That hit me. The SEO campaigns that I ran were generally 6 figures a year, in the most competitive areas, specializing in sub-prime fiannce: Credit Cards, Debt Consolidation, and Pay Day Loans. In those areas, I’m not targeting local, and I’m competing with big firms and small firms, hundreds of thousands of people looking for traffic.
One area I never figured out, winning business from local businesses looking for local traffic. That isn’t about SEO skill, anyone can win those, that’s about hand holding the businesses. If only one person in a market does the basics of SEO, they’ll probably dominate the term. Those guys are probably happy with 3-5 customers a month, and would pay $250-$500 a month for that success forever.
What I never figured out is how professional SEOs handle these small accounts, but if your potential accounts are looking for local traffic and don’t think to mention the city, it probably doesn’t take much to win. A local designer selling websites for $500-$1000 should know this… but they probably don’t, and probably don’t want to spend an hour explaining to the client why they did what they did, better to get paid and moved on…
And that’s why a bunch of locals with limited knowledge can earn a living in SEO, which isn’t a bad thing.