Let us take a look at how to start your own SEO agency.
Now, I know what you’re thinking…
Hold on, you run an SEO agency, right?
Why are you trying to create more competition?
Are you gonna pitch an eBook?
To be honest, the SEO industry is huge, and it’s only gonna get bigger.
This article will cover some of the key things you need to know if you’re looking to start an SEO agency.
I want to cover the basic things you need to focus on, and some of the tips that’ll help you get things off the ground as quickly as possible.
For example, In section #2, I’m also gonna reveal a tactic that’ll help you stand out amongst the competition.
And, in section #5, I’m also gonna give you some tips on how you can produce amazing client results.
Let’s get started!
Section #1 — Do You Actually Understand SEO?
Ok, so the first thing I actually wanna cover here, is whether or not you actually understand how SEO works.
If you have a really amateur understanding of SEO, you’re probably not gonna achieve good results for your clients.
No matter how good you are at getting clients, you won’t be able to keep them, and this will then make it hard for you to build a solid long-term business.
But for the most part, try to make sure you understand how SEO works, before launching an SEO agency.
If you don’t know anything about SEO, but you’d like to change things, there are two paths you can take.
Firstly, you can just focus on starting your own project.
So, you might wanna start a niche blog of your own, and you can then try to rank it, and get some results with it.
If you do this, you’ll learn how SEO works in the real world. You’ll also have a case study that you can take to clients.
This approach works really well, and in fact, I even did something similar to this.
For example, I launched a site called “chipperbirds.com.”
We achieved some amazing results with that site, and I managed to steadily grow traffic for that site each month.
I can now use this site to promote my SEO skills, and I often mention it to highlight my abilities.
If you don’t wanna start your own project, there’s also the option of just working for a company that offers SEO services.
This can be a good idea because you’ll actually learn how an SEO agency works.
After all, you’ll learn about important stuff, on top of the SEO knowledge you need to deliver actual client results.
For instance, you’ll learn how to communicate with clients, and how to prepare reports.
You’ll also learn how to deal with clients and manage expectations.
All of which are really important if you want your clients to stick around, and recommend your services to others.
Plus, if you work for someone else, you’re actually being paid to learn, and you can then take this knowledge, and money, and use it to start your own agency.
Section #2 — What are you gonna do?
Once you’ve got some good experience with SEO, then you think about the kind of SEO work you wanna do.
If you’re new to SEO, you might not really understand this but there are actually lots of different types of SEO work you can do for clients.
For example, you can do…
- Link-building work
- On-page SEO/Technical work
- Content Creation
- Local SEO
These are just a few of the common forms of SEO people tend to focus on when starting a business.
For the most part, you can generally start a really profitable business with any one of these approaches.
I can’t really tell you which approach is right for you, as this all tends to come up with personal preference, and what your skills actually are.
Either way, you should try to specialize in something, as it’ll make easier for you to attract clients when you’re just starting out.
I mean, if you start a general SEO agency, you’re gonna have to think about links/content/technical SEO and general operational stuff, all at the same time.
This can make life really stressful if you’re dealing with a big project that involves lots of contractors/moving pieces.
Something I just wanna say here, is that local SEO tends to involve doing several things for your clients.
However, local SEO projects tend to be quite simple, when compared to other kinds of SEO work.
As a result, you might find that it’s actually easier to do multiple things for your clients if you’re only doing local SEO.
Section #3 — Attracting Clients
Once you’ve taken care of the other stuff we’ve covered here, you then wanna think about actually getting some clients.
If you’re just getting started, there’s nothing wrong with using freelance platforms like Upwork.com.
This is actually one of the main ways I got clients when I was just starting out, and I still use this approach now.
If you wanna learn more about how I used this platform to make money in SEO, you can check out this video of mine.
Anyhow, when you’re just starting out with Upwork, you’ll have to accept a low fee for your work, as you won’t have a strong reputation on the platform.
You will then build a good profile on the site, and this will then allow you to demand higher rates.
Of course, Upwork can take a fee from your earnings, so you might wanna move off this platform eventually.
If that’s the case, you can generally just focus on inbound marketing methods or outbound marketing.
Inbound marketing methods might include stuff like getting clients from SEO …(an SEO agency getting SEO clients from SEO — isn’t that beautiful?)
You might also wanna focus on creating a presence on YouTube, kinda like how I am.
Now, for the most part, inbound marketing typically revolves around creating content.
Ideally, you wanna create content that’s specific to the kind of SEO you’re doing.
I mean, while this is true, you’ll find that specialist content tends to produce the best conversions for your agency.
For example, if you’re an SEO agency that offers link-building services for European e-commerce brands…
Inbound marketing can also involve ad campaigns, but running ad campaigns might be a bit expensive if you’re just starting out.
Anyway, as mentioned, the other option here is to do some outbound marketing.
There are dozens of outbound marketing methods to choose from here, but “cold emailing” is one of the most popular options.
In most cases, the ROI of your cold emailing campaigns is gonna depend on two things…
- How good is the quality of your list?
- How good are your actual cold emails?
If you’re sending out a cold email campaign, you need to make sure your list is filled with relevant prospects.
If it isn’t… It won’t matter how good your emails are — you just won’t get results.
Luckily, there are platforms that’ll provide you with high-quality leads, like Icyleads. (that you can use for cold email campaigns.)
Most of the places that sell leads, allow you to narrow things down so that the leads are highly segmented.
Of course, if you want to check the quality of these leads, you can always use a tool like “Hunter” to verify your leads and to see if the emails are valid.
Anyway, once you have a list of leads, there are a couple of options you can take.
One option is to do “video audits” for the leads you’ve collected.
So, if you offer on-page SEO, you might go over someone’s website, and list out all the improvements and the benefits that they can make.
This approach can lead to a good ROI because you’re sending out cold emails that are highly personalized.
Of course, this approach is very time-consuming, and some people don’t like this.
The alternative here is to just send a more generic email campaign, to a large number of leads.
You might also use some basic “mail merge” settings to make sure your emails are somewhat personalized and don’t look like spam.
By the way, if you need some help sending out mass email campaigns, you can use a tool like Mailshake, or something like Lemlist.
Of course, everyone tends to have their own favorite tool when it comes to this kinda thing…
… So you might wanna experiment with several cold email tools to find the one that’s right for you.
Section #4 — Fulfillment is Important
When starting an SEO agency, a lot of people tend to think that the hardest part is attracting clients.
But…While there are definitely some good reasons to think this…For a lot of people…Fulfillment is actually the harder part of the whole process.
I mean, you’ve made some SEO promises to people…
…They like what they’ve heard…
…and now they wanna become a client…
… and now you actually need to deliver.
What’s more, you need to deliver, in spite of all the unknowns that are associated with SEO.
So, how do you get around this little problem?
Well having some SEO experience can actually be a big help here.
On top of that, you should also try to set expectations when you are working with clients.
You’ll make sure that they’ll know SEO is not an overnight thing, and that it does take time to see results.
Fortunately, if you have some experience with SEO, you will know how SEO works, so you probably won’t overpromise and suggest something you can’t deliver.
When you’re working with a client, you might wanna provide them with regular updates so that they know what you’re working on.
If you do this, it’ll at least put their mind at ease.
They’ll know that you’re actually doing meaningful stuff for them, and not just taking a retainer without doing any important work…
Another way you can get around this problem is by just outsourcing the fulfillment side of SEO.
This is actually something a lot of people don’t really consider, but it can work really well.
Especially if you really just like focusing on the sales side of things, but don’t like doing actual SEO work.
It’s also a good option if you don’t have much experience when it comes to pulling off actual SEO campaigns.
Of course, if you go down this route, it might eat into your profits a bit.
But, then again, you might end up paying less than what you would for an employee/contractor that would otherwise take care of fulfillment.
On top of that, you’re also freeing up your time, as you don’t have to worry about doing things yourself, or having to manage contractors/employees.
Now, finding someone you can trust with the fulfillment side of things can be tricky.
I mean, you’re basically putting the results of your clients into this other company/person’s hands.
If they don’t deliver, it’s gonna look bad on you, and you’ll ultimately be the one that has to answer for these issues…
Now, in most cases, you can find a good fulfillment service by just looking for someone that has some experience with the kind of thing you need help with.
So, if you need help with link building, you might wanna look for people that actually offer this as a service.
If you find someone that looks promising, you wanna ask them for case studies to see if they’re actually good at this.
By the way, if you’re interested, I might actually be able to help here.
That’s because my SEO agency can actually help people that want to outsource the fulfillment side of their firm.
So, if you’re like the idea of doing things this way, and you’re looking for someone you can trust with this, consider booking a free consultation call with us at juliangoldie.com.
We’ve delivered lots of SEO results for clients, both on a fulfillment basis, and just for actual clients of ours.
If you have a quick chat with us, you’ll learn how we work, and how you can outsource this part of your business to us.
If you’d like to see some of the results we’ve delivered for our SEO clients, you can find case studies on our site.