Q and A: What are some ideas for SEO lead generation?

QuestionHello Kalena

I’ve recently struck out on my own as a search engine optimization freelancer and I’m finding it really difficult to get new leads.

I can’t afford to pay per click the amounts that the big players are paying on Google AdWords and I’m not confident enough with Bing Ads to try that. I did experiment with some Facebook advertising, but the response wasn’t great so I don’t think it’s really where my market is.

I know you recommended in the past to try some freelancing sites, but I was on Elance for a month and was out-bid by a lot of SEO crews based in South East Asia, who seem to low-ball everybody and win most of the projects. I know my work is higher quality than what they are offering, but it doesn’t seem to matter to the client.

Any creative ideas for how I can generate new leads and find genuine SEO clients who are willing to pay fairly for quality?



Hi Anthony

I feel your pain, I truly do. Having my own SEO consultancy, I am fully aware just how challenging it can be to secure a steady flow of new business and compete with rivals after the same clients.

Here are my tips for gaining new SEO leads:

1) Install MySiteAuditor on Your Main Sales PageMy Site Auditor is a custom-built lead generation tool for SEO professionals and freelancers. You simply install the code somewhere prominent on your site and it allows visitors to generate a one minute SEO audit for a URL of their choice, for a particular keyword or phrase. Visitors need to enter their email address in order to generate the audit, creating automatic leads to follow up.

You can see it in action over at Site Audit NZ. There is a 10 day free trial and two low cost monthly subscription plans, depending on whether you want to embed the tool, white-label the audits and have leads emailed to you.  We use it and it’s a great way to increase SEO sales and leads by simply embedding a useful tool on your site.

2) Utilize Keyword Alert and Social Monitoring Tools – Services like Google Alerts and the fairly new Talkwalker Alerts allow you to track mentions of your target keywords or search phrases across the web without lifting a finger. You simply choose the search terms you want to be alerted about and then the service will email you whenever it finds a new mention of those terms in Google search results (for Google Alerts) or in news sites, blogs and discussion boards across the entire web (for Talkwalker). Klout, Social Mention and HootSuite all offer a similar service to track real time mentions on social sites. Raven Tools used to offer the same, but have sadly discontinued it.

What this means is that you can pin-point potential leads by what they are searching for / talking about. So, for example, we are always looking for new students to join Search Engine College and a great way to find potentials is to see who is discussing topics like “I want to learn SEO” or “Teach myself SEO”.  We can then (tactfully) approach those persons directly on the sites where the discussion was found to see if our courses might be a good fit for them.

You can do the same thing by creating alerts for phrases like “Need help with SEO” or “SEO my site”. Just make sure you follow up fast though, because discussions can become stale quickly, especially on social networks. Also be super careful that you take a helpful approach rather than dive in with a sales pitch, or you’re likely to frighten off any genuine potentials.

3) Give Bing Ads a Whirl – You can teach yourself how to use it fairly quickly and the CPC is much, much cheaper than Google AdWords in my experience. If you want to contact me directly, I can even send you a USD100 voucher for ad credit (as I’m a Bing Partner).

4) Give Stuff Away – Got an ebook or a white-paper lying around? Turn it into a free give-away on your site, in exchange for a visitor’s email address. Companies like HubSpot do this type of incentive-based lead generation exceptionally well. With a little forethought, any client case study or interesting SEO research can be turned into a downloadable incentive to part with an email address. Just make sure you have their permission to contact these visitors with your marketing messages later on.

These tactics may not work for you, but they consistently work for me, so I’m confident you will get some good results.

Best of luck :-)


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Common Questions Asked at SEO Job Interviews

hiring-staff2Based on conversations I’ve had recently, many of my students and blog readers are either seeking a new job in the SEO field or looking to switch existing SEO gigs this year.

Inevitably, the subject of potential interview questions will arise. How exactly should you prepare for a SEO interview? What type of questions can you expect to be asked? Will they be highly technical? Scenario-based? Or will they be all about your past experience? In a nutshell, how will you know the type of SEO knowledge benchmark a new employer is expecting you to meet?

Well, wonder no more, because online training provider EDU Pristine has collated a series of the 13 most common SEO interview questions (and answers!) to help you brush up before you walk into that nerve-wracking interview panel.

The questions are pretty solid, apart from Q9 — most SEO pundits agree that the Google Sandbox has failed to be a thing since the advent of Everflux indexing — and Q10 which is ambiguous, depending on your personal interpretation of the term Search Engine Marketing.

So study up and go get that new SEO gig.

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Fast Five in Search – Week 49, 2014



If you saw my post earlier this week, you’ll know that I’ve decided to become an e-lancer. I’m spending 30 days totally immersed in the online job market as a way to earn income as a freelance geek-for-hire.

In preparation for this experiment, I needed to research and find the most popular outsourcing job sites and online work platforms on the Internet and register with them. And so the inspiration for this week’s Fast Five was born!

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Elance – Elance is the world’s most popular outsourcing job site, used by approximately 500,000 businesses and 2 million registered freelance professionals, who have collectively earned nearly $900 million to date. The site launched in 1999, with a name apparently inspired by a 1998 Harvard Business Review article called “The Dawn of the E-Lance Economy”. In December 2013, Elance announced that it was signing a partnership to merge with its biggest competitor, oDesk, to create an online workplace for a combined total of 8 million registered individuals. The new partnership is unimaginatively named Elance-oDesk.

2) oDesk –  oDesk was founded in 2003 by Greek entrepreneurs Odysseas Tsatalos and Stratis Karamanlakis. Prior to merging with Elance, oDesk was the second most popular outsourcing job site. Unlike Elance, oDesk tends to have a more technical audience, with the majority of jobs available leaning more towards the IT and digital fields. Most freelancers in tech that I’ve spoken to suggest that oDesk offers better quality job opportunities than Elance, as well as higher earnings potential and a more professional network of employers and freelancers. There is also a stronger spirit of collaboration on oDesk, with freelancers regularly banding together to bid collectively for large projects.

3) Freelancer – Freelancer pitches itself as a marketplace where employers and employees are able to find each other. The site allows employers to post projects they need help with. Anybody is then able to submit bids to complete the project and the employer chooses the bid that appeals to them and awards the project. This can result in competitive bidding wars, where the price for a project actually goes down, rather than up.

The site was founded in Australia in 2009 and operates quite differently to other job outsourcing sites, in that it operates on a reward system and different levels of paid membership. Free accounts can only bid on 8 projects per month and cannot make direct deposit withdrawals. Higher tiers of paid accounts get additional bids, direct deposit withdrawals, and other features. You can also get rewarded with extra XP for performing actions such as “Like us on Facebook”. By earning XP, the user can “level up” his or her account and unlock more rewards, including features such as being able to bid on more jobs per month.

4) Guru – Guru.com directly connects businesses and employees in 160 different industries. Guru Inc. was founded in 1999 in San Francisco as an online clearing house for high tech workers seeking short-term contracts. The company, led by brothers Jon and James Slavet, raised $3M in angel funding and a further $16M in a full venture round. The company was acquired in December 2002 by Unicru, a human resources software company based in Portland, Oregon. Unicru later sold the Guru.com domain name and logo to eMoonlighter.com, and eMoonlighter was renamed Guru.com.

and finally…

5) Fiverr – Fiverr was founded by Micha Kaufman and Shai Wininger in 2009 to provide a platform for people to buy and sell a variety of digital services typically offered by freelance contractors e.g. writing, graphic design,and programming. Fiverr’s services begin at a cost of $5 per job performed (from which it takes its name), and can go up to thousands of dollars. Each service offered is called a “Gig”. The website was launched in February 2010. In August 2014, Fiverr announced that it had raised $30 million in a Series C round of funding, bringing their total funding to date to $50 million.

Happy job hunting!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.


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Fast Five in Search – Week 21, 2014



Did you know that staff with tech skills – particularly search engine marketing skills – are in increasingly high demand globally? In some cases, the demand is so high that there aren’t enough employees to fill the number of positions available and salaries have sky-rocketed.

Don’t believe me? Check out the 2014 IT Salary Guide from Robert Half and then go check out the Creative Group’s 2014 Salary Guide for those of you looking for gigs that combine tech prowess with creative flair.

See what I mean? So just where do you look to find the latest gigs in tech and search? That’s what this week’s Fast Five is all about! May I present my Top Five Sites for Finding Jobs in Tech:

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Internet Marketing Jobs by Marketing Pilgrim – This job board serves job seekers with Internet marketing skills, particular those specializing in search marketing, social media marketing, affiliate marketing, email marketing, web design and development. You can sign up for their RSS feed of jobs to keep up with the latest postings daily.

2) Jobs in Search – This site advertises a large variety of search engine related career vacancies on behalf of the following types of search engine marketing firms, search engine optimization companies, new media and digital media agencies, major search engines, software companies and corporate employers recruiting for in-house search engine related jobs. They have a RSS feed for subscription as well as a email service that can email you positions vacant within your ideal search criteria.

3) Mashable Jobs Board by Mashable – A much under-utlized resource, the Mashable Jobs Board is a hiring hub for more than 3,000 employers. If you are looking for a social media or marketing job in the digital space, you might want to check it out regularly.

4) Search Marketing Jobs by Indeed – This job search portal is unique in that it aggregates job vacancies from across a wide range of job sites, newspapers, associations and company career pages. You can narrow down your search to specific job categories and this particular link is for Search Marketing vacancies.

and finally…

5) Google Careers –  As the largest search engine in the world with a prolific number of offices opening globally, Google has hundreds of jobs and internships up for grabs annually. If you’ve got your eye on working for the big G, this site should be your starting point.

Happy job hunting!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

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Q and A: How do I get a job in the search industry?

QuestionHello Kalena

I am about to complete the last module of my CSEO course at Search Engine College and I am trying to get myself into this industry here in the UK. And although the demand is quite large I am struggling to get a job within the industry.

I was wondering if you have any advice for me in order to get a job in this industry?

Thank you very much for your time


Hi Lonnie

Glad to hear of your progress with your course – congratulations!

In terms of gaining employment in the search industry, here are some things I recommend:

1) Keep an eye on our Search Engine Marketing Jobs Board. and the other search related employment sites we have listed on Search Engine Wiki.

2) Review my previous blog posts about salaries and jobs in search.

3) Review current SEO / SEM / PPC salaries before you apply for any jobs in the search industry.

4) Consider doing some pro-bono SEO work for a charity or not-for-profit site in your area in exchange for a written recommendation. If it goes well, that can lead to lots of good publicity, which can lead to paid work.

5) Register yourself on freelance project sites such as eLance.com, freelancer.com, odesk.com and guru.com and build up your resume with small projects to show potential employers.

6) Spread the word that you are looking for work! Post your resume and new qualifications online, tell your friends and family, use social networking to get the word out that you are keen to find a job in search.

Best of luck and keep us posted on how you get on.



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