How to Start an SEO Business: A Detailed Step-by-Step Guide

SEO Business
How to Start an SEO Business: A Detailed Step-by-Step Guide

Starting a business of your own can be a very exciting endeavor. Not only is it a way for you to become financially independent, but it is also a great opportunity to realize your ambitions.

But before you start a business, you should first decide what kind of company you want to create and develop.

One popular choice is starting an SEO agency. Other businesses and independent entrepreneurs are constantly in need of good marketing and advertising, so offering SEO services will ensure that your work is always in-demand.

10 Steps to Starting an SEO Business

Without further ado, here’s how you can start an SEO business.

#1 Prepare Before You Get Started

Even before you start properly planning your SEO business, you should first prepare yourself. Because starting your own business is such a serious and demanding endeavor, you need to make sure that you are truly ready to make this step. Consider these three things:

Quit Your Job

You will need to quit your job to fully dedicate yourself to your newly created business. Of course, this is provided that you have a job at the moment.

If you already own a business of your own and you want to open another one specifically for offering SEO services, then it will be a little easier because you will already have independence and experience.

However, you will still need to make sure that you have enough time to dedicate to your new business. In case you will be quitting your job, you need to ensure that you have enough money to sustain yourself for some time before your SEO business starts making a profit.

Assess Your Skills

Another thing you should consider is your skillset. Do you have the skills necessary to start an SEO business? If not, you will need to learn them either from scratch or by building on your current knowledge.

You might also have skills related to SEO that could be valuable for starting a business in this niche. Additionally, you should have at least some kind of interest in business management.

Managing your company will be quite difficult, especially for a newcomer, so you need to have the motivation to keep you moving forward and aiming for your goals.

Brush Up on the Basics

In case you don’t have the skills necessary to start your own business (and specifically one in SEO), then you will need to brush up on at least the basics.

Learn about everything starting from on-site search engine optimization to digital marketing principles.

Of course, you don’t need to be an expert in everything if you are planning to hire a team rather than completing orders on your own.

That being said, you should still have at least a basic understanding of how SEO works and what kinds of services you can offer.

#2 Take Care of Legal Matters

When starting a writing business, SEO agency, or pretty much any other kind of company, you will need to take care of legal matters.

This is by far one of the most difficult yet critical parts of setting up your own business. If you have no prior experience with such things, you can hire a legal expert to help you out. Think about:

Business Structure

You have two main options when it comes to registering your business: single proprietorship or limited liability company (LLC). In the former case, you will be running your business as a single owner.

This is a particularly popular choice among freelancers. In the latter case, you can have multiple people running the business (and owning it).

An LLC will also give you more protection over your personal assets as they will be separate from your business.

Create Contracts

Every time you take a client’s order and start working on it, you will need to have them sign a contract. It can seem intimidating to them (and to you) at first, but it is actually a way to protect both parties.

In the contracts you create for the different services you offer, you will outline both the legalities and the work that you will be doing for the client (e.g. creating a specific type of text with a specific word count).

Set Up Payment

Payment is another important matter when it comes to running a business. You will need to choose the payment methods you will be offering to clients and the pricing for each one of your offered services.

Most agencies choose to rely on something simple (PayPal), but clients also like to have other payment options. These can be credit card payments (Visa, Mastercard, American Express), online payments (PayPal, Google Pay, Apple Pay), and ACH transfers.

If you want to target a specific kind of audience, then you might consider more unconventional payment methods like cryptocurrencies. Don’t forget to create invoice templates to make communication about payment smoother.

#3 Identify Your Target Audience

Speaking of your target audience, identifying it is your next step. You need to have a clear idea about who your target customers are, where you can find them, and how you can make them your clients. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Am I targeting the local market or do I want to go global/international?
  • How big is my budget at the moment? Will I be able to market my SEO business effectively to this audience?
  • Who are my competitors? What kind of audience do they have?

The answers to these questions will help you get started with identifying your target audience, but you will need to be more specific with who your prospective clients are.

Think about everything from demographics to buying habits. Likewise, consider whether you want to target independent interpreters (B2C) or businesses (B2B).

Even if you start with a relatively small target audience now, you can still expand it in the future. SEO services are in-demand, but there is also a lot of competition in this industry.

This is why it’s best to look for niches (more on this later) where you know you actually have a good chance of reaching your target audience. As your SEO business grows, you can start marketing your services to a wider audience.

#4 Choose Your Niche

Your niche will be directly connected to your target audience. However, the two are not exclusive. You could be offering different kinds of services to the same target audience.

To add to the previous point about expanding your audience, you will also be able to expand to other niches over time.

For instance, you can start by offering SEO services for pet-themed websites and businesses.

When expanding your business in the future, you could either start offering services to websites and businesses in other industries or you could offer a wider range of SEO services (and products) to the same audience of pet-themed websites and businesses.

If you don’t know how to find the niche that best suits your goals, needs, and abilities, you can hire an experienced writer by choosing one with the help of the writing service review site Best Writers Online.

A professional writer will help you perform market research and will give you advice on which niches are the best for you based on your chosen target audience.

#5 Develop Your Branding

The next step in planning your SEO business involves developing your branding. Your brand is critical for the longevity of your business, but it will also play a huge role in the short term (e.g. during marketing campaigns).

This is why you need to think about all your branding details carefully before finalizing them.

Start developing your branding strategy by determining your:

Name and Logo

What will you call your SEO business? Try to think about a name that will suggest what kind of services your company offers while also being memorable for anyone who hears the name for the first time.

Then, design your logo (it should also be memorable and recognizable). You can even think of a motto or slogan, but it isn’t mandatory.

Vision, Mission, and Values

What are your brand’s vision, mission, and values? The vision is what your brand does. The mission is the purpose of your brand.

And the values are the key principles upheld by your brand. Your vision, mission, and values will help you create a specific image for your brand that will set it apart from all other companies while also humanizing it.

Voice and Personality

Your brand voice and personality will also help you humanize your brand. The brand voice will be the style or tone you use in your communication with your audience (marketing, advertising, etc.)

The personality of your brand can include several features or characteristics you want your brand to be associated with (e.g. experimental, trend-setting, bold).

Branding is directly connected to your marketing, but even now before you have started promoting your business, you should already know what kind of branding you will have. Keep your brand image in mind when designing everything else about your SEO business.

#6 Create Your Offers

Now, you will need to decide what you will be offering to your target audience. When you start a copywriting business or an SEO business, you already have a general idea of the services you can offer.

However, you shouldn’t limit yourself to the kinds of services your competitors usually offer. Try to think out of the box and come up with offers that could attract potential clients.

Likewise, you can also offer SEO products. For example, if or once you have the resources, consider developing your own keyword research tool that you can offer to clients for free or for a fee.

You can also combine different services into packages for different purposes (e.g. keyword research + keyword strategy development).

If you have a tight budget at the moment, you don’t need to try and offer many services all at once. It is much better to focus on the quality of your offers rather than their quantity.

Once your business starts making a profit and you gradually start expanding it, that’s when you can consider offering more products and services.

#7 Work on Methodology

The methodology is crucial for an SEO business. Even though it may seem that search engine optimization is all the same because there is a number of best practices that everyone uses, there could still be differences in the methodologies of different SEO agencies that impact their success.

It’s not just about how you perform the services you offer to your clients, but also the general approaches to your company’s operations. Consider these things:

In-House vs Outsourcing

You can either hire a permanent team of SEO specialists who will be completing all the client orders or you can outsource them. In the former case, you will have more control over the quality of services you offer as well as more overall stability and consistency.

In the latter case, you might be able to reduce your expenses and you could even operate your business entirely on your own without actually completing any orders yourself (i.e. you don’t need to have good knowledge of SEO).

It is up to you to decide, but you should weigh all the pros and cons before making your choice.

Select Tools to Use

Another aspect of methodology that you should consider is your toolset. You and your team won’t be completing client orders manually, so you will need to choose your tools beforehand.

These include both the tools you will be used specifically for SEO purposes (e.g. keyword research tools) and the tools you will need for operating your business. For example, scheduling and project management tools, invoicing tools, email platforms, and so on.

Develop Policies

One more thing to develop is your policies. These will help you document all your processes to ensure consistency across the board.

First, develop your guidelines for completing different orders for the different kinds of services you offer.

Second, develop your communication policy for internal communication as well as one for external communication.

Third, develop any other kinds of policies relevant to your business (e.g. marketing policy).

#8 Build Your Website

Now that you have planned so many aspects of your business, you can build and launch your website. Make sure to use the branding strategy you developed earlier.

It will help you make the right choices regarding the design of your website, including everything from visual branding to navigation.

Before launching your website, fill it with content and test it. To help you create the content for your website, you can hire professional writers from the writing company Trust My Paper.

Make sure to set up all the pages that are relevant to your clients (Home, Services, Pricing, About, Contact, etc.) Double-check all the content you create so that there are no grammatical or factual mistakes.

#9 Start Promoting

After testing and launching your website (and your business), you can start promoting. There are different ways you can promote your SEO business, so here are just some tactics you can use:

  • On-Page Optimization – Optimize your website for search engines. This is pretty much the same as the service you offer (e.g. keywords, page loading speed, etc.)
  • Listings and Reviews – Get your first reviews and listings on external websites.
  • Social Media Pages – Set up social media pages for your business and start building your follower base step by step.
  • Content Marketing – Publish articles and posts on your Blog page on your website to attract site visitors. You can also try guest blogging for more exposure.
  • Paid Ad Campaigns – Launch paid ad campaigns on Google and other websites. Consider launching ad campaigns on social media.
  • Cold Emailing – Approach businesses yourself by cold emailing them. Most companies have their emails listed on their websites, so it won’t be hard to find them.
  • Industry Events – Attend industry events (both offline and online) to meet potential clients as well as potential business partners.

#10 Find Your First Clients

If you have successfully completed all the steps above, then you are probably starting to find your first clients. Congratulations! Now, you will need to ensure that they are satisfied with your services and want to come back for more.

Retaining your clients is particularly important because it will reduce your expenses – retaining customers is cheaper than acquiring new ones.

Even if a client doesn’t need your services anymore, they could still recommend you to someone else who might be in need. This kind of word-of-mouth marketing is free for you, so it is particularly important that each and every one of your clients is satisfied.

Try to keep your quality of services and customer support as high as possible (as well as consistent). It will build your reputation and help you grow your business over time.

Final Thoughts

All in all, starting an SEO business is definitely more than just having an idea and going forward with it without having a plan. Use this guide to help you plan and set up your SEO agency successfully and start looking for your first clients.

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