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How to Start an SEO Business (2021 Beginner’s Guide)

December 28, 2020


In this article, I'll show you how to start a profitable SEO business,

from how to get clients,

to designing your agency website,

and much more.  

I started as a local seo business, ranking sites for small businesses...

Now I do high-level seo and rank this blog globally.

In this guide I go over how to effectively get started with SEO, imo the best skillset on the internet to create passive income streams 

All the do's and don'ts of doing a SEO business by ranking sites for other people versus ranking your own sites.

Why you want to get into the SEO business:

The SEO industry did 67 billion dollars in 2018. 

And the internet is growing at a faster rate than expected

Here's the evidence:

In 2017,

it was predicted that in 2021, 

the internet's global penetration rate,

meaning what percentage of the world is on the web,

was going to be 53.7%. 

As of January 2020,

the internet's penetration rate is 59% 

(4.54 billion people out of 7.75).

The internet is penetrating the world's population faster than expected. 

Are you ready to leverage the expansion? 

Why Listen to Me? (My Qualifications)

To show you that I am qualified to write this review, 

I want to share my qualifications:

I've been in the internet marketing world since 2014 when I jumped into local, organic lead generation

The core component of organic lead generation is search engine optimization (SEO)

I've been partnering with a tree service for over 5 years

Below you'll see checks dating back to January 2015. 

and you can see for yourself that my site is ranking even today: 

Still wondering if the site is mine?

That said,

I am not a know-it-all type guru, 

just a hard-working, introverted millennial,

who's been persistent & intentionally maximizing the value of the internet since 2014. 

The Bottom line:

All I can give you is my own experience and reflections on what has worked best for my business. 

On that note,

let's dive in.

20 Tactics to Get SEO Clients in 2020

1. Get Ranked for SEO in Your City

If you want to play the search engine optimization field, 

prove your worth

Becoming a true SEO professional takes a lot of time and effort. 

You'll need to be obsessed with doing whatever it takes to break that first page.

And then creeping upward,

until you're at least in the top 3,

if not number 1. 

To be really successful at SEO,

it helps a lot if you have a deeply competitive streak to tap into. 

Start by ranking your website for your city + "SEO,"

Having your site ranked will give you the credibility to close huge deals. 

Not to mention the attention you'll garner with new prospects,

who are searching for the very skills you offer. 

You won't only get noticed,

you'll impress the heck out of those looking to have you duplicate your results on their website. 

3 Tactics to Jump Start Your Ranking

1. Watch Your CONTENT LENGTH (2,000 words minimum per page)

What I discovered is that most of my competitors (SEO pros) neglected the basic practices, 

for more flashy techniques. 

Think of it this way:

You know how in the military, 

they've got pretty advanced strategies and procedures too. 

But they still do push ups to stay in shape. 

Writing content for your website pages is foundational to the ranking of your website. 

You can push past a lot of SEO "3rd Graders,"

who were lazy and neglected to put more time into their written content.

It's a simple way you can 1-up your competition. 

Why not do it?

If you are optimizing 10 or more pages on your site for different keywords, 

I suggest hiring a high-quality VA to do the majority of the copy-writing for you,

as that's 20,000 words,

then you can just go through and tweak as needed. 

2. Increase PAGE OPTIMIZATION (a.k.a. Overall Page Load Speed)

The main tool that you'll find handy here to get your page speed as fast as possible is Google's Page Speed Insights

This tool provides not only statistics on how fast your page loads, 

but suggests different ways that you can improve that velocity through better compression of images,

adjusting your website's coding to deliver smaller JS payloads, etc. 

The more compressed your images and the lighter your payloads, 

the quicker your website will load. 

The tool is super simple to use. 

All you do is copy and paste your page's URL into the analyzation search bar and hit "Enter."


When you are looking to rank a certain page for a certain,

reasonably commonly searched keyword, 

I recommend putting that key phrase as the keyword slug in the url of your page. 

Like I did for the page you are reading now:
Organizing your url slug this way will let Google or Bing or any other search engine your prospect is utilizing know what your content is featuring.

So, in summary,  the number 1 thing to do if you want to get more SEO clients?

Prove your skills.

Rank your own site.

2. Show Prospects Their Own Site 

People are most interested in themselves. 

How to make friends and influence people - Dale Carnegie

One of the rules that an OG, 

Dale Carnegie, 

wrote in his famous self-help book,

"If you want to make more friends, talk in terms of the other person's interests"

Business owners are most interested in growing their companies. 

One of the simplest techniques I used to get the attention of my SEO clients was to send them short (3-10 minute) videos of their site versus their competitor's site. 

It's very simple to do.

5 Steps to Making a Screencast Video:

SCREENCAST STEP 1: Download a Free Screencast Recorder.

Over my years on the internet, I have used several, but the free versions have pretty much everything you need. 

Remember: As long as the equipment works, you're golden. The most important thing is to make the videos very informative to your prospect.

Screencast-o-matic is good #notanaffiliate

(it's the main one I use these days)

but there's a lot of others out there as well,

like TechSmith

SCREENCAST STEP 2: Making the Video: (A few Do's and Don't's)


do not speak in technical terms,

like "back-link" and "citation flow," 


explain why their site is not ranking as well as their competitors

by visually showing them with a tool like Majestic or Ahrefs, 

(I've used both of them)

the metrics of what their site needs to jump over the competition,

using illustrations: (Here's 3 examples)

-like electricity:

"Back-links are the voltage that carries your website to the top of the search results"

-like plumbing:

"Back-links provide the PSI that pushes your site to page 1 of Google"

like politics:

"Back-links are the votes that make your site win over other sites"

(I'd pick one and use it throughout, as more than one illustration would likely be confusing)

Your goal of using an analogy is to give them something to relate to your seo services. 


say their name (if you know it, if not, say their company name). 

Dale Carnegie,

the OG of making friends,



"Remember that the person's name is the sweetest and most important sound in any language" to your prospect. 

Think of it this way:

When people you don't know say your name from across the room,

it peaks your attention. 


if you say your prospect's name 2-4 times throughout your seo video,

you just might snag their attention like a wriggling worm on a hook gets a fish

(specifically a large mouth bass, but that's beside the point lol). 


The important thing you need to do when 

starting your business is to take (imperfect) action. 

Make it a goal to make 10 screen-cast videos each day for 2 weeks to your potential clients (anyone on pages 2-5). 





This imperfect action taking took me a little while to get on board with. 

You see, I went through most of the US's education system that trains you to think that an effort is not worth it unless it's a grade A,


100% quality. 

You will, as I did, need to change your mindset from perfection to action if you want to be a successful business owner, 

an entrepreneur,

instead of a person who just wishes for a better life. 

To sum up this step:

Strive to do a pretty good job on the video,

but don't worry if all the details aren't in a row. 

Just get out there and do it. 


P.S. If you want more motivation, 

check this passionate-plea-to-action article

**Warning: It's not for the faint of heart**

SCREENCAST STEP 3: Make a Business-related gmail address to send your videos

If you haven't set up your agency site yet, 

and you are short on cash,

you can prospect on the cheap using Gmail. 

Just make a gmail address like ","

and send them using that. 

Key Takeaway:

It not as important to have a professional email address as it is to provide valuable information and position yourself as the expert in search engine optimization during the video.

SCREENCAST STEP 4: Writing and Tracking Your Email

Heads Up: The second part is easier than the first. 

Part 1: Tracking Your Emails: 

When you send out emails,

you'll want to track them somehow so then you know whether or not they were opened. 

If they were opened,

then you know to send a follow up email. 

If your email wasn't opened,

then you'll know to send one similar to your introductory one,

but maybe with a different subject line that grabs their attention in a different way. 

Part 2: Writing Your Prospecting Emails

Composing your emails is a bit of a game.

Each email has 2 main parts:

1. Subject Line

2. Body

Part 1: Subject Lines

The first goal is to get the recipient to open the email.

This means that you need to try out a few different subject lines to see which ones work better than others. 

4 Tips for Subject Lines:

1. Keep it short 

(Most people open on Mobile, so less of subject line is visible)

2. Include their name if possible

(same logic as before: their name is the sweetest word in their language)

3. Use Brackets: "[LIMITED-TIME-ONLY]"

4. Be a LITTLE unexpected

5 Sample Subject Lines:

  • "[2020] Should I do Business with (their name)?"
  • "Promotional Offer for (their name)"
  • "Here's 50% more clients"
  • "Yes, this is a prospecting email [an offer is enclosed]"
  • "(their name) I like your website, is it new?"

Part 2: The Body of Your Email

The 2nd goal of your email is to keep your prospect interested enough to read through some of the content

(make it skimmable)

You want the body of the email to be short, 


and straight to the point. 


people's attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. 

Here's one that grabbed a few receptionists attention

(and got me a couple of very green appointments, if you know what I mean)

 5 Points to Sum up Step 4: 

Make the Body of the 

Make the Body of Your Prospecting Email:

  • Short
  • Sweet
  • Straight to the Point
  • Soaked with an Attention-Snatching Bounce

SCREENCAST STEP 5: Sending Your Email

Over the years, 

I've gotten the full spectrum of responses from businesses I've sent screen-cast videos:

from angry "F*** off - never email me again" replies

to relieved, happy responses like

"yes, we've known we need this for a long time. When can we talk more?"

Prepare yourself. 

You never know how the person on the other end will receive your email,

if they get it at all. 

If you sent out 5 screen-casts and get no replies, 

don't be discouraged. 


Because maybe there's a reason that Google put them in the spam folder? 

Maybe the person is out of town on vacation?

Maybe they are in a hospital recovering from the coronavirus? 

Maybe they simply aren't interested at this time?

Who knows?

Send out more. 

Here's what my mentor's lead gen coaching program taught me: 

"The only limit to how many you can catch is how many lines you cast."

image with the following quote: "the only limit to how many you can catch is how many lines you cast."

3. Social Media

The next way to get clients is through social media.

Most businesses that are successful using social media have the following posting strategy:


Pick a few types of content (listed below),

and run with them. 

If you are a writer, 

write blog articles,

if you are more of a graphic designer,

put together amazing infographics 

that have some "stop-and-look-at-me," 

attention-grabbing characteristics. 

All that said, 

Here's a list of content types that you can post on social media. 

Written Examples:

A. Blog Articles

i. Niche Blogs

Everyone has a personal interest. 

Some people are really into travel, or finances (budgeting, saving, investing, credit cards, etc.), decorating, cooking (baking, grilling, etc.), and that's only to name a few. 

The point here is you can build a blog around what personally interests you,

as long as there's a substantial amount of others who have a bit of interest in the topic as well. 

Your blog could center on SEO or you could be more general, doing something broader, like digital marketing. 

ii. Collaborative Blog

You could build a collection of online articles written by other people 

(you ask them to write and they agree. For the love of god, don't plagiarize)

At the start it will be hard,

but once you get some momentum,

you'll be amazed as things start taking off faster than you could ever imagine. 

Get other bloggers to help build your blog and offer them some incentive,

if your site is already pretty popular you might offer the ability to get a back-link. 

iii. Free Resource Blogs

This kind of blogging is all about having people come onto your website to receive some kind of free item, be it a unique PDF, a classy eBook,  a shiny picture, or a helpful info-graphic like this one: 

Insert Image

iv. Lesson Teaching Blogs

Know a lot about a particular subject that others are interested in learning?

Got an engaging teaching style? 

Let 'er rip!

Put your knowledge out there into the public marketplace! 

See what happens. 

For example,

Patrick Bet-David launched his YouTube channel "Valuetainment" from sharing his knowledge about business.

Since its inception,

Pat has expanded it into a podcast with guest interviews.

Additionally, he has also written several books on the entrepreneurial lifestyle:

specifically how to grow to become a successful business person. 

Now look what he's become:
It shows what you can do when you put your head down and focus. 

B. Case Studies

You can also build your social media following using clients as your example 

(with their blessing of course)

Show what their website had behind it before you showed up and then what it's metrics were afterward. 

(I wouldn't show what exactly you did, but share enough to prove that you did it)

Key Takeaway

Think of a case-study like an in-depth testimonial

I frame my case-studies this way:

Basic Outline of a Case-Study:

PART 1: Their Problem

PART 2: My Solution

PART 3: Their Results

Simple Example of an SEO Case Study:

1. THEIR PROBLEM: When I first met Client ABC, they had problem XYZ

2. MY SOLUTION: I showed them how I could correct XYZ through my unique SEO strategy involving optimizing their on-page content through reducing the size of the images and a few other things as well as obtaining votes from several other sites that would help their site win over their competitors. 

3. THEIR RESULTS: 12 months after I began working with Client ABC, they contacted me to let me know that they received 58.3% more (calls, form-completions, page views, etc.) than the same month the year before. 

Here's a recap of how a solid case study can be structured:

Are you wondering how to do a case study for your digital marketing business or project? Take these 6 points to be the synopsis of what you need to cover.

Conclusion of Case Study Section:

As you build a base of satisfied clients, 

keep an eye out for who might be willing to be your case study subject. 

C. eBook

If you'd put together a digital book on how every-day business owners can build up their site's back-links or 

better optimize their content,

you'll earn more credibility with your audience. 

Here's a guide in the form of an e-book that a popular marketing business is using to build their email list:

make a free ebook to attract more seo clients to your services by showing the value you bring to a relationship before they even meet you. use these ebooks to build your email list as well as to increase your social media following

When you click on "Download Now," 

you come to a giant contact form,

asking for all kinds of information:

this is the opt-in form in order to receive a guide from said popular marketing agency

while I don't recommend having this many fields and options on your contact form 

(some will decide the guide isn't worth it and you'll lose them),

having such a formidable opt-in can be advantageous, 

as it eliminates those who aren't really that serious about optimizing their website for the search engines. 

To sum up,

You can use the eBook as an incentive for interested people to share their email with you,

so you can further share value with them from their inbox. 

It's a pretty easy way to build a following on the Internet in 2020. 

D. eCourses

If you've been in the digital marketing space for over 6 months,

you've likely seen something like this:

this is an example of a free mini course email opt-in as of February 2020

You put in your email and you receive 5 days worth of value

(and on-going marketing for their larger product)

The e-course options for SEO are endless.

Here's a couple possible E-Course titles:

1. "Get Your Site Ranking Today Using SEO: A simple SEO tactic per day for 2 weeks!"

2. "How you can optimize your web pages in 5 simple steps (takes only 20 minutes a day)"

3. "Trying to Show Up on Google? Start Ranking using these 7 Daily Lessons!"

Miscellaneous Examples

E. Infographics

If you combine the idea of the eBook and designing high quality info-graphics, 

you could have a very appetizing reward for those who opt-in to your email list or

to simply share on social media,

either on your page or in applicable groups. 

For instance, 

I recently completed a Comprehensive Guide to Amazon FBA 

(essentially it's a step-by-step blueprint to building a private label business using Amazon's fulfillment services)

and I made this infographic to visually explain how you can build a profitable company on Bezo's giant platform. 

It clearly shows the cycle of as a seller optimizes their Amazon Sponsored Ads (PPC), 

Amazon rewards the seller's sales and additional listing traffic with a higher organic ranking,



creates even more sales.

Those additional sales enable the seller to continue their PPC optimization. 

And the cycle continues.

Take the time and put together high quality content to show the quality of your service,  

you won't regret putting the time in. 

The more you put into your design upfront, 

the more you'll be able to get out of it later.

F. Photos

Here's a photo showing how crazy it can be run a business in 2020. 

There's paper everywhere,

multiple electronics,

2 cups of coffee,

receipts all over the place,

and hard to read spreadsheets. 

I think that photo would make a good advertisement for a digital accounting service like 

What do you think?

I'd use images like that one as the header to a blog post in order to grab more attention. 

In conclusion:

To further build out your following on social, 

use images like the one above to garner the attention of scrollers who,

without the image, 

wouldn't be scrolling through your blog post. 

G. White Papers

This image shares the purpose of a business's whitepaper as a persuasive, indepth, report on a specific subject that presents a problem and provides a solution. Marketers create whitepapers to educate their audience about a particular issue, or explain and promote a particular methodology. They are advanced problem-solving guides.

Rather than pitch a business's need for SEO, 

a different tactic you could use is constructing different whitepapers for each industry that you service. 

For instance,

you could go and do your homework on how a certain tree service tripled in size after investing in an seo expert's services. 

The report would focus more on the methodology that you employed to get said site the number one position. 

If you focused more on the business itself

that would be considered a testimonial

H. Testimonials

Testimonials are often sought by the seo community from their clientele to show prospects that the seo professionals actually do bring results. 

(there's a lot of faker's out there)

Testimonials are the social proof of the excellence of a service or coaching program

Here's an example of a recent one I pulled from Facebook:

Notice how the testimonial shows a person taking action on lessons that a course on digital marketing (specifically organic lead generation), 

and how "Tam" scored a deal with an HVAC company

and will get 500 dollars for every system replacement that the business gets through the prospects that he sends their way.


in review, 

what are the characteristics of a great testimonial?

3 Components that Extremely Convincing Testimonials All Have

1. VOLUNTARY: It must have a specific person who voluntarily gave it. (non-compensated)

2. RESULTS: It must show specific results that the person achieved using the methods (or services) he or she learned (or received). 

3. DATE: It must show a specific date that the results were received so that viewers can see that it's current. 

I. Comparisons

If you want to see an excellent example of a comparison, see my Wealthy Affiliate vs. Lead Generation post.  

In that in-depth article,  

I do a detailed analysis of an affiliate marketing education program and how it compares to a lead generation coaching program,

showing the pros and cons of affiliate marketing,

my experience in the business model as well as 

how much money their top performer is making, 

and more. 

The conclusion I came to after long hour of search was this:

wondering about Wealthy Affiliate? read this article first. It will show you the pros and cons of the affiliate marketing business model as well as a better, more effective alternative (local lead generation)

In our day and age, 

it's really important to provide accurate, up-to-date information as well as fair, apples-to-apples comparisons, 

because most internet content consumers are sensitive to arguments that are really "straw-man" fallacies. 

What is a straw-man fallacy?

Here's Wikipedia's definition:

That's the one area that I'd caution you in if you decide to make comparisons to other forms of marketing (ie SEO vs Paid Ads)

that you make sure you are being honest about what is true about SEO, but also being straightforward about the good and the bad of PPC Advertising. 

4. Develop Relationships with Other Marketing Agencies

Since you are specializing in SEO, 

that means there's a variety of other kinds of digital marketing that you don't do:

like social media marketing

website building

pay-per-click advertising,

just to name a few. 


one way I've gotten referrals is by connecting with others in other digital disciplines.

How do you meet these folks?

You can go to networking meetings (like BNI or MeetUp)

You might login online and search local business groups on Facebook or LinkedIn

A majority of businesses aren't aware of the distinctions between an SEO biz and a PPC business, 

and therefore, 

you might get leads from people looking for other services besides SEO. 

At that point, 

you have a choice to make:

A. Ignore the Request (I mean, you can't directly help them, so there's no money in it right?)

B. Take Action (call up the lead: "Hey Prospect, I appreciate you reaching out, I know a guy who can help you and really take care of what you talked about in the message you sent me. Let me connect you guys!)

What that can do is start to build a relationship between you and that other agency,

as they have another chance to satisfy another business (and put some money in their pocket as well). 

5. Offer Rewards for Referrals

Another tactic I have got a couple clients from is from making it public that I would give 20% of whatever business they brought my way (the first month's worth). 

Be willing to give a little to expand your network. 

It's one of the investments that you can make if you are really hungry to grow your SEO business. 

I mean, 

who wouldn't want to help refer prospects to a business that would pay them 400 dollars to do so?

(The average SEO service I sold back then was 2000 dollars.)

You can publish that referral reward offer in different places so that it becomes known by other businesses. 

Basically, having a reward for referrals keeps them coming. 

6. Answer Questions on Public Forums like Quora and Reddit

If you want a tactic where you can stay behind your computer and still get a bit of attention,

answering seo questions on common online forums is a way to do that. 

For example, 

On Quora, Arsh Singh put together a fairly lengthy article focusing SEO strategies for small businesses.

He's been ranking there since July of 2018. 

Here's the start of his post:

The same can be said of Reddit:

One SEO professional happily proclaims that they finally outranked REI with their guide on how to select a backpack (yeah, they admitted their keyword choice was not much of a money-maker). 

But after 5 years of hard work, 

they accomplished their goal to beat REI on google search rankings.

Explanation of above infographic:

On the right is my recent google search.

On the left is the Reddit post. 

7. Let Prospects Know You Were There

Lansing limo footer Ippei Leads

As you do client work successfully,

you might do as I do, 

and put your company name and link to your website in the footer of the website. 

What this citation does long term

is 2 things:

1. First, it can help the organic ranking of your site,

as you have another back-link. 

2. Second, if someone is wondering who worked on the site,

the prospect has an easy trail to follow. 

As an SEO professional who runs his or her own business, you are not merely trying to get your client's site to rank well, but you have to be constantly out there, getting attention to your unique skill set.

And then me tell you,

there's a lot of shady SEO's out there, 

who really don't do much for their client's sites,

so when you contact a business owner about ranking their site,

what they are going to wonder,

"Is this guy an actual expert?"

"Can they actually help me?"

people trust advertising professionals as much as they do car salesmen: not much

Business owners want to see that you can actually bring something of value to the table,

as they are very conscious of their limited marketing resources (their budget). 

That's one of the reasons I like the local lead generation model,

as I can approach businesses and immediately offer them something of value

(a list of prospects to call back),

so they can make some money,

realize that I do bring value, 

then we can make a mutually beneficial deal. 

I used that exact strategy with a tree service in Grand Rapids, MI. 

They've been steadily paying me since 2015. 

That's why the rank and rent process remains,

in my experience,

the best online business model for those wanting to leave their 9-5 and live a lifestyle of freedom. 

8. Be Present on Your Agency Site through Live Chat

As you grow your business, 

the traffic on your website will likely grow.

So how do you best attend to those who show up on your home page?

A common practice today is to install a chatbot on the site. 

Many different kinds are available as WordPress plug-ins.

Here's 3 popular examples:

  • IBM Watson Assistant
  • WP Chatbot
  • WoowBot

These robotic conversation partners can:

  • Answer questions
  • Provide requested information
  • Offer help to get the prospect where they need to go

I myself like to keep my company site lean-and-mean

as the saying goes,

so I don't use them these days. 

9. Offer Complementary Web Design

Do you have a background in creating sick-looking websites?

If you already have the skills

(or know where you can easily outsource the task) #Upwork

You can affordably offer complementary web design.

This is a key incentive to business owners as they might not have much of a website

(perhaps their's isn't mobile friendly like the one below)

offering a cutting edge website as a point of negociation to get the business owner to sign a contract for SEO can be a remarkably effective incentive

and if you frame it as a point of negotiation

("If you sign up for 6 months of SEO today,

I'll add in an up-to-date website for your business")

It's definitely something to consider. 

Over the past couple of years, 

I've built up relationships with several virtual assistants who are more than willing to put together a website at a fraction of the cost that I can sell it for in most places inside the United States. 

10. Train a VA to Email Cold Prospects

Speaking of Virtual Assistants (VAs), 

one of the techniques that has been fruitful for me has been training a few virtual assistants to submit pre-written prospecting emails on contact forms of businesses that are not on the first page of google for their main keywords. 

Although it depends on the industry and location,

I've had upwards of 65% open rates on some of the form submissions with about a 54% conversion rate of those who requested an appointment. 

How do you find VA's?

You need to put a process in place to filter the high quality ones who meet your criteria

from the ones who really want the job, but don't have the qualifications. 

Here's a 6 stage, step-by-step infographic to help you build out your very own hiring funnel:

This info graphic shows the six steps to finding your ideal virtual assistant: step 1: expect to find a few wrong ones before you find the right one, step 2: where to place your job ads, step 3: create trial projects to evaluate your prospects, step 4: four different metrics to evaluate your prospects, Step 5 examine the results of your finalists, and lastly, step 6, use more difficult projects to "split-test" your final contestants.

One of the common "objections," I hear these days is that it takes too long to find and train a VA. 

I don't really consider it much of an objection, because it's really more of a complaint.

A well-trained, qualified, and satisfied virtual assistant is tremendously valuable to a company. 

In my experience, I've been able to scale my business exponentially over the past 3 and a half years because I've added 20 virtual staff to my company

11. Share a Weekly Blog

Going along with earlier posts on how to make money blogging

I've found that you can establish a regular following of interested people

if you post about once a week on a given topic. 

Once a week is a good rate because

it's not frequent enough where people think you are spamming them, 

but not infrequent enough that they forget about you. #lifesaboutbalance

It's not hard to put together a blog post a week,

especially when you just do a little bit every day. 

If you do a little bit of work each evening, 

you can get ahead of your competition. 

12. Make Friends

This suggestion is simply about building your network of people who are in a position to might be willing to help you over the next few years. 

Be proactive about getting out there and getting to know people at conferences, seminars, trainings, classes, at your church or synagogue or other religious institution, your local shops, local non-profits (like your food-bank) etc. 

Practically speaking,

Here's 6 different ways you can increase the number of friends that you have:

  • Be Genuinely Interested in Others (Ask them questions about their lives, get them to share their life story)
  • Smile (It's a super easy way to 'break the ice')
  • Remember People's Names
  • Listen Attentively, thereby encouraging the other person to talk about themselves
  • Talk in terms of the other person's interests (speak about they want)
  • Compliment others, being honest about what you appreciate about them
here's 6 ways you can make more friends based on Dale Carnegie's book "How to Win Friends and Influence People"

Simply by being out there and being friendly,

being interested in the lives of others will bring a boost to your business,

because as you help others, 

some will want to help you in return. 

It's pretty simple really. 

Over the years,

psychologists have recognized the propensity of individuals to want to give back. 

If you google "The laws of reciprocity,"

you'll get this explanation:

when you are looking to build your business in 2020 and beyond, consider implementing the law of reciprocity, which, simply put, says that if you do something nice for others, they will want to do something nice for you in return.
Key Takeaway
Since you are in the business sector,

start doing nice things for businesses near you,

and you'll likely see an influx in your own sales. 

13. Offer a White Label Opportunity

Putting together a white-label opportunity gives others the ability to market and sell your services and then, after the sale, you'll provide the fulfillment.

I find this to be an easy way to connect with other digital marketing businesses.

Here's an infographic explaining more about how white-labeling your SEO services works:

By taking advantage of a white label opportunity, 

a company that focuses on social media marketing can offer SEO services under their brand and keep the customer under their roof, as opposed to referring them to me. 

That way they still get a sliver to deliver

(they can mark up the service cost as much as they like)

Building the ability for your services to be white-labeled gives you another way to get more SEO customers. 

14. Speak at Digital Marketing Conferences

Giving a speech sharing your knowledge on a particular segment of SEO can help get your company's name out there, which can result in get more clients.

Over the past several years, 

I've given several talks at conferences on SEO.

Speaking at conferences enables you to establish a high level of credibility with your online audience as well as help educate the attendees at the audience. 

The fact that you can post content proving that you spoke at a public event on a given topic is a great form of social proof

If your results is anything similar to mine, 

you'll have people coming out of the woodwork asking if you can work with them to increase their website's visibility. 

15. Gift Your Skills to Charities

By giving away your services to some of the charities near you, 

you get a variety of benefits:

  • The satisfaction of helping others
  • More business visibility (remember to ask if you can put a back-link in their footer)
  • Often not-for-profit companies will name you as a sponsor or show their gratefulness by mentioning you if someone ever asked about the non-profit's website. 

If you are looking to help non-profits structure their online presence, 

here's a guide that explains everything from why nonprofits need a marketing plan,

to explaining 10 basic SEO tactics that nonprofits can employ at little to no cost. 

So if you know someone who's struggling to market their not-for-profit online, 

feel free to share the guide.

here's a preview of the

4 Steps to Setting up a Digital Marketing Plan 
  • Define Your Goals
  • Set Expectations and KPI's
  • Uncover Target Audience Interests
  • Focus on Building a Strong Online Brand

16. Provide Guest Posts to Popular Bloggers

Similar to sharing your expertise at a conference, 

when you provide a guest post to a well-known blogger in the general digital marketing niche, 

you can gain a lot of attention from giving content away like that. 

And really,

it turns out to be a mutually beneficial deal,

as the blog administrator gets a lot more traffic on their blog,

and you can get any or all of the following:

  • Increased Online Credibility
  • Another solid back-link to your agency website (helps you rank in your city)
  • More social proof that you can share on Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.

Wondering what the process is to finding guest posting opportunities?

5 Steps to Finding SEO Blog Posting Opportunities
  • Step 1: Know the Rules of SEO Friendly Content Writing 
  • STEP 2: Put Together an Article that You'll Share 
  • STEP 3: Use Specific Google Queries to Locate Opportunity 
  • STEP 4: Approach Blog Administrator via Email, FB, or LinkedIn
  • STEP 5: Follow up with Several Blog Admins Until You Land a Post

Here's a visual of the process:

I've found that guest positing is a process that I can have running continually. 

For my own business, 

I've put together a series of article outlines showing the process of SEO,

then I use my writers to create unique article content, 

do a little bit of editing and tweaking, 

and then forward the content to the blog admin to be posted once we've reached an agreement

(what they get out of the deal, what I get, etc.)

See the "Composing Your Contracts" section below for more details on

agreements and what they should contain).

17. Join Location or Niche-Specific Business Groups

You can join these groups on Facebook. 

if you're an seo and you are looking to work for specific niches, it makes sense to take a little bit of time to learn about hte niche your interested in in pursuing. To do so, you can join a few facebook groups to see what problems those business types typically have.

I don't recommend joining these groups and immediately pitching your services.

You probably won't have much success with that tactic, 

because you haven't provided any value to the businesses present in the niche. 

One of the ways that I use niche specific Facebook groups is to locate businesses in certain cities that I've built lead generation sites. 

What is a lead generation site?

A lead generation site is a website that an agency owns and then rents out to a niche business in a certain location that provides exclusive prospects to a specific business via the phone and emailed lead-forms. 

The 2 primary benefits of having these lead generation sites is:

1. Control: I own the site, so I have complete jurisdiction over it. 

2. Free Organic Value in Advance: Once the site has settled on Google's 1st page, 

I can provide free organic leads in advance to businesses to show them that I am a legit seo (who knows what he's are doing) and then use that value to close an ongoing deal like the tree service I mentioned earlier.

18. Make a Video Audit of a Large Brand's Website and Share It on YouTube

Remember the Screen-cast Video Tactic from earlier?

If you are looking for a way to publicly show your skills in a way that lots of businesses can understand,

you can engage in a public screen-casting strategy. 

The goal of the strategy is to get the attention of a lot of businesses through video education. 

Statistically speaking, 

The most popular sites for now and for the foreseeable future are:

Key Takeaway

5 Steps to Implementing a Public SEO Screen-Casting Strategy

Step 1: Make your screen cast videos of a company's website that a lot of businesses in a certain industry in a certain region would be familiar with. 

STEP 2: Pay a videographer on Fiverr to make a nice intro and ending for it. (increases professionalism)

STEP 3: Then post that video onto a YouTube channel that is set up in your company's name. 

STEP 4: Be sure to read this excellent guide to YouTube SEO so that your video has every possible chance to garner additional views. 

STEP 5: Post one video per week to your company Facebook page, your company Instagram page, etc. (You can schedule them in advance if you do them all in bulk)

19. Use Mailers to Get in front of Qualified Businesses


to get new digital clients,

you need to incorporate an old-school, paper tactic. 

The easiest way to get this snail-mail strategy accomplished is using Vistaprint. 

5 Steps to Covering Your Target Businesses Using Multimedia:

STEP 1: Build a list of 100 to 250 prospects you're interested in doing business with

STEP 2: Sketch out a plan to get in front of them via Digital ((A) email + (B) Screencast + (C) PPC) and Paper (snail-mail) methods. 

STEP 3: Plan Your Approach (Getting All Your Ducks in a Row)

STEP 4: Put Together Your Systems (Implementing Automation)

STEP 5: Let 'er Rip! (Putting Your Plan into Motion)

20. Offer Outrageous Guarantees

To get more attention, make outrageous guarantees

5 Types of Outrageous Guarantees

1. High Quality (Materials and Tools)

2. Thorough (Job Done Well)

3. Timeliness (Task Completed On-Time)

4. Safety (Proper Precautions and Procedures Used)

5. No Trace (Every Effort Made to Reduce)

4 Steps to Crafting Your Outrageous Guarantee

Step 1: Know too Much About Your Ideal Client

One of the easiest ways to accomplish this is to fill out a customer avatar. 

Here's a downloadable Customer Avatar Worksheet (PDF). 

(And no, there's no opt-in)

Step 2: Step Into Their Shoes 

Now that you know who your customer is, 

it's time to research and imagine what kinds of fears they'll experience that would block them from buying your product. 

For example, 

If you run an SEO business, 

some of your client's fears might be:

  1. Timing: Job won't be done in time for next launch or will take longer and cost more. 
  2. Sloppy work: The SEO might use spammy links and put a dent in spotless site record.
  3. Self-Doubt: They've chosen the wrong service to get the job done. 

Take some time to put together a more complete list. 

A good number to get to is 10 objections. 

Step 3: Solve the Problem or Counter the Objection

After you've made your list of 10 objections, 

narrow that list down to the core 5 most applicable to the SEO business.

(The most common one is price, followed closely by trust (can you do the job?)) 

Step 4: Your Guarantee Outrageous

Basically, your guarantee will cover what happens if you don't fulfill what your agreement details. 

Possibilities include:

  • A discount on future services
  • A partial refund

My favorite is the first one,

because basically if I don't have their site ranked by the time the agreement is up,

I agree to continue until it is. 


for the record,

I've never failed to fulfill any client agreement. 

(the coaching program I've gone through prepared me well.)

3 Tips to Building Your Agency Website

I've spent the past 5 years as a digital marketer. 

I've spent a lot of time refining my websites so that they are optimized for both the search engines as well as any prospects who should frequent them. 

  • 1. Who

  • 2. What

  • 3. How

1. Who You Are

The key in this section is to be transparent.

The main way you'll connect with people is by showing them who you really are and who your company is. 

Especially since you are selling a service,

not merely a product that is made.

Your potential clients are looking for both effective work and personable interaction. 

If your website traffic is anything like mine,

this will be the most viewed page on your website. 

Want more form submissions?

Display more forms on your website. 

Want more phone calls?

Have your phone number prominently displayed on your website.

Key Takeaway
Put so much proof on that page that you become an authority. 

Bonus: 2  Actions to Take as You Build Your Website

  • Add Real-Life Photos of you and your team throughout your website, with captions of who they are and their position.
  • Create videos of you describing your approach to search engine optimization as well as past customer results (aka case studies)

Not a WordPress Professional?

Go hire yourself a website designer from Upwork. 

Remember: There's always more than one way to get the job done!

Start up Capital Needed: Less than 5,000 dollars

SEO is much more a knowledge-based business than it is capital-based. 

Sometimes, when I told my friends about my new business efforts,

they badgered me with questions like

"If you are starting a business, 

don't you need to raise a bunch of capital?"

or simply,

"Where will you get the money to get your company off the ground?"

Well, the beautiful thing about search engine optimization is that all you need to begin is have a decent laptop,

the character to persist through the difficulty of learning the skill-set,

and of course a solid internet connection. 

By far, 

What separates the amateur from the professionals is how much effort they've put into learning their craft.

The difference is their level of obsession.

Pricing Your Services: 3 Tiers

give people options, but stack the deck in your highest priced tier, so you are more likely to close that one.

While much more could be said on your pricing structure,

the main principle I've used is to give my clients choices. 

Depending on how much SEO they want and how fast they want to rank,

they can choose their level of optimization intensity. 

One additional piece to the puzzle is 

It's one thing to have a pricing model, 

it's another thing to close the deal. 

Sometimes I'll super load my third category with everything my prospect wants

and then use that as a negotiating tactic,

saying something to the effect of:


if I can get you tier 3 results for tier 2 pricing,

would you be able to start today?"

To date,

that tactic has been pretty effective. 

Composing Your contracts: The Shorter the Better

**This is not to be considered legal advice. The content in this section is made only for informational purposes.**

The purpose of a contractual agreement is simple:

You want to establish a clear, written commitment to what each party will give in exchange. 

When it comes to client agreements there are really 10 key points to be aware of:

10 Suggestions for Stress-Free Client Agreements:

1. Write it down

a verbal contract isn't worth the paper it's written on

As good-hearted as the majority of business owners are out there, it's really best practice to put your agreement in writing.

While spoken agreements can be legally binding, they aren't easily enforced in court.

The bottom line is that writing an agreement about what services you will be providing and having the signature of the authority of the other party has the least amount of risk, as you have a document that shows, as clear as the water in the tropics, what each party is entitled to and what each party needs to do. 

2. Keep sentences short and simple

The traditional contract has a whole bunch of antiquated, rarely used words that only a select few can decipher. 

One of the aspects that businesses owners have voiced they like about doing business with me is the clarity of the contracts that I use. 

First of all, the agreements are fairly short (4-8 pages),

so they don't take all day to read. 

And secondly,

they are written in plain modern English,

not Shakespearian or the "King's Language."

When it comes to creating written agreements,

I am a huge fan of keeping things short,

sweet and simple. 

3. Deal with the decision maker

To be legally-binding,

you need to have the ascent of the decision-maker of the company,

be it the owner,

the president,

the chair of the joint chiefs,


It needs to be the person who's designated to be in-charge. 

4. Refer to each party using legal terminology

Be careful here.

Make sure that you are referring to each member of the contract by their official legal name (generally their company title), so that it is crystal clear who is responsible for what under the contract (and who you have the legal rights against if things go array). 

As an example,

if a business is a limited liability corporation,

make sure that you are referencing it as "XYZ LLC." 

Likewise if it is incorporated, make sure that you follow the business name with the suffix "Inc."

5. Include the details (because the devil is in the details)

Just because I recommend keeping the agreement brief doesn't mean I compromise including pertinent details. 

Go into as much depth as you need. 

The next 3 points each deal with a certain set of details that your client agreements should include. 

Here's a preview: 

  • Payment Terms (how and when)
  • Agreement Termination (circumstances under which the contract will be dissolved)
  • Problem Resolution Process (inside court, outside court by a 3rd party arbitrator, etc.)

6. Be specific when payment will happen (if you don't, you mightn't get paid)

For instance,

the majority of my client agreements state that their method payment will be charged on the 1st of each month (or the first business day afterward). 

I do have some clients that request that they be charged on the 15th of the month, but those are few and far between. 

7. Have mutually agreeable circumstances that terminate the agreement.

What "outs" do you have in the agreement?

I make sure that the agreement states that services will pause if payment is missed. 

One part of my agreements that relate to this section is the expected length of contract (generally 12 months to 24 months, depending on the industry).

My client and I agree on a mutually beneficial minimum term, and then the contract can be stopped after that period. 

8. Agree on a method to resolve issues

My agreements have language that state issues that come up will be handled outside of court.

Most clients (except lawyers, lol) like this option as they save some money this way. 

9. Select a state law to govern the agreement

If you run a nation-wide business,

make sure to mutually decide which state's law will govern the agreement (your state or theirs). 

10. Agree to mutual confidentiality

There's certain confidential information that will be shared since you both are entering a business relationship. 

Essentially, it's a good practice to have language in your contract that states that said information will be kept between the two parties. 

Software and Tools (Solid Options)

SEO Tools:

Search Engine Optimization requires that you have tools that help you monitor keywords, locate back links and track other metrics. 

Some of those tools might be:

  • SEMrush (Keyword Research, Domain Age, Keyword Tracking)
  • Ah Refs (Back-linking, Keyword Research, Anchor Text Research)
  • Majestic (Back-link and Anchor Text Research)
  • Moz (Keyword Research)
  • Whitespark (Citation Monitoring and Creation)
  • Google Page Speed Insights (Grade Your Web pages & Improve their Load Speed)
  • Google Analytics (Monitor Your Website views)
  • Google Search Console (Monitor What Queries are being Searched)

Helpful Billing Services:

I recommend using Stripe or Wave to receive payments, as you can receive money via credit card, debit card or ACH. 

You want your clientele to be able to pay using the method of their choice, 

and you want to be able to automatically charge their card or transfer your fees from their bank account. 

As far as accounting goes, 

I started my business using quick books,

but soon grew tired of the extra work of inputting the numbers,

so I outsourced to an online done-for-you accounting management service called Bench. 

  • Stripe Payment Processing
  • Wave Payment Processing
  • Quick Books (Accounting)
  • Bench Accounting

Prospecting Tools:

  • SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGEMENT TOOLS (Buffer, Hootsuite, Sprout Social, Iconosquare, etc.)
  • CRM (Client-Relationship-Management System): SalesForce, Hubspot, Zoho, Ontraport, etc.
  • EMAIL SERVICE (Mail Chimp, Constant Contact, Opt-in Monster, etc.)
  • APPOINTMENT BOOKING SOFTWARE: (Calendly, Schedule Once, Microsoft Bookings, etc.)
  • Incorporating Your Business: Select a Legal Structure

    **This is not to be considered legal advice. The content in this section is made only for informational purposes.**

    As far as getting a legal entity under which to run your business, 

    I highly recommend it. 

    There's a lot of tax advantages to doing so

    as well as there's legal protection from lawsuits if you maintain your corporation correctly.

    The common entity choices available are

    • Sole Proprietorship
    • Limited Liability Company (LLC)
    • S Corporation
    • C Corporation

    If you are in the UK, Germany, the AU, or Mexico, 

    I've written an international business guide to help you get started in your corporation selection. 

    If you are starting your business in the United States, 

    I've written a state-by-state guide to so that you know where to get your papers online (available in all 50 states)

    Why Lead Generation is Better than SEO in 2020

    SEO Agency

    • Low barrier to entry = high competition
    • High maintenance due to advertising campaigns.
    • Low profits for a lot for work.
    • High client turnover. Clients can drop you without notice.
    • No Control. You don't any of the marketing materials/campaigns.
    • No passive income. Even on retainers...

    Lead Generation

    • High barrier to entry = low competition
    • Low maintenance. Runs on autopilot.
    • Low overheads, high profits.
    • Clients remain loyal = clients for life (because they are happy).
    • Complete Control - You own your lead gen websites.
    • Passive recurring income once ranked.

    While I have had a lot of seo clients in the past, 

    my main ongoing income comes from lead generation today. 

    And when I say lead generation, 

    here's what I mean:

    In 2014, 

    I took a leap of faith into a coaching program that has enabled me to go from making 2k a month to 52k a month a few years later. 

    The guy running the program showed us how to build websites, rank the sites and then generate leads for local service businesses like tree services and limo rental companies. 

    Since we own the lead generation sites, 

    we own the top spots on Google.

    Here's a site that's been generating me 2k a month since 2015. (haven't touched it since)

    Our client cannot simply decide to leave us without taking a hit to their top-line revenue. 

    If they let us go, 

    they lose out on the phone calls and forms submissions of new customers coming to their door. 

    Whereas, if they were merely SEO clients, they'd own the site, 

    and they could leave us in the dust whenever they wanted to. 

    Lead Gen vs SEO

    "The Difference Between SEO and Local Lead Generation is CONTROL."


    Put simply, 

    The difference between SEO and Local Lead Generation is control

    If I have an SEO client, 

    it's pretty much guaranteed that they will leave me within 12 months to 2 years. 

    If I rank a lead generation site that I own,

    the client has to stay with me,

    in order for their business to continue to enjoy the flow of prospects. 

    To find out more about local lead generation,

    hit the button at the bottom of the infographic below. 

    Follow Me
    Ippei Kanehara
    Founder/CEO Ippei Leads

    $52K per month providing lead generation services to small businesses is for digital hustlers, industry leaders and online business owners.

    His #1 online business recommendation in 2021, is to build your own 6-figure lead gen biz. You can learn more here.

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