If You’re Good At SEO, Why Would You Work For Someone Else?

I’ve read a few articles by Mike King and I’ve been very impressed with his writing ability that follows the “show not tell” style.  By this I mean that the words he chooses are descriptive enough for people to “see” what he is writing.   Then, he inserts visually appealing elements into the post to polish it up.  You can find a few examples of his work here and here.   He is truly on top of his game in the field of inbound marketing and more specifically content marketing.

After checking out the above posts, I’m sure you would agree that he is clearly a thought leader in the field of SEO and Inbound Marketing.  My question is why wouldn’t he and others like him,  be building out various businesses (read E commerce, Lead Gen, Adsense and Affiliate Marketing)  and ranking their own sites instead of working for/at an agency?

Why would you want to work on building authority, links, and ultimately the bottom line of
someone else’s company when you are clearly a top level inbound marketer?  The only thing I can come up with is that time spent working for cash from clients provides a higher ROI on your time than the work would itself if done independently.

This could be due simply to the fact that there are so many bad SEO’s out there that aren’t performing for clients that a skilled marketers time is so highly valued that the time is more wisely  invested for cash now rather than the future returns that it might provide.  I can definitely see this being the case after reading a study that seomoz put out about the average pay for SEO’s which you can find here.

A second option could just be peoples different perspectives on lines of work and what people want out of life.  I’ve been working on my ecommerce site and for the past 4 years and as of last month I only made $1,100.  I’m sure it’s safe to say that Mike is making 10 to 20 times that amount at his position but with a such skill why build a business that will continue to pump out  leads in the form on search, social and the links themselves simply to generate more work for you to do in the form of working with clients.  The other approach would be to create those leads and direct them to webpages that would convert the traffic into sales.

In the end I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer here and the motivation for the post was strictly out of respect for the skill and work that he does, I just don’t understand the thought process and allocation of time.

Any Thoughts?

About Marc Patrick Galeazzi

My Name is Marc Galeazzi and I'm the owner of Train Horns Delivered. I wanted to start a blog about train horn kits and other awesome car and truck accessories as well as talk about what goes on behind the sense when running and e-commerce store. Find me on Google+ @ +Marc Patrick Galeazzi
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4 Responses to If You’re Good At SEO, Why Would You Work For Someone Else?

  1. Jason Green says:

    Actually, if you’re *really* good at SEO, you can start your own SEO business doing it for clients. However, that requires that you have the motivation to build a business, plus you don’t mind waiting for the results to come in. Some people would rather receive a steady paycheck and just get rid of the uncertainty that lies behind an SEO campaign (what happens if my sites fall out of the rankings?!).

    Although, I wouldn’t be surprised if Mike runs his own sites in his spare time.

    • But that goes back to my original point. If you are really good, why would you spend your time doing SEO for clients. If you have a SEO strategy that works why wouldn’t you be using it to generate sales and revenue for yourself. The reason the clients are hiring you is so they can make more money and leverage that profit to pay you to grow their company for them and enjoy want ever is left over. If you are good and genuinely delivering ROI for them, why wouldn’t you cut out the middle man and take the revenue for yourself.

      If you generate leads to your SEO business all you are doing is building more work for yourself which doesn’t scale as easily. If you are selling a product, than your traffic to your site will generate profit with no additional work from you.

      I also understand the SEO is the “product” being sold, but imagine a top level marketer with an e commerce site with 10,000 SKU’s and every blog post that gets links and shares is improving the long tail rankings for all of the products. That seems to make more sense to me that simply attracting clients so I can do more work.

  2. Woj Kwasi says:

    I guess it all depends on the person’s personal objectives and whether or not money is a motivator. Job security is a big hurdle for many people (as Jason mentioned). For me it was circumstance, moving back to my home town, the opportunity to grow something good & start from a smaller market.

    From what I gathered, Mike has a very flexible position with some great bosses who allow him to expand the offering. He also flies around the world speaking at conferences, writing posts & meeting great people. Could he do this while building up a business & maintaining quality at the same time? Probably.. man is a machine! (and I’m trying to learn what I can from his work ethic & at the same time maintain the perfect work/life balance)

    Also, when you first start out there is a lot of “isolation” without much human contact – if you’re a social person (which any business leader needs to be) then it can get quite hard to get that engine continuously running :)

    Nice post btw ;)

    • Thank you very much for the comment. You are on point with the isolation observation which is really why I starting blogging in the first place. While building my business I waited tables (just quit in April) and its hard to have friends ask about what I do and half way in I can feel them blocking me out the thinking about something else.

      That is what is great about this blog, I can pose a question like I did in the post and get real feedback from others who are in the trenches as well. No matter what angle they are taking.


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