Starting An SEO Business: The Ultimate To-Do List For Your SEO Agency
It usually starts with a desire to escape the rat race and be your own boss.
Whatever motivated you to establish an SEO business, it all boils down to this:
Are you willing to give it your all?
You don’t want to start an SEO business unprepared and wind up with disappointed customers.
This checklist covers this specifically and provides you with a good head start on your entrepreneurial path as an SEO consultant, or if you are already one, helps you in scaling your business.
This is intended to provide you and potential agency hopefuls with step-by-step instructions for beginning, operating, and expanding your SEO business.
This guide can help any newbie become an industry heavyweight, whether you’re a digital marketing professional or an SEO consultant.
I’ll answer some of the most often asked questions about how to start an SEO business near the end of this article…
1. Everything You Need To Start An SEO Business
The sooner you discover how to establish an SEO business, the simpler the following steps will be for you. The first step is to establish the criteria for selecting an SEO agency. If you get these right, you’ll be well on your way to running a successful SEO business.
Are You Ready To Run Your Own Agency?
The truth is that no one is ever completely equipped to start and maintain a SEO business. Aside from the ever-changing SEO market, there’s a lot to think about in terms of operations.
It’s all part of the learning process.
Make a list of the following factors before you begin developing your SEO business strategy:
Prepare To Quit Your Job.
First and foremost, let me state clearly that starting an agency is not an excuse to quit working. You will need to work harder to get your SEO company off the ground.
But when should you quit your job and devote all of your time to your SEO company? The best time to do so would be:
- When your cash flow equals your existing salary at your day job
- When you have a sufficient number of repeat customers to keep your business running
- When people inquire about your SEO rather than you begging with them to hire you
If you believe you meet the above qualifications, it may be time to quit your job.
Possess Business Acumen.
An SEO company is a business, just like any other. You would most likely struggle to maintain your agency running if you have no business experience.
Most business owners lose thousands of dollars simply because they lack a basic knowledge of what is best for their company.
So make sure to complete your research.
Learn The Basics Of Digital Marketing.
Fortunately, there are plenty of resources accessible to help you learn about SEO and digital marketing.
We also suggest you check out Search Engine Journal, Search Engine Watch, Moz, and Google’s Webmasters Help Community for the latest digital trends.
Legal Matters To Handle
Starting an SEO business has legal repercussions, just like starting any other business.
Some rules and regulations will affect your decisions, and knowing this from the start might save you a lot of headaches later on.
Determine Your Business Structure.
Before you can even think about naming your agency, you must first figure out your business structure.
Do you want to operate your business as an LLC or as a sole proprietorship?
You must choose which structure is ideal for tax filing.
Create Your SEO Contracts.
Contracts may be intimidating to clients, but you can’t run a business without them. It is the single most crucial document that legally binds your company to its clients.
An SEO contract, on the other hand, goes beyond the bounds of the law. Consider it an agreement on the scope of work and expectations from both parties.
It lets you know everything from roles and processes to asset ownership and agreement terms.
Set Up Your Payment Methods.
The majority of agencies rely on the most convenient payment method — PayPal. On the other hand, other payment choices are worth considering if you want to get the most value for money when it comes to your business.
- Automated Clearing House (ACH) Transfers
- Credit Card Payment
- Digital Wallets
When deciding on a payment option, consider what is best for your clients. Maintain a consistent experience by ensuring that all transactions are safe and secure.
Prepare Your Invoice Templates.
An invoice enables you to manage and track accounts in an organized manner, ensuring that your agency gets paid on time. Each invoice, like any other, must be allocated a corresponding number for easy tracking.
A typical SEO invoice includes itemized costs and thorough details for each service your company offers. It must also specify the due date and payment options.
Your Agency’s Brand Matters
Your brand is one of the things you must establish – not only at the start, but also as your business expands.
Creating your brand is important about figuring out what makes you different from your competition. It’s what makes you unique.
Choose Your SEO Business Name And Logo
Your brand’s distinguishing features are its name and logo. Both are included in all of your assets, such as business cards, websites, online ads, lead magnets, and other internet resources.
Consider the following:
- Value Proposition: What are your major value proposition differentiators?
- Audience: Who is your target audience?
- Personality: What mood do you want your viewers to experience? What do you want them to remember about your brand?
Identify Your Target Buyer Personas.
Your target buyer personas reflect the ideal prospects you want to engage and convert for your agency. Creating buyer personas allows you to understand your clients’ businesses, concerns, goals, and the digital marketing solutions they want.
There are two stages to identifying buyer personas:
Demographics is concerned with their physical characteristics, such as gender, age, work status, and location, whereas Psychographics is concerned with their behavior, such as goals, objectives, and brand affinities, influencing their purchase decisions.
Buyer personas serve as a guideline for how you want your SEO marketing firm to be positioned.
Choose Your Niche.
This is the area where many new agencies fall short.
When deciding on a niche, keep the following factors in mind:
- Choose an industry with which you are familiar. The more you know about business jargon, the easier it will be to connect with prospects.
- Begin with your social media accounts. Make the most of the power of referrals/recommendations.
- Carry out market research. This makes prospecting and qualifying leads easier in the future.
Decide On Your Service Offerings.
Are you only concerned with SEO?
Do you want to get into PPC, Web Design, or Social Media? Do you want to service local companies and provide local SEO?
Since SEO does not end after the first month, having SEO as your principal product offering delivers consistent monthly revenue for your company.
Clients must keep optimizing till they see a positive ranking change. When compared to site design, which is usually packaged into one-time goods, SEO as a service allows you to upsell clients more freely.
After you’ve gotten your initial SEO clients and convinced them to stay with you, it’s critical to expand into other digital marketing services. However, as a start-up, you must limit yourself to one option for the time being.
Build Your Business Website.
A website can either attract new customers or lose them to competition. It doesn’t matter if your website isn’t as visually beautiful as the more well-known digital marketing agencies. The more important question is whether you have one.
Now you’ll need:
- Domain and hosting
Note: Ranking for search queries is one of the most significant aspects of a business website.
2. Work On Your SEO Methodology.
While on-page optimization, link building, and content marketing are common techniques for websites to rank, each SEO service approaches its consumers in a unique way. All of these are highly dependent on their SEO strategy, which you must develop for your agency.
Let’s look at how you may create the groundwork for your business strategy and improve your SEO skills.
Develop Your Core SEO Methodology.
Your SEO methodology is a byproduct of your strategies and experience, which will help businesses and their target clients in the end.
In-House Or Outsource?
Starting off as an SEO consultant and then expanding into a full-service digital marketing business needs a thorough understanding of what you’re doing. This is not to say that you must perfect everything on your own.
There are two ways to develop expertise: build an in-house team of experts or outsource the job to experts.
Learn About Project Management
SEO project management is usually broken into two parts: planning and fulfillment.
The planning process includes research, assessment, and strategy. This lays the groundwork for your SEO initiatives, giving you a clear picture of what you need to do and when you need to do it.
During the planning phase, common activities include competitive analysis, keyword research, website audits, and content quality evaluation. Preparation is followed by implementation, which is what fulfillment requires.
On the other hand, fulfillment involves more than just delivering what you promised to your customers. It is about establishing a consistent, scalable procedure for finishing the job.
Do you want to take a strategic approach to your SEO project, or are you more of a Kanban person?
With a clear sequence, fulfillment can be easy, enhancing customer satisfaction and profits.
As you gain project management expertise and experience, it’s a good idea to become acquainted with the following SEO project management tools:
Use SEO Tools.
The majority of SEO and marketing products for small business owners are designed to help them with tasks like competition analysis, keyword research, and link building prospecting. You’ll come across a mix of free and paid programs online; we recommend starting with the free ones to get a feel of how the tool works.
Take a look at these tools:
- Google Analytics
- Google Search Console
- Google Data Studio
3. Market Your SEO Agency
Marketing SEO services and your agency involves positioning oneself as the go-to source for businesses looking to improve their online presence. Simply put, this is putting your words into action.
Consider this: would a company trust you if you weren’t even on Google?
I really doubt it.
A well-established web presence shows a lot about your company’s SEO performance. Your newly created website may take several weeks to rank, but this should not limit you to SEO only. This is what we’ll talk about in this section.
This article discusses the most effective methods for promoting your SEO agency and boosting your digital presence in order to generate more SEO leads.
Inbound practices lay the foundation for your agency’s web presence. It’s similar to attracting attention to your brand in a passive way. This comprises a range of lead generation strategies such as SEO, social media, content marketing, and paid ads.
SEO is the most cost-effective way to boost your internet visibility, but it must be done correctly. The idea is to optimize your website in the same way you optimize your clients’ websites.
Conduct a quick SEO assessment on your website to see what needs to be improved.
- Are the pages catering to the interests of your buyer personas at each point of the buyer’s journey?
- Is the page loading fast enough?
- Is the web navigation user-friendly?
Treat your website as if it requires its own SEO upkeep to rank higher in search.
Link building techniques can help supplement your on-page optimization efforts. While your agency’s website slowly gains organic traffic through on-page SEO, building links may provide you with referral traffic to boost authority.
Create and claim your GMB listing to boost your visibility in local search results. You may also get more online real estate by advertising your SEO company on Yelp and other important business listings.
However, be sure that your Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP) are consistent and accurate throughout all of these listing sites.
Another strategy to improve your SEO performance is to have reviews on prominent review sites as well as on your own website. Request that your clients review your SEO business actively, but in a non-obtrusive manner.
To ensure your agency’s authenticity, integrity, and work ethic, each review should be written by someone with whom you have a professional connection.
Now is the time to create a social media page if you haven’t already. Companies spend six hours a week on social media, mainly Facebook, because it is the most popular site with billions of users worldwide.
Using social media for inbound marketing, on the other hand, takes more than simply posting on Facebook. You need to do the following:
- Personalize your message according to the platform and audience.
- Join social media groups to find out more about your target audience’s interests. Facebook Groups, LinkedIn Groups, and Reddit Groups are wonderful places to learn about developments and topics of interest to your target audience.
- Be a human. Avoid acting like a robot and posting solely to get responses. Instagram and Twitter are great places to show off your company’s human aspect.
Content is still king and will always be so. However, it is not enough to simply produce a blog post and hope that your prospects stumble onto it.
A effective content marketing strategy depends around delivering the right content to the right audience at the right time.
Your site’s content should be optimized based on the intent of your consumer personas. In Google Search Console, analyze the inquiries that your website receives.
Choose terms with a high search volume and create content topics around them. Keep in mind that your content should be evolving all the time. Update and optimize your content to match the interests of your target audience.
Paid advertising is ideal for reaching a specific audience. They may help your SEO efforts by putting your business in front of those most interested in working with an SEO business. You can take one of two approaches:
- Google Ads: This includes text, image, and video ads that appear on Google Display Network or Search Marketing Platforms.
- Remarketing Ads: Remarketing advertisements, which are perfect for people who have previously visited your website, help to reaffirm your value proposition to your audience.
Outbound practices are techniques of finding prospects rather than having prospects find you. It is your obligation to contact them and ensure that they remember your brand until they are ready to use your full range of services.
A effective outbound campaign uses a variety of techniques, including inbound approaches.
Attend Trade Shows And Conferences
Participating in industry events increases your chances of getting discovered by businesses looking for SEO services.
This may be an old trick, but it will provide you with opportunity to network with possible clients.
Send Cold Emails
This refers to your inbound marketing activities as well as your participation at trade shows. When a prospect provides you with their contact information, you may add them to your email list (through a contact form on your website or a lead magnet you gave during a trade fair).
While there is no specific formula for sending a cold email to a potential customer, the following methods are recommended to attain a positive response from potential clients: Use a company domain rather than a generic email address.
- Customize your email list by segmenting it based on the email’s message.
- Make your email message unique by including a catchy subject line.
- Set up follow-up emails to get a response—two follow-up emails are usually enough.
4. Sell SEO Services
Even if you are an experienced SEO expert, your ability to sell your services could mean the difference between a successful business and one that is barely getting by. It all boils down to developing your sales process.
You must understand how to promote SEO to businesses and provide a repeatable approach and techniques that result in greater revenue for your agency.
Establish Your SEO Pricing Structure.
Your price structure will be one of the questions prospects will have for you. There are many answers to this question, which may be confusing if you are unaware with the real value of SEO.
Your pricing structure is one of the most significant things you must establish when beginning a SEO company. It will be easy to justify the expense of your services to your clientele this way.
SEO businesses can use any of the following price structures:
- Hourly: Agencies often use this pricing structure for basic SEO services such as website audits and keyword research.
- Fixed: This could be ideal for projects requiring various SEO services, from on-page optimization to SEO consultation. Those who expand into additional services have a fixed pricing structure.
- Retainer: Established SEO companies typically place their clients on a monthly retainer pricing plan that matches their digital marketing needs and budget.
Find Your Clients.
Your first clients will most likely be referrals, prospects you met at industry events, people in your personal and business circles, and people in your social networks.
Here are some pointers to help you find clients (or vice versa):
- Download the SEO Audit Widget. When a potential client completes the audit widget form on your website, they will receive a free SEO audit. You will receive their email in exchange.
- Ask for referrals. Prospects may be persuaded to hire your SEO agency if they hear good things about it.
- Cold call with conviction. Create a script and begin contacting businesses in your local telephone directory.
Qualify Your Leads.
When you qualify your leads, you will find it much easier to focus on the right prospects. It is determined by four factors: budget, authority, need, and time (BANT).
These include whether or not your prospects can pay for your expertise, whether or not they have a clear need for your services, whether or not they have decision-making authority, and whether or not they are willing to buy from you.
Develop A Set Of Probing Questions.
Probing inquiries allow you to assess your prospects’ needs and whether or not they are a good fit for your agency. Here are some questions you should ask your SEO clients:
- Have you ever worked with a Seo agency?
- How satisfied are you with your current SEO company?
- What are your main challenges?
- How did you deal with these issues?
- Do you plan to spend in marketing?
- How do you define SEO success?
Know When To Say No.
This is important for any business, not just an SEO company. The truth is that you cannot accommodate every clients’ demands. You must learn to say no.
Set high standards from the beginning and commit to them.
Clients who are not a good fit for your agency should be declined.
Pitch To Your SEO Prospects.
A strong pitch is the result of the following:
- A winning SEO proposal
- A positive relationship with your potential client
Do Your Prep Before Pitching.
Consider this your homework, or what we call Step 0.
A well-prepared pitch will focus on the prospect, not your SEO company.
- What do they do?
- What industry do they work in?
- What are the most common concerns and challenges they face?
- What solutions do they require?
You will discover everything about the prospect throughout preparation. So you can help them identify the best solution and pitch your agency as the perfect fit.
Create A Proposal That Sells Itself.
Your business proposal is a printed version of your company’s value proposition. It includes the following information:
- Your customer
- SEO approach
- SEO Solution Suggestion
- Timetable and deliverables
It is critical to create your company’s SEO proposal template so that you can easily fill in the information, saving you time from having to create an SEO proposal from scratch.
If you have a great relationship with your prospects, you may be able to influence their buying decision in your favor. This not only reveals your efforts to build rapport, but it also creates trust between you and your prospects.
Close Your SEO Prospects
Your next step after pitching to your prospects is to close.
Make sure your closing sentence is powerful because it will impact whether a customer accepts or rejects you. Developing and perfecting sales closing techniques will assist you in determining what to say at the end of your pitch:
- Sell the advantages of your services.
- Close by scheduling your next discussion with them, often known as an assumptive close.
- Finish with a question that provides them with a limited number of options, also known as an assertive closing.
Retain Your Clients.
When you close a prospect, it doesn’t mean you’re done trying to get their business. You must always provide value to them in order to keep them with your SEO agency.
5. Maintain Business Continuity And Operations.
A lack of operational cadence is one of the challenges that most SEO startup businesses face. Because of the lack of predictable procedures, their bottom line suffers. It doesn’t have to be this way for you.
Your newly formed SEO agency will be able to maintain business continuity and operate smoothly if you follow the guidelines mentioned below.
Align Sales With Fulfillment.
While it may be tempting to take on as many clients as possible, you must keep your operational capacity in mind. Keep in mind that you are still a startup, which means that your manpower and resources are limited. This is the time to align your sales and operations.
Your SEO business plan should include the following steps:
- Check to see if your sales goals and operations are in sync.
- Create a baseline and performance metrics for intersecting industries.
- Identify any gaps in order to develop a more integrated strategy.
- Make a procedure with timeframes and deliverables.
Maintaining consistency in your performance can be improved by having your sales and fulfillment in sync.
Avoid The Talent Trap.
The majority of new SEO businesses have only two or five members.
Due to a lack of manpower to complete the task, it is usual for work to be assigned to a select few team members.
This is referred to as a talent trap.
Accept that each member of your team has limitations. This is true for many types of businesses, not just SEO agencies. What do you do if the person in charge of your marketing becomes ill or abruptly leaves?
Who will be in charge?
This may also result in burnout. A burnt-out person will never be productive.
Rather than relying on a single Rockstar, create a succession plan. This should include experience, product, and client expectations criteria.
Process-driven companies avoid the talent trap.
Developing such processes allows you to avoid being overly reliant on talent by providing you with clear steps that can be completed on autopilot.
Consider the Pareto principle: focus on doing 20% of the work that results in 80% of the results. This greatly simplifies the process of prioritizing workloads and whirlwinds. “Whirlwind’s” are administrative tasks that demand a lot of effort but have little impact.
Create processes and provide documentation for them, for example:
- Recurring task checklists
- Sales manual
- Operations manual
- Customer service manual
Prepare To Scale.
At the end of the day, all startup SEO agencies want to make a lot of money.
This prompts the question, “How can you scale your SEO company?”
There is only one simple solution: don’t be the hero.
This entails delegating tasks to others in your team. Most agency owners (especially new ones) want to jump right in and do the work themselves. It is completely ineffective and counter-productive as noble as it appears to be. If you want your business to grow, you must work ON it rather than IN it.
Outsource The Work.
Outsourcing is the solution if you or anyone on your team is unable to complete the task. We briefly discussed outsourcing in the last part, but now we’ll dive more into how it might affect your operations.
Outsourcing your SEO helps you focus more time on your company’s growth rather than the details of day-to-day operations. Also, it enables you to draw on a larger pool of people to complete deliverables while also expanding your expertise.
SEO might be delegated to freelancers. This could be be the best solution for small SEO tasks or projects completed in a few hours.
If you want a long-term collaboration for bulk SEO services, outsource to an SEO company. This provides you with a larger team to manage your projects.
Analyze the case studies provided by the outsourcing professional to demonstrate their ability to provide successful outcomes consistently.
Starting an SEO or Search Engine Optimization business will put your abilities and determination to the test.
Don’t be one of the many aspiring SEO business owners who give up halfway through.
If you finish everything on this checklist, you will have accomplished a great deal. However, if you require additional help in establishing your SEO agency, you can get professional help.
Even though it may seem hard to start an SEO company, the end result can be well worth it. The lessons learned as a result of the growing digital world, as well as the businesses you may help along the way, makes it more rewarding.
What Is Our Top Recommendation For Making Money Online In 2023?
Our review team has come across a program in the real estate industry that is next level!
Although it’s not real estate in the traditional sense, because it’s all digital.
You see, where Traditional SEO falls short is in scalability.
You can’t realistically expect to be able to do SEO all day everyday.
It just takes too many resources (money included) for any one person (or even a team) to bootstrap, not to mention some clients can be real headaches!
But what if you could make even more money off of little local websites without having to spend all your day monitoring different campaigns?
With this digital real estate program, you can profit off LOCAL traffic to your website every single day!
Sound too good to be true?
Of course it does!
But it isn’t… in fact, business owners ONLY WISH they had this skill!
Think about it…
Why are your SEO clients paying you?
Because they want more customers right?
Well, what if you could cut through all the red tape and give them exactly what they want… which is paying customers.
All you have to do is build and rank a LOCAL website and forward the jobs off to a business owner in town.
You could even email it to them!
This works for any service based business…
- tree service
- landscaping, etc…
So, How Much Money Can You Make?
So, after you forward the jobs off to a business owner and he closes the deal, you simply set it up an arrangement that’s a WIN-WIN for both of you.
A fair price to charge per lead, depending on the industry is 10-20%… let’s just use the tree service industry for example and go by worst case scenario.
Let’s say you build and rank the site and only 10 jobs a month come in. The average tree service job is anywhere from $500-$2000!
That means at bare minimum you have an asset worth $500 a month!
See why they call it digital real estate now?
Now, what if you have 10… 50… 100 of these little websites working for you day and night?
The great thing is how easy it is to scale. You don’t have to worry about clients that are headaches because you own the website, and there is virtually zero overhead costs.
Now, getting back to SEO… the main problem you have to deal with is client retention. Once you get them ranking high in the search engines, they may decide to stop paying you.
But, when you can send them clients directly and all they have to do is close the deal… well, their not going anywhere.
It’s a no-brainer!
This model actually allows you to collect HUGE FLAT RATE DEALS too.
Truly passive income!
This training program takes making money online to another level. The owner of the program walks you through how to build and rank a site hand in hand, with the occasional voice over when he is sharing his screen.
You will learn the importance of keywords, website name, how to send call notifications via email, backlinking, etc.
Once the training program is completed you will also have access to a Facebook group much better than the Traditional SEO group in our opinion.
This group is much more active.
Unlike starting an SEO business, where you’re getting maybe $250 – $1000 per month on a 6 month contract… with this, you could be getting 10-20X THAT, and your clients never leave.
A business will always want more leads and another job. In fact it doesn’t even matter that the job isn’t coming from their website… they see it as it is… more money added to their bottom line.
Unlike traditional SEO, more people have been able to walk away from their 9-5 job as well.
Now, I know you probably have tons of questions…