Today we have a special guest post from SEO expert Noah Riggs on how he became an SEO specialist to grow his income 10x and finally achieve some financial stability and create a life he enjoys at only 23 years old!
SEO traffic seems to be such an elusive thing for many bloggers and online businesses in general.
I have even seen bloggers who make $50,000+ a month who have an extremely basic SEO understanding. (Imagine how much traffic they’re missing out on…)
Quick sidenote – just in case you’re one of the people asking themselves, “What is SEO?” (it’s okay you’re not alone.)
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and refers to the process of optimizing one’s content in order to organically rank on a Search engine (Google, Bing, etc.) and bring in organic traffic.
A lot of bloggers have never had to worry about organic traffic at all, especially bloggers who started 10+ years ago. They either got traffic just from posting, or from social media.
In this article, I am going to share my experience of becoming an SEO specialist skyrocketing my online income.
How I Got Started With SEO
When I got into blogging in 2018 I spent an insane amount of hours studying the blogging industry before diving in.
See, at the time I was just donating plasma for extra money to invest, and I had decided I would take a month’s worth of donations to spend on starting my own blog, so I wanted to do it right. I mean… that’s a lot of blood to just start something that I have no chance with.
I joined different blogging groups, took a couple of blogging courses, and started on my journey. I saw a lot about social media, and growing on Pinterest and YouTube, and other social media platforms, but nothing really about SEO and getting organic traffic from google.
I kept moving forward with my blogging journey, started my own blog, and decided that it was something I really enjoyed, and I wanted to go all-in with it.
But in order to do that, I had to make some money first.
So I started supplementing my income with freelance work (much like Kelan did at the start). I would watch The Savvy Couple’s Facebook group, along with FinCon’s, and Alex and Lauren’s groups for people who were looking to hire freelancers and always throw my name in the hat.
I never expected at this time I would start offering any other services! I mean if you asked me what an SEO specialist does… I would have just looked at you with a blank face.
Anyways, this initial income allowed me to quit my job and I was finally able to go all-in with my blog. (With my savings and my income at $1,000 a month).
I now had more time to watch the FB groups and find out what people were struggling with the most. It mostly always came down to one thing… SEO.
At the time, I was trying to grow my own SEO knowledge, so Kelan actually recommended Stupid Simple SEO as a place to learn.
What I learned in this course was absolutely nuts!
I suddenly had this knowledge tons of bloggers were missing, and I wasted no time putting it to work.
I highly recommend taking Stupid Simple SEO if you are a blogger trying to make a full-time income.
How I Started Making Money as an SEO Specialist
I began transitioning my roles with my clients from a VA position, into an SEO Specialist position, helping them move up the rankings.
This helped me to improve not only my reputation with my clients but also my pay.
Before I knew it I went from making $1,000 a month to making $10,000 across all of my clients in just 18 months.
But more importantly, I learned valuable skills that taught me how to improve SEO for my own blog and take it from just $5-$10 a month to averaging $500+ and growing!
I was able to use the SEO skills I had to diversify my income away from depending on just my blog.
See, a lot of bloggers don’t realize that the skills they learn in order to grow their own blogs are extremely monetizable.
You don’t have to wait until your blog is raking in all the money just to quit your job and live the life you want! You can use the skills you learned to grow your income and invest more in your own ventures.
At this point in my journey, my blog gets to be a passion project, it gets to be what I WANT it to be, and not what I think it NEEDS to be in order to make money.
I don’t have to recommend products or things I don’t agree with, because I’m not stressed financially.
Learning SEO gave me the freedom to shape my business and my life the way I want to!
How to Become a Successful SEO Specialist
Invest Your SEO Knowledge & Skills
A lot of people want to do things the cheapest way possible! And I totally get it. I came from a family who really struggled financially and it was really difficult to invest money into things that weren’t necessities.
But, I can not stress enough that investing in yourself IS a necessity.
I believe it was Warren Buffet that said “the more you learn, the more you earn.”
This couldn’t be closer to the truth! When you learn new high income skills you can utilize those skills to grow your own business AND get paid to help others grow their own.
When you reach the point that you’re asking how to learn SEO, then you should seriously consider investing in a course and skip all the wasted hours reading free advice on the internet.
Not that free advice can’t be good! A lot of it is great, but it will only get you so far.
Network With Other Bloggers
When you connect with other bloggers, your reputation begins to grow, and your opportunities begin to grow!
Two of my four clients were all from word of mouth and recommendations from other bloggers! That’s half of my money!!
I cannot express enough that the lone wolf mentality may seem really cool a lot of the time, but working with others will take you further than you ever could imagine.
Don’t look at others in your niche as competition, there is room for all of us to have success, so get out there and network!
You can use other bloggers in your niche to help you improve your own SEO and other clients’ SEO as well.
Undersell and Overdeliver
I learned this painful lesson during a really tough time in my life.
When I first started working from home I had a REALLY hard time adjusting and experienced a lot of loneliness and depression. (Anyone who knows me, knows I like to talk a lot and be really social, so working from home was a HUGE change of pace.)
During this time I had a really awesome job working with some guys I admire who kill it online!
They took a chance on me with almost zero experience because I had an awesome attitude and a killer work ethic.
But as my attitude and work ethic began to slip from depression, I began to under-deliver. I eventually was phased out of my role (for good reason!) and stopped working with this company.
I knew that if I didn’t get my act together I would lose my other clients as well, and so I did!
I began working more hours than I was paid for and delivering more than what was expected of me, and not only did this bring in more results but more money!
Be honest with yourself, SEO takes real work and a lot of time. It can feel like nothing is working!
You have to be honest with yourself and know you’re doing the work required to see the results you want, or else you will fall short.
Here are a bunch of great tips to be more productive working from home.
Leave No Questions, and Remember Occam’s Razor
When you’re trying to improve your SEO, it can be a discouraging process. You can feel like nothing is working, and that you may never see results.
It can be hard when you’re trying to keep yourself motivated, but I always remember something my Dad taught me when I was a kid, and I think it could benefit anyone reading this as well.
He used to always say – “Leave No Question”.
When I used to practice for things or work on something if I walked away and thought to myself “Did I do that well enough? Did I work on it hard enough?” Then I would go back and keep working on it.
You see, a lot of times you KNOW when you haven’t done enough to have the results you want, you just ignore it. This is the same thing that happens with SEO.
When you write an article, if you finish it and ask yourself “Is it long enough?” or “Does it answer my readers question all the way?” then you probably need to pour some more work into it.
Another important lesson to remember is Occam’s Razor. This principle basically states that when everything is said and done, typically the simplest answer is the correct answer.
Don’t overcomplicate SEO! If your article is not ranking well, look at some of the simple factors – do you have enough backlinks to signal to google you have epic content? Did you satisfy user intent? Etc.
Don’t jump straight into trying to figure out if Google shadowbanned your website and decided to not rank your content, or if you have been spam attacked by some hacker.
The answer is almost always more simple than you think. Don’t overthink it.
Enroll in Stupid Simple SEO and learn every you need to know to succeed with SEO.
SEO Specialist FAQ’s
How much an SEO Specialist Makes (Typical Salary)
According to glassdoor.com, the base salary for an SEO specialist is right around $50,000 a year.
From my experience, this is pretty standard if you are working for a single company as a W-2 employee. But the beauty of SEO is that many different types of businesses need it. You don’t have to work a 9-5 for any ONE company.
I chose to serve a blogging client base, and this is why I was able to scale my income to six figures and have more freedom than I would at a 9-5. Don’t let the “standard” limit your income!
SEO Specialist Education
Typically, if you want to start offering services as an SEO specialist you will need to have a very deep understanding of SEO as a whole. I recommend taking a course like I did, even several of them if you can, and studying the companies around you to see what they are doing to excel organically.
The #1 courses that I recommend you look into is Stupid Simple SEO.
You can also study ads and learn how to use them to supplement your SEO offerings and getting more results for your clients via paid traffic. I recommend looking into the Google ads certification, as well as learning FB ads.
My personal favorite course for Facebook ads is Flourish with Facebook Ads.
SEO Specialist Skillset Needed
Typically, when you are a freelancer in general you want to have a certain set of skills that make you a good fit for the job. Some of these skills include –
– Being self-motivated
– Being able to identify problems and fix them without being asked
– Able to communicate well with clients
– Be personable and easy to work with
And there are tons more. But if you want to begin offering SEO services, I would recommend familiarizing yourself with SEO tools in your industry, being charismatic and friendly, a desire to go above and beyond the norm, and being results-driven.
SEO Job Description
An SEO specialist is someone who specializes in identifying relevant keywords for businesses to rank for that will improve organic presence in search engines.
Then optimizing the business as well as content as a whole to satisfy the expectations of users and search engines so that visibility will rise for any relevant subject matter.
Understand That You Will Have Ups and Downs
With anything in life, you will experience a lot of ups and downs in your work. I mean, we all watch the weather channel, meteorologists are right like 0.01% of the time, and they still have awesome careers.
They don’t let the moments they didn’t get it right dictate their work.
Neither should you! You won’t always rank for the keyword you want to rank for, no matter how hard you work on it.
You won’t always get a reply from an outreach email you sent.
But you just have to keep moving forward and keep learning, SEO is a tough game at times, but it is so worth it in the long run!