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I have been sucking up all SEO knowledge on the web and elsewhere and am confident that I know more than anyone in my company at this point. I also feel somewhat certain that I can add value to our clients (though maybe just pennies :\) I do not, however, have the slightest clue how I can pitch this service to our clients, or how to handle providing a SEO service. First, I would like to show that such a service can add value to the client's service. Second, I'd like to propose a road map or offering of services. Third, I'd like to deliver the product/service to my clients.
Can anyone give me some ideas, hints, tips, etc.?
SEO is a big field but has it's basics just like any other field.
I am also pretty new here but I can tell you that this is probably the best place in discussing and asking questions in this field.
The guys here usually tell the new ones to read this great post:
From personal experience I can tell you that it is important that you target a certain keyword and have it in title, H1 tags, URL, and in your copy. But as I said there is a lot to it.
Feel free to ask specific questions when you want.
I appreciate your answer. I did take a look at the post to which you refered me. It was insightful, but I am still left with the lingering question regarding developing a professional practice around SEO (approarching clients, dealing with clients, etc.). I welcome your feedback or other's.
Developing a practice takes... practice. If I were you I would recommend that you read here as much as you can and get some sites of your own started so that you can get an idea of what it means to rank a site, what it means to have a site lose rankings.
Basics are search engine friendly design and content-rich pages, and quality links.
Other than that, a 500 page book couldn't cover every aspect, and by the time you were through reading it, most everything will have shifted in one aspect or another.
What about setting deliverables?
Whatever you could put in a proposal could be added to your list of deliverables that could be fashioned into your menu of services. Start out by analyzing some existing sites and make note of what you can do to "SEO" them. If you can find comparable sites in the same niche that are both fairly popular but rank a bit from each other (but not the leaders), then you may be able to compare/contrast them in terms of their popularity (backlinks, membership counts, rankings, etc.). This will *possibly* give you some ideas to work with in term of ROI and such.
The ROI part is tricky. There is no cookie-cutter spreadsheet to give the client particulars in this regard other than to create exposure and thus traffic (through your SEO and other marketing offerings). The client will have log files you could probably get access to for your analysis. You can draw some statistics out of them for forecasting. Always denote that what you predict is not guaranteed but fairly typical (unless you feel bolder). At least you could show them some sort of growth potential for traffic...
Also, you will want to obtain a bunch of industry stats and graphs to round out your presentations and selling points. These would include useability studies for user experience, stickiness, page load statistics, usage statistics for various industries/competitors, etc. We are talking general stuff here that is not highly specific to your possible client (although some of it could be in terms of industry and competitors).
Stuff like: don't neglect physically challenged users as they make up x% of users, don't neglect other browsers as Firefox is growing quite popular from x% to x% in only half a year, most users will abandon a web site if the page load time is greater than x seconds, chemical industry website users generally have xx pageviews per site per browsing session, etc. Although these are available to all who seek them, many do not know that and you can use the information to your advantage..."since 8% of your products are considered pertinent to physically challenged users, we can tune the appearance of your site to enable less clicks for navigation, better GUI design for the sight challenged, and/or implement better content mechanisms for page readers, etc." Notice how some of those play into your more traditional SEO tasks (i.e. better use of <Hx> tags and "alt" attributes, better placement of links/keywords, better link verbiage, etc.). This kind of stuff opens of all sorts of opportunity for value add or perceived value add.
Good luck with your new position.