What Is An SEO Agency? Definition, Examples & Approaches

July 1, 2023

What Is SEO Agency?

An SEO agency uses search engine optimization techniques. These can include on-page, off-page, and technical SEO strategies. The goal of SEO is to improve a website's organic performance and increase its visibility online. But SEO is a long-term strategy and involves staying ahead of the search engine's ever-changing algorithms.

SEO agencies use keyword research and content creation and other methods to capture organic traffic. Google reports that the ROI on organic search traffic is 5.3 times higher than that of paid search. As a result, businesses at the top of the search engine results get the best quality leads and see an increase in revenue.

What Is SEO?

SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process used to increase a website's visibility on search engines such as Google, Bing, or DuckDuckGo. Demand Sage says the SEO industry is worth over $50 billion. SEO targets organic traffic as opposed to relying on paid ads.

Instead, SEO uses relevant content, backlinks, and social media marketing techniques to answer a user's search query best. Organic traffic accounts for 53% of website traffic. So websites at the top of the search engine get some of the highest quality online traffic. As a result, they're viewed as an authority, and people want to consume their content.

How Does SEO Work?

SEO works by optimizing a website's content, executing keyword research, and acquiring inbound links to increase ranking and visibility. SEO helps search engines understand your content and shows its relevance to the user's goal. First, search engines employ crawlers to discover new content and access its relevancy.

Then websites are indexed and ranked based on criteria like keywords, high-quality content, search intent, load speed, social signals, structure, on-page experience, and backlinks. Google has over 200 ranking factors. They can be divided into three main categories: on-page SEO, off-page SEO, and technical SEO.

On-page SEO

On-page SEO simply tells Google and the reader your site has what they're looking for, like the right keywords and variations of the top keywords related to the topic. It includes things on your website's pages, like title tags, content, page URLs, image alt tags, meta description, and internal links.

Off-page SEO

Off-page SEO is other websites that link back to your site and show Google that your site is an authority in your market. Backlinks are like votes; the more votes you have from sources with high domains, the better your site will rank. According to Search Engine Land, backlinks continue to be in Google's search algorithm's top two ranking factors.

Technical SEO

Technical SEO refers to anything that makes your site easier for search engines to crawl and index. For example, load speed, mobile responsiveness, security, site architecture, and content marketing strategy can all help your site sit higher in the search engine ranking. Maximize your crawl budget with an up-to-date XML site map, robots.txt, and no HTTPS errors. 

The best way to learn how SEO works is to learn by doing. Tweak, test, and see what works. Use third-party tools like Ahrefs or SEMRush to find the best keywords. Target long-tail keywords with high search volume and a low difficulty score that you can rank for fast.

Get backlinks from high-authority websites and use software like Screaming Frog to locate technical issues. Focus on providing the most relevant answers to the search query and give your readers the best user experience possible. The key is to share quality information that people want to consume. In 2024, even well-optimized sites won't rank high in the SERPs if the content isn't good.

7 Steps To Starting A Profitable SEO Agency In 2024

1. Select Your SEO Niche

Identify a target market and check out the competition. Then, focus on a subsection of that niche that is underserved or unmet. But don't try to help everyone. Instead, find your unique selling point. Focus on and be known as a niche-specific SEO authority. Next, identify specific problems you can solve for that niche.

For example, building brand awareness, getting more leads, etc. And become an SEO specialist in that market. But be selective about the clients you retain. Find niches with high demand and solid payouts that meet criteria like:

  • High customer lifetime value (recurring payments like gym memberships)
  • A high ticket value (like real estate agents)
  • Offers networking opportunities (referrals so you can scale your SEO agency faster)


Avoid markets with low-profit margins or business owners with too many objections. Instead, focus on finding the right fit for your SEO agency. Be ready to test and experiment. Then, dial down and make a name for your SEO brand as an agency that gets results.

2. Decide What SEO Services To Offer

SEO services your agency can offer include content creation, video marketing, and competitor analysis. As an SEO expert, your agency can also sell SEO strategies like:

  • PPC & Google Ads
  • Social Media Marketing & Brand Building
  • Link Building & Competitor Analysis
  • The New 'E' In Google's EAT (author experience)
  • Website Page Speed Optimization & Technical SEO
  • Google Business Profile Performance (for local businesses)

Develop an SEO strategy that gives customers a cohesive, standardized option to solve their business problems. Don't try to do everything for everybody. Instead, focus on core deliverables and what works for a specific problem for one specific avatar. For example,

  • Do they need more leads?
  • Does the business owner want to increase brand awareness?
  • Is the goal of the company to get higher ROIs?

According to BrightEdge, 68% of online experiences begin with a search engine. It's the job of an SEO team to develop an SEO marketing strategy. First, decide how to help them best solve this problem. Then prioritize what they need to get results. Focus on the process that drives results.

For example, your agency can create audience-targeted content that's helpful and directly answers the user's question. But still adheres to Google's EEAT and uses NLP language to make the search rankings happy. In 2024, the search engine's primary goal is to help users find the best answers to their questions. An SEO service should include an optimized website with fast load speeds and be mobile-friendly. 

Statista reports that 58.99% of all website traffic worldwide comes from mobile phones. But you don't need to be the expert at everything all at once. Instead, start with several services that get the results for your client and do good SEO. Build a reputation as the best SEO agency. Then consider adding more services to scale your business. 

3. Create Your SEO Pricing Structure

What your agency charges for SEO service will depend on your ability to generate high ROIs for your clients and the type of SEO you intend to offer. For example, will your focus be on PPC and Google ad campaigns? Or will you only provide backlinking services? Is your target market local or national? Of course, time and skill play key roles in your rates. So consider the niche and vertical and level of competition.

The average hourly billing for SEO services is between $75-$100 per hour. You can also charge per project or a monthly fee. The best SEO agency services cost as much as $10,000 per month. So build a reputation and have case studies to prove your SEO tactics will get a business owner results.

4. Market Your SEO Services

To market your SEO services, learn as much as you can about your ideal client avatar. For example, what problems do they have?

  • Could your SEO skills provide the solution? 
  • Where do they consume their content online?
  • Are they members of a network or business association? Could you connect with them there? 

Next, focus on nurturing relationships. Share basic SEO advice on platforms like Reddit, Quora, and LinkedIn. Or offer a free SEO service like a website audit. Understand and provide value at every phase of the customer journey. Address pain points and provide actionable and expert advice. (But this is how to increase the perceived value of your SEO services). Then, when you're ready to pitch your SEO services, develop an offer that's easy for them to say yes to.

5. Advertise Your SEO Services

Advertise your SEO services on your agency website, social media platforms, or YouTube channel. SEO agencies can also leverage paid ads on Google and Facebook. But be ready to spend as paid advertising costs continue to rise. For example, Viden Globe suggests that Google ad costs could increase by 20%-30% in 2024. So know where your ideal client spends their time online. Then focus on promoting your SEO services on those channels to get in front of the right people with the right proposal. 

Position your agency and increase the perceived value of your offer by selling your expertise. Focus on the results your SEO agency can deliver, not the problem. SEO agencies can find clients on platforms like LinkedIn or Facebook. Or consider an email marketing strategy. Email marketing is a proven concept. Do it right, and you can see ROIs as high as 4400% ($44 for every dollar spent). Consider creating a risk-free or limited-time offer to entice new clients. Then get serious about referrals and scale your SEO company. 

6. Hire Your SEO Team

An SEO company needs to offer multiple SEO services if they want to scale. But you don't need to be an expert on every aspect of the business model. Instead, focus on the SEO skills you do well. Then outsource the other areas to white-hat SEO professionals. 

You can find freelancers on sites like Upwork or job boards like Indeed. SEO freelancers can save your agency both time and money. By hiring an SEO team, you can service more clients. As a result, you'll scale faster and earn more money.

7. Get Results For Your SEO Clients

Focus on revenue with real results. Clients don't care about backlinks or digital marketing strategies. Instead, they want guarantees. Proof that your SEO company can deliver on outcomes. They want results that get them more money, revenue, and profit for their business, not clicks, visits, and search ranks.

What Is An SEO Lead?

SEO leads are highly targeted and typically yield good ROIs. One way to capture organic SEO leads is to rank at the top of Google for relevant keywords. Digital Marketing Institute says SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate.

At the top of the SERPs, people trust your agency is an authority and the best SEO company. So you get a ton of eyeballs on your offer. Other strategies include inbound marketing and outbound marketing tactics like:

  • Email marketing campaigns
  • Networking events
  • Cold outreach on platforms like LinkedIn or Facebook
  • Referrals from existing clients
  • Paid ads on Google & YouTube
  • Digital PR

Leads are the lifeblood of your business. An SEO firm needs a steady stream of leads to make money. To demonstrate your knowledge, consider offering a free SEO audit or keyword research analysis service. But don't pitch your offer too fast. Instead, share valuable content. Focus on building trust with your target market and establishing your digital marketing agency as an authority.

Who Is The Target Audience For An SEO Agency?

The target audience for an SEO agency is a defined set of people that meet specific criteria and are the right fit for your SEO business. Don't try to be the solution for everybody. Instead, decide on your SEO service and what traits make your ideal client avatar.

Then you can focus your digital marketing strategies on getting in front of the right people. Start with market research using tools like Google Analytics, Google Trends, Answer the Public, and BuzzSumo. Then determine things like:

  • What's the size of the industry? Will it be easy to penetrate?
  • How much competition is there? Do they need local SEO or national SEO?
  • What is the average customer lifetime value? Is this a critical factor in the profitability of their business?
  • How much is their average spend per transaction? Do they have the budget to cover your SEO services?

Niche down and find businesses with no or little online authority. For example, check out websites on the second page of Google or Google My Business (GBP) listings that don't have a website. According to Backlinko, in an analysis of 4 million Google search results, only 0.63% of people click on the second page of Google search results.

Likewise, look on Facebook for profiles with a business account that lack an active online presence. Don't go after the wrong people or waste time and effort on lowball customers. Instead, focus on clients who understand the value of your proposal. Target business owners with a budget and who understand the benefits of SEO ranking. Then find clients willing to spend enough money for your SEO efforts to make a difference in their bottom line.

What SEO Approaches Will Your Agency Use To Make Money?

Approaches to SEO include content marketing, video marketing, and influencer marketing. As an SEO agency, determine what SEO marketing style is the best fit to drive organic traffic to your client's websites. Then, focus on SEO tactics like core web vitals, relevant keywords, and page speed insights. These strategies have a proven concept and yield some of the best results on Google.

In 2024, it's about providing value and the best user experience. Learn as much as you can about your client's niche and market. What SEO approach will generate the best results in the shortest time? Then leverage tools like Moz and SEMRush to check out the competition. 

  • What keywords are they ranking well for? 
  • What kind of information is on their website?
  • Do they have a lot of content?

Use platforms like People Also Ask and Google Search Console to determine what users are searching for and the questions they want answers to. Then provide them with the best response possible in your content. The goal is to rank high in the SERPs and get as many eyeballs on their site as possible.

What Methods Will Your SEO Agency Use To Improve Search Rankings?

An SEO agency's methods for improving search rankings need to align with the latest SEO techniques. Understand your online customers. Whose attention do you want to grab? The more you know about your target audience, the better content you can publish. Methods that can improve search rankings include:

Refresh existing content and use trending keywords

Focus on the value. But write content for users, not Google and provide content that gives context to both Google and your users. For example, write simple copy with a ton of subheadings. 

Then it's easy to digest and signals to Google that you're an expert on relevant topics. Of course, Google wants unique and original content that provides a better answer. But don't overoptimize for the search engine. Instead, understand the queries and create good resources for people. 

Access your on-page SEO

Create a relevant internal linking structure that links lower-ranking pages to higher web pages in the search engine. Internal links are contextual links found in the body of your article that connect relevant pages with the main topic. But they're a good way for your link juice to flow on your site. Base your keywords on categorization and create web pages for each sub-keyword. 

Pro Tips: Use long-term keywords. They're informational, so they're easier to rank for. Then use meta tags in your content and focus on the user experience. But when you make Google's life easier. Then they reward your website by ranking it higher.

Monitor your data

Track your data, especially when Google announces a core update. Don't always believe Google when they say they plan to do an update focused on a specific factor. Instead, listen to what they're saying. Then determine what they really want. For example, don't start changing stuff on your website after a Google algorithm update unless you know what changed. Or you can identify what caused your rankings to fall in the SERPs. 

Each niche and market is different. An SEO agency needs to focus on methods to increase rankings. The goal is to get real results for their clients. But that's how your agency will make money in 2024.

What Are The Benefits Of Starting An SEO Agency In 2024


A benefit of starting an SEO agency is the ongoing demand for SEO professionals with the skills to get a website to the top of the SERPs. Likewise, you could start a social media marketing agency. Then as you build a client base, scale your company to offer more services like SEO and paid ads. 

Another benefit to starting an SEO agency is that it's an online business model, so you don't need significant capital to sell your services.

Other benefits of starting an SEO agency include choosing your clientele and the ability to scale fast. For example, you can post freelance writing jobs on sites that pay daily and outsource content creation. Then your agency has more time to focus on SEO techniques and retaining new clients.

The primary advantage of starting an SEO agency is the chance to earn an income online.

How Will You Measure The Success Of Your SEO Agency?

An SEO agency needs to be able to measure the success of an SEO campaign. Then they can validate prices to show clients that your SEO consultant efforts are working. Use several core metrics to measure an SEO strategy's success:

Keyword rankings & CTR

An SEO agency can measure the success of SEO campaigns using keywords. Keywords are the crux of a successful SEO strategy. Use the best keywords, variations, and long-tail keywords in your content. Next, monitor your progress and understand how well your site ranks in the SERPs.

See which keywords rank well and which aren't gaining traction in the search results. Then identify areas of improvement to increase rankings and drive more traffic to your site. The better your keyword ranking, the higher CTR (click-through rate) your site will get.

Organic traffic

Measure your agency's SEO success with organic traffic. Organic traffic is free. According to Zero Limit Web, the first five organic listings get 67.6% of clicks on Google. But to get to the top, offer the best answers to frequently asked questions. Make your response as direct as possible. Don't waste time on fluff. Instead, consider the search query. Then provide a solution that best solves the user's problem. But give the most relevant content. Then users don't need to go back to the search and check out the competition's websites.

Bounce rate & page dwell time

Another way to measure the success of an SEO agency is to track the bounce rate of your client's websites. The bounce rate is the number of people who check out a website but leave before viewing additional pages. High bounce rates mean users aren't finding what they need in your content. 

But other factors can influence a site's bounce rate, like slow load speeds, a confusing design, and poor mobile optimization. Think With Google says the slower the load speed for mobile users, the higher the bounce rate probability. As a result, it can increase bounce rates by as much as 90%. Bounce rates don't directly affect page ranking. But they do play a role in targeting.

An SEO agency should run A/B testing to determine why people are leaving. Check the text size and readability of the web pages. Then make sure there's a clear call to action and consider adding videos to improve your page dwell time. The goal is to get and keep people on your site by fulfilling search intent. Then you show Google you're an authority in the space and will find favor in the SERPs.


Use an SEO tool like Pro Ranker or Ahrefs to track your metrics. But pick one software and system. Then you maintain consistent and measurable results for each SEO campaign.

Offer The Local Lead Generation Business Model To Increase Revenue For Your SEO Agency 

The local lead generation business model focuses on getting organic traffic. Organic traffic is high intent. People are actively looking to consume your content. It's also evergreen, so it grows over time. But you need to be there when people search for things related to your business. With lead generation, you build and rank simple websites for one service in one city. Then you employ local SEO tactics like backlinks and hyper-local content to get to the top of Google.

But once your site is at the top, it produces leads you can sell to local business owners for profit margins between 85%-90%. You own the website, the tracking number, and the leads. You're like a digital landlord who rents digital real estate for a portion of the profits. But because the focus is local, your websites can rank in as little as six weeks to six months. Understand the process, and you can build and rank more than one site at a time.  

Next, create a rank and rent website for your SEO clients; they have another channel for leads and online exposure. Then they make higher ROIs, and you have a unique angle. But this can set your agency apart and attract more SEO clients. Local lead generation is also a way to harness passive income. Unlike starting an SEO agency that requires daily work and effort to get results. With lead generation, once your sites are at the top, they don't need a ton of work. So you make money every month on autopilot. 

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Ippei Kanehara

$52K per month providing lead generation services to small businesses

Ippei.com is for digital hustlers, industry leaders and online business owners.

His #1 online business recommendation in 2024, is to build your own lead generation business.

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