Selling SEO services can be challenging, and the overcrowded SEO market doesn’t help. However, if you equip yourself with relevant knowledge, you will find it easier to sell SEO audits and monthly retainer services to businesses of all sizes.

You might know SEO like the back of your hand, but SEO experts are rarely experienced salespeople too. While good SEO that brings results sells itself, many businesses need to be educated about the benefits of SEO. After all, SEO is not like any other product you can buy online.

Here is an ultimate guide to selling SEO services for SEO agencies and consultants looking to boost their lead generation and client relationships.

Education

Your overall customer relationship will be best if you know a lot about SEO – and not only about how it works but also what is required by the client. Clients, on the other hand, need to be educated as well. They should at least have a basic understanding of how SEO works and what you will be doing on a daily basis. Once the clients understand what’s being done and how difficult it is to do SEO right, they will be happy to extend your collaboration and have you get more work done (and pay you more for that).

Transparency

Developing a beneficial relationship with a client without trust is impossible. And honesty and transparency are the foundation of trust. If an SEO agency performing services isn’t completely transparent and honest with the client about what exactly they are doing to get better organic results, consider that a red flag.

If you’re trying to hire an SEO agency or consultant and they claim to have some secret proprietary knowledge that they can’t share with you, better choose next provider. Most clients are curious about SEO and will want to know what SEO experts are up to. Fine, they might not want to know all the technical details about what is being done. Then again, there are clients will want all the details about every single link to their website.

It doesn’t matter what your client wants – you always need to be prepared to be transparent and completely honest with them if they do ask for details.

What you should know to provide quality SEO services

You can only sell SEO services efficiently if you know a couple of things about SEO. SEO is made up of many different concepts and diverse areas of knowledge. Here are some examples of that knowledge to point you to the kind of expertise that is required for selling SEO services:

Search engines are built to provide the best results for specific search queries. The primary job of the search engine is understanding searcher’s intent. You need to understand how search engines work. Search engine results come in different types that together build the search engine results page.

If a website doesn’t show up for a particular search query or keyword, it doesn’t mean that SEO experts have done their job poorly. There are plenty of reasons why a site doesn’t show up for that keyword. It can be about customization of search results for each user, or the way you write down the keyword phrase or search query.

The primary job of an SEO expert is getting more relevant traffic through organic search to a site. Great SEO gets more traffic, but they also understand their client’s business needs and can generate more leads and convert them into sales.

You should understand the difference between paid search results where you pay for positioning and the organic search results that are also known as natural or free.

Paid search ads never come free of charge, and advertisers need to develop a daily or monthly budget to pay for these listings. But they can be sure that the listings will appear above and below the organic listings. That type of marketing strategy plays out well, but before launching, you need to consider the factors that determine which ads are shown when. Partnering with a consultant who specializes in paid search is an excellent strategy to make the most of your paid listings.

Google often shows local results for queries that contain a city name. A search results page contains several different sections, and to appear in each of these sections, SEO experts need to employ different strategies.

The organic results usually appear below the paid ads and sometimes the local results or map listings. This is where SEO experts come in to do their job.

SEO requires time, and that’s something both you and your clients should be aware of. SEO isn’t a tactic that brings results instantly. It’s a general strategy that takes time to implement and execute. In fact, if your client operates in a very competitive niche or industry, they should understand that it could take months or years to get reasonable organic visibility.

Content is king. And SEO revolves around unique content created and posted on the client’s website and elsewhere.

Before Google, SEO is all about developing keyword lists and optimizing sites for given keywords. On-site search engine ranking factors were the most important. However, when Google came along, it also introduced a new element: how websites link to one another. The more links you have from other websites, the higher you would rank in search results. Links became the currency of the web. SEO experts manipulated links (for example, bought and sold them). However, link manipulation is considered a bad tactic by Google. It delivered penalties to many websites that used this technique to get links. Such sites saw their traffic drop overnight due to changes in Google’s algorithms.

Google Webmaster Guidelines are an essential document Google publishes with its guidelines that all websites should absolutely follow to avoid getting penalized. Using SEO techniques that don’t comply with the guidelines might result in a penalty – that’s when Google takes manual action on a website.

Google’s algorithms reward websites that follow the Webmaster Guidelines. Sites that use SEO tactics that violate the guidelines – for example, having too much copied content from other websites or having too many low-quality inbound links – are in trouble. They simply won’t rank high. Google’s engineers are busy designing complex algorithms that prevent that these sites from reaching any good position. And even if you fix the problem, you could be waiting months before your site recovers.

A manual action is usually a penalty sent by Google. It’s often quite severe and needs to be fixed as soon as possible. Manual actions are generally easier to diagnose and fix. In fact, SEO experts can find a lot of information about manual actions in the Google Search Console. Access to the Google Search Console and Google Analytics is essential for SEO consultants who want to optimize the website.

SEO experts need to ask clients to tell them everything they know about the website and any SEO done in the past – together with general information about their business, potential target markets, and marketing activities.

Local businesses need to be consistent with their NAP data. The company name, main phone number, and address should all be uniform throughout the web whenever the company is mentioned. It’s not easy for a local business to show up in local listings if they don’t have a presence in the city. Opening a satellite office is helpful but that strategy is sometimes considered problematic. If local listings are important to you, joining the local Chamber of Commerce can be of great help too businesses that are involved in these organizations.

Developing an updated, mobile-friendly version of a website is essential to getting great search engine rankings.

It’s also important that your website loads fast. That’s an important factor in getting good search engine rankings.

Investing in content is a smart move because search engines can’t understand what your business is about if they don’t see any good content on your website. If you don’t have anyone on board who could write the content, you will need to hire someone to create and add it to your website.

Taking advantage of social media is another smart move. A well-developed social media presence is an essential factor for search engine rankings – especially since your competitors are probably using social media as well. Monitoring social media websites like Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and LinkedIn is important. These websites can drive traffic to your site and search engines will know when users are going to your company websites from these social networks. Depending on the social media traffic and visibility, you will get different types of search engine rankings.

You don’t need a blog on your website to get good search engine rankings, but it can be a great help. Adding unique, informative and relevant blog posts that solve specific problems of your target audience is a great way to start a conversation on social media and encourage people to engage with your content. That’s how you get your brand noticed, and your blog posts can quickly rank well in search results. Sometimes that happens in a matter of minutes.

Make sure that your clients know that SEO’s overall strategy takes time. It’s something that should be worked on every day of every week or month. Or even more often if your business is in a competitive market.

A good link building strategy is essential to boosting search engine rankings.

Explain the SEO process to your clients

To get a good understanding of high-level SEO strategy, here is a review of the basic SEO process.

In general, SEO projects can take on three different forms: you work for a brand-new website that hasn’t launched yet, you work for an already existing website or a website that is currently undergoing redesign.

Existing websites

Most SEO experts will start by performing the SEO audit of the website. Depending on the size of the website, the audit takes very little or a lot of time. You might be surprised to see that a large e-commerce website can take much less time to audit than a smaller website. That’s because e-commerce websites use site elements that apply to many pages at once as they rely on templates.

When selling SEO services, you need to include the SEO audit in your pricing. Next, you can make a list of items to be fixed, updated or changed on the website. What follows is a review of the website’s link profile. The SEO expert reviews all the link that point to the website from other sites. Again, it’s time to update, change, or remove bad links.

Next, you come up with a strategy for link building and creating new content for the website. Finally, SEO teams implement the results of their SEO audit as part of the monthly ongoing retainer services.

New website

Those launching a brand-new website need to involve SEO experts in the process. When the website’s overall structure and wireframes are being developed, you should consider taking advice from an SEO expert.

Many times companies bring in SEO experts right before the website is launched. This is a mistake because SEO consultants will quickly discover major structural website issues that need to be fixed or otherwise the website won’t provide a way to add more content on a regular basis to it. Getting SEO experts as soon as possible is a smart move.

Here’s how to compete with cheap SEO

You’ve probably heard about cheap SEO services offered by companies and individuals. The thing about cheap SEO is that you get exactly what you pay for: low-quality work. Most of the time, these services are offered at a rate of $200-300 a month.

But to do SEO properly, you need a lot of customization. It’s impossible to develop a one-size-fits-all kind of SEO strategy that will benefit every business.

Most of the time, these services aren’t actually about SEO but rather about the citation building, local listings building, and providing clients with low-quality links. Ultimately, cheap SEO services end up costing businesses much more money in the long run because they pose a risk or can result in a penalty. And it’s something your clients should be aware of.

Here’s what you should be telling your clients

SEO isn’t a magic trick that takes your website to the top three results overnight. However, knowledge and experience allow experts to fix issues and make a website rank much higher than before.

SEO is something that takes time and while changes might be made to a website immediately, developing and executing your strategy might take months or years to bloom to its full potential.

Let your clients know that you will inform them about your activities on a regular basis. And finally, ask them to be transparent with you as well – especially when they make changes to the website or do anything else that might affect their site’s SEO.

Have you got any questions about selling SEO service? Share your experiences in comments; we’re looking forward to hearing from SEO professionals and their tactics for selling SEO services.