On the one hand, making money with SEO is so easy because it's such a valuable skill. However, that is easier said than done because it often can take a while before you actually start earning. Or you'll need other skills too that mix with SEO to help you generate revenue.
Luckily for you, this article will list all the ways you can make money with SEO, even if you've never made a dime before. Everyone has to start somewhere.
Keep reading to find the 9 ways you can make over $5,000 per month with SEO and how to get started with them.
How To Make Money With SEO (Even If You've Never Made a Dime Before)
Here are the 9 ways you can make money with SEO:
- Find Private Clients And Manage Their Campaigns
- Sell Services On Freelancing Marketplaces
- Get A Job At An Agency
- Affiliate Marketing
- Grow Your Own Business
- Rank & Rent
- Develop SEO Software
- Talk About SEO
Looking at the list – you probably can tell how you earn money with them. That's why throughout this article, we're not so much going to focus on how they work, but rather how you can get started with them.
1. Find Private Clients And Manage Their Campaigns
For most clients you sell your services to privately (meaning not through a 3rd party), you'll probably be selling them a managed SEO campaign. This means you will likely be responsible for managing everything… On-page SEO, off-page SEO, technical SEO, etc. Of course, this isn't always the case, but that's what most clients will look for because they don't want to invest a lot of their time into the process – that's why they are paying you.
So make sure that you are actually comfortable with all of those areas before getting clients. Or, at least let the client know how comfortable you are, if you are still learning, so they understand the risks involved.
I'm going to break down the basics here. But if you are looking to learn the details, check out the Superstar SEO academy. And, keep an eye out on this blog because I will have lots of articles coming on building an SEO agency.
The types of clients that are most likely to need your help are:
- Local businesses
46% of all searches in Google are local. Ranking in Google is so valuable for local businesses. And in many cases, it's also easier than targeting global markets because there's less competition. This makes it a great market for you as an SEO. However, keep in mind that local businesses do often get bombarded by marketing agencies.
However, if you focus on building your case studies/social proof and generating results for your clients, you should do well in this market.
- eCommerce Stores
There are an estimated 12 million – 24 million eCommerce sites across the entire globe. – That's a lot of e-commerce stores and a lot of opportunities for you. Many of these stores have scaled up in recent years using Facebook ads, organic social media, etc.
Many of them will look for an agency or freelancer to work with for their SEO, which is where you come in.
- SaaS tools
SaaS tools are also on the rise, and not all can manage their own SEO campaigns. As an SEO, you can manage their pages, blogs, link-building, etc., and contribute to the growth of their business.
You can acquire clients by:
- Cold email
- Cold calling
- Creating content on Social Media/YouTube/Blog
- Social Media Outreach
- Facebook Groups
If you would like to learn more about finding clients, check out Freelance SEO: The Ultimate Guide. In this guide, I cover some outreach methods in a little more detail.
2. Sell Services On Freelancing Marketplaces
The next way you can make money with SEO is by selling services on freelancing marketplaces. This advantage is that you won't need to spend as much time marketing your services and have a built-in traffic stream.
While there are endless options out there, the best option is Legiit, as many agencies outsource their entire work there. There are numerous examples of freelancers turning their SEO skills into a 6 figure business using Legiit.
Services selling well at Legiit:
3. Get A Job At An Agency
Getting a job at an agency sounds the least attractive idea for many SEOs. However, this isn't necessarily the case, and it may be a good choice if you are still in the very early stages of your SEO career.
Plus, you can also grow in many jobs, which will allow you to take more responsibility as you stay in that position. To find jobs, you can obviously look at job boards/websites, but it might also be worth hanging around in SEO Facebook groups and looking on LinkedIn.
4. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing has the advantage that you don't have to work with clients so that you can call 100% of the shots. This also means that you won't have to call clients or anything like that, which many SEOs prefer.
The disadvantage is that it will often take a lot more time, and you don't get the money in advance – meaning you will need some upfront investment. So, there's good and bad on both sides.
That being said, you can start a WordPress website for as little as $3 or $4 per month and start posting your content. If you're not writing the content yourself, it may get quite costly, though, and that is where the upfront investment will mainly be.
However, my tip would be to research a niche that isn't too competitive, so you don't have to spend as much on links, content, etc.
Here on the Superstar SEO blog, there are many resources on affiliate marketing that you can check out below.
- How To Increase Affiliate Marketing Sales In 2021
- The Best Niches For Affiliate Marketing
- The Best Affiliate Programs For Beginners
5. Grow Your Own Business
SEO is a skill that you can use to grow pretty much any business. And we live in an age where there are many businesses with low entry requirements like dropshipping. So, you could start your own business (if you don't have one yet) and grow it using your SEO skill.
Again, it does have the disadvantage that you can't make money quickly because a client will pay you upfront. Or, you could also use SEO to grow your already existing business.
But in general, SEO is such a versatile skill to have because you can use it for practically any business – as every industry uses Google.
6. Rank & Rent
Rank and rent are one of my least favorite ways to make money with SEO. However, there are many people out there that make a killing using this method. If you don't know, the way it works is to rank websites and then sell the leads to businesses.
Personally, I'm not too fond of it because you have to rank a website and then go through the effort of selling to the business owner. However, the advantage is that usually, businesses are more likely to say yes if they're paying per lead.
But, be aware of the risks involved, and make sure that you do your research first to make sure that you will be profitable. You can use the outreach methods mentioned earlier to find clients.
7. Develop SEO Software
One of the most interesting ways to make money with SEO is developing software. Even if you're not a developer yourself, you can partner with a developer or hire them to create the tool.
Okay… So, what type of software could you create?
As SEOs, we all run into issues quite often, and if you can create a tool that solves those issues – SEOs will pay you for it. To give you an example, I often created annoying spreadsheets and manually checked the on-page SEO ranking factors of the SERP. As you can imagine or maybe even know yourself, this takes FOREVER and is unnecessary time spent.
That's why I created Audiit, a tool that shows you all this data for any keyword in just one click. Initially, I did create this tool for me and some of my students to use, but I have actually launched it – and you can get a lifetime license for just $49 here if you want.
Back to developing SEO software, it really comes down to what type of problem you can solve. And if that is a time-consuming problem for SEO, or it can show them lots of additional data, then SEOs won't be afraid to invest in it.
To find developers, you can check out freelancing marketplaces like Legiit or ask around in Facebook groups.
Consulting is one of the coolest ways to make money with SEO because you really have to give advice. And if your career is SEO, I would assume that you're at least somewhat passionate about it, so this should be a fun way to make money with SEO.
The disadvantage of this is that it's not as scalable, and you can never sell it – because you're selling your advice. As a consultant, you should first make sure that your advice is worth it and that you can solve your clients' issues.
Once you get yourself in that position, you can use the methods we spoke about in the first point (email, cold calling, etc.).
Tip: It may be worth running a blog or YouTube channel where you show off your knowledge. This will make you more trustworthy and will help prove that you're not just…
9. Create SEO Content
Our final method is to talk about SEO by creating content. I'm talking about it on a YouTube channel, blog, podcast, or even on social media. If you love SEO and want to talk about it, there are endless ways you can monetize this; affiliate marketing, course sales, ads, sponsorships, etc.
Your job is to create content around SEO. Now keep in mind that this will also not be one of the methods that will make you money overnight, as you will have to build up the channel first.
That being said, if you do find SEO fun, this is a great method. Plus, it can also combine incredibly well with the other methods on this list because you're showing off your knowledge to potential clients.
If you want to get started with this, create a channel named above, and start producing content. Of course, also put some of your efforts into learning how to grow… So if you're starting an SEO podcast, learn how to grow a podcast, as this will help you market your content.
There you have it, 9 ways you can make money with SEO. I hope this article has been helpful for you. Just remember that you don't have to commit to only one of them. For example, you might run a YouTube channel where you talk about SEO, but you also use it in your marketing to get clients.
I've been doing SEO for years, and have a YouTube channel and blog where I talk about SEO, sell services on Legiit, and work with clients. Of course, you should make sure you're not trying to do too much at once. Otherwise, you won't be able to focus. But nor do you have to limit yourself to one method only.
If you would like to read more on SEO and related topics – check out some of the other articles below.