Why Did You Get Into SEO? How Long Have You Been Doing It? What’s Your Story?

Andrew
I didn't know what SEO was until August 2017 and I didn't get a job in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) until May 2018. I've spent the past 2 years trying to learn as quickly as possible. About 50% of my excess money which should be used on debts has been used to invest in conferences, SEO tools, consulting, and various other instructional material.
I had no idea what marketing was and I really didn't understand anything about computers beyond probably what a 12 year old millennial understands.
About $20,000 of investing later and just about two solid years of research and I still don't feel like I know anyting.
At some point I end up combining SEO with all of marketing and I realize just how vast the subject really is.
While SEO offers a low barrier-to-entry, it requires a lot of time. You're either going to need to spend money to speed up the process of learning or you're going to need to hire people, and even if you do that, you'll need to spend a lot of time learning how to be a good business person.
I got into SEO because I wanted to have freedom to work from wherever and I wanted to do something on my own that could help people.
Why did you get into SEO? How long have you been doing it? What's your story?
Even with all the extra income from my switch from bartender to Search Engine Optimization (SEO), I sometimes wonder how I can calculate the monetary value of having a less stressful life. I'm sure if I could just settle for a certain level of understanding, SEO would be easier, but like many of you, sometimes you're just wired to try and learn everything and to try to do it as quickly as possible.
I think of all this as I end up growing my agency, starting to white label, and moving into director role for 5 Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) brands. It's mind blowing how it all moves so fast.
Afterthought: I wonder how many people read long posts on Facebook. Who has the time for that? Too much learning and money making to do right?
My philosophy degree definitely doesn't help me with brevity. 😄
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Martinez
I spent 2 years building traffic to Websites without search engines. I was pretty good at it but eventually realized I was missing something. That was 1998 and I went looking for what was missing in my Website traffic.
SEO has remained only one tool in the shed for me. I think people overrate it, even when working with sites that receive millions of visitors per month. They don't appreciate just how many different ways people find sites.
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Andrew 🎓
In always jealous of people like yourself that got in at the birth of Google.
Cool story btw.

Pablo
Man I can see all the hard work you've put into it, I would never guess you started on 2017, I was thinking you where born doing Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
I did some SEO years ago when I blogged programming tutorials, made like $300 a month… but I had more fun doing dev stuff so I left that and focused on DEV stuff only. I returned because SEO combines many things I like: data, stats, DEV, etc. I know I can bring many ideas to this market, that's what makes it fun for me.
PS: I do read long posts when good.
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Andrew 🎓
SEO is a fun mix of many things. I just wish Google was less of a bitttttch
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Pablo » Andrew
Well, at least we can say SEO is not boring 😂
Andrew 🎓
Haha very true. You are an inspiration as well. Love what you're about. If you ever go to Nashville, I'll house ya and show you around!
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Phil
I started because I was building a business with a partner. I got a document from the US which talked about optimizing for search engines .. lycos and excite! 20 years ago!
The business is still going strong but I'm going to start moving on soon. We already rank 1-5th for everything we'd want to (many tens of thousands of phrases) and I do a lot of User Experience (UX) and Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) for the company now.
I actually love content though and might start a business in that area, combined with SEO. Or maybe ux/cro combined with Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
My SEO knowledge has been a bit out of date though, which brought me to you find people to find out what's going on in the industry now…
This was where search engine optimisation started!
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why did you get into seo how long have you been doing it what s your story
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Alonzo
I've spent my time learning SEO for 9 years , mixing techniques from diferent resources I've found. Hence, some of them works for short time if you bypass best practice and some of them not. Meaning black hat technique really effective those days comparing to present. I'm not talking about what black hat, what I'm pointing is that, I'm done many trial and error. even in white hat i still did. No one in the world aims to be 101% perfect in Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Still experience counts when you face a lot of struggles, spending time and effort experimenting things which works for you. SEO is not easy. Its very hard to achieve nowadays. because when you try to look whats behind SEO is MONEY. spending/investing training,courses,paid tools is optional (it's a part of acquiring those ignorances to know how SEO works. Everybody has a myth and beliefs. but in my experience i also spend several tools. some of them works, and some of them not.
what works will right now for me. is High quality content as your buffer 1. wrap it with your main site. do many web 2.0 high quality hand made content. when you right make it natural. insert keywords related to your main site. create contextual link. after that create buffer 2 pointing to buffer 1. half rich quality content either 50% hand written and 50% SPIN/SPUN. and connect to buffer 3 for blast method. like social signals and all automated happen in buffer 3. this will give the extra boost and passes all juice along to the main site and make you rank higher and return results for your SEO. i shared what my real experience. take it or leave, at the end of the day this works for you. Believe and proper setup with good focus. Don't quit giving a try until you achieve results. Thanks
Steve » Andrew
You're story sounds all too familiar, especially the "About $20,000 of investing later and just about two solid years of research and I still don't feel like I know anything."
For me, it's like I can see the beginning (which I've experienced) and can see the end but dang if everything in the middle ain't a blur and a continued growth of questions!
I do find myself learning more about myself, finding my strengths and weaknesses but there is so much to it all! My weaknesses are what's holding me back in part, the data, organization, consistency, etc. Keep in mind I still have a full-time job which I still do like but I am trying to transition to full-time digital marketing/Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
In hindsight, If there was one thing I shoulda mastered early on (in life) was and is spreadsheets! To me and from what I see, spreadsheets are a major key in unlocking a lot of progress. That and associating one's self with the "sincere" (and brilliant) and not the spammers/scammers. The ol' "you become a product of your environment" scenario.
Thanks for the post, totally related to it!
Col Burt
I actually haven't spent anything on courses or conferences… All self taught from researching and playing. How much are you investing in monetizing your skillset?
I got into web dev before SEO… Then did partnerships and affiliate stuff for about 4 years, and now a few years in on adding SEO to my toolbelt with a few big growth wins.
I got into SEO because it's IMHO the most important starter channel for any start-up or local business (or any business for that matter). And arguably pound-for-pound the most profitable, considering you could have $200 sunk cost on a single page that produces $4000/month in revenue… (Or $0 marginal cost if you wrote it yourself.)
Not so interested in offering SEO services, I want to gain the skills to market my own businesses.
I'll add. I don't consider SEO the be all end all… It's about omnichannel and effectively tapping each channel.
So that means taking a message/topic cluster and disseminating it across all the various platforms, and generally just being girthy/taking up digital space in your category.. Ofcourse that also means trying to rank 1/0… But also means putting some extra work into an engaging graphic and copy for social, etc.
So if you're only investing in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and not social, referral traffic, etc, the rest of your marketing mix…
A) you're not benefiting from an SEO perspective from the engagement and heightened awareness
😎 you're missing out on your addressable market… The ones who do click on ads, or do join in on engaging social posts, or actually open their email and read newsletters, etc.
TL;DR It's counterproductive to view SEO as a silo. It's productive to view SEO as a component of an omnichannel marketing mix.
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Daniel
Guys, you may think this is an odd answer, but I got into this field because of a niche I saw that had a lot of potential…HEMORRHOIDS! Let me explain…
I got into this field back in 2009. The economy sucked and my workplace was laying people off.
I knew the web was where I wanted to be but I had zero experience. I searched for "how to make money online" and saw the garbage but then ran into the Warrior Forum. Who remember's those WSO's?
I probably spent $1000 that year on courses. Some had good info and others were trash. I learned the best method was SEO. It intrigued me also. I came up with a list of niches I thought would be good converting ones online. I thought about things people would rather buy privately rather than at a store. Who wants to throw some Preparation H on the counter at CVS?
So Hemorrhoids it was! I learned how to "build" a website first using a drag and drop builder called Yola, then I learned WordPress. I did some heavy SEO using scrapebox, SENuke, and other tools. In 6 months time, my hemorrhoids website had about 25k new visitors each month and was making about $6k per month in affiliate commission. I knew then my career was changing. At one time, you could Google "hemorrhoids" and my website was #1 sitting above Mayo Clinic, WebMD, etc. I had only $200 in expenses each month.
I found out the company I sold for was shaving sales and deleting commissions so there is no telling how much I was really making. I left them and went with another provider, they later offered me a spot on their team to do Search Engine Optimization (SEO) on multiple websites. We monopolized search results. Then the worst day of my life happened! April 24, 2012. Not only did Penguin wipe out my sites and income, we lost our first daughter at birth! I have another blog post with that story if anyone wants to see it. Its on Quora.
Later that year, I started to relearn some tactics and decided to start going for some direct clients to offer services for. The first place I walked into was a MedSpa. I walked out with a $4000 website job and a $2500 monthly SEO account! I thought then that I could actually do this.
Over time, things grew and within a year I got an office in town that's pretty sweet! I hired some folks and now have about 37 SEO clients. I mostly get walk-ins or referrals. We just started developing stronger processes and I am going to go for more volume in 2020. What I have learned is watch what you read on the web about SEO, there are lots of theories, If Google makes a statement that some sort of tactic is a waste of time and to not bother with it, it probably means it works and its hard for them to combat it. I have also learned that communities like this are vital for success. We need each other! Good luck to all!
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Bushra » Daniel
I am sorry about your daughter. Loved your story I learning SEO for last 10 months and sometimes gets so overwhelmed
Tom
2012 was a bad year. I was killing it as affiliate until 4/2012.

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Sherman » Andrew
Thanks for sharing your adventure!
Kudos on your successes and "learning points" along the way.
Out of 10 times I've attempted to help out a friend or family member get into some kind of online business, there may be only 1 that has taken my advice/resources and run with it. The rest don't even get out of the starting blocks or wither quickly. Which shows me that you, the group here and I are rare in the way we're wired towards persistence, curiosity, winning, and "Constant And Never Ending Improvement" (or "Sharpening Our Saw") in our specialty.
2002 was the year I started my SEO business, after being laid off after 9-months working inside sales for Corey Rudl of Internet Marketing Centre in Vancouver. I got real good saving customer refunds as they had a 50% refund rate back then LOL. That was my first job related to anything internet marketing and it opened my eyes to this universe of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Copywriting and website design.
After so many years of sucking at working for others, I started working for myself, and fueling my values of freedom, fun and family ❤️
When I started, my wife & 2 young children downsized to an 800-sq ft basement suite with no laundry, just in case the business needed a longer ramp up time. In a year, we upgraded to a 4,000 sq ft home, with my in-laws (love them!) and business was thriving.
So many adventures and lessons through the last 17-years. From acquiring related skills (eg WordPress, podcasting, video etc), to running a WordPressTutorials.com membership site (closed it after 4 years), to being on faculty with StomperNet (in its hay day), from burning out to mastering healthy patterns and routines, it's been an amazing journey 😁
Like most here, I thrive on continually refining and honing my craft, over-delivering for my clients and still get giddy with excitement from competition-crushing results 😝
Here's to you and the posse here as we forge on in our adventures of SEO and life!!! 🚀🚀🚀
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Andrew 🎓
Awesome story!

Lees
I started with a blog in 2007. Then I created 100 ebay affiliate websites with a softare called BANS (build a niche store) and learned how SEO really worked. Then I created a blog that focused on Google Trends topics, which taught me a good lesson in keyword stuffing. I wrote 15 posts a day, so it was kind of like "wax on, wax off", cementing my SEO writing habits. Then I started doing some client work just to make a few bucks to invest in my own websites. I realized soon that I could make good money with SEO client work and let all my personal projects go because client SEO was a quicker ROI. I was then picked up by an agency and took charge of all the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and did that for 8 years or so. I worked on hundreds of client websites and had the budget to experiment with everything under the sun, to see what really worked and what didn't. Now I'm here today just working for myself with my own little agency.

Andrew 🎓
Woah

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This may satisfy you: Since when did you end up selling SEO | Digital Marketing?

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