SEO 2024: How To Start an SEO Business – A Complete Checklist

Instant SEO Audit Report

Want to Start an SEO Business? Looking for the guideline to start? Then you are in the right place.

Nowadays, digital marketing business or online business is the trend and most profitable business; there is no doubt about it. And when it comes to digital marketing business, the SEO business is the best for sure.


SEO is the backbone of digital marketing. If you can rank the site, you can drive traffic, get more sales, and, most importantly, expand your business. That is why the demand for this business is really sky touching.

But the question is how to start an SEO business? If you do not know what does SEO stand for, then you might be able to start your business, but you cannot be successful in the future for sure.

Do you have the perfect SEO business plan? If no, then do not worry at all. I have done all the hard work for you. All you need to do is to read the article until the end. Here we go.

How To Start an SEO Business - A Complete Checklist

Chapter 1

Learn the Basics to Advance of Digital Marketing

The first thing you have to do is to learn the basics to advance digital marketing. You are about to start an SEO agency; you must have all the knowledge about SEO. Without proper SEO knowledge, it is impossible to be successful.

But you are not going to be an expert overnight. All the SEO gurus such as Neil Patel or Brian Dean did not start their SEO career as an expert. They started their career as a beginner, and after a long experience, they have become experts.

That is why you need to learn the basics, and after gathering all the basic information, you need to gather your experience to be an expert or learn advanced SEO. Once you have gathered all the basic to advanced learnings, you are ready to go to the next steps.

Legal Matters to Handle

Once you have all the knowledge, you are ready to start a company.

But wait!

Have you solved all the legal matters related to your company? You know, you have to handle some legal matters to start a company or business. Unless you handle all the legal matters, you might not get any trouble now, but in the future, you will be in danger for sure. So it is important to handle all the legal matters.

You need to find out the name and copyright of the name; you need to register your company, you have to set a structure of your company that will be needed when giving taxes and others. In that case, talking to a lawyer would be the best option for you.

As a Single Proprietorship

Single Proprietorship

When registering your company, you should register your company as a single proprietorship. Why is it important? Why shouldn’t you register as a limited company?

Well, if you see any of the Top Best Digital Marketing Agency started their agencies as a freelance SEO consultant. That means, in the beginning, the single proprietorship is the best. You need no set up at all. You can do it yourself.

Also, when it comes to taxes, you do not need to pay any additional taxes but your income taxes when it is a single proprietorship business. You are liable for all the works. So at first, register your company as a single proprietorship.

Create Your SEO Contracts

SEO Contract

SEO contract is the most important thing for your business. Maybe your client gets embarrassed about the contract. But trust me, this is the thing that will bind your client to you. This is the thing that will give you permanent clients for your business.

So what is the contract? Well, it is an agreement between you and your client. When you start an SEO business or any company, having permanent or long term clients will be the best for your company. And the agreement or contract is the thing that can make your regular client a permanent client.

Also, this agreement tells you what your client wants from you and what you can deliver to him. In addition, what your expectation is, or what you can do or cannot do in the process or how you handle the campaign, all these things are mentioned in the agreement.  

Set Up Your Payment Methods

The payment method is another important thing to set up when setting up your SEO business plan. You know your client might not make a deal with you if he does not find any trusted and easy payment method. It looks pretty simple but it plays the most important role for sure.

Though most SEO companies use digital wallets such as PayPal, Payoneer, skill or others, you need to ensure some other methods for better convenience of your clients as well. In that case, you need to use bank transfer, credit card payout or debit card payouts such as master card, visa card, and others. Overall, you need to set up almost all easy and safe payment methods so that your client does not have any problem regarding payment.

Prepare Your Invoice Templates

Now prepare your invoice template. You know, an invoice is the proof of transaction or payment between you and your client. That is why preparing an invoice template is really important in your SEO business. It consists of a tracking number, charges of each service, and all the other details for which you get paid.

When you have the invoice, you have the proof of getting paid for the services you are offering. Your client cannot say anything beyond this invoice since everything is described here clearly. Also, all the information related to payment such as the payment date, the payment amount is mentioned in the invoice.

Your Agency’s Brand Matters

There are thousands of SEO agencies in the market right now. Then why a person will choose your company. Maybe you are thinking that you will provide the best service in the market. But everyone is claiming the same.

Have you ever asked this question to you? Well, branding is the thing why people will choose your company over others. That is why it is important for you to create your brand.

But how can you create your brand? Well, the first thing you need to do is to select a brand name, create a brand logo, website, business card, online ads, social media presence and other digital things. But remember, all of these should represent your company very well.

Identify Your Target Buyer Personas

Buyer Persona

If you want to know How to Become the Best SEO Agency, then this is a very crucial part you should remember. You need to identify your target audience. You just cannot reach any people for marketing. You need a specific audience to reach and convert them into your clients.

Identifying your target audience makes it easier to understand their needs, their problems, the solution they are looking for, their business and other important things. It will help you create your SEO business plan.

When identifying your client, you need to divide the audience into two-part. Demographic and psychographic. The demographic part will tell you the physical characteristics of your audience such as age, gender, location, occupation, and others while the second part will tell you their preferences, motivation, buying decision and others.

Choose Your Niche

Now you just cannot all the SEO services to all of your audience. If you want to sell your services to all your audiences, you are going to fail. And trust me, most of the SEO businesses fail here. They target the entire market.


What you need to do is to choose your niche. You need to figure out your expertise and based on that you have to choose your niche. Are you good at SEO for small business? Or you are good at SEO for large companies? Or you are an expert on competition niche? Find out that and then choose your niche.

Decide on Your Service Offerings

Now decide what service you want to offer. You know, SEO is a large industry. You cannot just offer the entire SEO service by yourself at first. There are link building, on-page SEO, website design, social media marketing, ad campaign and lots of other options available.

You cannot just offer all of these. Choose a small part of SEO that you are an expert at. Then offer that service. Once you get clients for that service and perform well, you can then offer more service to that client as well. And that is the way how to start an SEO business.

Build Your Website​

You know your target audience, you know your niche, and you know what you are offering. Now it is time to build your website. You may create your website at first, but the problem with that is, without knowing your audience, your service, and your niche, you cannot design your website attractively. And that can damage your business for sure.

Remember that your website is the shop for your business. Your client won’t see you, instead, he will see your website. So make sure your website is good enough and has all the information your client might need.

Buy a domain and a hosting from a reputed hosting provider, and use WordPress to design your website. You can do it yourself for sure.

Now you are done with the first chapter. Go to the next chapter.

Chapter 2

Develop Your Core SEO Methodology

It is time for you to develop your SEO strategy. Not every SEO company has the same strategy. You need to find your strategy to make your business successful. On-page optimization, link building, and social media marketing are some common strategies every company follows.

You can follow these strategies as well. But the problem is that you do not have that much resource to do that. So what can you do? You can outsource the service for sure. The overall thing is, do whatever you need to do to rank. Your client will see the result, not the effort.

Learn and Build Project Management System

Project Management

Source: ZOHO

Once you get the job, it is time to handle it. And to handle it, you need to learn to manage the project. You know, SEO is a never-ending thing. You need to manage continuously. It is not like doing it once and take rest for the rest of the time.

You can divide your project management into two-part- planning and executing. Plan whatever you need to do to rank the site such as research, audit, evaluate and making strategy. And execution includes doing what you have planned such as keyword research, content writing, marketing, link building, and others. Each of them is a project and you need to manage the system. If you want to know how to start an SEO business, learn project management as well.

Use SEO tools

In this competitive market, knowing about a few tools is not enough at all. Those days are gone when you can just rely on Google search console and analytics. Now the market has some amazing and effective tools that can help you get competitive advantages.

These tools are designed for different tasks that you cannot do with Google search console and analytics. Keywords everywhere, Ahref, Moz, Ubersuggest, and SEMRush are some common tools you can use for keyword research, competition analysis, and other stuff.

But make sure you do not completely rely on these tools, you know manual research as well.

Build your Team

Creating a team is important. Why it is important? Well, you already know that SEO is a vast industry and a single person cannot completely cover this up. That is why if you want to cover all things up and want to successfully manage the project, then you must need a team.

A good team is the biggest asset of your company. Now how can you build a good team? Well, the best thing you can do is to create a team with skill. Select a few team members who have good skills in the sector you need. For example, you can make a team of people who are good at link building, content writing, and others. Your team will help you achieve your strategy.

Chapter 3

Marketing Your SEO Agency

You have done your basic things. Now you are ready for providing service. But who will take service form you? Well, you need to do marketing for this.  Marketing is the key to reach people and get your clients. How will you do marketing your SEO agency? Well, follow the steps.

Inbound Marketing

When it comes to marketing, inbound marketing is the best. But do you know what is inbound marketing? Basically, it is pulling marketing. That means, instead of pushing your client to take your service, you will bind your client to take your service.

But how can you do that? Well, there are many ways of doing it. You can do proper SEO for ranking your website, write amazing content to attract your client, create an amazing website, run paid campaign and others so that your client can get attracted to your service. Below I am going to discuss these things in detail.


SEO is the most cost-effective and best way to rank your website. But doing it is not that. Since you are an SEO agency, it is mandatory that you know the right SEO. Do you know it properly?


Well, SEO starts with keyword research. You need to use those keyword tools to find the right low competitive keyword. After that, you need high-quality content that will make your audience read the entire article and give a proper value to your audience. Also, you need to know what are stop words in SEO as well?

After that, you need to optimize your content properly by doing on-page SEO. If you are lucky, then this is more than enough for you. Google wants it. But what Google wants does not matter at all, ranking the site is all matter. So you need link building to rank a site. If you can do these, you will be able to rank your site and pull your customer to your agency.

Social Media marketing

Social media is the biggest place to promote your site. Nowadays, most people are now using social media. That means you can have a large exposer to your potential clients. If you do not any social media page or account, it is time to create one.

Create an account on all social media and ensure you have a good presence over all the social media. At the same time, provide value and free resources to your potential customers so that they get attracted and trust you. And lastly, post on a regular basis.

PPC Campaign

You know what are organic SEO services, right? But the thing is that sometimes, organic SEO service does not work. At that time, you need to go for a paid campaign. PPC campaign is the most important part of paid promotion.

You need to know how you can properly utilize your paid ad so that you can reach your highly targeted audience and get a good response from them. With ads, you can remain on the top for a long time and that can help you to get some valuable clients.

Community Contribution

When trying inbound marketing, one of the best ways to get a client is a community contribution. You need to show your presence on all the communities related to SEO. In those communities, there are a lot of potential clients available.

 If you can show your presence in those communities and contribute there, surely, you will get some clients. In order to contribute, you need to solve the problems people have related to SEO and you have to do it for free. This is a pulling marketing strategy.

Forum and Blog Contribution

Just like the community contribution, forum and blog contribution is another great way to pull your clients. You need to find out some forum and blog related to SEO and then you need to contribute there just like the community contribution.

By using Google, you can easily find forums and blogs where people are talking about their problems and you will be there to solve their problems so that they can get connected to you and by doing that, you can have clients. Trust me, this is the best step on how to start an SEO business.

Local SEO

If you have any plan to serve local customers, then the best thing you can do is local SEO. Local SEO helps you rank your site or business on a local search. If you can do the right local SEO for your business, anyone in your area will find you easily and they will reach you to take the services.

In order to be successful in local SEO, you should list your website or business in all the local directories, you should have good content and you must get links from reputed and high profile local websites. You can do these things, you can easily rank higher on local search.

Find Quality Leads

And lastly, you need to find quality leads. It is important that you find quality lead so that you can reach your right prospect. And when you can do that, it will be easier for you to get the client or pull the client towards your agency.

And when it comes to finding quality leads, market research is the best thing you can do. By taking help from some SEO tools, you can get quality leads easily.

Chapter 4

Pitch your SEO Prospects

No matter what your product is, you can sell it if you know how to sell. When it comes to selling, the first thing and most important thing is pitching your prospect properly. A strong pitch can sell your service easily. But a good pitch making is not easy. You need proper knowledge and preparation for good pitching.

So the first thing you need to do is to prepare. Learn everything about the prospect and his demand. Then take time and do your homework so that you can hit rightly. Then create a proposal. Having a good template can help you in this matter.

Your proposal should consist of all the answers of the client and at the same time, it should not be large enough that can make your client feel boring. Write a pitch deck, if possible, take help from a professional for creating a good pitch deck. But make sure, you pitch your client properly.

Build Rapport

When pitching your client, try to build rapport quickly. It is the best way to make your client comfortable with you. When you make your client will be comfortable with you, he can easily tell his demand and problem to you and you can make your proposal based on his needs.

In order to build rapport, you can start with casual talk. But make sure you do not ask any personal questions. You can some basic fun question that is not too personal and something related to his business. Do whatever you need to do but make sure you have made your client comfortable in front of you.

Free SEO Audit

Then you can offer a free SEO audit as well. If you can do it, you can easily show your client what the problems have on his website or business that needs to be fixed, or what can be done better to rank in a higher position.

You can offer a free SEO audit on your website easily. It will help you two ways. One is that your client will get a free audit that shows him what his problems are. And the second is, you will have permanent contact with your client that helps you reach him in the future with a good proposal. So do it.

Chapter 5

In House Process​

And the last chapter is in the house process. Once you get an order form your client, it is time to start work. You can do it with your team. When you are doing it with your employee or team member, it is in house process. It is a good idea for sure. But you need to do these things.

Build Processes

The first thing you need to do is to build a process of doing anything. Without a good process, you cannot be successful in the business. When you have built a good process, you become less dependent on any single talent or person or process. You always have backup all the time.

You should have an operative manual by following which, your all tasks will be done. In addition to the operational manual, you should have a customer service manual, you should have a sales manual and checklists of all the repetitive works. When you have these, you can smoothly get your job done.

Avoid the Talent Trap

How to start an SEO business? By a team, right? But when you start a business, how many team members you have usually? Maximum 5? That means you need to do all of your works with these 5 members. But is it possible to complete the entire SEO with these 5 members?

Do you believe that all of your co-workers can give their 100%? Don’t think so ever. When you completely rely on your existing talent, it is a talent trap. What if any of your talents is sick? What if anyone suddenly leaves your company? That is why always use succession planning to avoid talent trap. This will help you survive in the future.

Outsource the Work

One of the best ways to avoid the talent trap is by outsourcing the work. When you plant to outsource work, you can do it easily from marketplaces. There are many marketplaces available nowadays and relying on the market rather than the talent is surely a wiser decision.

That is why always have a plant to outsource the work. If you have the plan, any time anyone from your team gets sick or leaves the company, you will have no problem since you can always outsource the work and get the job done.

Focus on Team improvement

Another good thing you can do for a better in house process is improving teamwork. In that case, you can either increase the team member of having a better-skilled team member. You have a plan for outsourcing the work for sure, but for a long term work, you need a good team.

And for that, you need to focus on team improvement. You should have a good relationship with your team members so that they do not leave without notice so that you can manage another person for your team.

Give Credit to The Team and Team Member

To improve the team combination, you should give credit to the team members all the time. If you are a person who takes credit all the time for success and blames your team for failure, then surely your company is not going to survive for a long time.

To improve the teamwork, you should give the credit to the team and team members so that they get encouragement from you and get motivation for better work.

Give the Flexibility to Work

And lastly, give flexibility to the work. If you continuously create pressure to your team member for getting the job done, it will not work for sure. Yes, it is true that you should not give all the flexibility, it will create chaos in the workplace. But at the same time, you need to give enough flexibility.

You know, flexibility is a major factor in job satisfaction. If your member is not satisfied with their job, you will not get the best output from them. Salary is not the only thing for job satisfaction. So offer enough job flexibility.


Now you know how to start an SEO business. Being an entrepreneur is not an easy task, and when it comes to starting an SEO business, it is tougher for sure. It will test your capabilities and take you to your highest level of effort. Many SEO business owners that is why to give up on halfway. Do not do that.

Starting an SEO business may seem like a battle, but trust me, when you have a good team and good client, you will see that all those efforts are worthy of it. In the end, you will get the sweet result and make your dream true.

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