Want to Start an SEO Agency?
:: By Travis Bliffen, Stellar SEO ::
For many of you the thought of doing more SEO work than your own website already requires is a nightmare, for others, like myself, the challenge of SEO is alluring.
I started doing SEO like many of you, to rank a website of my own. I quickly became obsessed with testing and tweaking SEO strategies and after a lot of success, I realized that my hobby would make a challenging yet rewarding career.
Fast forward to 2015 and I have ranked countless keywords, partnered with companies across several industries to achieve sometimes almost unbelievable growth, and now I have the opportunity to share what I have learned with you, the wonderful readers of Website Magazine. Today, I wanted to share some tips aimed at those of you who have considered or are trying to start your own SEO firm.
Start Off Easy
When you first start as a freelance SEO or launch a firm, you may not have any references or examples of your work to show potential customers. If you create rapport and talk to enough people you will get a chance to prove your skills. Instead of fighting the same uphill battle that every new SEO faces, why not start by creating some example rankings to show to customers?
Many of you may be thinking “I need income, fast!” No problem! Simply create a few sites in a niche that has low competition but has a high average cost per sale. Local service industries are a great example. Taking the time to rank even a single site can give you much needed credibility. Now, imagine already ranking for the keywords you are pitching clients on. Here is an example:
Let’s say that you are going to rank for “Tacoma plumbers." You would create a simple website to rank for that term. Once you rank the site, you can get your first revenue by renting the site to a plumber in the area or by selling leads to one or more local plumbers. Now, in addition to having a revenue source, you also have proof that you can rank for profitable keywords. I personally do not work with two companies that compete directly for rankings but you may choose to work with a couple in each area. If you decide to not target any other Tacoma plumbers, you can still use your rental site to pitch SEO to plumbers in surrounding areas.
See… Getting your first client isn’t rocket science, just repeat the process until you are at capacity!
I Can’t Rank Sites!
I see… looks like you need to take a step back and do some learning before you take on SEO clients. The good news is, your rental or lead-generation site is a great place to learn and test without putting any client sites at risk. The bad news is, you need to understand the basics of SEO if you are going to test anything useful. Here are some great resources to learn the basics of the trade.
1. SEO That Works
Brian Dean, founder of backlinko.com created a training program a few years back and has continually updated and improved it. The course is called “SEO that Works” and while enrollment is currently closed, I suggest joining the waiting list so you can take advantage of it when it is open.
Wyatt Jozwowski has a free blog that often contains very useful tips and information. He also has a paid section on his site which offers “action maps."
The maps are essentially step-by-step guides covering various SEO tasks ranging from keyword research to starting your own agency. I think the cost is around $40 per month or you can order them individually. Either way, it wouldn’t take many clients to cover the cost.
3. Local Client Takeover
As the name implies, most of the training provided on this site is geared toward local SEO, which works out great for those of you considering the rank-and-rent method. Unlike the previous two sites, this training is free, so if you are on a shoe-string or non-existent budget, this may be the place to start.
4. Facebook Groups
Facebook groups are kind of like the modern day forums. People ask questions and share information openly. As with forums, you can’t take everything you read to be true but it can serve as a good source for ideas or tip you off to a new strategy you can test. Here are a couple of groups I follow:
Local Client Takeover – This is the Facebook group that goes along with the Local Client Takeover training website.
Blackhat Community Marketplace – This as the name suggests is a place where people sell various services. Mixed in with the sales is good deal of useful information and they also share links to various webinars they are putting on in this group. You can also sign up for the paid BHC Forum to discuss tactics with other professionals as well as gain access to several SEO tools.
The Proper PBN Group – If you are going to use PBNs to rank your rental sites, this group can connect you with people who locate and sell domains as well as people looking to rent links to others.
5. Google AdWords Training
While AdWords training is aimed at its own PPC platform, the information provided can be very helpful to your SEO efforts. Understanding keywords, their intent, and how to categorize them in the site architecture is just one example. Understanding the elements of a properly optimized landing page is something else that applies to both SEO and PPC. Take the time to take advantage of the free courses from Google.
If you want to create a thriving business and help clients you have to be ready to dive in head first.
Don’t spend forever planning, set up a test site, apply what you learn and keep what works! If you have any questions, leave them in the comments below, and I would be happy to answer them.
Travis Bliffen is the founder of Stellar SEO, a Web design and marketing firm located in Marion, IL. Travis and his team are equipped to handle any size SEO project and have helped numerous businesses to date build a rock solid online presence. When you are ready for more leads and sales, it is time to get #stellarized. Connect on Facebook or Twitter @theseoproz