Pearl Lemon - SEO Agency London

How to Start an SEO Agency


It frequently begins with the desire to be your own boss. And after the disruption of the past few years, more and more people are thinking about just what an attractive idea that is, especially if they have become used to working remotely anyway. Then there’s the ideal of success on your own terms, which feeds other ideas.

Whatever prompted you to the decision to start an SEO agency, it all boils down to one big question: Are you ready to give it your all? Done right, starting and building an SEO agency can be very lucrative, but the last thing it is, is easy.

So, that question, how to start an SEO agency. It’s not an easy, or a one-size-fits all answer, but to help you get a clearer idea of what’s involved, and what you’ll need to do, we’ve prepared this step-by-step guide to help you.

This checklist will establish the elements to help you grow from startup to powerhouse, whether you’re an SEO consultant or a digital marketing professional wanting to start your own SEO agency providing google algorithm hit recovery service or backlinks selling or want to provide services for different organizations like Book retailersmartial art schools, vacation rentals, franchises or carpet cleaners.

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Are You Ready to Start an SEO Agency?

Before we dive into how to start an SEO agency, we should help you determine if you are ready to do so, or if you are just really annoyed at your job right now.

Do You Have the Drive and Business Acumen To Start an SEO Agency?

An SEO agency is comparable to any other business. You’ll have a tough time keeping your SEO agency afloat if you have no business experience. But even more importantly you need an entrepreneurial mindset.

Entrepreneurship is hard. It involves trying to build a future which does not exist. The probability of failure is high. It goes against the natural human instinct to be risk averse. And yet an increasing number of us are still willing to ‘go for it’.

Taking a look at all of the successful entrepreneurs that may be your idols right now, it seems like they all have different drives and different aims. Some set out to connect the world, others to feed it. Some aspired to reduce pollution or eradicate disease. Some even seem to simply be scratching a personal itch. But they do all have one thing in common; passion. And not just any passion, one that drives them to set a goal, fixate on it and maintain the drive to achieve it.

Learn by Doing and Do by Learning

Most people aren’t really born with passion, it’s something that has to be ignited. And you may have to work for a while before you discover what your passion really is. Use the lean startup methodology to identify your passion. Try something, and when you know it’s not working, Quit. Don’t wait for clarity before trying things out. Just do it and if it doesn’t work find something else.

Finding the Right Environment

The right environment is essential to fueling your passion. Staying passionate about what you do requires surrounding yourself with like-minded people. You can’t do it in a bubble. Passionate people like to help other passionate people, and so those are the ones you should seek out.

Multiple Passions

Many business owners waste thousands of dollars simply because they don’t know what’s best for their company. There are a plethora of internet tools and fantastic books that can help you learn how to be a smarter entrepreneur. You can get started with this free resource from the founder of our own parent company, Deepak Shukla of The Pearl Lemon Group.

What is also important, is that you might have more than one passion and that they may change over time. Starting an SEO agency might just be the beginning of something bigger for you, the way it was for Pearl Lemon. Having multiple passions might be an asset. Most breakthroughs are a result of bringing together multiple ideas across multiple domains.

Whether it be coming up with a new business model, or the birth of new technology,   identifying a real breakthrough is not an exact science and what works is not always predictable. Sometimes you have to experiment with a lot of ideas and see which one sticks.

Becoming a successful entrepreneur calls for both passion and drive.  Be brave, take your chances, and just do it. 🙂 And if you are still intrigued by the question of how to start an SEO agency, keep reading.

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The Legal Stuff

Dealing with Legal Issues

Starting an SEO agency, like any other business, has legal ramifications. Every decision is governed by precise rules, and understanding them from the start can save you time and money in the long run. It might seem like you are getting ahead of yourself, but structuring your SEO agency the right way from the start can be very beneficial.

Establish Your SEO Agency's Structure

Do you want to run your business as a sole proprietorship or as a limited liability company (LLC)?

As a sole proprietorship, you have complete control over your business.

If you register your SEO agency as a sole proprietorship, you’ll be the sole owner of the company. Many startup agency owners who are used to working as freelancers find themselves drawn to this idea because of its flexibility and ease of setup, but it does come with certain hazards.

The agency, as a sole proprietorship, means you personally may be liable for debts and damages if problems arise. A sole proprietorship conveniently eliminates the need to file separate business and personal taxes, but the convenience isn’t always worth it. When a company’s value is related to personal assets, this makes determining its worth difficult.

Starting Your SEO Agency As a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC)

In contrast to a sole proprietorship, an LLC allows you to have multiple owners (members) running the business. You don’t have to start off this way, but making someone a partner later will be much easier. Operating as a Limited Liability Company (LLC) has fewer risks for startups, one of which is keeping company and personal taxes separate. This corporate form also offers you legal protection for your agency.

You can safeguard your personal assets from business debts and responsibilities by limiting your liabilities. If you plan to approach suppliers or lenders, an LLC is also a better option. They are not as hard to set up as you might think, although consulting with an accountant will be a good move, so you can get the pro help you’ll need getting your SEO agency’s finances in order from the start.

Building Your SEO Agency's Brand

If you are thinking of starting an SEO agency, you are probably (we hope) well-versed in SEO. So, you should understand the basics of setting up an SEO friendly website, including executing the required technical SEO, or, at least have the contacts to help you (if not, Pearl Lemon, one of our sister companies, will be happy to help)

What you may be less familiar with is how important branding will be for your new SEO agency. Branding and SEO work together, but they are in no way the same thing.

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What Is A Lead Generation Funnel?

Choose a name and logo for your SEO company

The most identifiable aspects of your brand are your name and logo. Both are incorporated into all of your digital assets, including your website, business cards, online adverts, lead magnets, and other digital assets.

Consider the following while naming and branding your company:

  • What are your primary differentiators in terms of value proposition?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • Personality: What emotions do you want your audience to feel? What do you want them to think of your company?

Don’t skimp on this crucial stage. Yes, you can create a free logo, but if it’s not a good one, you’ll be putting your SEO agency at a disadvantage from the start. If the logo looks cheap and nasty, consumers tend to assume that the services behind it are equally so. So consider making the investment in a custom designed logo, especially as hopefully you are going to be making use of it for a LONG time.

Make a list of your target buyer personas

The ideal clients you want to attract and convert for your SEO agency are represented by your target buyer personas. It’s easier to understand your clients, their businesses, pain areas, ambitions, and the digital marketing solutions they need when you define your buyer personas.

There are two parts to identifying buyer personas: demographics and psychographics.

The first section is on their physical attributes, such as age, gender, location, and job status. The second section discusses motivations, goals, and brand affinities, as well as other factors that influence their purchasing decisions.

Buyer personas can help you figure out how to position your SEO marketing company. When creating material to nurture and convert prospects, these are quite valuable.

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Select an SEO Specialty

This is where a lot of new SEO businesses fall short

When it comes to determining the niche you want to serve, it can be tempting to cast a wide net and try to sell to everyone. Knowing which SEO niche to service first, on the other hand, can make a major difference in how your business grows. Do you want to provide SEO services to small businesses or real estate agents? Do you like niches that are more competitive? Do you have specialist knowledge of certain industries that very few others do, like gaming or the emerging metaverse?

Consider the following factors when deciding on a specialty for your SEO business:

  • Choose a field that you’re familiar with. The more familiar you are with industry jargon, the easier it will be to interact with potential customers and convince them that your SEO services are superior to your competition’s.
  • Begin with your existing social circles. Use the power of referrals to your advantage.
  • Carry out market research. This makes prospecting and qualifying leads easier in the future.

Make a decision about the services you'll provide

Are you simply concerned with SEO? Are you interested in branching out into PPC, Social Media, or Web Design? Are you planning to offer local SEO services to firms in your area via your new SEO agency?

Making SEO your primary product initially generates ongoing monthly cash for your company. The reason behind this is that SEO does not end after the first month. Clients will need to keep optimizing until they see a positive ranking shift, and then to maintain that great ranking. When compared to something like site design, which is frequently packaged into one-off goods, SEO as a service allows you to build a regular cash flow early on.

It’s maybe time to branch out into additional digital marketing services once you’ve landed your first few SEO clients and managed to keep them on board. For the time being, you should stick to one option.

Why should I outsource my PPC service?

Work On a Core SEO Methodology

Before you start selling SEO services to clients, you should have a core SEO methodology that you both intend to follow and can ‘sell’ to clients.

Companies who specialize in SEO are doing the same thing. Both yes and no.

While standard tactics for ranking websites include on-page optimization, link development, and content marketing, each SEO agency has its own approach for its clients. All of this is contingent on their SEO methodology, which you must define for your agency.

Let’s look at how to lay the groundwork for your SEO business strategy and demonstrate your knowledge.

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Develop a solid SEO strategy

It’s not about following Google’s instructions; it’s about following Google’s rankings. Your SEO strategy is a collection of skills and tactics that, in the end, add value to businesses and their target customers.

Learn More About SEO Project Management

SEO is a project that never ends. Unlike web design, which is generally a one-time job, you must constantly optimize a client’s website in order for it to rank. This necessitates understanding project management so that you can manage expectations, tasks, and – as your SEO agency grows – your team.

In SEO, project management is usually divided into two parts: planning and execution.

Research, evaluation, and strategy are all part of the planning process. This establishes the framework for your SEO initiatives, giving you a clear idea of what to do and when to execute it. The planning phase includes activities such as keyword research, competitive analysis, website audits, and content quality evaluation. Following preparation comes execution, which is what fulfillment entails.

However, fulfillment entails more than just delivering on your promises to customers. It’s just a matter of putting in place a repeatable, scalable procedure to get things done. Are you more of a kanban person, or do you wish to approach the SEO project in an agile manner? If you have a set sequence in place, fulfillment can run smoothly, resulting in an increase in the number of delighted clients and more money for your SEO agency.

It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the following project management tools for SEO businesses as you learn about project management:

Choose a platform that fits into your current process and team setup, rather than employing numerous platforms. If you’re managing a small team for your SEO company, it’s better to start with the free project management tools and see how things go.

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Build Your SEO Tool Arsenal

Every SEO should have a fundamental understanding of Google Search Console and Google Analytics. Both SEO tools are capable of providing accurate reporting data based on Google search results.

But, are these tools sufficient for an SEO agency? In no way, shape, or form. You’ll need an array of SEO tools if you want to develop a successful SEO methodology.

Many small company SEO and marketing tools are meant to help with things like keyword research, link building prospecting, and competitor analysis. On the internet, you’ll discover a mix of free and paid offerings; we recommend starting with the free ones to get a feel for how the tool operates, and then buy only those that work for you.


Put Your Processes in Writing

Create an SEO software and tool manual, then distribute it to your team. To decrease reliance on individual abilities, try to cross train as far as possible. This means that if a team member quits, or even if they are just sick or on holiday, your SEO agency’s operations won’t suffer as a result.

Marketing Your SEO Agency

As an SEO agency founder, you are in a great position to get your new business’ website ranked in Google fast. But that should not be the only marketing you do.

Thought Leadership for Your SEO Agency

Making an effort to become a thought leader in the SEO space is one effective way to both build your brand and market your business to a wider audience. Blogging helps (especially as that also, of course, helps with SEO) but these days you shouldn’t stop there. Social media, vlogging, podcasting and more are all tactics worth considering.

Becoming a thought leader in the SEO field won’t happen overnight, but with consistent effort, and a lot less expense than you might imagine, it can help grow your new SEO agency faster and more efficiently while also giving you the extra credibility to sell your SEO services to your target demographic before your competitors do.


Cold Emailing Campaigns for Your SEO Agency

In the larger scheme of things, some SEO firms overlook how to start a cold email. To be honest, many ineffective emails are ignored or deleted as soon as they arrive. However, this is simply because they aren’t doing it correctly.

The idea is for your emails to stand out from the crowd. Avoid subject lines that are too generic, such as “We provide SEO services.” “Best Price,” “Earn $$$ Now,” and “100% Free” are all trigger words and key sales phrases that will not work. Instead, focus on your client’s problems and feel free to be more personal and creative.

The thought process does not end with the subject heading.

It’s not a good idea to send a blanket email to everyone on your contact list. Personalize your emails based on the demands of different groups or subgroups. In no time, you’ll have a far higher success rate and more positive responses.

Cold email can be scary. Download Deepak Shukla’s free report here to help you get started the right way.

Nurture Those SEO Service Leads

When a lead visits your website and signs up for your newsletter, your marketing efforts aren’t over. That is, in fact, the start of their relationship with your SEO agency. This is where lead nurturing enters the picture.

What’s the point of nurturing leads? It’s simple: not all of them are ready to work with you on an SEO project. Some prospects may be merely shopping around and comparing pricing from various SEO firms. Others may require a little more persuasion that SEO is even worth their time and money at all.

You’re leading your prospects through every stage of the buyer’s journey by nurturing them. This entails giving customers information about your solutions as well as content that is relevant to their present needs. You can do this via email, social media, even good old fashioned phone calls. How you do it will largely be up to you. What’s most important is that you do.

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Talk is cheap, so we don’t just say what we can do – we can show you! Our SEO campaigns have a track record of not just ranking our client’s sites on page 1 of Google but much more besides. You can expect an improved user experience, more traffic, better conversion rates, increased brand awareness and more.

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What Our Clients have said about our SEO Agency.

Here at Pearl Lemon, we can help your company grow.

Participant feedback has been excellent, and attendance numbers are projected to reach 5,000. Pearl Lemon holds their work to a high standard, working quickly to get things done.
Jakub Zajíček
CMO, PitchGround
The engagement generated eight calls within the first month. Pearl Lemon establishes a seamless workflow to ensure consistent communication. Their professional team is enthusiastic throughout the process.
Leigh Ashton
CEO, The Sales Consultancy
Attendance to the event grew at a rapid pace, and a significant number of respondents gave positive feedback regarding Pearl Lemon’s approach. The team provided recurrent progress updates that clearly demonstrated their impact. Their knowledge and transparency set them apart from other vendors.
Lulu Laidlaw-Smith
VP Events & Sales, Paddington Works

Starting an SEO agency will put your abilities and determination to the test

Don’t be one of the many would-be SEO company entrepreneurs that gives up halfway.

While the efforts and elements of starting your SEO firm may appear to be arduous, the end result may be well worth the effort. All of the new skills you’ll get as a result of the evolving digital landscape, as well as the businesses you’ll be able to help along the way, will make your work as an SEO agency more than rewarding, it’ll be profitable too.

We'd Love To Hear From You!

If you have any questions, please do get in touch with us! If you’d prefer to speak directly to a consultant, Book A Call!