Thursday, December 13, 2012

How I Became an SEO Specialist

As a younger man, for ten years, I solved a mind-boggling array of hardware and software problems in the computer repair and maintenance industry. At the time, computers were not simply my job—they were my life. All I talked about was computers, and I often spent sixteen to eighteen hours each day studying how computers work. I devoted most of this time to exploring computer viruses and how to prevent a computer virus infection. At the time, only two companies in the world offered disaster recovery for new computers, yet I discovered my own method. Many people found my expertise useful: over the years, I found myself fixing more and more friend’s and family’s computers. I enjoyed this work. However, I worked for free, and I soon realized I could not continue to spend so much time repairing computers without compensation. This is when I decided to start my little computer repair and maintenance company, Stepmans PC.

At the beginning, most of my clients were individuals or small companies with no more than three workstations installed. To survive, I knew I needed to earn a reliable monthly income. So I offered subscription services, such as a monthly “Computer Clean-up.” For the length of the subscription, I promised my customers that their computers would never be infected, and that their computer’s performance would exceed the performance of a brand new, out-of-the-box computer. I kept this promise, and my clients praised my integrity. Promoting integrity, I sold myself to new clients.

One day, I received a phone call from one of my satisfied customers.

“Alex,” he said. “We want to create a website, and we want you to do it.”

I was flattered, and happy—and shocked.

“I am really sorry,” I replied. “I’m not a computer programmer, or web developer, and I’m not at all qualified to do that type of work.”

“But you are the best at solving computer problems!” my customer said.

“Computers, yes,” I said.“But not programming.”

I tried to explain that computer repair and web development requires entirely different skill-sets, but my customer didn’t seem to care: “Alex,” he said. “We will wait until you create a website for us”.

It was hard to resist my customer’s persistence, but I experienced a moral dilemma—a dilemma that, in the past, had made me pause before I agreed to do any type of work: I did not want to get paid for a job that would not satisfy my customer.

My solution was simple. I said to my customer: “I will create a website for myself [Stepmans PC], and if you like the website I will create something similar for your company.”

The customer agreed, and, in the end, I did create a website for them, a site I maintain to this day:

Not long after we launched this website, the customer called and asked: “Why is our website not found on Google?”

Like most web developers, I did not know the answer. Quite simply, just like computer repair and web development, web development and search engine optimization require entirely different skill-sets. Still, I felt really bad: I had delivered a product that did not satisfy my customer! I did not really see a solution, either, but I was intrigued by a question: How exactly does one make a website appear on the first page of major search engines?

To my customer, I offered a compromise. I assumed the price for search engine optimization was equal to the price of virus removal, so I would simply refund the cost for my customer to hire their own optimization specialist. Unfortunately, we soon learned that the cost for an optimization specialist could be ten times more than virus removal. So I had no choice: I had to learn search engine optimization (SEO).

Learning SEO, I helped my client’s website appear on Google’s first page—but only for a short time. I have now maintained Master Kitchen Design’s website, and many other websites, for more than 6 years, and I’ve learned that SEO is an ongoing process. A website can never be fully optimized because Google constantly changes their algorithm for ranking sites. But I have learned the most crucial aspects of website optimization. Today, I am proud to say that all of my clients are visible on the first page of Google at most times. SEO has become my prime talent, and I love helping clients optimize their websites. Unlike computer repair and maintenance, the world of SEO is dynamic and constantly evolving. The desire to confront the SEO challenge has transformed me into a true SEO professional. Each day, I wake inspired to develop new marketing strategies for my clients.

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