Do SEO’s Really Need Clients?

One question that has provoked a valid argument in my mind based on a question an acquaintance asked me a few days ago is, do SEO’s really need clients?
Do SEO's and SEO Companies Really Need Clients?, by SEO Design Solutions.
The answer obviously depends on your skill set and what type of personality and SEO you are.

If you have a great network of resources with a content team in place, a project manager and savvy business types to use as a mastermind group, then the answer is no (you could strike out on your own and develop your own sites) from a pure marketing perspective and succeed. If you are interested in simply offering services in exchange for a fee then that personality type and SEO is better off sticking with optimizing, managing and monitoring other web properties for a living.

Inevitably, with the web being such a vast resource, if you have the propensity to understand what search engines award and elevate in the rankings and you know what stages are involved, then closing the doors, raising your prices or being more selective about the clients you do take on is always looming in the background as a viable alternative.

Search engine optimization, internet marketing, affiliate marketing and the use of Google adsense and adwords makes it possible for many entrepreneurial webmasters to thrive. Most are individuals who transitioned from offering SEO services into successful strategic owners of multiple web properties that yield positive cash flow.

Many SEO’s will in fact be faced with this dilemma as advertising budgets shrink, competitive verticals yield the perfect mountain like summits to test their SEO skills for a lucrative venture and multiple markets entice them with the call to take action to hit the top.

Aside from the hosting, the set up fees, the design and the promotion of a site (the last three things can be done with sweat equity) the real investment is time. The advantage an SEO has making the transition is, the understanding or organic cycles, how site architecture, content and links have an impact and the proper rate in which to develop a successful site.

This is not a moral dilemma as much as it is a simple equation. So, to finally answer the question, do SEO’s need clients? no, or not as much as they used to, the fact is, there is more than enough profit to go around in virtually any online niche. What it really boils down to is, do you have the time to produce quality content, build the popularity or a site and manage it?

In closing, to propose another analogy for context, under the same token a professor could toil away his whole life for a pittance of a salary or he could write a book on the topic that they are a specialist in and create a best seller which could support their lifestyle indefinitely. The choice ultimately resides in the hearts and minds of the specialist and what it is they receive by giving or offering their services to others.

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  1. Danel R. Lehrman
    Posted June 27, 2008 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    Jeffery, this is a great point. Every businessman alive faces these decisions. How to become profitable, and stay profitable. Your understanding blows me away. I like the topic especially, it seems like you wrote this one for me. Don’t give away all of your information!

  2. Dana Lookadoo
    Posted June 28, 2008 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

    The constant question – to consult or not to consult. Thanks for bringing this question up again. For many, it’s a constant struggle. I love helping people, which is why I consult. I left consulting to go into business with a client for this reason. A serious car accident later and some re-evaluation time, and I realized how much I missed helping others. Can we do both, that is the question.

  3. Jeffrey Smith
    Posted June 28, 2008 at 7:45 pm | Permalink


    Thanks for commenting, this presents yet another question, how much is your time worth?

    I, like yourself, enjoy helping others, but I must admit lately the entrepreneurial itch of ambition is calling and I look forward to testing some SEO theories on a few lucrative market segments.

    Sharing can be done through a blog, such as this, but the real business at hand could be to develop solid ROI for your time. If it comes through either method (offering services) or (striking out on your own with an e-venture) as long as you enjoy the process you should embrace it. Otherwise, it may be time to find a better thing to invest in.


    The dilemma between doing what you love and making a living can blur the lines of reality. I think this boils down to the niche and the margin. The secret it to pick a niche with enough room for risk, development time and management.

    Thanks for the comment.

  4. Dana Lookadoo
    Posted June 28, 2008 at 11:07 pm | Permalink


    Best take-away for contemplation:
    “…develop solid ROI for your time.”


  5. Jeffrey Smith
    Posted June 28, 2008 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

    Absolute perfection!, thanks for summarizing. Look forward to more comments about various blog posts.

  6. Chris Estes
    Posted June 30, 2008 at 4:01 am | Permalink

    Something to think about as juncture in my career is upon me.

  7. Jeffrey Smith
    Posted June 30, 2008 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Hi Chris:

    Just throwing it out there that there is nothing wrong with using what you know, it really boils down to time, effort and return.

    I personally am going to be more selective about clients and think more about long term monetization of online properties, instead of being the go to guy to “fix” broken websites that are lacking the proper ingredients to rank higher organically.

    It is not always about linear thinking as well, how many thousands of top 10 rankings do you have to create to know that content, stickiness, call to action and engagement are all equally as important.

    Such is beyond the scope of keywords but must be considered. Clients just tend to see keywords as the solution, it it really is just the beginning.

  8. E-Strategy India
    Posted July 1, 2008 at 2:11 am | Permalink

    Its a mutual relation…SEOs need clients as much as clients need SEOs…its like give and take..basics of business.

  9. Jeffrey Smith
    Posted July 1, 2008 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    Sorry bud, have to disagree, SEO’s need websites to work on, regardless of who owns them. But I see the Yin / Yang cyclical nature of where your coming from.

  10. Eish
    Posted July 3, 2008 at 2:13 am | Permalink

    I really enjoyed this post, i find the beauty in the SEO industry is that you always need to be learning to keep up. Thats what attracted me to online marketing in the first place, I get bored easily but this industry doesn’t allow for that. They aren’t as many constraints when you “strike out on your own”, you can try new ideas and explore different avenues because they is no set rules, just what works.

  11. Jeffrey Smith
    Posted July 4, 2008 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Hey Dylan:

    I agree, I also had a tendency to get tired of the same old routine. SEO provides new challenges constantly. If your still concerned with keywords and meta tags vs. trust rank, semantic silos and quality inbound links then you haven’t been doing the homework due to the practice.

    Not implying you, but many (in our profession) have a tendency to rely on things that worked last year, or even last month for that matter).

    However, Like your point summarized, you have to keep trying new things so that you are so far ahead of the algorithm from your application of solid basic principles, it is the last thing you have to worry about. On the contrary, it’s the algorithm that has to figure you and your techniques out.

    Thanks for commenting, good to see you around again.

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