Businesses around the world understand the need for visibility in the search engines. If a site can’t be found for the major industry search terms, the competition can gain a clear advantage. While some businesses might choose to control their own SEO, most opt to employ an agency to handle their optimization. Creating your own SEO agency is one of the quickest ways to develop an online business, with the ability to grow as your client base expands. The following steps can be used as a guide for building a successful agency.
1. Design a System
While each client will have their own individual needs, you should design a system that has proven to be effective. The system can be adapted for each situation, but it can work as a basis for each new campaign. Having a system simplifies your work, allowing you to focus on the most productive areas of SEO. Search engine algorithms change frequently, so you will need to remain current, but many of the fundamentals will stay the same.
2. Develop Case Studies
It is far easier to secure clients when you have successful case studies. However, a case study will take time to come to fruition, so you should start as early as possible. You can create a new project, but it is often better to offer a free trial to someone you know in exchange for a testimonial. A good case study can do more than an exceptional sales pitch, with direct proof of your abilities helping to sway clients.
3. Attract Clients
Attracting your first few clients is often the most difficult stage, but you can then gain some momentum. You may ultimately want to gain large corporate clients, but it will initially be easier to attract smaller local businesses. Social events and local business meetings are good for networking, since SEO is something most business owners want to eventually get around to. Setting up an SEO campaign for your own website, along with some paid traffic, is also a way of showing you can back up your promises.
4. Offer an Audit
A proven method of developing an initial relationship is with a free audit. The audit will analyze a website, study on-page optimization, and look at competition for relevant search terms. An audit should typically be simple to avoid confusion, but provide some important initial information to a client. To carry out an audit, you could develop your own tool, subscribe to a white-label product, or manually use an SEO intelligence service.
5. Create Add-Ons
SEO will be the main focus of an agency, but there are opportunities to create valuable add-ons. Social media is a major component of a marketing plan, so you could offer Facebook pages, YouTube accounts, and other networks that could be optimized. If a client is unsure about SEO, there is a good chance they will feel the same about these additional services.
As your agency grows, outsourcing becomes a way of managing the simple tasks. There are a couple decent reseller SEO companies, so using them for tasks like syndicating press releases or posting content is a good idea. Whether you outsource work or employ people in an office, you will ultimately want to reach a point where you oversee projects.
7. Seek Referrals
The final step is to seek referrals from existing clients. Most clients will have relationships with other business owners, so this offers a great opportunity for expansion. A referral program could offer benefits for anyone who brings in a new paying client; the option of a discount or a free month works well.
While each client might have their own individual challenges, these steps can be used as a guide in almost all cases. SEO is a proven marketing strategy, so there will always be potential clients looking for your expertise. If you want to develop an online business that also involves direct contact with customers, starting an SEO agency might be your best option.