SEO Popularity & Being Famous – Comments re: TopRank, SEOmoz

I found this post on SEOmoz which referenced this post on TopRank’s blog and posted a comment. As I’ll do from time to time, I’m going to steal my own content and paste it below… my thoughts on “being famous” in the SEO community:

Lee – excellent post. I know many SEOs who spend 50-75% of their time or more doing things to “be famous” in the community – writing blog posts, commenting (ummm…), creating articles, etc. As you have suggested, the expectation is that by doing those activities they will get new clients and make money.

But what about if you already have alot of clients? If you don’t need new business than it doesn’t make sense to spend 75% of your time on business generation activities (getting famous). Instead, how about spend time differently…


Yes that’s the key to making money. The key is doing work that you are paid to do. The more paid work (for agencies) or more work spent doing your own projects (affiliates, others) the more you will make.

But what about the “being famous helps you get bigger clients and raise your rates” argument?

Perhaps. But so too does “doing a good job for your current clients” and then getting solid referrals that produce bigger projects.

I think there is a ton of waste with all these newbies spending time blogging and writing articles. There’s too much to read, and not enough time to read it… or much less actually GO DO SOME WORK PEOPLE!

With that, I’m off to start doing some actual work 🙂

There isn’t enough room for everyone to be a celebrity in the SEO field. Nor does achieving that matter much, IMO. You can have a very successful career (as a consultant) by:

doing great work, producing great results
giving your time and attention to your clients
growing with your clients
getting referrals from your clients

Several years back I used to spend alot more time with SEO-related blogs, forums, articles, etc. I wanted to be famous in the community, to some extent. The day I stopped spending so much time on that is the day I started doing better work, having more time for clients and started making more money. Imagine that. Do actual (billable) work. Get actual clients. Make actual money. A novel idea!

Both Rand and Lee referenced an idea I do strongly – that its far more important to be “famous” for SEO outside of the SEO community than inside of the SEO community. I totally agree. I have a few good relationships in the Baltimore area with various marketing agencies, PR firms, etc. and among them… I’m famous, sort of. Enough for them to refer work to me, and that referral typically means bigger clients than I’d get without the referral, as well as a better close rate.

To me, I believe this is more valuable than having a bunch of newbie SEOs blog about you and get your article posted on Digg, which results in 10 service solicitations for crappy projects that have no business model.

Now concludes my 30 minutes this morning of non-billable work. I’ve made no money so far today. Thus, don’t expect another post for probably another 4-6 weeks, at which point I’ll reference my own comments on another blog again or copy/paste my reply to a client’s question on this blog to “get more play” for something I already wrote.


1 thought on “SEO Popularity & Being Famous – Comments re: TopRank, SEOmoz”

  1. Thanks for this excellent post, Jon. Please allow my comments.

    I think that many newbie SEOs making the same mistakes, probably in the same order. They are playing around the web with all of this you already mentioned.

    But I believe you have to sniff first around the market to learn about your SEO competition. More important: you learn about those SEOs that are no competition at all.

    Some SEOs, in Germany I would say also some SMOs, have a big problem. It’s not important, for which companies you worked before or working, when you don’t have any name inside the SEO community.

    They think that drinking together at SEOs regulars’ table each weekend has something to do with the spirit and their success.

    Fortunately I would say that those SEOs that are unknown probably will have the most success, because they are working like ghosts in the web.

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