Blog Post

Selling SEO Services the right way


We want to get seo resellers off to the right start. We're going to talk about what you should do to earn and keep customers, from setting expectations (SEO is a longgg road; make that absolutely clear), to actual SEO strategy and implementation (including keyword research, content marketing, onsite SEO co-citation, and building a link profile) to building in account management from the get-go. Watch the video for a more in depth explanation of what to do to start off on the right food as a new seo reseller.

TRANSCRIPTION:

Hello, and welcome to our selling SEO Services the Right Way video. I'm Chad Hill, and I have Adam Stetzer here with me as well.

Good afternoon, Chad. I know a lot of our viewers really want to sell seo services. A lot of our resellers are out there on the streets selling SEO every day. Some are just getting started. So I really want to talk today about selling SEO services the right way. We've seen a lot of how to not do it. Let's try to get people off on the right foot and talk about what they should do to earn customers and keep customers.

Great question. I think that always starts with setting expectations. So typically, what I want to do is make sure that SEO is the right service for the customer. We have a hammer here, and everyone wants to say that SEO is always right, but there are some times where pay-per-click or email marketing might be a better fit for their needs. SEO is definitely gonna give you the best ROI in the long run, but you do need to have a client who has some runway or some time to allow the program to start and to get the rankings that will ultimately bring the traffic. So that's where I want to start.

Yeah, and that expectation-setting process when you sell SEO services is actually tricky, because even if you feel like you've probably set expectations and stated very clearly that SEO is a longer-term process, I know most people just don't hear it. And I know in the pursuit of closing a deal, it's very easy to cut the corner on wanting to be super direct about just how long it takes. Everyone's read how great the return on investment on SEO is, and that's true. And our data supports that. But that doesn't mean it happens in under six months. It may take a lot longer. So I think having that very frank discussion, making sure this is the right product, and then setting those expectations really is important. You're right.

The next thing you want to think about is actually finding the keywords. So typically you're looking for keywords that both have enough monthly search volume that ranking on that keyword is going to be meaningful to the customer's business, but at the same time isn't so competitive that you're up against companies that have been on page one in Google for years and years, that are going to be pretty hard to break through and get your client up into the top of the rankings. So finding the right keywords with a volume that is meaningful but not so competitive that you're not gonna be able to rank on them.

And this is related to the first point, really, in terms of setting expectations and I'm sure what you're gonna talk about in a second, which is keeping that client engaged and happy. My recommendation on keywords is a spread. Pick some that are difficult but will actually generate a lot of business when you finally get there, but will probably take a long time. But make sure you pick a few that are really long-tail, low-competition, and therefore low-volume. They won't have a lot of economic value for the client, but they'll be related. And they'll most importantly be able to demonstrate the process works.

So at this point, a couple months into your engagement, the clients are feeling like, oh, that sales pitch was true. I'm seeing it work. Now, they're still gonna say to you, I'm not getting all the clicks. But you say, yeah, but the process works. Now hang in there. And they'll have the patience to stay for that money term that you're going after.

So the next thing you really want to look at is then making sure, in terms of selling SEO the right way, that the tactics you use to accomplish or get the rankings are the right ones. There's still a lot of people, surprisingly in 2013, that are selling comments and other quantity-based packages that have hundreds of links that really aren't valuable links. So you look at the quantity is high, but the quality of those links is very low. And we all know that that's not going to stand the test of time in terms of being a way to keep your website ranked in the search engines, or for that matter will even help it in the search engine optimization marketplace of today.

So we believe the best way to find ways to earn links is through content marketing. We want to create meaningful, insightful articles and blog posts that can be placed, syndicated to other websites, and then earn links back to your client's website. That's the best way to earn links that are going to last, that are going to stand the test of time.

And that's a difficult thing to explain in t he sales process. And I know a lot of people stumble on this because the consumer is often uneducated. So to them, the idea of more is better just seems logical. But insiders in the SEO industry, particularly paying attention to 2012, to the massive updates to the algorithm from Google, know that the quality is way more important. And every year it gets more and more important.

So you're right, Chad. Selling seo content marketing versus selling link-building is a big difference. And you want to sell SEO the right way? Talk about content marketing, and try to educate them on why quality is more important than quantity. And don't slip into those traps of, look at this huge package of spammy blog comments, which surprisingly in 2013 people are still out there doing that as a core of their SEO strategy. That's not what we believe is the right way to really build a long-term relationship. Sell seo the right way and maintain that customer with a lot of good results.

Absolutely. And then the final thing you really want to look at then is, when you're selling SEO services the right way, you also want to build in account management from the get-go. We see all too often people who sell an SEO service plan to a client and then basically get the customer's signature, even get someone working on it, but then they don't really follow up and check in with that customer on a regular basis. We believe the right interval for checking with the customer is a monthly basis, with SEO especially, because there's sort of a longer interval between seeing the updates and how rankings might change month to month. So we believe check in with the customer once a month, and that's going to be the best way to retain a customer once you sell them.

And be prepared for the occasional unpleasant phone call. Account management isn't always pretty. That's a truism in all of business. So right up front in the sales process, I like to be talking to the client-- well, look, one day you might be really questioning the value and you might call me a little upset, or not like exactly how we created content or where we secured a link for you. Things are going to go wrong, and so talk about that upfront. And I like to think about that as an inoculation strategy. Tell them, that's going to happen, but I'm gonna be here and I'm going to respond and be a good partner with you to try to fix it the best we can and focus on your business results. And if you can have that kind of relationship, you'll weather the storms that come in any business project and have a long-term customer.

Comments (8)

  • Matt Reply

    Striking the right balance between setting realistic expectations and discouraging people is a fine line. Most people who come to Hubshout know SEO works but are not always prepared for how long i will take. many people also expect to throw the entire SEO job over the wall. Not advisable when seeking optimal results.

    02/18/13 at 10:26 PM
  • Jesse Reply

    It cannot be said enough: SEO is a long term investment. It's like planting seeds, rather than transplanting a potted plant into the ground. People need to know that it can and will give them results, as long as they are patient, and as long as they have it implemented by someone that truly has the expertise to put it into practice.

    02/19/13 at 08:30 AM
  • Nick Reply

    Love the honest, realistic approach (to SEO and to business in general). I think that really helps HubShout secure and retain clients.

    02/19/13 at 09:28 AM
  • Eric R Reply

    I think setting the right expectation is definitely important. Like You guys said, people sometimes don't listen when you say "this will take a long time, but it'll be worth it." Depending on the industry, the long tail keywords may help qualify sales better than the shorter ones. Sometimes the longer tailed keywords are searched by users who have done their research and are looking for something specific. Quality SEO on long tailed can give you an advantage over competitors on targeting users who are ready to buy now.

    02/19/13 at 10:10 AM
  • Jason G. Reply

    When the clients expectation and budget are matched with a good service , the sky is the limit.

    02/19/13 at 01:40 PM
  • Renee Reply

    What Matt said is totally right on. "Striking the right balance between setting realistic expectations and discouraging people is a fine line." But it's necessary for clients to understand the challenges ahead from the very beginning. Setting expectations includes educating those clients who may not really understand the tactics, time commitment and strategy necessary to achieve the goals that are right for their business.

    02/19/13 at 03:28 PM
  • Bill F Reply

    Matching SEO service with website design and maintenance also seems like a good idea, having all-in-one packages that cover everything from the technical to the content to the marketing/PPC to ensure the best results over the medium and long term.

    02/20/13 at 04:29 PM
  • Paul Reply

    I agree with Bill, well said!

    02/22/13 at 04:32 PM

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