How To Start An SEO Agency – Starting An SEO Company Made Easy
Starting an SEO company requires work. But it can be fun and fulfilling – especially when you see your input and clients ranking on SERPs.
And we know the feeling because we started one at Superstar SEO. Beautifully, we are punching tons of weight!
So, would you like to join the group too? Do you love helping businesses make sales?
If yes, this guide contains all you need most comprehensively. Here, you will find how to start an SEO agency business. You will also learn how to get clients and stay afloat.
That said, let's help you start up your company!
The Ingredients Of Starting An SEO Company
Like most businesses, an SEO agency happens in stages. You can liken it to cooking.
Say you're not the best chef from Paris. You can at least boil eggs.
And for that, for example, you need the egg, water, and your cooker. Then, the magic begins!
Likewise, before all that magic of SEO agency, you need some ingredients. Here are the basics:
Work Up Your Business Skills
If you think running an SEO agency relieves fundamental business duties, you might be in for a long haul. Funnily enough, you might hardly do any of the “SEO stuff” when your agency settles in.
For that reason, the first ingredient of a sustainable SEO business is to have the skills. So, learn it.
Don't limit your research to SEO. Instead, read wide on the ethics of successful businesses. That will help you set the right foundation.
And the foundation is to make the best decision for your business at all times.
Learn & Re-learn SEO And Digital Marketing
Indeed, you don't have to be an SEO guru to start an SEO business. You can always hire a team of heavyweight punchers.
Even at that, you must learn SEO and stay up to date with digital marketing trends. How can you call yourself the owner of what you don't know?
It's like calling yourself a chef when you know nothing about spices or cuisines.
Or, if you were a business owner, would you trust an “SEO” agency where you know more about the details than the owner?
So, as much as you have business acumen, your SEO game ought to be topnotch. Also, get and master the required SEO tools.
Improve Your Project Management Skills
This part is for you if you only handle peripherals of SEO like web design or content creation. You should know that SEO agency is a different beast.
This beast never sleeps; it needs constant work. In other words, SEO never ends. It is a continuous process.
So, SEO is a project. And like with most, you must learn how to deal with expectations, goals, systems, and your team.
How do you continuously keep a client's business on the first few pages of SERPs? What happens when the website is first on the pile? Does that mean you stop your efforts?
Those questions are some of the larger reasons why project management is critical to your agency.
You Need Money
We have discussed the skills and abstract ingredients. But all that amounts to nothing without dollars.
Yes, you'll spend. At the least, prepare to part with $7-8K.
Now, you wonder why you need all that money. Or perhaps there is a way to reduce such a sum.
Well, let's list what you'll be spending on as an SEO agency. Have a look at the summary:
- Office space, equipment, and supplies
- Employee expenses
- Business and legal expenses
Even when you start solo, you will need a website. Say you can build one yourself; you will still buy a domain and pay for email hosting.
The same thing applies to software and the other categories. Those supplies are crucial to your agency.
Spoiler alert: the $8K startup cost could even increase to about $70K if you're starting your SEO business with a large team.
In all, when you consider that the SEO market stands at over $80B, the capital investment is worth it.
Dedicate Your Time
If you're spending $8K, sure, you'll need to invest time. But an SEO agency needs more than “just time.”
You need patience and full-time engagement – especially when you're just starting. That said, prepare to quit your 9-5 job.
Before you quit, you might want to work out a reserve you can fall back on in rough times. And about time, it might take up to 13 months before your SEO agency kicks.
If you're already an SEO consultant, you won't spend that much time. Nevertheless, prepare yourself for the long haul.
Good news: we can help to reduce the startup time of your SEO business even further. Find our snackable steps below for a quick setup.
7 Practical Steps To Make Starting An SEO Company Easy And Quick
Seek Professional Advice Regarding Your Business Structure
Before contemplating your niche or even name, seek a professional guide on your agency structure. That said, hire legal counsel and an accountant.
The two aids will help you decide on the following:
- Sole proprietorship or LLC
- Banking aids
From our end, we will advise you to go for LLC. Like us, SuperStar SEO LLC, you can spread the risks of starting up the agency.
The best part: you get better protection for your assets. Plus, you can access more loans than if you'd gone the sole proprietorship route.
Nevertheless, stick to the advice of the experts.
You may also like: Long Tail Keywords For SEO
Streamline Your Agency
For a start, streamlining your agency to a particular niche isn't a requirement. Also, niching down doesn't mean you stop taking on “general” SEO services.
On the other hand, streamlining your SEO business helps you navigate the dense competition. That way, you won't wait 13 months. Also, when you niche down, even marketing and sales become more convenient for you.
So, how can you streamline your agency?
- Targeting specific industry and location: the truth is certain areas have more juice than others. For such a case, a single job with the top-spenders could pay hundreds of low-spenders. That spending power also applies to locations. It's best to target cities with a considerable level of wealth.
- Targeting specific services: instead of going full-house, throw snack bits to your clients. In other words, offer microservices. Why?
Microservices are effective tactics of offering something relatively affordable to draw in clients for an even larger commitment.
When you eventually niche down, your work becomes simple. More importantly, branding your agency comes easy. Now, you can conveniently name your business and summarize your missions and visions.
Get Your Website
SEO is an online business, so create your e-presence. By the way, you don't have to go all complex on web designs.
A simple website with WordPress would suffice. Well, you can use other methods. However, ensure that the site is smooth and easy to navigate.
About the content, remember you already have a niche. So, that's a plus; it would make crafting your landing and service pages seamless.
Here are few things to include on those pages:
- Call to action,
- “Few” prompts to request a quote,
- Testimonials – if you have any.
Most importantly, your website is your opportunity to show you know SEO. How?
Find a low-competitive keyword and try to rank for that. That's an automatic sample in itself.
Work Out How To Stay Afloat
We understand you want to jump to creating contracts and pricing models. However, those details can wait.
First, handle the core of your business: sales – your customers. How can you get their attention? Afterward, how can you sustain such?
- Offer to work for free as a start – this approach is the fastest method to get clients' attention. After an excellent work, they'll commit to your offerings and even refer you.
- Outbound marketing – means you will reach out to clients, SEO agencies like yourself, or those offering SEO services that need helping hands. Here, you will need personalized and attractive pitches. In all, you can expect to do outbounds for the first three months. After such a timeline, you will have enough clients – given that you consistently deliver quality work.
- Inbound marketing – means clients are the ones reaching to you. This approach works in three simpler processes: clients can refer you, you can do content marketing that drives constant traffic, or you pay for advertisement. Either way, you can expect endless sales once your inbounds settle.
Now, we have handled sales, let's discuss the formalities.
Establish Pricing Model
To show you are a formal institution, provide clear and well-defined pricing structures and models. Your hired accountant can help here.
Regardless, we have a tip for you:
SEO is a project, as such, lean towards a monthly-retainer pricing model. Note: the price, however, should reflect the time spent and the efforts you invest.
Another thing you want to consider is your client's keyword. A competitive keyword will take much time and effort. In that case, your pricing should match the workload.
Set Up Contracts & Payment Methods
Once your model is concrete, you want to detail that in a document – an SEO contract.
Like most business contracts, this piece of document binds your client to you legally. It clears the clouds about the roles and processes of your project.
Another thing to consider is payment methods. You can stick to digital wallets like PayPal. However, we will advise you to explore other options such as credit cards.
Lastly, consider invoices. You're a formal business now; create receipts!
Document Your Processes And Results Into Case Studies
Alas, we are in the final stage. Beautifully, it is a crucial one. Why?
Storytelling appeals to all minds. And it is a way to discuss business processes without boring your prospects. That is what you'll achieve with case studies.
With a case study, clients get an instant overview of how you can help them solve their problems. They will also understand the requirements and timeline.
Most importantly, clients will recognize you as an authority when you create case studies. When they do, your SEO agency has finally settled.
Starting an SEO company is an investment worth the time and capital. And if you like helping people, you will find self-fulfillment.
Once your agency kicks in, you might want to consider upscaling. However, always remember to make the best decision for your business.
All the best!
If you need additional guidance, you can read our other resources. Better still, you can reach out. We'll be glad to help!
Here are some of our recent posts which may be helpful to you.