Today I am presenting another written interview with Carlo Barajas of http://www.surfaceseo.net
Check out the interview:
1. What got you interested in helping others with SEO? Share your story.
I’ve always been passionate about psychology and business, and marketing seemed like the perfect melding of the two. When I realized I wanted to be location independent, I realized that digital marketing like SEO would allow for that. SEO just seemed interesting to me, and the more I read about it the more I wanted to learn. It didn’t take long for me to notice a lack of quality in the industry, with lots of people claiming they “do SEO,” but never really delivering. SEO is supposed to be a legitimate and complimentary marketing strategy to other marketing efforts, so I really wanted to approach it from that perspective and help my clients succeed.
My first client was a close friend with a side photography business down in Dallas Texas. We were able to identify a few profitable keywords, and within 3 months we had her ranking #1 for one of them. That along took her from a few bookings a month to being booked for the whole month! It felt good to help someone get their small business up and running, and I wanted to keep doing that for other people.
2. What are some link building strategies you are using today with your clients? What’s working for you?
For my most successful clients, we’ve tended to focus on a more organic link building process. Rather than getting my clients mentioned on a bunch of generic blogs strictly for SEO purposes, I take the time to identify reputable, authoritative blogs in the target niche, and reach out to those bloggers to see if we can write a guest post or get mentioned. I want people to actually see the content we produce, because I want it to actually generate sales.
Offering relevant, value-filled content to these types of sites and blogs also builds rapport, and oftentimes results in mentions around the web from other sources. Combine this with some well-timed news releases and a few private network posts to kickstart campaigns, and I have a recipe that works for most of my clients.
3. What are 2 or 3 tools you use when it comes to SEO you couldn’t live without?
Actually, the only real tool I use is Market Samurai. For such an inexpensive piece of software, it’s very powerful and I can’t imagine doing keyword research without it. I’m very meticulous when it comes to keyword research, since it sets the foundation for a successful campaign. Market Samurai gives me all the data I need to sift out profitable keywords for my clients to target. It also provides built-in rank tracking, so I can easily keep an eye on my clients’ sites.
4. How have you gone about finding new clients? Do most come through word of mouth or do you advertise your services elsewhere?
Ironically enough, most of my clients are through word of mouth and not via SEO. I do still rank #1 for many SEO terms in my hometown back in Kansas, so I get inquiries every once in awhile from there (it’s a smaller town.) Mostly though, I just go out and meet people at networking events, bars, parties, anywhere really. When people hear you do SEO, lots of times they’re interested in finding out what exactly that is. From there, it seems like everyone knows at least one person that could use your services. It spreads from there.
I will say though, that if things get slow and I need to drum up some business, I honestly will just start cold emailing people. I look for businesses in profitable industries (medical or real estate, for example), and shoot some emails to people who are on the second page of the search results. I write these emails personally – I never use a template. In a time when small business owners are bombarded with poorly written sales letters from questionable SEO firms, people are happy to respond when they feel like they’re talking to a real person.
5. What are your future plans for 2014 and beyond?
Well, I’m getting close to my one-year anniversary in Portland, OR, and I’m really trying to inject myself into the local business community. When you’re location independent, you don’t always get to actually meet your clients, so I think it will be a nice change of pace to have some business locally. I’m also trying out offering website design and social media management for a few clients that have requested it. If things run smoothly, I’ll seriously consider expanding my offerings in order to provide a more complete solution to my clients. Slow and steady growth is the name of the game right now, and so far everything seems to be on track!