End-of-Year SEO Planning for Freelancers & Agencies

Lindsay Halsey

Lindsay Halsey is a co-founder of Pathfinder SEO. She has over 10 years of experience working in SEO with small to large businesses. Lindsay focuses on teaching site owners, freelancers, and agencies how to get found on Google via a guided approach to SEO. Stay in touch on Twitter - @linds_halsey.

It's the end of the year already, and time to plan for 2022. When it comes to the SEO services you offer, here are some things you can do to set your agency and your clients on a course for growth for the coming year.

Planning SEO Strategy for Your Clients

At Pathfinder, we guide you to take a holistic approach to SEO. A holistic approach focuses on the long game, which doesn't require large shifts in strategy as the SEO industry evolves.

When we talk about SEO strategy, we think about each customer's strengths and weaknesses. Our goal is to focus our efforts on the most effective and productive tasks in terms of turning weaknesses into opportunities.

Take a step back to think about SEO strategy for your customers. Review your client's web presence against each of the four pillars of SEO — technical, content, on-site, and off-site.

You can score each pillar if you'd like to give your clients an idea of how they rank in each pillar. Here's a sample scoring spreadsheet. As you go, list action items that will lead to growth in weak areas. These won't always be tasks that can be completed in a single sitting or even in a single month. They will, however, begin to create a roadmap. Here are some examples:

  • Technical SEO — Focus on speed and performance.
  • Content — Update the content on key service or product pages.
  • On-Site SEO — Scan the current title tags and meta descriptions. Draft updated copy, edit it and implement.
  • Off-Site SEO — Improve the strategy for acquiring new reviews on Google Maps each month.

With big picture insights in hand, it's time for project management. Create a 3–6 month plan for each client and layout tasks in your project management system to align with the above action items. You may need to break them into smaller pieces.

Do the action items fit within the monthly package sold? If not, this may be a time to upsell your customer to a higher level of monthly engagement.

Note: Project management and this in-depth review of SEO strategy are paid engagements. They should be part of your monthly client work during December. If December’s already booked with SEO action items for clients, you can always schedule this strategic work for January.

Planning to Scale Your SEO Services

Sales

At our SEO agency, December has never been a big month for closing new business. New clients typically show up in January. But this doesn't mean that December is a quiet month on the sales front.

The sales work we invest in during December always leads to new deals closing during the new year. Here are a few questions to ask yourself to ensure your new year sales get off to a strong start:

Do all of your past and current customers know you offer SEO services? If you've been building websites for years and only recently started offering SEO services, the answer is probably no. This information gap is a missed opportunity. Your past and current customers might be looking for help with SEO marketing right now and not even know you offer it. The simplest solution is to send an email to all of your clients who aren’t yet working on their SEO with you.

Would any of your current SEO customers benefit from a change in monthly plan? Ideally, this is an opportunity to upsell. For example, moving a client from your basic SEO Maintenance plan to a higher-level plan, including content marketing and more. Sometimes, though, you may recommend that clients move down a level instead. Perhaps they needed your Action level plan for 6 months post-launch and can now shift to an SEO Maintenance plan. Reach out to any customers if you think there‘s a mismatch between monthly retainer and actual SEO needs.

Have you followed up with those leads who have recently received a proposal? At our agency, we sometimes do a great job with SEO discovery calls and proposals but fall flat in the follow-up. Drop any current prospects a follow-up email and keep the ball rolling.

Systems

When your agency first starts offering SEO services using our guided approach, you’ll follow our systems, which include Pathfinder’s SEO Checklist and Ongoing SEO lessons. You’ll quickly learn how to build an SEO foundation for your clients, as well as how to explain SEO.

As your SEO offerings grow, you'll want to continue to invest in building out your internal systems. Do you have systems that integrate SEO tasks into your project management software?

If you’re working with a team, you’ll also want to define standard operating procedures (SOPs) and/or workflows to ensure that everyone is on the same page and delivering work on time.

You might also want to leverage our email templates: make them your own, and then save them in your email account so you always have something ready to send when you need it.

Finances

Year-end agency planning includes taking stock of your finances.

As you do a financial review of your agency’s performance last year, here are some SEO-related questions to explore:

  • What percent of your agency’s revenue came from SEO services in 2021?
  • What's your current monthly recurring revenue from SEO services?
  • What are your recurring SEO revenue goals for 2022?
  • Are your SEO services profitable? If not, are you overdelivering or undercharging?

Welcome a New Year

Cheers to your success in 2021 and continued growth in 2022! Launching and scaling SEO services is a great way to build your recurring revenue which has a myriad of benefits. If you aren't a Pathfinder SEO subscriber yet, sign up today and start taking advantage of the lessons, tools, and coaching that a guided approach to SEO provides.

Lindsay Halsey

Lindsay Halsey is a co-founder of Pathfinder SEO. She has over 10 years of experience working in SEO with small to large businesses. Lindsay focuses on teaching site owners, freelancers, and agencies how to get found on Google via a guided approach to SEO. Stay in touch on Twitter - @linds_halsey.
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