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How to Get SEO Clients for Your Web Design or Digital Agency

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.

There are a couple of prerequisites to offering SEO services. First, you need to find SEO clients who want your SEO services. After that, you need to convince those people that the value your SEO services provide is greater than the value of the money they’ll need to part with to pay for them.

If you can successfully overcome those hurdles and then deliver the value you proposed in your initial pitch, you can be fairly certain your SEO client list will begin to grow.

We understand that the prospect of finding SEO clients and convincing them to buy into what you’re offering can feel daunting, but worry not.

Here’s a step-by-step guide that will show you how to successfully get SEO clients:

Identify Who You Want as SEO Clients

At first, you aren’t going to be able to compete against the big national SEO providers, and maybe not even the established ones in your area. Start by niching down and focusing on an audience that isn’t yet taking full advantage of the benefits of SEO.

Businesses in your local area(s) could be a good target audience. Or, if you like working with certain industries (landscapers, builders, interior designers, etc.), you can target professionals in those industries.

Then, find out if the locations or industries you want to serve are being targeted by SEO experts? To do this, Google “[that location or industry] SEO.” If the SEO providers listed on the first page of the search results aren’t all that impressive, then the location or industry you’re considering as your focus might be worthwhile.

You can also use Ahref’s authority checker to measure your website’s authority against the authority of the SEO providers listed on page one of Google. If your authority is roughly equivalent (or better), your site has a solid chance of competing — assuming you build out quality content related to your SEO services.

Once you’ve selected your audience, you can build out your content and optimize it for the search engines.

Create and Optimize SEO Services Pages on Your Site

Once you know your audience, it’s time to get your website in order. In a recent survey of SEO professionals, 45% of them said that their business website is one of their top three lead generators. And, if you’re selling SEO services, you’d better be able to show potential clients that you practice what you preach. The “cobbler’s children syndrome” excuse isn’t valid, so please don’t use it.

You’re going to need at least one SEO services page on your site. You’ll also probably want additional pages to target any key service areas (locations) or industries you’ve identified as important. Needless to say, each of these pages will need to be well-optimized for the search engines.

The content you create on these pages will bring in organic traffic, convince your prospects to trust you, and get them to reach out. Make sure you’re taking the time to focus on crafting valuable content that helps your audience make sense of what you have to offer. A well-optimized website with great content will be required for every other step in the SEO services sales process, so make sure it’s solid before you start expecting it to help you get new SEO clients.

When your SEO services content is complete, you’ll have created the foundation for selling your SEO services. Now, start selling.

Get SEO Clients From Your Existing Clients & Network

When trying to get SEO clients, it’s always best to start where you are. You’ll often find that you don’t have to look far to find plenty of high-quality leads.

Tap Existing and Old Clients to Become New SEO Clients

If you have a web design or digital agency and a list of current or past clients, start there. Many of these clients may not have solid SEO. Sure, they may have tried to add some title tags and meta descriptions, but most of them won’t have the advantage of comprehensive SEO services like those you’re now selling.

Pitch your new SEO offering to rapidly find SEO clients that are already willing to work with you.

Leverage Your Professional Network to Find SEO Clients

Referrals are one of the best ways to fill your sales pipeline. Why? Because people will attribute some level of trust to your SEO services when they come recommended by a trustworthy human.

Leverage your existing professional network by letting everyone in it know you’ve begun offering SEO services. Email past colleagues, former business partners, friends, family, casual acquaintances, and anyone else who might be able to send some SEO leads your way.

Get Social to Get More SEO Clients

Sure, social media may seem like a bit of a dumpster fire, but it’s still a necessary one. At least LinkedIn is relatively safe and can be a productive place to connect with other professionals.

You might as well dial in your personal and/or business LinkedIn profiles and start providing helpful SEO guidance to your network. If you don’t yet have a professional network on LinkedIn, it’s time to start building one.

If you’re thinking, “But my people are all on [insert any other social platform],” then go build your network and create content on whichever social media platform that might be. It’s possible that at least one of your connections will notice that you’re an SEO specialist and recommend you professionally at some point.

When it comes to social media, remember to be social. It’s much harder to find SEO clients through these platforms if you’re not actively engaging with your professional network (clients and other professionals in your industry).

Stop lurking in the background. Provide something of value and engage with others in the space. The more engaged and helpful you are, the more likely people are to think about referring you.

Create Targeted Content That Answers Questions

Part of the reason we asked you to identify a target audience at the beginning of this is that you must be ready to create valuable content for that specific audience. Which type of audience you’ve chosen to target will determine what you include. 

Content for Location-Based SEO Services

If you’re trying to capture a local audience, you should first and foremost have one SEO services page that describes your SEO expertise as a whole package. For example, a page targeting “your location + SEO services” that tells people what your services are and how they will benefit from them.

Then, you might want to create subpages on your website to describe each of your SEO-related offerings in your target location. Creating this in-depth, service-based content will allow you to attract local business owners who need various SEO services like SEO audits, content marketing, link building, local SEO, etc. On each of these pages, include location-specific keywords like “Boulder content marketing,” “Boulder link building services,” etc.

In most cases, blogging about SEO isn’t generally effective at getting local SEO clients, but it might be helpful when targeting specific industries.

Content for Industry-Specific SEO Services

The more valuable your site is as a resource for your audience, the more likely it is to generate qualified leads. As a result, one highly effective SEO strategy is to publish informative blog content that helps both business owners and marketers in your target industry.

You could write industry-relevant articles with titles such as, “How to Get Interior Design Clients from Google,” or, “How to Create a Content Strategy for Your Interior Design Business.” The more valuable your content is, the more likely the people who read it are to want to work with you. Just make sure you provide them with clear calls to action that help them contact you. 

Fire Up The PR Machine to Find SEO Clients

It’s critical to get your name out once you decide to offer SEO services. Public relations (PR) is one of the most reliable ways to grow brand awareness while generating links back to your website at the same time.

Start by presenting at business conferences and events. These can be business-specific opportunities like Chamber of Commerce events, or you can choose to attend industry-specific events like annual conferences. Make sure that the topic of your presentation is related to SEO.

Try to find out which podcasts your audience is listening to. Reach out to the hosts and request to be a podcast guest. You can also do some guest blogging for industry partners or on community websites.

Whatever you do, get out there and spread the word about your SEO services.

Get Your Pricing and Packaging Right

Everything we’ve discussed so far will help you generate SEO leads. Your skillfully crafted and optimized content will drive traffic and gently persuade leads to become clients. Meanwhile, all your off-site efforts (pitching existing clients, building a social presence, and PR) will build brand awareness and drive people into your sales funnel.

The final thing you need to do is ensure that you package, price, and pitch your SEO services appropriately for your audience. Pathfinder SEO has a free Getting Started with SEO Services course that will walk you through the fundamentals of packaging, pricing, and pitching your SEO services so that you can close warm leads and grow your client list.

The last thing you want to do is lose potential clients at the finish line because your packaging and pricing are all over the place.

The Take-Home

Getting SEO clients doesn’t need to involve complex marketing schemes or cutting-edge SEO knowledge. More often than not, finding and closing SEO clients is about executing the basics both well and consistently.

If you follow our suggestions in this article and add in your own ideas, you should have no trouble finding solid SEO clients. Then, just make sure you deliver the results you promised. If you don’t, you could find a wrench in the gears of the SEO lead machine you created.

If you’re not sure you can deliver measurable SEO results, it’s worth learning more about guided SEO.

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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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