When you are performing SEO for corporate clients, you need to step away from the black hat methods you may have picked up from the darker side of the SEO industry. No large corporate client is going to get near you if they think you are going to sully their reputation.
Professional SEO at the corporate level requires the skilled execution of a solid online marketing plan. It is more about marketing and promotion and nothing to do with sneaky tricks or slimy web spam campaigns. You need to excel, not only at promotion but at reputation management as well.
The hallmark of a professional is that he uses correct terminology for his industry.
You would be well served to delve into the area generally known as SMO (social media optimization). SEO is about optimizing text-based content and technically isn’t the promotional aspect of SEM. It is important to make this distinction when dealing with corporate clients and clarify your role as either purely SEO or a combination of SEO as well as promotional marketing campaigns. The corporate world generally sees these as separate disciplines.
Link building is really not SEO, but a promotional activity that falls within the realm of SEM, or more specifically SMM. SEO should be practiced on all SEM activity, including link building, however, don’t confuse one for the other. I and many of the folks reading this forum understand that we blend these definitions when speaking to each other, don’t make the assumption that the business world does the same. Make it clear, you do search engine marketing, if that is what you do, or you don’t if you just do SEO.
If you don’t yet know how to promote a website without using black hat methods, you are not yet ready to offer services as a professional SEM at the corporate level. Now maybe a good time to head down the path to learning to be a professional, however first seek to gain the knowledge or you may find yourself in over your head.
In a word, advertising!
When it comes to large corporations, SEO is strictly on-page SEO. Off-page promotional efforts are generally handled by their massive advertising budgets. Massive advertising will overwhelm the most aggressive link building efforts without even trying. Link building is strictly a small to medium size business activity.
Large corporations are never going to let you make the changes to their on-page content. All you can offer them are reports and recommended changes. Their inside staff will be the only ones to make actual changes. Your best bet at doing business with them is as a consultant that provides such reports, or as a specialist within an ad agency that handles their ad budget.
Another angle is to offer online reputation management services, but you will need serious credentials along with some recognizable references.
Medium and large corporations sometimes employ online reputation management services that essentially are SMO campaigns. That is about as close as they get to off-page optimization.
Small and medium-sized businesses may be more amenable to a typical SEO/promotional campaign. Though it is generally considered as part of a full SEM campaign SEO/Promotional/Advertising as a total package. In either case, the promotion aspect is typically made up of SMO, Press Releases, Online Sponsorship, Online Events, and Public Relations.
For the most part, only small corporations are likely to engage a pure SEO/Link building campaign.
Of course, these are generalizations and there may be some exceptions, but this is where you will find the bulk of the market.