Alternative Paths in SEO: Leaving the Agency Life with Craig Campbell

By Site Strategics
March 5, 2021

Spending an hour with special guest Craig Campbell, a very successful SEO consultant, trainer, and website flipper was very eye-opening on many different levels. Host Erin Sparks spoke with Craig about leaving the digital agency life in favor of becoming an SEO consultant and trainer, the signs that indicate it’s time to leave the agency path, building your personal SEO brand, link building tactics, and how to dive into the lucrative market of flipping websites. Here’s what we learned:

Knowing When to Walk Away from Agency Life

Many SEOs kind of fall into running their own agency without ever knowing how to do it right. It can become a real slog over time that doesn’t make the best use of your SEO skills. Here are the signs Craig experienced that indicated it was time for him to walk away:

  • Being Rude to Clients: Some clients are just plain difficult to work with, but if you find yourself responding to them by being openly rude and dismissive yourself, this is inappropriate and a strong sign it might be time for you to leave the agency life behind.
  • Running an Agency is Killing You: It should come as no surprise that running your own SEO agency is stressful, but when it gets to the point that it begins affecting your health in negative ways, it’s probably time to reassess what you’re doing and find a different path to use your SEO skills.
  • When the Work is No Longer Joyful: If you become an SEO because you love the work of executing SEO strategies and tactics, running an SEO agency can kill your passion for SEO. If you feel like that’s happening, it’s time to pivot into a different way to apply your skills.

The pivot away from running your own agency is not something that can just happen overnight. It takes time and effort to develop something different, such as becoming an SEO consultant. It’s often a transition that happens over time because you’ve got to do a lot of legwork to build up your personal brand for whatever you’re going to do next.

Link Building and What Color is Your Hat? White, Gray, or Black

The labels of white hat and black hat (and gray hat) SEO are oversimplified and not very useful. People will say “buying links” is a black hat, but this is not necessarily true. In fact, most any SEO tactic or tool can be deployed in ways that would qualify for each hat label. Yes, there are always ways to “cheat,” but Google is always getting better at recognizing garbage SEO work and penalizing it accordingly. 

Take, for example, the private blog network (PBN) as a tactic. A PBN can be a total garbage black hat site or it can be a site that’s trusted and authoritative with good traffic and well-deserved ranking that it can pass on and share with others. Basically, if a PBN is so good that Google can’t even tell it’s a PBN, then there’s nothing wrong with using it.

Another example is guest blog posts. Google has openly stated it doesn’t like them, and when the single and only purpose of them is for spammy link value, it makes sense for Google to devalue that content. But why shouldn’t a site benefit from some PR activities that bring real value to an audience and that also come with an SEO link? It’s all a matter of how you deploy the tactic.

The Lucrative World of Flipping Websites

Craig is a true master at flipping websites, which involves buying a site with potential, scaling it up with good SEO, and then selling it at a substantial profit. You can sell a website for 40 times the average monthly revenue it generates. A real-work example from Craig’s own experience was buying a site for $3k, spending $10 on content and SEO over the course of six months for a total investment of $13k, and then selling it for $136,000. It’s just like flipping houses in the real estate market.

Craig has been a website flipper for five or six years and has flipped something like nearly 100 websites. The SEO work he’s doing on those sites, by the way, isn’t anything fancy, just solid SEO basics. Where do you find websites to buy? A few places to check out include odys.cc (Craig’s premium domain affiliate and aged domain site), a private Facebook group called Flipping Websites, if you want a higher-end option where you’d be investing $40-$50k on a site you can try Empire Flippers

Craig tends to avoid the high end of the spectrum in this work because it’s way riskier. Taking a $1k/month site and scaling it to $5/month is very easy with quality SEO basics, so the lower end of the market is his sweet spot. Trying to scale up a site that’s already at $10k/month into something substantially more than that is much harder. The work is satisfying for him because of how much he learns about a wide variety of niches.

Connect with Craig Campbell

Twitter: @craigcampbell03 (https://twitter.com/craigcampbell03)
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/craigcampbell0302
Website: https://www.craigcampbellseo.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/craigcampbellseo03
Instagram: @craigcampbellseo (https://www.instagram.com/craigcampbellseo)
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPeOzstGV1FB0cGSBg2piDg

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