Selling SEO isn't as hard as it seems. It can be as simple as selling anything else, really. How easy that comes to you depends on the kind of agency owner you are.
To be an effective salesperson, you must first have a clear understanding of the products and services you’re offering. However, this doesn't mean you have to be a subject matter expert on the topic. Ultimately, understanding your clients and their business is more important than knowing how to build links, optimize for page speed, or other search engine optimization processes.
In this article, we're going to cover everything you need to know to resell SEO services and be successful at it without being an SEO expert, starting with what agencies like you need to know about SEO.
SEO 101: What Agencies Like Yours Need To Know
It’s a common misconception among small businesses and start-ups that simply putting together a website can get them more sales. While that’s certainly a good start, it isn’t enough. Apart from launching a website, it needs to be optimized for search to attract more visitors who can turn out to be clients.
As an SEO seller, this is where your expertise comes in handy. You’re here to get your clients what they want: more calls, more form fills, more leads, and more sales. Through SEO, you’ll drive valuable traffic to the website of these businesses by making them more visible on search engine results pages (SERPs).
The SEO Process
To better understand how things work, let’s go over the basic components of the SEO process. They are as follows:
- Initial Audit
- Keyword Research
- OnPage SEO (Optimization)
- Link Building
These are the essential aspects of the entire process that you need to grasp fully, so you can thoroughly explain SEO and highlight its positives to your clients.
Initial Audit: Site Analysis and Google Penalty Check
Most clients your agency will get have zero to little SEO optimization done on their websites. Some may have already commissioned another SEO firm previously, but the work done resulted in the cardinal mistake of over-optimization.
This scenario makes it a must to conduct an initial audit on your clients’ sites to pinpoint penalties that have been imposed beforehand.
Such penalties may have been caused by:
- Duplicate content
- Low-quality links to the site
- Over-optimization of one or more target keywords
One thing to keep in mind before working on a site that’s already been penalized is that it takes more work than usual to get it back above ground. It’s best to be upfront about this situation with your clients and charge them accordingly.
After conducting the initial audit and ensuring there aren’t any significant underlying issues associated with the site, the next thing on the to-do list is to perform keyword research to find the right keywords to target.
To perform an easy win keyword research, the first thing to do is look at the keywords the site’s already ranking for, especially in the first three pages of SERPs. If your client’s site ranks within this range, search engines already see it as a valuable and relevant source for that specific keyphrase but aren’t getting as much traffic as those in the top three spots.
The next step is to push the rankings for these keyword(s), ideally to page one and drive more traffic to the website.
Another form of keyword research you can perform is content gap analysis. Here, you’ll search for keywords your client’s competitors are ranking for, but they aren’t targeting yet. These keywords are excellent sources of fresh content ideas and reoptimize existing content.
The next step, on-page optimization, is essential to let search engines know what your site is about, which is necessary to gain a competitive ranking.
Optimization needs to be done on every page of the website and involves optimizing the following:
- Title Tags with Keywords
- URLs with Keywords
- H1s with Keywords
- Meta Descriptions with Keywords
- Images with Keywords
The process also requires adding relevant internal links to every page and contextual content to the website.
Last but certainly not least is link-building. It remains one of the most significant Google ranking signals to date. These links serve as votes of confidence for a particular website, and the greater their number, the greater the weight of the website becomes to rank higher in SERPs.
While links are valuable, not all of them bear the same value. Links from websites with a higher domain authority (DA) carry more weight than blogs with lower DA scores. Over the years, Google has come up with more than a few updates concerning links, so it’s crucial that you stay on top of these changes and fully grasp how SEO is constantly evolving.
There are several ways to get these backlinks, including:
- Guest Posting through Blogger Outreach
- Social Profiles and Bookmarking
- Editorial Placements
- Directory Submissions
There you go. We’ve covered the basic principles you need to be familiar with to explain the SEO process to your clients effectively.
Benefits of SEO Reselling
SEO selling provides numerous benefits to agency owners. It's a solid strategy to boost revenue while growing their business. Becoming an SEO reseller offers more than a few cool perks. Let’s discuss several of them a bit more in-depth:
It’s an Opportunity to Introduce a New Service Offering
As the owner of a startup agency, you’d want to carefully consider every time an opportunity to introduce a new service offering presents itself. Take, for instance, a specific scenario wherein your clients want you to add SEO to the list of services you offer. The only problem is that your current team doesn’t know how to do it. Setting up a new team isn’t the most economical choice. So, what do you do? A white label SEO reseller program is the solution to this concern.
Given that SEO requires a specialized set of skills, it will require considerable resources and effort to acquire the necessary competency in this industry. Why go through all the hassle when you can add to your service offering by getting onboard an SEO reseller program? When marketed as part of your other service packages, you’ll have an additional source of revenue without having to worry about adding expenses to your company.
Reduces the Associated Costs of Assembling a New Team
Typically, adding SEO to your list of service offerings will require you to assemble a new department and hire industry experts before you can begin marketing your newest service.
Doing this isn’t that simple and would often cause a significant hit to your agency’s payroll. Becoming an SEO reseller saves you that cost since it eliminates the need to build a new team from scratch. All you need to do is market SEO as your own service and keep the profits you earn. From a business standpoint, outsourcing is a great way to save both time and monetary expenses.
Enables You to Maintain a High-Quality Standard of Service
Being able to maintain a high-quality standard of service is one of the main reasons that make SEO reselling an exceptional initiative for companies. Certainly, you don’t want to risk working with a rag-tag team of SEO service providers with little to no experience.
Instead, you’d want to stick with SEO experts with years of experience. What makes a white label SEO reseller program an ideal choice is that it allows you to maintain an excellent standard of service without negatively affecting your profitability.
Generates Additional Revenue from Current Clients
Finally, adding SEO to your list of service offerings creates the opportunity to upsell it to existing clients. Most agency owners know that consumer acquisition costs are much higher compared to retaining an existing one. This makes SEO reselling worth pitching to current clients as it generates recurring revenue without incurring any additional costs.
The Most Popular SEO Reseller Services
Before you can market them, you’d want to have a firm grasp of the services that SEO resellers offer. The most popular SEO reseller services are as follows:
Major search engines, especially Google, pay close attention to the quality of content posted on websites. Business owners keen on getting their website ranked need to ensure that they only create and publish properly-optimized content. SEO professionals can help with that, including the creation of landing pages that convert.
Being considered the cornerstone of every successful SEO campaign, link-building simply can’t be overlooked. Any great link-building effort focuses mainly on actions taken by an SEO professional to boost the number of high-quality inbound links to a website and drive traffic to improve its rankings on results pages.
Guest posting entails writing a blog or write-up and publishing it on another website. It’s a service frequently offered as part of SEO service packages since it promotes link exchanges while helping build relationships and authority.
Since it’s an excellent way to tap into a site’s existing audience while improving the search ranking of the author’s website, guest posting is considered one of the most effective B2B lead generation strategies.
Many website owners choose website analysis as the first service they purchase when they hire the services of SEO professionals since it gives them a clear picture of where things currently stand. It's also one of the primary services you'll be able to offer to your clients once you become part of an SEO reseller program.
Coming up with a list of the right keywords to target can be challenging. As an agency owner, you can charge for keyword research services at a premium rate. When done correctly, keywords can propel your client’s website to the top of Google’s rankings. On the other hand, choosing the wrong keywords can bury even high-quality content into oblivion.
Preparations Before Selling SEO
The more you learn about your leads and their industry, the easier it will be to walk them through their pain points and get them to subscribe to your SEO services.
Taking the time to prepare lets you learn important information about the client you're speaking with, their pain points, wants and needs, closest competitors, and things they need to do to improve.
Indeed, preparation is an essential aspect of the sales process. It gets you off to a good start and ensures that every action you make leads to getting that client onboard.
What You Need to Prepare
Before you get to the selling part, you need to make sure most, if not all, tools of the trade are at your disposal. These include:
- Work Email
A work email is preferred over generic or personal email addresses to give out the impression of professionalism.
- Business Website
Since your time when pitching is limited, you can’t expect to mention everything you want to say on a call or meeting. Therefore, it’s a must to put up a business website where you can post your value proposition that’s easily accessible to all your prospects at any given time.
A CRM is a tool that helps you keep track of every lead you have so that nothing falls through the cracks. Without it, you'll be forced to depend on your own thoughtfulness. Generally, CRMs enable you to significantly scale your ability to care, follow through and devote attention to the most promising connections you establish.
- Contacts Shortlist
These are people from your network you consider the easiest to reach out to when selling SEO to local businesses.
- Ice Breakers
Instead of sticking to typical salesman spiels, prepare questions meant to make the initial conversation feel more natural.
Knowing Your Prospects
Once your SEO tools are ready, it’s time to get familiar with your prospects. Keep in mind not to treat any of them as just another deal in the process. Instead, show your prospects that you genuinely care about their business by exerting time and effort in knowing them more. You can:
- Find out if they’ve done SEO in the past and what their experience with their previous service provider was like.
- Dive deep into how your prospects conduct their business, what industry they’re in, who their customers are, and the products and services they offer to make it easier for you to position your SEO services.
- Show you’re looking at every opportunity to lend your prospect’s business a hand, including knowing what their competitors are doing to better leverage their business.
As an SEO reseller targeting local businesses in your area, it’s best to arm yourself with as much information as possible about each, including their audience, the value proposition of the products and services they offer, and their company’s overall goals.
Determine if the Prospect is the Right Fit
To determine if a prospect is a right fit for your company, you need to understand first that every one of them has a specific need. Knowing how you and your service fit into their needs enable you to pay attention to the right prospects.
There are four factors you need to consider as you qualify SEO leads. They are:
What is the prospect’s priority between time and budget?
When sending SEO resources and project proposals, do they want to receive them in their personal or work email?
What makes your prospects say that their business is fully-equipped and digital-ready?
How soon does each prospect want to see SEO results?
Knowing what questions to ask and getting the right answers to each allow you to find the right prospects and filter those that aren’t within the price range of your service packages, aren’t within your capacity and area of expertise, and those that don’t have a specific timeframe of when to start.
Determine the Type of Client You’re Talking To
Also known as Customer Profiles, these are the different types of clients you’ll encounter in sales:
These are clients who constantly talk about results. To persuade to get your services, you’ll need to present facts and evidence. They’re more likely to buy if the product either makes them feel good or boosts their image in the eyes of their peers.
These are clients who need to feel they’re in control all the time, and the purchase they make is an independent decision they make.
When your clients need a lot of convincing using statistics, results from previous campaigns, and similar figures, they can be classified as skeptics. You need to keep selling to them at regular intervals and show them evidence to increase your chances of closing.
- Amiable Ones
The amiable clients are those who are sure to make a purchase if the service you offer solves their problems. They’re likely to buy to avoid offending and absolutely love a win-win situation.
It’s important to know the type of client you’re dealing with, so you can match your SEO sales approach accordingly.
Questions to Ask
Some of the questions you can ask as part of your initial preparation when selling SEO are as follows:
- Do you have experience working with an SEO agency before?
- How satisfied are you with their services (on a scale of 1 to 10)?
- What are the challenges you’re encountering/have already encountered in your business?
- What are the steps you took to address those challenges?
- How do you measure the success of an SEO campaign?
- Do you have a set budget for marketing?
It’s essential for you to ask these probing questions to unearth the needs of your prospects.
How to Identify Who You’re Going to Sell To First?
Going back to your SEO tools, you can utilize your CRM to keep track of your prospects, organize their details, and identify who’s moving further into your SEO funnel. Your CRM acts as a filter that helps you pinpoint which prospect to prioritize and nurture until, eventually, they’re ready to conduct business with you.
If you’re not confident your knowledge about a particular prospect is already sufficient, don’t risk submitting a proposal just yet. Treat preparation as homework to ensure a smooth SEO sales experience for your prospects.
Different SEO Pricing Models
There are different types of industries out there, and each requires different strategies based on project complexity and business need. This is the reason why various SEO pricing models exist. Having one is essential because it lets you set clear expectations for your clients and identify line items you need to fulfill. Some of the SEO pricing models for you to consider are:
Hourly SEO Rate
SEO consultants, freelancers, and standalone agencies usually charge for their services by the hour. This pricing structure also applies to specific SEO services, like website audits, content creation, and keyword research.
Hourly rates usually depend on the requirements and complexity of the project at hand but generally range from $100 to $250 per hour. This rate goes up if you’re a highly-skilled consultant with years of experience.
Project-based SEO Rate
A project-based engagement may be appropriate when multiple activities are involved, but there's no need for recurring work.
In the case of technical audits where on-page and technical fixes are necessary, as well as precise revamps to the site silo structure or content marketing initiatives, your agency or consultancy firm can package the activities into a project with a set timetable and deliverables.
These project-based SEO services usually cost a minimum of $500 up to a thousand dollars or more if the project is complex and requires additional resources. More experienced agencies can even charge in the tens of thousands, even though there’s not much difference in their processes, compared to lesser-known but better-priced agencies.
Monthly SEO Retainer
Also referred to as SEO Packages, this pricing model is the most common setup for SEO agencies.
It typically starts with an initial discussion, also known as onboarding, then the fundamental processes, including technical audit, keyword research, and recommendations, followed by monthly content creation and, most likely, backlinks.
A monthly setup enables you to stick to your marketing budget and pay for specific and measurable SEO work based on agreed-upon targets or keywords for which you want to rank.
Monthly SEO packages range from $500 to $5000, with more experienced agencies usually charging more. There are also instances where SEO professionals provide diversified tiers for their monthly retainer rates with varying inclusions.
Ala Carte SEO Pricing
If you need specialized services for specific tasks and know what to do, you can consider paying solely for content, keyword research, SEO backlinks, or a site audit to learn where to focus and take it from there.
Some of the SEO services you can purchase individually are:
- SEO Audits
- Page or Site Speed Optimization
- Keyword Research
- Backlink Clean-up
While it’s true that you can save money on ala carte SEO, it isn't recommended if you don't know what you're doing since. You might not get any favorable results or end up damaging your SEO at worst.
How to Give an SEO Quote
When reselling SEO, your agency should be able to provide an SEO proposal containing the SEO quote and a comprehensive SEO workflow. While the workflow usually varies according to the services you decide on, the SEO quote should reflect the following:
Length of the Campaign
Make sure to include the duration of your campaign in the quote. While standard SEO projects can be completed in a few months, many businesses require the campaign long-term as part of their overall digital marketing strategy.
The number of targeted keywords will vary according to how many pages you intend to rank. Some pages concentrate on a single query, while others will focus on two per page.
Initial Site Audit
The initial audit is a thorough site check-up performed to evaluate all web pages in terms of SEO, usability, content, web design, and other criteria.
In-depth keyword analysis and mapping optimize a particular website with the best keywords that target your client's visitors, resulting in a user- and Google-friendly website.
On-page optimization involves all activities included in the recommendations, covering tasks that include: campaign road mapping, web page copywriting, title tag optimization, meta description optimization, and URL rewrites.
Technical optimization involves every technical work implemented on the website, including domain redirect optimization, 404 and 301 page reporting, organic schema implementation, local scheme optimization, Robots.txt inspection, and .xml sitemap optimization.
Monthly Rank Building
Monthly rank building refers to the production and optimization of content to rank a page or improve its position on SERPs.
Executive Summary Reporting
These executive summary reports, done monthly, contain the progress of your SEO campaigns.
Factors that Affect SEO Pricing
To better understand how the pricing of SEO services is determined, here are some of the primary factors that affect SEO prices:
Your client's business and website goals determine the type of SEO services to be implemented. Some sites will only require basic site structural tasks and maintenance, while others need a more in-depth optimization that requires additional resources.
The competition involves the keywords you want to rank for, specific location, and industry. Keywords are essential in every SEO campaign, and the actions required to rank them are determined by the competition and industry your client is in.
Your digital marketing strategy will determine the service structure you’ll choose, whether you opt for an hourly, monthly, project-based, or ala carte SEO model. Further, the SEO plan you'll get, whether a customized or fixed package, will impact the final cost.
It's best to collaborate with your consultant to come up with a campaign that meets your digital marketing objectives.
A legal office or aesthetic clinic website won't be the same as an eCommerce site with more pages, depending on the products and services they offer. Needs will vary, and in this instance, SEO for eCommerce will differ from SEO for law offices or medical websites.
Why Selling SEO Isn’t as Hard as it Seems
Selling SEO doesn’t have to be hard. Let’s talk about two main reasons why it’s easier than you think:
Reason #1: You don’t need to learn everything about SEO to excel at reselling it.
Contrary to what others believe, you can already offer SEO services by simply understanding its core principles and processes. You only need to understand how it works so that you can accurately explain it to your clients. In reality, going on about the ins and outs of SEO may even make your clients lose interest. You’ll close every deal faster by being able to paint a picture of how a successful SEO campaign will help their business rather than attempt to walk them through a complex topic.
Remember, your job isn’t to become an SEO expert. It’s to interpret SEO into a results-oriented description so that your clients understand how it can benefit them.
Reason #2: You don’t have to do all the work in-house.
Another common misconception about SEO is that you may not have the time and ability to perform actual SEO work. In reality, you don’t have to do the work yourself! By subscribing to our White Label SEO services, you’ll be able to deliver quality SEO services to your clients consistently.
White labeling your SEO allows you to sell SEO services under your agency’s name while another company does the actual work. At the same time, it lets you focus on providing excellent service to your clients.
Here at Reach Digital, we recognize that time is one of your most valuable assets. Let us be your White Label SEO partner and handle your SEO work so you can better focus on your clients and other business needs.
The Cycle Continues
We can say with certainty that reselling SEO – from finding quality leads to sending a proposal and closing the sale, is a process filled with ups and downs. One of the most important traits you need to have is the strength to persevere. In other words, “never say never.”
Make sure always to follow up and learn from your previous outcomes. If prior results didn’t work in your favor, let your shortcomings be a learning opportunity. In the same manner, don’t just rest on your laurels after closing a deal with your dream client. Instead, take note of what you did right so you can apply them to your future deals.
Apart from determining what went right in the transaction, the other questions you need to repetitively ask, whether you’re just starting or already been in the SEO industry for a decade, are:
- How did you get the lead?
- What niche was the lead from?
- What are the pain points you were able to address?
SEO reselling is a never-ending learning experience, and that’s one of the most rewarding parts of your success journey in this business.