Hello everyone! I’m Zunaira Karim. I’m Powered by Search’s newest team member, and will be working in the capacity of  an SEO specialist and blog writing enthusiast extraordinaire.

I’m a default goal-setter. I set goals for everything in both my professional and personal life and writing for Powered by Search is certainly not out of that commitment. Although I have been playing behind the scenes of SEO for the past year, I always wanted to have a platform where I could contribute not just my own thoughts and efforts, but my team’s as well. I’m also keen on doing some research and providing stats to all of you as well. I hope that in discussing industry trends and keeping in touch with all of you, we’ll be able to come up with something extraordinary.

In other words, you’ll be hearing from me. A lot.  For now though, I have a story for you:

Three years ago, when I graduated in Advertising, my Interactive Studies professor walked up to me and asked me if I would even consider online marketing for a career. Intrigued by the wonders of television, print, radio, direct mail and coupons , I said, ‘Uh, probably not’. SEO and search marketing was something I stumbled upon (no pun intended) through my internship and I knew then, that I wasn’t going anywhere else. I was singing the Search Marketing tune.

Fast forward, a year later, I’ve managed multiple online accounts and campaigns, for both small and large businesses, and it has been one awesome journey and learning experience. So I’d like to share some of my past experiences with you and most importantly, I’d like share the ten lessons I’ve learned from my SEO career.

1. Manage clients’ expectations from the start.

Key rule. Accountability is a severe request in our industry and a good SEO company should never guarantee ranking, but emphasize on competition for keywords. Set out realistic goals with your clients with estimated time lines for achieving results.

2. An SEO Company Needs These People

Web Designer : Someone who can integrate a blog on a website, implement an urgent 301 redirect, add and design a call-to-action on the homepage – a talented web designer who understands SEO principles, creates eye-catching designs and has an irrefutable QA process can make a huge difference.

Link Builder : A person who can add value to a client’s website by building high page-rank, quality links to their website and their local maps listing.

Content Writer : Whether it’s for website content, articles or white paper projects, it’s crucial to have someone on board with writing skills. A wicked writer may be a key player in turning traffic into conversions.

CRM software (not exactly a person, but a relationship is built for sure) : Did you call so and so? Was this task completed? Who is this assigned to? Has this been sent yet? Organizing your campaigns’ Five W’s, Two H’s and a D through a project management system can keep you up – to – date, on track and even lower blood pressure. Try out a checklist system such as Active Collab or a project management system like Quickbase.

3. I Still Don’t Have A Straight Answer for “What Do You Do for a Living?”

I seriously don’t.

4. Know your Tools, Discover New Ones and USE Them

An SEO is only as good as the tools he or she is armed with. If you can’t track and analyze traffic coming to the website, do a thorough link analysis of the site as well as clients’ competitors and are unable to find accurate, or close to accurate statistics for your keywords, you’re losing the foundation and focus of your campaign. The classic keyword tool from Google and Advanced Web Ranking are some of my go-to campaign tools.

5. Clients Should Not Interfere with Their SEO/Local SEO Campaigns.

Period. I had a client who was enthused about his SEO campaign and determined to help me help him rank. He immediately made changes to his website without consulting me. Post making those changes and a discussion with me, he was surprised to find that writing your keywords over and over again, matching font color to the background color of your web pages was not a recommended SEO practice.

Hiring a professional? Let them do their job.

6.”Hello, Client. This is Your ROI Calling.”

It still surprises me, to this date, how clients are willing to invest a large portion of their advertising budget on traditional media, when search marketing is one of the best, if not, the best platforms to measure accountability and ROI. It’s a great part of my job – being able to show a client accurate campaign details, including success rate and campaign optimization processes. It really doesn’t get any better than that.

7. Invest in Taking Chances.

But be responsible! We’re part of a continually evolving industry where everyone has a chance to contribute a new discovery to the community and add to existing research. Invest in test websites and listings for a more accurate theories on ranking factors and optimal conversion rates and continually test yourself and better your campaign strategies.

8. Search Community – You are Awesome.

This is a small, highly competitive industry and yet we’re all able to share and discuss our ideas which, in turn, helps us with our clients. Blog topics from industry peers have probably been the biggest source of my education as I’m sure, it has been for many others. I love how this industry always keeps you on your toes for the next new thing.

9. “Here Comes the Ride.”

A ride to the top, indeed. After my experience, I am now confident that each geographic location has the following 3 things established: Chamber/Institution of Commerce, Public Health and Safety and a wedding planner. There will always be stiff competition for the keyword ‘wedding planner (enter geographic location)‘.

10. And I…Will Always, SEO

You can throw viral video, social media, pay-per-click, email marketing, etc, any of those, at me – I’m still a devout SEO / Local SEO specialist. In it’s bare-bones theory, I’ve always admired and respected a marketing tactic that allows qualified users to come to you. You also have to admire how search engines can actually level the playing field between a small business and a large corporation.

Feel free to comment and share some of your lessons with me – I’d love to hear them! Please note, my article does not apply to each and every SEO consultant and are just my personal observations. Except the part about wedding planners.
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About Dev Basu

Canadian SEO & Inbound Marketer. Founder at @PoweredbySearch. Professor @SenecaSoME. I love startups, fast cars, & smart people. Helping brands with #DemandGen.