How to become a consultant in SEO for the first time

[Cross post from Quora]

I’d make sure you know what you are getting into. SEO is complicated and multifaceted. You need to be qualified to work for clients. I’d start with the following guidelines and afterwards, search for other free guides and tutorials and consume them all: The Beginner’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization from Moz

The next step is to gather all the tools you’ll need to be successful. Check this out: World’s Best SEO Tools and Free Search Software

As far as salary goes, it has a large range, mostly based on your experience. If you have no experience, but know enough and have the tools, I’d suggest getting some SEO projects done so that you build your experience and confidence. Check out Upwork, the world’s largest online workplace for freelance gigs.



Free, Effective Advice: Immediately increase engagement on your social media accounts by adding hashtag keywords

My letter to a local business person:


I must make a strong suggestion that can immediately increase engagement on your Twitter and LinkedIn social media accounts (actually, all social media accounts).


I see that engagement appears to be low on your accounts re: Likes, Retweets, etc. I think you have great content, but people are not finding it, apparently. I think the issue is that you are not using hashtags (keywords).


If you start using #hashtags (keywords) on all social media posts, including Youtube descriptions, with links back to targeted website content, signups, and registrations, you’ll see engagement and customer interactions increase by some x percentage.


So, I humbly suggest adding #hashtag keywords to all social media content based on your customer profiles. Keyword research is a must. is an example of a site that provides keyword research.


You can even look at what competing companies are using and mimic them.


Finally, you should use a  URL shortener like or (both have free accounts) to track links on social media channels and track which #hashtage keywords are working and which ones need attention. Your Twitter dashboard gives you some of this, but you’ll want to use a URL shortener to track all social media accounts you use.


All the best, Pete Bakke, Tucson


Keywords and Hashtags - Peter Bakke

Majority of Marketers Believe Marketing will need to Undergo Dramatic Change

Press Release from Marketo:

Marketo and The Economist Intelligence Unit release report highlighting the impact of technology, the importance of managing customer engagement and the role marketers play in setting company strategy

SAN MATEO, Calif., Jan. 28, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — A study of 478 senior marketers and CMOs from around the world conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit on behalf of Marketo Inc. (MKTO), the leading provider of engagement marketing software and solutions, reveals marketers’ top challenges, investments and forecasts for today and over the next five years. Among the key findings, more than 80% of all marketers say that their organizations will need to undergo dramatic changes in order to keep up with increased technical and consumer demands..

“The transformation taking place in marketing is profound as marketers race to adopt technology and add skills that will allow them to manage the entire relationship with the customer,” said Sanjay Dholakia, Chief Marketing Officer at Marketo. “Three out of every four marketers say that in three to five years, they will own the end-to-end customer engagement. That ownership puts marketing right at the center of revenue generation and setting the company strategy. For marketers to successfully make the leap forward – and drive a customer engagement strategy — they must embrace the use of digital marketing software.”

Marketers believe that change will occur in six areas:

  1. Marketing shifts from being a cost center to a revenue generator. Today, more than 68% of marketers feel that the rest of their company views their department as little more than a cost center. In three to five years, marketers say, approximately four out of five companies will classify the marketing function as a revenue driver.
  2. Marketing becoming the chief customer advocate. Over the next three years, marketers believe their involvement in managing the end-to-end customer experience will skyrocket. Today, slightly more than a third of all marketers say they are responsible for managing the customer experience. However, over the next three to five years, 75% of marketers said that they will be responsible for the customer’s lifetime end-to-end experience. Central to that shift will be the use of technology by the marketer to manage customer engagement. Today, barely half of all marketers use data to gain insights and engage customers. In three to five years, however, 81% say they will use data to make the connections with customers.  Similarly, more than 80% of marketers will rely on technology to engage customers in a conversation to build advocacy and trust over the next three to five years.
  3. The importance of engagement can’t be underestimated. A marketer’s greatest achievement is an engaged customer. Because engaged customers keep coming back, engagement is defined most often in terms of sales and repeat sales. More than six out of ten (63%) marketers polled say that engagement is manifested in customer renewals, retention and repeat purchases. Adding in the 15% who see engagement in terms of impact on revenue, a full 78% of marketers see it as occurring in the middle or later stages of the classic funnel. A minority (22%) view engagement in terms of love for a brand – still important, but part of marketing’s legacy skill set.
  4. Marketing needs digital skills and operational expertise. Marketers are aggressively seeking new skills – especially those who believe that change is urgent. Nearly four out of ten marketers (39%) surveyed believe businesses will require new blood in the areas of digital engagement and marketing operations and technology. A close third, and not significantly different, is skills in the area of strategy and planning (38%).
  5. Marketers must leverage technology to succeed. Digital and data dominate investment forecasts for marketers. Technology investment plans by marketers illustrate both the dominance and fragmentation of digital channels. Three of the four most widely cited investments are aimed at reaching customers through different channels: via social networks, on mobile devices and on the old standby of e-mail. The fourth, analytics, is needed to knit together data from multiple channels into a coherent and actionable portrait of the consumer.
  6. The Internet of Things and real-time personalized mobile technology will shape the future. Over half of marketers expect the Internet of Things – where ubiquitous, embedded devices sweep across the Internet – to revolutionize marketing and customer experience by 2020. Almost the same proportion cites the power of real-time personalized mobile communications as the trend with the biggest impact.

For more findings and to download the full report, please visit

Survey Methodology
The global survey included responses from 478 CMOs and senior marketing executives worldwide. It was conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) in November 2014 and was sponsored by Marketo. More than 50% of respondents hold the CMO title or top marketing position. Respondents are located in North America (33%), Europe (30%), Asia-Pacific (28%) and Africa and Latin America (9%).