Knowing a lot about SEO doesn’t necessarily mean that you have what it takes to start your own SEO business. You see, running a business is something completely different and the fact that you’ve been SEO freelancing or even working at an SEO company for years doesn’t mean that you’re prepared for what is to come. Therefore, before you even consider starting your own company, there are several things you absolutely must bear in mind.
Write a business plan
The absolute first thing you need to do when starting a business of any kind is – write a business plan. Apart from helping you get approved for a business loan (should you need one), having a well-composed business plan is a great practice for attracting potential partners and investors. One of the greatest misconceptions about SEO is a belief that it is a low-cost industry. Sure, you may be able to start with modest means but both growth and scalability require you to have a proper business structure. Needless to say, this can be quite costly. For this reason alone, writing a business plan is an absolute must.
Set up an office
While it is possible to run your SEO business from home, in order to ensure a greater scalability, it is vital that you get an office as soon as possible. This means leasing the office space, hiring people, getting all the necessary equipment and even looking for storage facilities as a temporary (transitional) solution. Apart from establishing a positive business practice, setting up an office will (similarly to a business plan) also make your company more presentable and more appealing for B2B interactions.
Fight for your own Google rank
According to numerous statistics, about 33 percent of all Google searches end up on the No. 1 search result. On the other hand, 95 percent of all searches end up somewhere on page 1, which is why all these customers need your services in the first place. For a second, try to put yourself in their shoes and ask the following question: “How can I be trusted to improve someone else’s rank if my own rank is in shambles?” With this in mind, the first step you need to take is a rapid improvement of your SEO rank.
While it is true that the SEO niche is getting more and more saturated with every passing minute, getting ranked somewhere near the top is simply not good enough for someone who wants to prosper in this industry. In order to succeed you need to become No. 1 in at least one specific search. In most cases, this is related to your location. In an ideal case scenario, you will wind up on Google Rich Answers.
Finally, in 2018, you cannot disregard the idea of voice search SEO. According to the latest statistics, about 55 percent of teens and 41 percent of adults use this feature on a daily basis. With this in mind, your efforts to get on top of voice search results need to be doubled. The greatest difference here is that the old keyword rules no longer apply with 100 percent accuracy. In written searches, people commonly omit prepositions, while with voice search, people are a bit more specific and grammatical.
Getting your first clients
Once you get to the top of the search list, you will get enough visitors, however, persuading them to become clients is something else entirely. One of the best ways to attract customers is to offer a free SEO tool. This particular technique is known as foot-in-the-door in traditional marketing and is still, quite reliable as a first step. You can make this tool 100 percent free for first 10 or 15 days and in this way attract future clients. Other free resources like content that is free to download is also a show of a good fate.
While it is never advised to slack on work, you need to keep in mind that your performance during your first several contracts is the key to your future success. This happens due to two major reasons. First, a job well-done will secure you numerous word of mouth (WOM) referrals, which can be useful in several ways.
Apart from sending future clients directly, you can also turn them into testimonials and use them to enhance the value of social proof on your website. In this way, a visitor can connect an image of a satisfied customer with the description of the service you’ve done for them. Next, you might want to add logos and names of companies you’ve previously done business with on your front page.
Aside from this, a great early performance opens up a possibility of showcasing your success later on. Still, this only works in a situation where you actually have something to brag about. Because of this, the first couple of clients you have need to receive an absolutely superb treatment, even better than your own website.
Work on your digital footprint
The next thing you want to do is start a blog. Reasons behind this are numerous. For starters, if you use your expertise to touch on several technical topics of the SEO, you will constantly get the opportunity to link towards them and in this way work to everyone’s benefit. Second, by demonstrating your technical prowess in the field of SEO you get to establish yourself as a niche authority. In this way, your personal brand gets to help out your company’s digital footprint. Finally, blogging can be a valuable stream of additional income, which might be a welcome thing until your business becomes self-sustainable on its own.
Apart from blogging, there are several other ways in which you can increase your digital footprint and establish yourself as SEO authority. For instance, you can answer SEO-related questions on Quora and Reddit, as well as post comments on some other forums. It is even more efficient if you are to make a guest appearance on a seminar or a conference and hold a speech. Most importantly, YouTube is currently the second largest search engine in the world. Therefore, you cannot afford to be underrepresented there.
At the end of the day, every beginning is hard. Apart from having to deal with various logistical issues about your company’s infrastructure, you are also supposed to start working on your company’s brand image and build up its reputation from scratch. Still, with the right attitude, an adequate amount of preparation and huge enthusiasm on your side, this obstacle shouldn’t be able to hold you back for long.
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