How to Start an SEO agency Business : Complete Guide


If you just research for the “SEO Agency” keyword in any type of keyword research tool, you will find that millions of people searching for an SEO agency, SEO services, local SEO services, B2B SEO, blog SEO, eCommerce SEO services, and many others.

It means and it’s worldwide known truth that keyword research, landing page optimization, link building, technical SEO, SEO audit, and some other SEO-related services, skills, and teams are very important for small as well as large businesses.

So, starting an SEO business is one of the best, most profitable, and scalable IT-related online businesses similar to website development, web development, and app development.

As you know that SEO is not just important but essential before launching any type of online business, website, and content. SEO plays a big role in the success of business in the short and long runs that highly depend on SEO skills and strategy. It’s used as 2nd or 1st online marketing strategy by almost all types of online businesses.

While many businesses invest in both Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimization. But in the beginning, not all businesses are able to invest in paid online advertising. And they choose to grow their business organically through free search engine traffic and social media traffic. And for that, they highly need or depend on On-Page SEO, Off-Page SEO, and Technical SEO services.

All business owners around the world want sales, leads, and traffic. They are ready to invest money in online marketing to grow their business. But not all business owners know much about SEO, keyword research techniques, SEM, Link Building, Technical SEO, Social Media Marketing, etc., and its impact on business growth. Even those who understand do not invest in costly premium SEO tools and skills.

But many business owners and leaders have growth plans and budgets. And they want to invest in SEO, but they want someone who understands their industry, products or services, targets customers, and is able to help them to grow sales.

If you can help them with your SEO skills and agency services then you will get paid continuously. And you will be able to make your SEO business profitable and successful.

But as you know that thinking to start an SEO agency and actually running it successfully has a big gap in the between. It needs proper planning, strategy, and execution.

You need to build a good SEO business plan to get clients, generate revenue, make it profitable and scalable. It’s because you’re not alone in who is thinking to start an SEO agency. Nor the market is empty without SEO agencies. You will find SEO agencies almost in every small or local city. And you already know very well about the competition online. Still, there is a big demand for affordable and skilled talented SEO agencies who focus to get results for their clients.

Not only that many small business owners learn SEO and tools on their own to get organic traffic to their business website. So, the SEO market is full of demand, price, and supply.

If you enter into this market then be ready to learn, struggle, compete and win.

So, in the following points, I am sharing the best plan, strategy, and ideas to start, build, and grow an SEO agency. I hope it will help you in planning, starting, and making your SEO business successful.

Ways to Start and Grow an SEO agency successfully:

1. Learn SEO skills and become an expert:

The 1st and most important thing that you should do is to learn the latest SEO techniques, skills, and processes. SEO expertise is especially very important for those planning to start an SEO agency on their own on a small budget. While you might already have good SEO skills and freelance SEO services experiences still you need to remain up to date as per the market demand and latest search engine updates. You can’t take your SEO business lightly, you have to have become the best in this. And the best SEO expert doesn’t just rely on his/her experience but also invests in learning new things in SEO.

Essential SEO skills you need to learn and update: 

  • On-page SEO optimization
  • Technical SEO Skills
  • Link Building Skills
  • Off-Page SEO Skills
  • Copywriting skills
  • Landing Page optimization Skills
  • Basics knowledge of WordPress, Website Builder, HTML, and JavaScript
  • Knowledge about the use of SEO tools
  • Industry-specific SEO skills such as eCommerce SEO, Blog website SEO, SaaS business SEO
  • Updated with the trending and best digital marketing practices.

Disclosure: When you purchase through links on this page, we will earn affiliate fees from our partners. Read more about Affiliate disclosure here.

Following are some of the best online courses that can help you to learn SEO skills so that you can start your own SEO business: 

The Ultimate SEO Training 2022 + SEO For WordPress Websites
SEO Training Masterclass 2022: Beginner SEO To Advanced SEO
Advanced SEO Strategies 2022 – Level Up Your SEO Knowledge
Ecommerce & Marketing course: Agency, Marketer, Affiliate

Local SEO: A Definitive Guide To Local Business Marketing

And whenever you want to build a team of SEO experts for your SEO agency then also invest in people who like to learn, experiment, understand customers, and have patience.

2. Start with 1 or 2 local clients:

Starting with local clients is very beneficial for SEO agencies. Getting local SEO clients is easier than online at the beginning. While all local, national and international clients want results, traffic, conversion, leads and sales.

You can use your personal network, you can search for clients in local business directory websites, social media. Once you find potential businesses you have to create an SEO and lead generation or online sales plan and proposal for each client before you meet with them.

You can also target that business already has a website or those not have even a website yet.

It might be possible that you will not get $100 or $10000 in advance in just your 1st deal. Or you might get a 10% or 20% offer from the client on each sale or lead.

Whatever is the deal if you think you can do it then start with that. But also look at that it will cover your expenses.

3. Continue with 2 to 3 clients for 3 months to 1 year:

You don’t need too many clients in the SEO business. The less you have the more you will grow your business, especially at the beginning. When you have fewer clients, in the beginning, you can focus on them and help them to get results. Once your SEO methods and services start helping them to get customers, leads and sales, your value gets increased 10% to 200%. And you will start getting regular income from your SEO services.

In the beginning, you can create a minimum 3 months contract, then 6 months or 1 year.

This will also help you to build your portfolio and promote yourself online. And this is the time when you will start getting premium-priced SEO clients online.

4. Choose the one business in a specific industry, a city not just the niche:

My SEO business strategy is different here. While promoting your SEO agency as niche-specific business SEO services can look great on paper. But practically it’s complicated in the beginning. It’s difficult to get results for 2 of the same types of clients and websites. For example, if both 2 clients’ goal is to get on top 5 results, for “7 days 6 nights Himachal tour package” then personally it’s difficult for me to rank them both for the same keyword in the top 5.

So personally, if I am starting an SEO business then I will look for the easiest, most profitable path. I don’t want to get paid $1000 from 2 clients ($500 each), I want to get $1000 just from 1 client in one city or specific industry. And I will get that when I produce great results for 1 client. And focusing on 1 client in one industry is great.

And obviously, when I am working for 1 SEO client with a single goal, I am confident to get results. And such things are also important to build strong integrity in the SEO business.

So when in a business, think like a business, not just like a freelancer. Here you’re not just starting an SEO business, but you’re going to build your brand and billion dollars company.

So if working with 1 travel client, then keep working for that client and don’t work for another travel client with the same or similar services and products.

Instead, get 1 client in eCommerce.

1 in services,

1 in SaaS.

and if you made these 3 businesses successful through your SEO services, then believe that all three businesses will lead by you in the future.

I might be wrong in the above strategy as per your opinion. But my goal is not here to impress you with how smart I am. Instead, my goal is to teach you how to build a good profitable, and scalable strategy to grow your SEO business. And I hope you learned that.

5. Build your own presence online with proof:

Your goal is not just to increase traffic to your own SEO agency portfolio website, your goal is to get traffic and leads for clients and other websites. You don’t need 1000 clients to run a successful agency, you only need 4 to 5 or 10 clients and they are enough to earn $100000 monthly.

But still, it’s important that you build your agency website, publish your SEO services and add customer reviews. And also publish SEO-related articles regularly on your own website. To get clients online you can use a freelance website such as Upwork, freelance, Fiverr. Your website will also help you to get clients.

The most important thing, is your SEO skills, tools and strategy, Price, contract period, and Results. There is no shortage of SEO clients. But 1st work on your SEO skills and get results for 2 to 3 clients.

Learn more: 

How to expand your freelance business to get more clients

How you can find long-term clients for steady freelance income

6. Use good quality SEO tools:

Free SEO tools can work for those not in the SEO business. But those who are in the SEO business or just starting need to buy specific and use all in one SEO tool whether it’s for keyword research, link building, competitive analysis. You need a great tool so that you can produce results for clients as soon as possible.

It’s because your SEO business will become successful only when you produce consistent traffic and sales for clients.

You can also start with free SEO software or tools. And once you got the 20% to 50% advanced payment from 1st or 2nd clients you can subscribe to SEO software.

SEMrush is one of the best All in One SEO software that I found good for SEO agencies. While there are also a few other companies as well that provide all premium SEO tools with one package. In that case, it cost you less to use premium SEO tools.

7. Online courses to start an SEO business:

Having SEO expertise is essential to start an SEO business. But having knowledge about SEO, digital marketing and advertising is not just enough to start an SEO business.

There are plenty of SEO experts but not all are running their own SEO business, they are just working as a freelancer.

Just not because they don’t have SEO skills, but they don’t have the knowledge, skills, and plan to start an SEO agency business.

And those starts are not all able to automate their SEO agency. It can be due to lack of clients or profit or budget and also due to lack of resourcefulness.

But you will be able to grow your SEO business when you have a good scalable business plan that you can automate. You have to create a system and process. You have to build a team of SEO experts and creative people.

So just working on your own ideas and experience is risky. You also have to gain SEO business knowledge and skills from others. You also have to study how other SEO agency businesses are operating.

And to gain the knowledge you can follow SEO agencies. You can use YouTube and you can also join SEO and digital marketing business-specific online courses.

The more business knowledge you gain the better it will be for you to launch and make your SEO business successful.

Following are some of the best online courses that will help you to start an SEO business:

Start Your Own SEO Agency From Home – The Complete Blueprint

Master SEO so You Can Start an SEO Business

Social Media Marketing Agency: Digital Marketing + Business

Explore MoreOnline courses to explore digital marketing business opportunities

8. Build Multiple income sources:

If you’re best at something then use it 1st for yourself. It means in the SEO business you can diversify your income sources. And you can use creative methods and revenue models to generate regular income.

For example, along with providing SEO services, you can build your own local business directories, promote affiliate products, create industry-specific social media pages, create and run 3 to 3 industry-specific blog websites.

All of this will not only help you build backlinks, exposure for clients but it will also reduce the cost and time in getting results for clients. In return, you can also monetize your own digital assets that will help you to gain income from multiple sources.

When you are able to do it, you can start scaling and automating your SEO business.

9. Scale your SEO business:

To scale a business, you not only need to use a scalable business model in SEO but you also need regular income from clients and other sources. That’s why having multiple income sources help in scaling and expanding the SEO business.

The best practice is to start saving 10% to 20% each month or from each client or project. And within 1 year you will good amount to invest in the team, and good knowledge to expand the business and manage the team.

To save more and reduce the expenses in the beginning you can use coworking spaces and you can start from home as well.

When you have money and when you invest in the things that help you to earn more money then you can scale your business fast.

For example, when you have money, you can invest in building a team, and that team will help you to automate the business. You can invest in SEO tools. SEO tools will help you to reduce time consumption and do it more effectively.

All of this can happen when you start saving money as early as possible and investing in the things that help you to grow your SEO business.

10. Identify the growth opportunities and take risks to success:

While many people say that SEO is a risk-free business. But in my opinion, if it’s a business then it’s must not have to be risk-free. When you take risks, such as hiring SEO experts, buying SEO tools, registering a business, investing in marketing and advertising, hiring web developers, etc. All of these are costs. And if you fear investing the money, then how you will earn the money in business.

But you don’t have to invest without knowledge, strategies. When you do challenge works when you try to do new things you become more knowledgeable and you learn new things.

But you need good awareness, knowledge, and data analysis of where to invest and on what things you can try. You need good knowledge about the opportunity. The opportunity can be in hiring a talented SEO expert, the opportunity can be in taking challenging projects etc.

So I hope you find the above points very helpful. If you want to learn more or need consultancy then please let me know.

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