SEO as a Business

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Lesson Overview

In the previous lessons, we learned both on-site and off-site SEO techniques. Now, we’ll take that knowledge and market it as a web design business.

In this lesson, we’ll discuss 6 SEO Business Ideas:

  1. Not offer SEO at all
  2. Refer to an SEO specialist
  3. Bundle it with your quote
  4. Charge extra for SEO
  5. Include it with your maintenance plan
  6. Solicit SEO Audits


Lesson Transcription

Welcome! I’m Leighton, your webmaster. In the previous lessons, we learned both on-site and off-site SEO techniques. Now, let’s take that knowledge and market it as a web design business. So you have several options. Let’s talk about these business opportunities, but first, a word of caution. If you solicit SEO work, you have to know what you’re talking about. That means, in addition to what I’ve taught you, do some research on your own, watch educational videos, read Google’s webmaster resources, and experiment with SEO on your own. Have a solid understand of SEO before you start teaching your clients about it. 

  1. Not Offer SEO — This is a bad choice unless you do option #2 and refer to a specialist. Why do I say that?  Because, in my experience as a webmaster, the #1 thing on a business’ mind is their search engine ranking. They want page 1! Some clients won’t even care how the website looks as long as it ranks well! So SEO is totally something you need to comprehend. Even if you don’t pursue it as an expert or your specialty, you still need to understand it so you can make educated recommendations to your clients and informed decisions when building their SEO-friendly site. As a reputable website designer, everything you design should be SEO-friendly.
  2. Refer to an SEO Specialist — This is the simplest option. I’m a huge fan of specialists. I regularly refer my clients to photographers, content writers, advertising firms, and the like. Why?  Why do you think that’s wise?  Because they’re better at what they do than I am! They win, I win, the client wins, everyone wins when we bring in specialists. In terms of SEO, if you can find an affordable yet talented SEO guru in your area, check them out, and try to form a business relationship. The best relationships are those where you give them SEO work and they, in turn, give you their website design jobs. To be clear, in this scenario, you don’t collect any money for SEO work. You simply give the name and number of the freelancer or company you recommend. It’s like… realtors and title companies. They each have their own specialty, and they regularly pass business to one another. They don’t try to step on each others’ toes, rather, they build each others’ businesses through referrals.
  3. Charge for SEO — Let’s say you’ve studied SEO and you’re ready to market those services. You can add that to your quote. Charge an extra… say… $295… $495… $995 for search engine optimization. It’s another way to generate income and serve your clients, but there’s a major issue, and why I don’t personally charge extra for SEO. Can you think of any problems with making SEO an optional add-on or upgrade?  It puts anyone who declines that option at a serious disadvantage. Their website will be lacking, and they’ll come to you months later wondering why their website isn’t ranking.
  4. Bundled with your Quote — This is my favorite option. We’ll talk more about your prices several lessons from now, but basically, I like to include SEO in my bundled quote. So, for 1, 2, 5 thousand dollars, whatever you’re charging, the client receives a beautiful, functional website, one that’s mobile AND search engine friendly. At that price point, SEO shouldn’t be optional. It should be built-in to the core of the website you develop. And if you’re looking to develop any sort of long-term relationship with the business, it’s also in YOUR best interest to build a high-performing website. Don’t make SEO a paid add-on. Make it default with your websites.
  5. Included with Website Maintenance Plan — We’ll talk more about Maintenance in the next several lessons, but SEO is an idea for your Website Care Service. But SEO is such a far-reaching concept, so you need to figure out… what is it, specifically, that you’re offering?  Is it a monthly SEO audit?  Quarterly audit?  Reviews management?  Blogging?  Content Creation?   See, a lot of the on-site SEO techniques you’ll apply once when you’re first building the website. But after that, much of the ongoing SEO takes place off-site and in the hands of the client. Blogging, posting, earning reviews, building links and relationships, much of that is out of your control. So convey very precisely what it is you’re offering if you tell clients you’ll provide SEO as part of your monthly service agreement. 
  6. SEO Audits — This is where you thoroughly review every page for SEO plus’s and minuses and prepare an extensive report of your findings. What do you think this is worth?  I’ll typically charge $495 and spend a few hours on this. You’ll also have to consider… are these just your findings?  Or your findings plus your fixes?  If you’re fixing SEO issues, how much time will you spend on that?  You have to be clear in setting the expectations for this audit. And to be clear, SEO audits are NOT for beginners. They require the knowledge AND the experience. Like a home inspector! Would you pay for an inspection from somebody… who hadn’t ever inspected a home before?  No!

RECAP: So what have we learned? There are several ways to market SEO services to your clients. You can:

  1. Pass on SEO and not offer it at all
  2. Pass the work on to a specialist
  3. Charge extra for SEO
  4. Bundle it with your quote
  5. Include it with your website maintenance plan
  6. Sell SEO audits.

Wow, this was a lot. In a few hours, you have learned so much about Search Engine Optimization! This is such an exciting topic, and I hope I’ve helped demystify it for you. While it’s a complicated subject, it really boils down to just a handful of factors, and now, armed with that knowledge, you can start gaining first-hand experience as you improve your client’s search rankings.

I’m Leighton, and now you know, Search Engine Optimization!


Lesson Homework

Brainstorm the ways you are comfortable marketing SEO services.