Just about every novelist is familiar with the adage, “write what you know.” As an agency owner or marketer looking to grow your business, you’ve got to sell what you know.
That’s certainly true when it comes to SEO. You can’t expect your customers to buy into the need for search engine optimization if you don’t believe in the value of SEO yourself.
In an age when we rely on Google and other search engines to provide us with priceless information, we can’t overstate the power of SEO. And because we’re all about sharing knowledge and growing together with our partners, we want to give you the resources to prove the value of SEO beyond a shadow of a doubt.
SEO is a precious gem in your treasure trove of marketing services. To get clients on-board (and ranking!), you’ll need to show them that SEO is worth its weight in gold. We’ve compiled the tools that every white label SEO reseller needs to accomplish that goal while creating a reliable revenue stream for your business.
In this guide, you’ll learn:
- What is SEO and why does it matter
- How to calculate the value of SEO
- How to talk to your clients about SEO
- How to earn your SEO sales gold star
- What businesses get wrong about SEO
- Why you should outsource to a white label SEO agency
What Is SEO and Why Does It Matter?
You may already understand why SEO is important for businesses. When done well, search engine optimization can help connect business owners with potential customers by helping their websites show up more readily in relevant searches.
But many folks have never given much thought to why Google shows us certain results over others when we enter a query. As such, they might not understand why they should include SEO in their marketing plan.
Explaining how SEO works, in layman’s terms, to your customers can help them see that it isn’t mere luck (or even an endorsement of the best products or services!) that determines how websites are ranked in Google:
- Search engine bots crawl all the websites that exist online and catalog (or index) every possible web page they can.
- Then, search engines use secret calculations (known as algorithms) to sort through these indexed pages and rank them using hundreds of metrics (or ranking signals) meant to address relevance, quality, and overall usefulness.
- This order of site ranking is what you see when you perform a search query for specific information.
The better a site is at proving to Google that its content is pertinent and valuable to users, the higher the site’s ranking is likely to be. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the site’s products or services are unequivocally the best – but search engines do want to satisfy user needs above all else.
So why does where you rank matter? Because the sites that appear first are far more likely to receive traffic and subsequent sales. In fact, Backlinko found that the website in the top spot of the search engine results page (SERP) receives 27.6% of all clicks. What’s more, the site in that spot is 10 times more likely to be clicked than the site in position 10 (the last spot on that first organic results page).
You can’t simply buy your way into the top spot of organic search results. If you want to reign supreme in SERPs, you need to invest in SEO services to improve user experience, create helpful and authoritative content, and drive traffic to your site.
How to Calculate the Value of SEO
We know that the theoretical value of SEO is huge. But how do you actually measure that value and prove its worth to clients? We’ve determined both the “soft” and “hard” value of SEO, which you can reference to convince your customers that this strategy is worth the investment.
What Is the “Soft” Value of SEO?
You don’t always need specific numbers to understand why SEO matters. Simply put, search engine optimization can improve your marketing by consistently boosting traffic and conversions while supporting brand awareness.
- More affordable than other types of marketing (especially PPC ads)
- A low-CPL (cost per lead) lead generation tool
- Helpful in improving user experience, customer loyalty, and brand reputation
- A self-sustaining source of leads, rather than relying on external platforms
- A way to connect with potential customers who need solutions but who avoid ads
- What any competitor will use as part of their strategy
Plus, it offers recurring revenue for your agency while prioritizing the best interests of your customers – a total win/win.
Measuring the Value of SEO by the Numbers
So how does that translate into monetary value? We’ve created our own customizable ROI of SEO calculator that you can use to show clients exactly what they stand to gain by investing in this aspect of their marketing.
You can use our free SEO return on investment calculator tool to plug in your customer’s business stats, along with keyword search volume and ranking, and determine how much they’ll potentially get back when they work with you to optimize their site for search engines.
You know what they say: Money talks. By staying the course, our fictitious example dental client stood to gain a major payoff from their initial investment in SEO. Crunching the numbers for your customers – without making any guarantees – can show them what they’re missing out on and how you can help.
How to Talk to Your Clients About SEO
So you’ve decided it’s time to have “the talk” with your client – about SEO, that is. Whether you want to start selling SEO services for the first time or you sense your client might be hesitant to invest in search engine optimization over PPC, you’ll want to go in with a game plan.
Quick and Dirty SEO References
Before you ever meet with a client, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the types of SEO services you can sell and how they can help clients achieve their goals. Our reseller cheat sheet gives a rundown of what’s involved in each service and why your clients might need it.
If you’re wondering how much SEO knowledge is actually necessary, you should take a look at our SEO glossary. It provides quick definitions of the need-to-know terms your clients might ask about. You can even bookmark it for later so you’ll always have a reference at the ready.
But you’ll need more than a brief breakdown to learn how to sell SEO effectively. Check out our in-depth resources and add them to your SEO sales arsenal.
What to Charge for SEO Services
Do you know how much the average business pays for SEO services? If not, you could be underpricing (or overpricing!) for your target market.
We did a study on the average cost of SEO for small businesses across the U.S. and found that white label SEO resellers may be missing out on major growth opportunities. In fact, over half of American small businesses still aren’t using SEO (or aren’t sure whether they are!). That means there’s a huge untapped market of potential customers for your agency. Learn what to charge for SEO services each month and evaluate your client rates accordingly.
Earn Your SEO Sales Gold Star
Knowing how to sell SEO is an art, but it’s also a science. When you know the product inside and out, you can address common concerns or challenges before they have a chance to derail your sales calls.
We believe a great SEO sales call requires…
- Loads of prep work (client research, agenda/proposal creation)
- Anticipating potential pushback and understanding pain points
- Setting realistic expectations about SEO timelines and results
- Clear understanding of service offerings and their value
Like a good Scout, you should always be prepared
Remove the concept of “winging it” from your vocabulary. Whenever you hop on a call with a prospect or current client, you should prepare as much as humanly possible. That’s especially important with sales calls. Our team prepares and shares meeting agendas ahead of time, performs company and competitor research, and creates proposal decks so that calls are thorough and fruitful. Of course, you should still leave lots of room for discovery – but you can’t leave it all up to fate.
Address pushback and common pain points
One challenge resellers face is convincing clients to take a chance when they've had negative past experiences with SEO. Clients may have dipped their toes in the SEO water before without meaningful results, or dealt with vendors who used spammy backlink strategies. Others have a hard time passing the reins to someone else or they simply aren’t sold on the possible return on investment. When you’re familiar enough with these common areas of pushback, you can address these problems head-on and reassure clients that they're in good hands. That way, they're more likely to stick with a strategy long enough to start seeing results.
Get ahead of unrealistic expectations
Another challenging aspect of SEO is its typical timeline. Unlike paid ads that can start showing results almost immediately, SEO takes time to build. That may surprise some business owners who want instant returns on their marketing investment. But you shouldn’t try to hide or downplay this characteristic of SEO. In fact, you can actually use it as a selling point. Ads may start getting impressions and clicks right away, but what happens when your budget runs out? SEO takes longer, but it’ll also stand the test of time. When you start now, you’ll still see results from those efforts years in the future – and you won’t have to spend an arm and a leg to get those results. Identifying and addressing any unrealistic expectations from the start can ensure your clients will know enough to stay the course.
Learn the ins and outs of your SEO offerings
To sell SEO effectively, you need to have a bit more than basic knowledge. That doesn’t mean you need to know everything about Google’s ranking algorithm or how to craft the perfect blog post for your clients. But you should feel confident enough to answer your clients’ questions and explain how each SEO service you offer can help them achieve their goals. Moreover, understanding that a combination of SEO efforts will be more impactful than singular, one-off projects can support your clients’ progress and create a consistent revenue stream for your agency. Don’t forget: You can always rely on your white label SEO partner to help you come up with talking points or gather some data to demonstrate the value of a specific deliverable!
Become an SEO Sage
Due to the ever-evolving nature of SEO, you’ll want to stay up-to-date on industry best practices. While that doesn’t mean you have to know everything there is to know about Google, you’ll feel more confident in selling your services and in nurturing long-term customer relationships when you’re well-informed about the biggest updates.
The more you know about SEO, the better guidance you’ll be able to give your clients. You’ll be perceived as a trustworthy authority that business owners can count on.
What People Get Wrong About SEO
Not only do our most successful SEO resellers seek out and share resources where appropriate, but they also discourage dangerous practices and dispel common misconceptions about SEO that could hurt their clients (and their agencies!) in the end.
Although SEO Takes Time, It’s Worth the Wait
SEMRush found that it takes at least 6-12 months before the average SEO campaign starts seeing results. Depending on the particulars of a campaign (such as budget, location, industry, and keyword competitiveness), it could take even longer.
While it’s likely that a client will see at least some progress during the first 6 months of a campaign, we have to set realistic expectations – and that means steering clear of guarantees.
SEO is meant to be a long-term solution that builds organically over time, which makes SEO a great counterpart to other solutions like PPC and social media marketing. In other words, there are no shortcuts.
Well, technically, there are. But not only are these shortcuts ineffective, but they’ll often backfire. Being able to identify the warning signs of black hat SEO will ensure your agency’s reputation remains untarnished and that your clients won’t risk a Google penalty.
SEO success doesn’t happen overnight. Your clients will likely be rewarded for their patience!
Not all Backlinks Are Equal — But They Are Necessary
Link-building is a divisive part of SEO. Some agency owners believe that backlinks are spammy and don’t matter at all, while others feel they should acquire as many as possible.
The truth actually lies somewhere in between. Backlinks are certainly an essential part of SEO, with Google confirming on several occasions that they matter when determining a site’s ranking. Google’s own John Mueller has predicted that the “weight” of the backlinks ranking signal will likely drop a bit in the future as search engine algorithms become more adept at understanding the context of on-page content relative to the whole of the internet. But as of now, backlinks are still crucial to any SEO strategy.
That being said, not all backlinks are created equal. It won’t behoove your clients to have a backlink profile full of spammy sites (which often happens when business owners buy backlinks for SEO purposes). With backlinks, it’s all about quality over quantity.
One of the quickest ways to determine backlink quality is to look at domain rating or domain authority, but that number isn’t the only indicator of value. You’ll also want to look at traffic, relevance, and other technical site aspects. Once you understand what makes a good backlink, you can make decisions about whether to go after no-follow links for a more diverse backlink profile or advise your prospects to stop wasting time on Reddit web 2.0 backlink acquisition.
Working with a white label SEO fulfillment partner that can deliver on quality link-building can make a huge difference for a client’s domain rating and overall site rankings.
PPC Isn’t a Substitute for SEO…
Some clients might be seduced by the immediate results promised by PPC or the flashiness of social media marketing. Both of these marketing solutions can yield results for clients – but that doesn’t negate the need for SEO.
When prepping for an SEO vs. PPC debate, it’s important to drive home the fact that SEO offers both affordability and long-term results. The SEO work you do today can benefit your business years down the line – and it won’t cost you an arm and a leg. With PPC, on the other hand, you can easily spend thousands of dollars with nothing to show for it in a month.
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t recommend PPC for your clients. It can be a great way to drive traffic quickly, especially as your white label SEO partner works behind the scenes to ramp up that part of the strategy. Understanding the unique interplay between organic and paid search can help you and your clients make informed decisions about where to spend their marketing dollars, while knowing how to sell SEO vs. PPC can bolster your agency’s growth.
…And Neither Is Social Media
So what about social? Social media is a must for businesses in the digital age, but that doesn’t mean you’ll want to abandon your other marketing efforts. As we’ve recently seen, these platforms are subject to anything from widespread bans to sweeping algorithmic changes that will undoubtedly impact any content strategy.
Although TikTok was once predicted to dethrone the world’s most popular search engine, we ran an experiment and found that its search engine capabilities are far more limited than those of the Almighty Google. We can’t even say that it’s totally necessary for your marketing agency to be active on Twitter, especially considering the recent shakeups happening there. And although Meta is determined to make the Metaverse a “thing,” most folks aren’t buying it. It’s harder to advertise on Facebook than ever, and Instagram is in the midst of an identity crisis.
You can’t, in good conscience, advise your clients to stay off of social media entirely. But it’s worth pointing out that these platforms offer significantly less control for business owners than SEO does. Social advertising efforts may not yield strong results – and it’s entirely possible that all the time (and money!) spent on creating content and building an audience for social media could be gone in the blink of an eye.
Again, that doesn’t mean your clients should sit on the social media sidelines. However, it’s a great argument in favor of SEO. When you own your website and publish unique content there, that’s an investment you’ll have forever. Even when Google updates its algorithm, you won’t lose everything you’ve worked for.
While Content Is King, You Can’t Disregard User Experience
You might be familiar with the expression, “build it and they will come.” Although building a great website won’t guarantee traffic, no one will buy if the site deters visitors.
Engaging and valuable content is a must, but so is a website that provides a positive user experience. Even if a client’s website is rich in content, it won’t live up to its ranking potential if the site is slow or poorly designed for mobile access. Google’s recent emphasis on its Core Web Vitals proves that you can’t underestimate the effect that web design and user experience have on SEO.
The connection between web design and search rankings is undeniable. You can’t get great results for your clients if their website is outdated, hard to navigate, and in violation of Google’s best practices. That’s why we begin every SEO campaign with an in-depth website audit. Before we start publishing quality content, your clients will have a strong foundation on which to build.
Why Outsource Fulfillment to a White Label SEO Agency
Offering SEO as a service is valuable for both your clients and your agency. But that doesn’t mean you’ll always have the capacity to take on SEO fulfillment yourself.
Many agency owners find they’re:
- Drowning in work
- Losing clients or turning down leads
- Unable to hire qualified candidates
- Struggling to manage or afford in-house hires
- Disappointed by unreliable contractors
If you want to grow your business, you’ll need a provider you can trust to deliver quality services on time, provide ongoing support, and compile progress reports. Finding the right white label SEO agency partner will allow you to maintain your branding, take on additional clients, improve deliverables, and access the resources you need for sustainable growth. White label SEO can offer the solution both you and your clients need for long-term success.
We Know the Value of SEO – And Now You Do, Too!
At Semify, we’ve been providing agencies with quality white label SEO services for 15 years. We’ve grown our business from its humble beginnings, helping hundreds of other business owners do the same along the way.
It’s safe to say that we understand the power of SEO and how to harness it. We also want to empower our partners to leverage their knowledge of SEO (as well as our team’s expertise!) to grow their businesses.
We believe that growing together creates the freedom to be more, do more, and have more. When you can explain what is SEO and why does it matter for your clients, you’ll know how to sell SEO more effectively – and be able to reach new heights with your agency’s growth.