though?
I’m three and a half years better than when I claimed to be an “SEO expert.”
Since then, I’ve grown in both competence and confidence.
Simultaneously, I’ve become less arrogant.
I’m still a know it all. And I know A TON about SEO.
But the more I learn:
The more I learn that I have more to learn.
Again, SEO is a massive topic. It’s easily the most complex type of digital marketing. It’s no surprise that it’s the most powerful and sustainable. But that means it’s hard.
Plus, Google never stop evolving. The world’s number one search engine has to keep pace with the Internet. And SEOs have to keep pace with them.
My “to read” list grows about twice as fast as I can keep up.
- I’ve watched over 1,000 hours of Internet marketing training video.
- I’ve spent at least twice that many hours reading on SEO.
- I’ve spent over $10,000 on training programs and masterminds.
I still don’t know it all.
And I’m a professional know it all! Ask anyone who knows me.
So no, I’m not quite sure I consider myself an “SEO expert.” I’m not quite sure I consider anyone on planet Earth is a complete SEO expert.
Generally, the most well-known SEOs specialize. That could be in local SEO, video SEO, eCommerce SEO, or similar.
I see positives and negatives to specializing in digital marketing.
And again, I don’t consider myself an expert. I just play one on Google.
Ultimately, I aspire for others to declare my expertise.
Here are a few SEOs I really respect:
- Rand Fishkin — Moz | Twitter | Moz Profile
- Brian Dean — Backlinko | Twitter | YouTube
- Joost de Valk — Yoast SEO | About Page | Twitter
- Barry Schawtz — Rusty Brick | About Page | Twitter
- Mike Blumenthal — Blumenthals Blog | GatherUp | Twitter
- Mike Ramsey — Nifty Marketing | About Page | Twitter
- David Mihm — ThriveHive | Twitter
- Neil Patel — NeilPatel.com | Quicksprout | YouTube
These guys have stellar reputations in the industry. But I continually find things they miss via smaller channels. There are a lot of opinionated people in SEO. It’s curious how often well-respected “experts” write off the successes of others.
I want to avoid this at all costs.
This is one of the main reasons I rewrote our mission statement.
4. We Learn Everyday. — “Humility Over Pride.”
SEO moves too fast to follow digital marketing dogma.
That’s part of why I struggle to call myself an SEO expert today. Tomorrow, I might have to relearn everything. I like that aspect.
It makes SEO hard. I like hard (because I usually rise to the top in difficult environments).
But it’s also why:
A Proven SEO Expert is Better Than…
Yeah, just about.
Maybe this is where my arrogance does show. I may not be sure I’m an SEO expert, but I am sure that SEO is better than every single other digital marketing discipline.
- SEO provides the best return on investment.
- SEO supports good business practices.
- SEO helps with your sales process.
- SEO has the strongest long-term outlook.
I could go on.
And let’s be honest.
The ability to show up the exact moment someone is searching for your product or service is pretty cool (read:lucrative). It’s much more effective than trying to sell someone something when they are waiting in line at the grocery store or on the toilet creeping on their ex.
I’m looking at you Facebook ad companies.
For the vast majority of local businesses, SEO is the best marketing investment they could make.
It almost always has the best ROI over 6 month to 2 year periods. It blows everything out of the park on even longer timelines. For those who have the budget to go all in, those timelines can be compressed as well. Done right, SEO also increases the effectiveness of your other sales and marketing efforts.
For an example:
Just watch how Greensboro SEO Pro grows over the next year.
My personal daily content challenge alone will surely 10x our search traffic. If I’m able to focus on this site, it could be 100x. We shall see.
Whatever the case, we’re taking the next steps.
Greensboro SEO Pro: From Expert to Agency
I’ll say it again:
I know I’m the best SEO in North Carolina.
Now, I’m going to try to build the best SEO company around that. I’ve spent enough time learning. I’ve spent enough time doing.
Now, it’s time to start training, managing, promoting, etc. Ya know, build a business. We’ll be moving through the progression from SEO expert, to consultant, to agency.
With a name like Greensboro SEO Pro, we have but one option:
We will start by furthering our hold on our hometown.
By the end of 2019 we’ll be on the first page of Google for:
- “Greensboro Web Design”
- “Greensboro Social Media Marketing”
- “Greensboro Content Marketing”
We might even have time to attack a few specific industries.
Over time, I am going to build a massive marketing machine.
2019 will be an important year for it, as 2018 has been.
If you’re looking for a digital marketing expert to partner with for the next thirty-plus years, I might be your guy. Because I have such a long-term view, fit is especially important to me. That’s one reason I require a client application and give out free audits.
GSP is the first step in a much larger vision.
That vision goes something like:
Greensboro SEO Expert >> Local Marketing Agency >> National Business Consultancy >> International Business Investor
That’s overly simplified, of course.
To this day:
I’ve had at least 20x more clients outside of Greensboro than in it.
To a degree, I’m sure that will continue. But I live in Greensboro. I plan to become known all over it. You’ll be able to catch the GSP team across various Greensboro events in 2019. I expect free will be the default.
Interested in a taste of what we do?
Before long, our brand will be as strong as our clients’. Newsletters, interactive social media, and — of course — dominant SEO.
It starts now.