This experience has helped me develop a high-level growth framework for SEO agencies.
This post will walk you through the “4 Pillars of SEO Agency Growth“.
- Knowledge You need to have deep expertise in the service(s) you provide.
- Process – You need a system to deliver your services.
- People – You can’t do it all yourself. It is essential to have people who can quickly deliver high-quality work to serve clients better.
- Leads – You must have a steady stream of predictable leads.
These pillars helped me start and grow agencies that have generated over eight revenue figures.
Let’s take a look at each post individually…
Knowledge SEO is more than just adding keywords to a webpage and linking it to rank. SEO success is complex, and you need to identify the key components and deliver results for your clients.
You will need to demonstrate your expertise before they trust you with their SEO projects. This is a costly service.
How can you get skilled in SEO?
Start with the basics.
Find out how websites and the internet work and how search engines interact.
Launch a website, a marketing campaign, or any other type of project, regardless of whether you are an expert or just starting. Learn as you build it from scratch.
Start all along assuming that you are a novice.
- Buy a domain
- Hosting service, cPanel, and DNS
- You can set up a site using any CMS you choose
This gives you real-life experiences of websites in general and will help you understand SEO from a technical standpoint.
Also, I strongly recommend that you go through Google’s Webmaster Guidelines from beginning to end.
This document explains how to structure your website so that search engines can find it. Search marketers are often unaware of this critical detail. Please read it!!
It’s not enough to read about it, and you have to do something. If you are an expert or a beginner, the key is to work on it actively.
Many YouTube channels and blogs can help you solve bottlenecks and answer all your questions.
Here is a list of my favorites:
Leveraging consultants is something I am also passionate about. Clarity is a website where you can hire experts per hour and get their extensive industry and SEO expertise.
All the information you require is available online, but you must be actively involved in a campaign to make it worthwhile.
Third, gain experience by all means.
It’s a great way of learning SEO by getting your hands dirty building things.
Here are a few different ways you can make it happen:
- You can build your websites, side projects, and affiliate sites.
- If you are able, work for a large agency. This will allow you to get a firsthand experience of how the top agencies work.
- Offer to do work for friends and family. Offer to help them with SEO strategy, audits, and recommendations. This will not take too much of your time.
You can only get actual SEO knowledge by trying, failing, learning, and finally getting results.
You can’t do it once and forget about it. It is something that you must continue to do. You will improve your SEO skills the more you do this.
Fourth: Go deep rather than exhaustive.
Do not try to offer every service possible.
Instead, dig in with your service offering and become the best business to do SEO.
You can create a multi-million dollar SEO agency by focusing on content marketing or link building — these are two major markets in the SEO industry.
You can also specialize in SEO services to give you an edge over the other million agencies.
I believe the process to be the most crucial aspect of any business.
This is especially important for agencies, as many moving parts go into success.
If you want to grow your business via SEO, for example, here are some things you should do:
- Technical audit
- Keyword research
- On-page optimization
- Content creation
- Link acquisition
This is a basic overview (or framework) of what you need to do to achieve SEO results. It doesn’t include all of the work involved in executing each task.
You will also need to have a method to teach your staff how to complete each task, and you won’t have a process to show your team how to execute each task.
These processes provide a clear path for your agency to achieve the desired results.
Here’s an example of the workflow you would need to perform technical SEO on a client’s website:
- Access to the Google Search Console (GSC), Google Analytics(GA), and Google Tag Managers (GTM).
- Crawl website using Screaming Frog
- Review Robots.txt
- Check Status Codes
- Check out 301 redirects
This document outlines all the tasks involved in performing an SEO technical audit, and it will get you and your team on the right page.
This applies to any task within your framework, such as 301 redirects. It is necessary to:
- Open the Screaming Frog Craw software
- For status codes, filter column L
- Crosscheck 301 redirects
- Look for redirect “hops.”
- And so on
You and your staff will have a well-established workflow that allows you to deliver technical audits (and other tasks) effectively for clients. Consistent results will be yours.
SEO is not difficult; scaling it up is the tricky part.
Processes are available to be infected into any element of your agency.
Let me show you an example of my agency WEBRIS.
We didn’t have enough money to hire a salesperson when we first started. We created a process that would automate our inbound sales process.
Before prospects become leads
1. We ask them to complete a contact form. This allows us to ask questions that will help us determine if they are a good fit for our agency.
This allows us to avoid wasting time talking with people who don’t want to hire us. Even though it saves us 10 minutes per contact, this number quickly increases when we receive more leads through the form.
2. They receive an automatic email
Once they are done
After they submit the form, we send them an email asking them to set up a time.
After clicking the link, they will be taken to another form. This form contains pre-qualification questions that help us determine an agency-client match.
They are asked a few more questions to confirm their pre-qualification.
The pre-qualification questions allow us to determine if there is a business opportunity, which ensures that our leads are solid before we call them.
To see who I am talking to on a given day, all I have to do each morning is to check my calendar.
Clicking on any booked date allows me to view responses from clients to our questions, which gives me almost all the information I need before I call the client.
These processes are managed internally using Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), which details the methods employees can run on their own.
To simplify processes, use Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).
An SOP document is a step-by-step guide that guides your team in executing specific tasks.
Here’s an example of our SOP for keyword research that our team uses in every campaign we run:
This is a valuable tool. This will show everyone in your team exactly what they need to do specific tasks. This will allow you to hire less skilled people and save you tons of money on your payroll.
This brings us to the next pillar…
You will not be able to deliver the service as you grow. To shoulder the burden, you need a group of trustworthy people.
- You don’t have enough time to do everything yourself, so it is best to hire help.
- You can’t be just doing the operations work. It would help if you grew and managed the business.
- You will be selling your business and yourself when you start an agency. As your business grows, you will need to sell your employees and their skillsets. They’ll be performing most of the agency’s operations for clients.
You don’t have the budget to hire professional marketers or designers when you start an agency. You can employ entry-level employees and show them how to execute tasks for clients and your agency.
You can find low-cost freelancers for your entry-level employees. They can help you run your agency more efficiently and use the process you give them to work with freelancers to get results.
Learn how to manage your staff better.
There is no right or wrong way of recruiting the right people for your agency. You need to:
- It would help if you had the right processes in place to make sure your agency hires the best workers and properly trains them to do great work.
- Hire people who can think for themselves and do not need to reach out to you when they encounter a situation with clients or projects. This will ensure that they follow your processes and create subprocesses to aid in their work.
The last pillar to build a successful SEO agency is leading.
A steady supply of leads is essential for your agency. These are seven lead generation strategies that I have found to be highly effective.
See my complete guide to agency leads generation here
Create tons of content
Content is my priority — articles, webinars, etc. It’s not easy, I will admit, and you need to create content, and that’s a whole other project. My agency’s #1 source of leads has been content.
Speak at niche conferences:
“Niche conferences” refers to industries your clients work in. You won’t find me speaking at marketing conferences, because my potential clients aren’t there. It would help if you spoke at conferences where no other person is selling your services. This includes seminars for lawyers, plumbers, doctors, and others.
In my case, I created a spreadsheet listing such conferences and gave it to my assistant, who sent a canned pitch to each one of them.
Create a meetup
Because technical SEO is our most significant selling product, we organize meetups in Miami & Philadelphia. Each month, we host meetups that generate buzz and leads.
Join networking groups
Chamber of Commerce and Business Network International are great groups to join if you like meeting people in person. This isn’t a good channel for me as an introvert, and it has worked for me, though.
Paid Traffic from Social Media
Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, and LinkedIn all work well — but you must know how to set them all up correctly.
You must first have a funnel. This means that you should offer something valuable in your ads to people to click on. It could be a webinar or discount, or an ebook. Or any other piece of information they can get by sharing their email. After they have shared their email addresses, you can send them follow-up emails that could convert them into paying customers.
Another great strategy is remarketing. Once they have signed up for your value, you can run ads to target them and convert them to paying customers.
Request for refers
After you have satisfied customers, ask them for referrals to other people who may need your services. This is a great way to get customers happy with your product or services, and it’s entirely free advertising.
Offer micro-services to other agencies.
A great way to start your agency is to become an expert in a particular service and then sell it to larger agencies. Our agency is constantly overwhelmed with work, and we are looking for experts to help us manage the workload.
As you gain experience and are impressed, you can establish affiliate relationships with these agencies or any other agency. Tell them that your services generate accurate results and that you will give them 15% off. It’s a revenue stream that they can use for free, and many (or all) agencies will accept it.
Video Audits + Cold Outreach
A video audit is an audit of a client’s website and a recording of your auditing process. This will show them where the problems are and what they can fix them. You can then tell them that you are an expert and can fix it for them to hire you.