In this post I will show you the strategies I used to start my SEO agency. It should be noted that things have changed since then. I don’t use the same pricing structure, nor do I perform the same link building techniques. But everything I mention is what worked for me, and in most cases still works today, so it’s what I recommend you start with.
Remember, for this to work you will NOT need any of the following:
- Previous SEO experience or results.
- Startup capital or money in the bank.
Sound good? Then let’s get started.
You will be selling local SEO. This doesn’t mean the businesses have to be local to YOU, just that you will be helping them rank locally. You can use businesses from anywhere in the world, but I do recommend starting in your own area.
The reason we are starting with local SEO is simple. It’s much easier to rank for local keywords, and in many cases citations alone will get you half way there.
If you’re going to be selling SEO, then you’ll need to know SEO.
To learn SEO, to the extent needed to get started, will take around 3 months.
So, how are you going to learn SEO?
You are going to read every post on Backlinko: https://backlinko.com/blog
Yes, read ALL of them. I said this would be free, I didn’t say it would be easy. Also, read every external post that this blog links to. This will save you a lot of time and money. You will learn more from this blog than from any paid course.
It won’t teach you everything, but we have this amazing thing called Google. If you need more information on any topic, Google it.
I’ve purchased every SEO course known to man, and I can honestly say that nearly every single one of them is a complete waste of money.
Well, most of them. There are a few good courses out there. But they’re few and far between, and for the purposes of selling SEO, the resources I provide will be more than enough.
If you’re looking into buying an SEO course, or any digital marketing course for that matter, I will be more than happy to give you my honest opinion on the content. Where possible, I will link you to free resources, which in most cases are better than the course itself. And remember, I am happy to answer any questions you may have about SEO or digital marketing.
Remember, you’re not trying to master SEO. You just need to know enough to be confident when selling it, and then outsource it effectively.
Anchor Text & Local Citations
So Brian Dean didn’t talk about anchor text or local citations. And with good reason.
- He doesn’t provide Local SEO.
- Anchor text doesn’t matter as much as people claim. Unless you’re building artificial links, which we will be doing.
You will need to know how to create local citations for businesses, and how to correctly use PBNs whilst avoiding a Penguin penalty.
Here are the resources you should use…
- https://ahrefs.com/blog/anchor-text-after-penguin-4/ – Similar to above post, same author but has different content.
Citation Directories: https:/whitespark.ca/resources/
Now you know SEO, how do you go about getting clients?
By using cold email.
If you want, watch these too: https://lionzeal.com/client-seo/ – The 4 videos on this page are very similar to the other three, but have different information.
As an alternative to cold emailing, you can use cold calling, or walk into the business and meet with the owner face-to-face. (Yes, people still meet face-to-face. I know right, how crazy?) Other alternatives include Skype.
After getting your first few clients, you’ll find it much easier to attract new ones, usually via referral or word of mouth. If you’re struggling to get clients, try offering free trials on Facebook Ads (discussed more below), where the client only has to pay for the ads, but not for you to run them.
And once you’ve got the hang of Facebook Ads, you can use them for your own lead generation.
Who To Target
This is just an idea of businesses you should (and shouldn’t) be targeting.
Low (DON’T use these, they don’t have the budget):
- Self-Employed / Single Person Business
- Family / Small Business
- Make-up / Beauty Parlour
- Small Restaurant / Take-Out
Medium ($500 to $1500 package):
- Handyman & other trades
- Large Restaurant
High ($2000 – $5000+):
- Estate Agents
- Lawyer / Attorney
Remember, the business needs room to expand for more clients, otherwise your service is useless.
The Video Audit
NOTE: I use SiteProfiler for the video audit. Enter a competitors site and it will show the keywords they are ranking for and the backlinks they have.
You can use any major SEO tool to perform the audit, such as Ahrefs, Majestic, or SEMRush. In most cases, the free version is sufficient. If you plan on buying a tool, I recommend either the Mangools suite (creator of KWFinder) for small budgets, and Ahrefs for larger budgets.
Performing The Work
In the beginning you will do all of the work yourself. Eventually you will want to outsource it or hire staff. I will talk about outsourcing and hiring in a later update.
My packages start at $500 and the work doubles for every $500 added. I always try to sell at least the $1500 package. This makes it easier to outsource the work. I spend no more than 60% on providing the service, meaning a minimum of 40% profit. (Note: As mentioned, I don’t use this packaging structure anymore, but it’s still the one I recommend you use when starting out.)
Here is how you will do the work:
(This is the basic $500 package, just double everything for every $500 added.)
1. On-page optimisation for 5 pages – Nothing complicated. I perform keyword research and an audit of the selected pages. I then fix all the errors and add more long-tail / LSI keywords when needed.
Tools you can use to perform a site audit:
Read my post to learn how to do keyword research for free: https://joshuarosato.com/keyword-research/
2. Buy 2 pieces of content for the blog. I use 1000-2000 words from iWriter. Using the premium class will remove 60% of bad writers; I highly recommend this, but it’s your choice.
3. Create 5-10 local citations per month. Start with the big ones first: Google My Business, Google Plus+, Facebook Pages, Yelp, etc. Fully optimise these with information and images.
4. You will provide 2 guest posts for the $500 package – here is the process to get cheap but high-quality guest posts: https://www.authorityhacker.com/buy-contextual-links/
Again, buy 1000-2000 words from iWriter for the post. You can hire a VA to do all of the work for you.
You can also buy guest posts:
These services are expensive, so only use them for higher paying clients. Honestly, I have not tried them because I prefer knowing beforehand the quality of work that I will be providing to my clients, but try them out once or twice and if they work for you, keep using them. Otherwise use the above-mentioned method of getting cheap guest posts.
5. I do not provide PBN links until the $1500 package. They are not needed for most local competition levels.
I use Hatred’s PBN links: http://www.konker.io/services/4119-hatred-s-pbn-posts-proven-ranking-quality-10-posts
He also provides citations, though I have not tried them. It is easy to create citations manually and for free. You only need 5 monthly citations for most local businesses. Too many is an obvious sign to Google of SEO work. Think, how many real businesses have 300+ citations?
I can also recommend the Diggity Marketing, Lion Zeal, and Charles Floate PBN networks, but these services charge a monthly fee. For local rankings, a one-off blast is usually enough, which is why I don’t personally use them.
You should look to pay around $200 for 5 high-quality links. That equates to $40 per link. I wouldn’t be willing to pay any more than this, unless I am 100% confident of the quality of the links. You’ll likely be able to find PBNs that are good enough for much cheaper than this.
Up-Selling Extra Services
It’s easy to generate extra income by up-selling almost any related services. Here’s an idea of the services I tend to up-sell.
- Web Design – Many businesses have badly designed websites. Outsource the design or buy a theme from ThemeForest. I use Elementor, hire someone to create a template for the niche, and then I can use it for multiple clients. Elementor is easy to edit, so you can show your clients to stop them from bugging you for minor edits.
- Graphic Design – Logos, Business Cards, Social Media Banners, almost anything a business is likely to need.
- Facebook Ads – SEO takes months to start seeing results. Clients are impatient. Up-sell them SEO by explaining that they will see immediate results with Facebook Ads, and that they will also help with any SEO campaigns.
- Sales Funnels – You can’t run a Facebook Ads campaign without a proper sales funnel. And no, it’s not just a website. I’ll tell you more about sales funnels in the next update.
More coming soon…
- The Entrepreneur Alliance – Facebook Ads Mastery (Beginner Course)
- Kevin David – Facebook Ads Masterclass (Advanced Course)
- Maxwell Finn – Facebook Ad IQ Academy (Advanced Course)
- Facebook Ads
- Sales Funnels
Any questions let me know.