Time to Prospect!
It's always difficult to gain new customers, especially during "slightly" downward trending times like now. But we've got a unique way of fishing for clients, high-end clients, high-profit clients, the Glengarry Glen Ross type of clients that are begging you to help them.
The premise of this guide stems from one thing: Your SEO prospects want more money.
They want to see quick wins and quick results. Fine. That's a not a problem if you've got the right thinking.
The fastest way to gain quick wins are strong powerful backlinks, fixing techinical SEO problems (boring), and doing some fun On-Page Analysis to get quick results that you can turn around and slap them in the face with.
People love proof so:
On-page, off-page, technical SEO - a combination of all 3 will move the needled. Let's fish for some easy prospects in this guide.
So the idea is to find clients that are already ranking in the SERPs; Show them the multiple pages that dropped after a Google Update; Give them a single free fix to show you can move the needle on a single page; then once they see results (usually 24-48 hours) - send them a contract their way.
If you can't get results with on-page tweeks to a page already in the Top 100 - something is wrong with that domain/URL (time to DM Grindstone).
Since the pages are already within the Top 100 results Google trust the page. Moving the rankings of a page in the SERPs, especially if it has history is A LOT easier than getting a brand new page into those same SERPs, so we are looking for easy client jobs within niches that are profitable.
Step By Step Guide
Step #1. First create three custom tag called Prospect , Prospect-DISAPPEARED and Competitors :
Set both Prospect tags to "Positive" values so you can see the aggregated data in the project charts.
Make sure you set all the tags as "Global" so you can see it within all your projects.
Select nice bright colors so you can quickly see them in ORM Mode, I prefer blue: #0087ff and cyan: #1ebcc7
Set the Competitor to "Negative" with a a nice bright color too: pink: #ff009f
Step #2. Next it is time to monitor niches and industries that you are familiar with. So select your favorite industry, I'm using "ENT Doctors" (ENT = Ear, Nose, and Throat) in my example. Hopefully you choose ones with clients most profitable for your bottomline.
Gather 20-100 keywords from each. You can start out with 10 heavy hitters, and then grow them over time.
Make sure it's a mix of high volume keywords, low volume keywords, buyer intent terms, as well as informative. The terms should be buyer intent terms (transactional) as well as informational (Guide: Keyword Research - transactional, commercial, interest, and awareness terms).
If you need ideas you can use SERPWoo's Keyword Finder (direct link).
Each niche should be a single project, so you can navigate within selected niches/topics.
You will be tagging prospect's domains with the Prospect and watching their domain throughout the same group of keywords.
You need to have multiple niches you are attempting to target for prospective clients. So don't just rely on "Dentists", go after "Plastic Surgery", "Attorneys", "Accountants" and similar professionals. As an added measure go after clients that are recession proof. For example Grocery Stores tend to be more recession proof than a nail salon. In fact they are pandemic proof as we've seen.
The last thing you want is to get wiped out cause 100% of your clients were restaurants in a city that is shutdown cause of pandemics - yes A LOT of fellow SEOs we know had to close shop cause that was their client base. I know Hindsight is 20/20, there is a lot we couldn't foresee.
Throw them into Project Wizard to create projects for each niche:
Step #3. Now wait...
Wait till Google does their monthly updates - Usually happens are the 26th+ of each month, Grindstone and I have been going on about this for 3+ years but no one pays attention to us.
Step #4. After an update occurs look for the "wave". It's where volatility for one of your keywords goes nuts. An example:
Notice how the charts get really wild from positions #21 and below for that date? There is normal volatility throughout the 2 weeks, but on this particular update's day the bottom went nuts.
Also note there is that one in dark green that moved from #3 to #20 during the same period:
A prospect dropping from the #3 to #20 (Page 2), is going to be feeling the pain. A Prime Prospect!
Tag Any domain worth looking into with "Prospect" (click the edit icon in the lefthand legend).
Make sure to tag the "domain" and NOT the URL, since afterwards your project will start aggregating all the rankings against the keywords in your project for that domain.
Whenever you tag a domain within a project the system will start monitoring the domain against ALL other keywords within the same project. This is critical since the system will start organizing the rankings of your prospects for you.
Make sure to turn on ORM Mode:
Tag whatever domains you think might make great future clients:
After tagging you'll see something like this (I bulk un-checked all non-prospects from the left-hand legend)
Next check over your other keywords within your project to see if other domains have done the same type of drastic drop.
Step #5. Now continue monitoring your domains for 5-10 days. In our scenario some URLs have recovered a bit, they are worth reaching out to if you think you can improve their rankings. Perhaps some quick On-Page SEO wins? (ZORA). However 3 URLs completely disappeared:
#1, #2, and #3 disappeared. #4, our former top 3 domain, continues to slide downward
3 disappeared, so those domains MUST have further trouble. Make a note of their troubles and change their tag to Prospect-DISAPPEARED .
Notice #4: our fomer top 3, has been sliding even further.
Something also to note is you can see Google making adjustments to the algo update:
2 separate adjustments there (with multiple small)
Google is going to be playing around with these bottom domains for a while.
Step #6. Since I tagged the domain as a "Prospect" SERPWoo has now aggregated all the other keywords within my project for that particular domain which have rankings. Go into the single project view by selecting your project from the top menu and clicking the "Project" button:
Go into the "Quick Glance" tab:
Look for the prospects you tagged some days back. You'll see their aggregated data pulled in for the other keywords within this project:
Single Project View of tagged Prospects (Under "Quick Glance" Tab)
In the above we see in the "Last Seen" column (last time the domain's URL was within the SERPs for that particular keyword) that they've dropped for 3 keywords since they are in red. Also look at the sparkline charts (far left), you notice the pattern of a downward trend going on.
If I see multiple drops, that's an opportunity show the prospect that this recent update has resulted in drops in their rankings, while there are other examples of increases in the same time period.
Step #7. Dive deep into one of the dropped domains which you like the best. Since I have 180+ days of data I can see which ones of these domains recently wanted to rank for this keyword. I found this one that made several improvements that resulted in an increase in their position, but this latest update hit them back down:
Company attempted at making improvements to this URL
Also look for domains that are increasing in their rankings during your time periods. Tag these domains Competitors . You'll be using these domains as comparisons when talking to your prospect about making improvements:
Winners Vs Losers in SEO Algo Update
You can reach out to this prospect since they may be interested in a new direction if their current SEO solution is clearly not working. Someone is clearly attempting to improve this page, yet has failed with the latest update. Swoop in.
Remember you are saving these screenshots for each prospect for visuals (Word Doc, PDF, PowerPoint, or Video presentation).
In the above you show the prospect 3 competitors increasing yet you are showing your prospect's domain is decreasing and has actually disappeared.
Special note: the #3 domain is definitely a URL you should further investigate since it was making it's way up fast even before the Google update (focus date line).
What do you think goes through a prospect's mind when you point out how 3-5 of their top keywords they've dropped for and yet 3-4 other competitors have increased in the same time frame?
You clearly know your stuff if you are monitoring the SERPs that closely for THEIR NICHE.
That's checkbox #1 that confirms you are the person to look to. Like Brian Tucker said in the SEO Client video - from a while back, clients will say things similar to: "No one has ever given us this level of detail or precision in the past."
You will be so far ahead of the competition that you aren't giving the prospect time to think about another option.
Step #8. The proof is in the pudding. Checkbox #2 that you know your stuff is showing an On-Page Analysis with side by side comparisons of the 3-4 competitors increasing and what they need to do for that particular page to increase their on-page.
You can run a Zora Analysis and do a video walk through like Jason suggests (video below) or screenshot their competitors' landing page and highlight elements they are missing that need to be implememted on that.
One Beta user suggested, and we are working on this idea, to allow Zora to export a PDF so they can use it to get a foot-in-the-door meeting cause the analysis is detailed.
Now I take things to the next level. Offer to implement the one page's changes for free (Yuck, I hate that word). Afterwards wait 24-48 hours and show the URL increasing in the results (if the URL was in the top 100, it will increase - unless there isn't enough backlinking power).
Make sure you don't pick something so ridiculously hard that you'll need off-site power to push the URL up.
This is about quick wins and going through the link building process isn't quick.
After the 24-48 hour period, send them a screenshot of video of their page higher up the SERPs and explain some of your other SEO processes to increase rankings - that's Checkbox #2 .
What else can they say?
You just have to let them know to sign on the dotted line.
AND if one prospect fails, there are literally 99 more prospects gunning for the exact same search engine results. You can literally swap out the prospects domain and replace it with the 4-5 other ones you've been monitoring.
Remember people in the SERPs are looking to make money. Harp in on that.
By showing quick wins justifying any sized budget gets that much easier.
It's one thing to hunt for opportunities for SEO clients. It's the next level to show them you can create improvements within a couple of days and show them you aren't all just talk.
So now your prospect has a free quick win from you, meaning they are generating more revenue already. #Success
Prospects need visuals. Use screenshots of SERPs AND examples of what your competitors have on their page (screenshot) with examples of what can be improved up on your prospect's page (screenshots) will go a long way versus just handing someone a legal contract.
By giving visuals it shows you took the time to really understand their industry, niche, and them as a potential client. Going that extra step ALWAYS leads to better results. Even if you don't close that one client, they can refer you to someone that needs your help weeks or months from now since they were impressed with your work.
Many times when I ran my agency we were given clients that were referred to us by some employee that was in the room at one of our presentations. So even a NO can turn into a Yes in some form or another.
A while back Jason did a video on how he prospects for clients using the SERP View (It's the V3 interface but the overall process is the same) Check it out:
Overtime you'll want to delete domains that didn't close, and continue tagging new prospects within each niche.
Make sure to continously add new keywords and delete irrelevant ones as you find new opportunities for each industry.
Final Tip: you can organize your Prospect Projects into a "Prospect Team". That way when you want to only view those projects during "sales mode" you can switch your view to the Prospect Team and don't have to mix them with other projects.
Time to get to work,