HOW TO START AN SEO COMPANY

Matthew Carter
Hello friends, my name is Matthew Carter. I’m a professional link builder for a large SEO agency in New York City.

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PORTFOLIO

Start off by partnering with a couple local web design freelancers , then start offering web design to your SEO clients. After all, many SEO projects require an overhaul of the client’s site because the development is super old and very SEO unfriendly. Once you’re getting more web design business, and only when you’re getting enough web design business, bring on the web designer full-time.

This is why I created MySiteAuditor. I had the exact same problem with my agency’s website. Our traffic was decent, but our conversions stunk! MySiteAuditor is a white-label, SEO audit tool that’s free for your visitors. It takes about 5 minutes to set up and add to your SEO company’s website. Just upload your logo, colors, and contact information, then easily embed MySiteAuditor’s SEO audit tool forms throughout your website… then wait for new SEO leads in your email inbox. Your visitors will love generating a free 9 page SEO audit of their website, as long as they enter their web address, a target keyword, and their email and phone number.

Step 3: Incentivize Account Managers.

6. I Answered Questions on Quora.

Throughout your SEO company’s website, strategically place free downloads that your visitors will love. For example, do some research on pricing in the SEO industry, create a simple one or two page report, and give it a way for free on your website as long as the visitor shares that free download first. In exchange for sharing your website with a quick click, your visitor gets a very valuable resource (with your name on it). It’s a huge win for you and your visitor. Below I’ve listed my favorite tools for giving away a free download in exchange for sharing your site.

Keep in mind that I recommend targeting bigger keywords like “SEO Albany” from day one. You’d be surprised how easy it might be to get on page #1. Many of your SEO competitors fail to do a bunch of easy SEO tactics, and instead they just rely on their domain’s age and authority any that’s not always enough. There is more than one way to skin a cat in SEO. Here are a few SEO tricks I did to dominate page #1 of Google for “Chicago SEO”, the #1 keyword for SEO services in all of Chicago. Keep in mind, my agency’s website to this day, has consistently stayed in the top two or three organic spaces in Google.

According to the 2015 Form Conversion Report by Formstack, only about 1% of small contact forms (about 4 fields) get filled out on websites . That means only 1 out of 100 people that visit your SEO company’s website will fill out your contact form. The other 99 will leave your website and probably never contact you for SEO services. This is a huge problem. So many potential clients who need SEO visit and leave your site forever, never having contacted you. You need a way to get way more of your visitors, and potential customers, to give you their contact information when visiting your website. As I pointed out earlier, relying on your contact form isn’t good enough.

In this business you’ll notice that there are many agencies who specialize in one area of digital marketing. That could be web design, mobile, social media, PPC, online PR, etc. Often times, their clients will ask them about SEO services which they don’t offer. You want to partner with these agencies. Offer them a standard 10% finders fee if they send you any business. In other words, if they send you a client that you sign for $20,000, send them a check within 5 days of signing the new client for $2,000.

Again, I’m not an attorney, but this is what I did. I waited a few months before creating an LLC for my business. I made a little money first, then incorporated. The reason I did this is because incorporating costs money. In Illinois it’s about $500-$600, plus $250 per year. No need to waste that money if you never get business. I asked my accountant, Gaurang Patel of Southloop CPA in Chicago, IL, about this. Here’s what he said:

Be prepared to get slammed and inundated with tools and software in this industry. They are everywhere. Hopefully I can save you some time and energy by listing all the tools I used while running my SEO business.

Do not hire a web designer too early. You need to watch your overhead. Partner on a few projects first and when it makes sense, then bring them on a full-time employee.

1. I Got Ranked on Page #1 of Google.

My SEO company landed the business of many of the top real estate firms in Chicago simply by adding our name and link in the bottom of a small real estate agent’s website we were working with. We got this guy to page #1 for “Chicago condos” and of course, all of the big real estate firms wanted to know how we did it and if we could do it for them.

A couple weeks before an SEO contract expires hold a face-to-face meeting to discuss the success of the the contract and the above Next Phase Strategy Brief. After all, SEO, web design and all of digital marketing never ends. There is no finish line. It’s an ongoing process.

Keep in mind that you can send partners potentials clients as well. That’s a great starting point and an excellent sign of good faith. Sending a new partner a client first is a great way to help get the ball rolling. I did this before I sold my agency and it was fantastic. A few times a month I would get a couple finder’s fee checks for doing practically nothing, except giving out a name and phone number to a current client.

Enter the URL of any landing page or blog article and see how optimized it is for one keyword or phrase.

Live Chats aren’t the most annoying thing in the world anymore. They actually work really great if set up right. We used Olark for the last couple of years and sold thousands and thousand of dollars in deals because of it. With a live chat on your SEO company’s website you’ll get notified when a potential client is on your site. They can message you for help or you can even message them. Think about walking into store. What if you had a questions but the store had no employees on staff? Strange, right? Be in your store at all times in case a potential customer has a question. Live Chats let you do that.

Software and Tools.

I got rid of all the fluff and removed 80% of the BS clauses random lawyers had added throughout the years. I got the SEO contract down to five simple pages. I re-wrote areas of the SEO contract over and over until each area was super short, simple and clearly communicated everything we need to communicate.

Note: Use a “No Follow” tag in the link so search engines don’t think you’re trying to manipulate the search results with links. It should look something like the below:

You can even take this a step further than your competition by creating an official letter with your signature, just to make it sound more real and official to your partners. If possible, try to deliver it by hand so you can meet your partners.

Despite what your competitors are doing and despite what you’ve read and may have been doing for the past few years, SEO is not just tweaking, optimizing and link building. It’s optimizing and mostly link earning. Earning links to your client’s site is more natural and safer. you can earn links by creating amazing content that your client’s target market would love to read and share. Here are a few examples:

You need to become obsessed and fight like crazy to get to page #1 of Google for SEO service related keywords in your geographical area. Usually, the best keyword to target customers is “SEO” + your city. In other words, if you’re starting an SEO company in Albany, New York, you should target “SEO Albany”. I’m sure some of you are getting worried right now because you live in big cities where other SEO companies dominate the first page of Google. Stop worrying. While you’re fighting your way to page #1 of Google for a very competitive keyword, target low hanging fruit like “SEO services Albany”, “seo company Albany NY”, or “Albany SEO company”. The trick is that you have to be on Page #1 for something. This will give you credibility when it’s time to close the deal. Not only will potential customers find you, but in sales meetings you can also point that your SEO business is on the top of page #1 of Google for “SEO company in Albany”. Your potential customers have no idea which keywords are the hardest keywords to target in SEO; being on page #1 among and ahead of your SEO competitors will impress the heck out of potential customers. I can’t even count the number of customers who told me they purchased our services because we were on the top of page #1 of Google, ahead of our SEO competitors.

Use sites like Upwork.com to find inexpensive admins that will send cold emails to your target market. This is key because cold emailing is far below your pay grade. An admin level person should be doing this, not you. If fact you can find someone in Asia or India to cold email for a couple dollars per hour.

Before you get to the fun stuff, it’s important to talk to a lawyer and an accountant. They can help you determine what protection your business needs. Should you be an LLC, an S-Corp or a Partnership? Get professional advice on insurance, banking, and taxes from the beginning. It’s much easier to start with your books in shape then it is to try unscrambling things later.

Start with packaging. We recommend a offering three services:

As you write the content for your site, think about your audience and the types of problems they face each day. Be sure to include a call to action on every page.

Are SEO Businesses Profitable?

Be sure to use free tools such as Google Analytics and Google Search Console to measure the results of your new website.

Key points include:

Let’s break starting an SEO business into actionable steps.

Strategy — How will you approach the problem? What is your solution? Clearly outline how your solution is process-based in this section of the proposal.

Learn more about each of these services and how to create SEO packages.

Creating a winning proposal template will help you close more business and will save you time during the sales process.

1. Hire an Accountant and a Lawyer.

Pricing & Timeline — What is the cost of your services? When are you available to start? What are your terms and conditions?

Here are some common pain points to address when it comes to SEO:

A successful SEO proposal includes:

For accounting, we’ve found QuickBooks Online to be easy to use, although not inexpensive. Talk to your accountant to determine which accounting software is most appropriate for your business.

How to Start an SEO Business in 7 Steps.

We keep our terms and conditions very simple: * We do not require a long term contract. We request 30 days’ notice for a change of service. *One-time services are billed 50% upfront and 50% upon completion. *Monthly services are billed on the 15th and payment is requested by the 30th.

Please review our proposal for SEO services and let me know if you have any questions.

A final tip about SEO proposals — use the proposal to cement what you covered on your initial SEO discovery call; your proposal shouldn’t include anything new to the prospect.

As an SEO business, your toolset will be one of your biggest monthly expenses. The good news is that you can start small and invest just a few hundred dollars a month. As your revenue and your team grow your tools may expand. At our SEO agency, we invest roughly $1,000/month in tools and subscriptions to power our business and our customer’s SEO initiatives.

While including testimonials and white papers on your website can be helpful, most new businesses won’t have these. Don’t let that get you hung up on completing your site; start where you are and build from there. Here’s an example website from our own SEO agency, which is simple (5 pages) and yet converts well. A website is only one touchpoint in a prospect’s journey.

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