Are you interested in starting an online business? Are you an expert at SEO? Do you understand the intricacies and technical know-how of generating organic traffic? Can you thrive in the face of uncertainty and constant change? If your answer to any of the questions above is yes, then below is a sample business plan template on how to start a local SEO company.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the most widely adopted online marketing strategy by individuals and businesses. This is because SEO attracts highly targeted search engine traffic on a consistent basis, and it guarantees long-term results. Due to the effectiveness of SEO as a tool for attracting prospects; most small, medium and big businesses are now dedicating a significant fraction of their budget to this online marketing strategy.

And this explains why the demand for SEO services and experts is on the increase. If you have a good knowledge of SEO, you can make a lot of profit by starting a local SEO, which would cater to the SEO needs of individuals and businesses within your city, state, or country.

In this post, we will be looking at the steps involved in setting up a local SEO company. But before we go to that, keep in mind that most clients would request for testimonials or case studies giving details of how you have achieved great results in the past with your skills. So, you must have one or two success stories to tell. Without wasting time, below are the steps involved in setting up a local SEO company:

 7 Reasons to Start a SEO Agency Today

  • Starting an SEO agency is easy and not capital intensive
  • It is not management intensive, as most tasks can be automated.
  • It is highly scalable. This means that you can expand and grow through outsourcing without incurring overhead costs.
  • It is a source of residual income because once clients’ signup, they are signed up for life; provided you are delivering results.
  • Because it is knowledge driven, most competitors will face serious challenges especially when they lack competence. Thus giving you a chance to become an authority.
  • The number of small businesses coming online is increasing rapidly. But unfortunately, most brick and mortar businesses are still offline. This is an avenue for you to make extra cash by convincing them to put their business online and educating them about free traffic / customers.
  • You can add extra revenue sources by partnering with professionals and offering your clients more value added services such as SEO copywriting, article writing, web design, graphic / banner design, e-commerce setup, WordPress installation, etc.

How to Start a Local SEO Company – Sample Business Plan Template

1. Acquire the needed knowledge and expertise

The SEO industry, just like every other industry is filled with charlatans / people who don’t know what they are doing; and the truth is that they never last. However, if you are going to build a sustainable business, then you must prove your competence and a good way to do this is to know everything about SEO.

Since your core task as an SEO company is to increase your clients’ organic traffic, which in turn will increase their conversion / revenue; then it is necessary you know some of the basics terms and how they work. Examples of such terms include:

  • Link building
  • Keyword research
  • Link profiling
  • Keyword rank tracking
  • SEO / Website analysis
  • Blog network management, etc

2. Write a business plan

This is the next step towards setting up a successful business. Before investing a dime to establish your SEO company, it is important you write down everything you have in mind about your new company; starting from the mission statement, vision statement, your goals and objectives, your target clients, your competition, marketing strategy and other market challenges, the financial requirements, and so on.

Writing a SEO agency business plan helps you understand all the challenges ahead and figure out how to deal with them.

3. Choose your business location

Since you are starting small, you may want to launch your business right from home; so as to reduce your overhead expenses and risk. However, you must make sure that your proposed home office is conducive and free from noise / distractions.

4. Get the necessary equipment

Aside your computer and reliable internet connection, you will need special software packages to make your job faster and organized. The software packages you will acquire will serve for various tasks such as keyword research, SEO analysis, link profiling, link building, article spinning, etc.

In addition, you will need to hire other professionals such as freelance writers to help you create keyword optimized articles. But this may not be necessary if you have the required writing skills.

5. Set up your website and optimize it

A website is the first thing you will need as a local SEO service provider. You can set one up within few minutes. Register a good domain name with Godaddy or Namecheap. Then choose a reliable web hosting service provider and subscribe for the appropriate hosting plan. WordPress remains the best platform for setting up a simple website or blog.

So, I would advise you to choose it as the platform for your website. For the design, you can hire a professional website designer for a few hundred bucks. But if you are on a tight budget, consider buying a fully customizable professional theme.

After the design, you should put up good content on your website that describes your services and explains why the reader should hire your services. Also put up all the necessary pages; such as about us, our services, contact us, testimonials/case studies, pricing, and so on.

6. Set up your payment processor

To ease the process of receiving funds from your clients, you need to integrate a reliable payment processor into your website. PayPal is one of the most popular options. Many SEO firms also accept payment via credit cards, too. If you have some fears, you can stick with the old-fashioned method of receiving your payment via cheque or bank transfers.

5. Market your services

The only way you can reach potential clients is to market your services. In my own opinion, the best way to market your local SEO service is to use SEO itself. Getting your website to rank highly for your target keywords; those keywords that clients use to search for businesses like yours is a telling proof that you are skilled enough to help other businesses with their SEO needs, too.

Sometimes, I see some SEO firms marketing their business using only paid advert methods such as Google Adwords. I would never hire such professionals because their mode of advertising only shows their incompetence. If they were really experts in SEO, they would have used SEO to market their services; not paid ads! Even if you will adopt other online marketing strategies, you must give a good account of yourself by working on your website’s rankings first.

Other methods you can adopt for promoting your business include printing business cards, adding your business ad to classified sites like Yellow Pages and Craigslist, networking with website designers and web content writers, advertising in local newspapers, and using forums and online communities. LinkedIn is another platform through which you can attract clients.

While this post is not supposed to be a comprehensive guide on how to set up a local SEO service, I hope you have gotten all the basic information you need on how to get started. Consult other online resources for more information on each step involved.

5 Challenges of Starting a SEO Company

a. It requires in-depth technical know-how

SEO is a knowledge-based game and you can’t start a successful business around it if you don’t understand how it works. To succeed as an SEO service provider, you must invest in learning everything you can about SEO; and that definitely  takes time / resources. But you will definitely smile to the bank in the long run if you stick to it.

b. The SEO industry is constantly evolving

One of the challenges of doing business in the SEO industry  is that it is never static. It changes every now and then; what works today may be obsolete tomorrow. And just one algorithmic change can wipe out your entire years of hard work, so you always have to be on edge; constantly learning and testing.

c. Finding clients

The third challenge you are going to face is getting clients, so you may have to spend a good amount of money sourcing for clients both online and offline. You may have to make cold calls, talk to clients face-to-face, run ad campaigns online, etc.

d. The SEO industry is competitive

The competition in the SEO industry is very stiff and one of the factors responsible for the high competitiveness is the low entry barrier. Anybody can wake up and claim to be an SEO expert, this is why there are a lot of charlatans in the industry.

However, you can stand out from the crowd by branding either yourself or your company. Another way to stand out is by proving your professionalism and competence to existing clients; while encouraging them to tell others about you.

You can also thrive in the face of competition by focusing on a niche. You can combine your passion / hobby with your SEO skill and provide a laser-targeted service for specific people. Example of such niche services are: SEO services for Chiropractic practitioners, SEO services for fashion designers, etc.

e. Educating clients

Finding clients’ is just one phase of the game, educating clients is a different ball game entirely. There is a high probability that most of your clients will be small business owners that have neither heard of the word “SEO”, nor know how it works.

So if you are going to get and keep your clients loyal, then you must do a good job educating them about the importance / benefits of SEO to their business. You will also need to teach them how to measure their SEO results and growth. Thereby making them understand what you are doing and appreciate your efforts. However, this will cost you not just money but also time.