Finding SEO clients can be challenging, but with the right strategy and tools, any SEO consultant or agency can build a steady stream of clients. This comprehensive guide covers actionable tips for identifying your ideal client, crafting campaigns that get results, and sustainably growing your SEO business.How do I find SEO clients?Searching for SEO clients requires creativity, persistence, and understanding your ideal customer. The most successful SEO consultants build a repeatable process for acquiring customers ideal for their services. This guide covers proven tactics to identify, connect with, sell, and retain SEO clients.

Who Needs SEO Services?

Many businesses benefit from search engine optimization to drive organic traffic, leads, and sales from search engines like Google. Typical SEO clients include:

  • Local businesses with a physical location targeting local searches
  • Online stores and ecommerce retailers
  • Businesses with complex products or services needing informative website content
  • Companies selling to other businesses (B2B)
  • Organizations relying on their website for leads and conversions

Businesses selling low-consideration or impulse purchases may find paid search ads more suitable than SEO. On the other hand, SEO provides better returns for purchases requiring lengthy research.

Where To Find SEO Clients

Use these proven sources to find SEO clients:

Inbound Leads

Driving inbound leads with content marketing primes prospects to buy SEO services:

  • Write educational blog content demonstrating expertise around topics that attract your ideal clients.
  • Create SEO resources and tools like keyword research templates, localization checklists, site audit tools, etc. Valuable resources build trust and capture contact details.
  • Host educational webinars discussing SEO best practices. Promote these through your other marketing channels.
  • Make sure all website pages have conversion elements like contact forms, calls-to-action, and clear steps for working together.

Inbound marketing works exceptionally well for consultants offering specialized SEO solutions. For example, an agency focused on law firms might publish blog posts and guides using keywords related to law firm SEO.

Referral Partners

Other consultants and agencies often have conflicting SEO services or overflow work to refer out. Consider forming referral partnerships with:

  • Web design agencies
  • Digital marketing agencies without in-house SEO experts
  • IT and business consulting firms
  • Local marketing agencies with local SEO knowledge

Formally structure these partnerships for mutual benefit. Multi-channel agencies may request a revenue share on clients sent specifically for SEO.

Existing Business Contacts

Review your professional and personal contacts for potential leads:

  • Previous employers and colleagues
  • Current personal and professional networking contacts
  • Friends and family who own businesses

Even if a direct connection isn’t an ideal fit, they may know contacts who need SEO help. Ask for introductions. An indirect referral often carries more weight than a cold call or email.

Industry Events

Attending relevant local events expands your professional network. Look for:

  • General small business meetups and mixers
  • Small business development centers
  • Chamber of Commerce meetings
  • Targeted conferences and conventions

Brush up on event attendees beforehand using LinkedIn. Follow up with new contacts after events.

Cold Outreach

Cold email, cold calling, and even cold DMing on social media converts at a low rate but scales easily. Always personalize messages instead of blasting the same template.

Effective cold outreach focuses on the potential value for prospects instead of boasting about your services. For example, an email might highlight recent algorithm updates and offer a free website checkup.

Start local when possible. Your location, shared connections, or circumstances build rapport.

Leverage available intelligence to personalize at scale on platforms like Woodpecker. Prioritize leads likely representing your ideal customer.

Public Business Listings

Search platforms provide numerous options to identify prospects:

  • Google Maps results for localized keywords like “law firms near me”
  • Industry-specific platforms like Yelp or G2 Crowd
  • Facebook business pages for location and industry keywords
  • LinkedIn Company Pages filtered by location, size, and industry

SEO agencies with effective outbound processes can scale lead generation this way. However, smaller consultants should balance automated outreach with manual personalization.

Crafting SEO Proposals That Win Clients

An excellent SEO proposal clearly communicates the return a business can expect while demonstrating expertise. Essential elements include:

Summary Of Previous Conversations

Recap key details like:

  • Website and business goals
  • Current organic traffic sources
  • Recent performance history
  • Details around a specific underperforming campaign or new product launch

This shows you listened and connects the proposal back to previous pain points.

Audit Information

Share top findings from initial audits or site evaluations, like:

  • Pages with the highest opportunity to improve rankings
  • Most significant technical issues impacting site visibility
  • Competitor benchmarking data

A glimpse of issues inspires action without overwhelming prospects.

Expected Outcomes

Set clear expectations around organic traffic, conversions, and revenue. Support projections with historical client data or credible studies on achievable results. This quantifies the campaign value.

Proposed Solutions

Recommend specific solutions to address issues from earlier sections. For example:

  • Keyword research activities
  • Content creation or optimization
  • Technical SEO fixes

Build confidence by demonstrating expertise around tactics.

Timeline Estimates

Plot proposed activities on a monthly timeline over a 6-12 month initial project period. This accounts for reasonable SEO lead times while providing a path to renewals.

Pricing Breakdown

Specify investment levels aligned to client needs, resources, and expected ROI. Offer packaged solutions in addition to a la carte services. Discounts or retained monthly packages improve perceived value while smoothing cash flow.

Results Tracking

Describe exactly how you’ll measure and report ongoing organic performance gains through analytics dashboards or scheduled reports. This reinforces the focus on outcomes instead of outputs.

Secondary Supporting Information

Consider adding:

  • Detailed audit results
  • Client testimonials or case studies
  • Company credentials summary
  • Bio for each team member the client would work with

Keep secondary info concise and focused on building credibility. Lengthy proposals seem complicated.

Closing SEO Deals

A systematic process for following up and asking the right questions sets apart consultants who consistently close.

Answer Objections Proactively

Common SEO objections relate to unclear results, long lead times, reputation risk from bad actors, and unethical tactics.

Address objections upfront in materials or early conversations. For example, share a historic result case study, provide a due diligence checklist for vetting consultants, outline your content process, etc.

This flips objections into talking points supporting your legitimacy.

Provide Retainer Discounts

Offering discounts for a 6-12 month minimum retainer or pre-paid monthly packages increases close rates by reducing perceived risk.

Savvy consultants make discounted retainers break even with average project margins. The upfront revenue funds initial setup activities too.

Follow A Consistent Process

Persistence and structured follow-through separate successful business development:

  • Connect – Send new contacts a personalized email or LinkedIn message promptly after meeting them. Social messages see higher response rates.
  • Educate – Provide useful, relevant insights or resources based on previous conversations. Avoid obvious sales pitches early.
  • Evaluate – Request a discovery call or send a personalized audit report or assessment. Stop selling and start asking smart questions.
  • Propose – Map proposed solutions directly to identified issues or goals. Quantify expected outcomes.
  • Clarify – Answer questions promptly and transparently. Offer testimonials, references, guarantees, or free trial periods to build trust.
  • Schedule – Book the initial agreement via calendar link or contract within a week of proposing. Shorten sales cycles by handling paperwork quickly.
  • Onboard – Over-deliver early and often to start relationships strong. Ongoing education shows continued value.

This standardized sequence minimizes guesswork while optimizing touchpoints.

Retaining Long-Term SEO Clients

Repeatable client acquisition activities maintain consistent sales. Excellent account management retains accounts.

Set Realistic Early Expectations

Take time early to outline SEO lead times, goal pacing, and typical content development cycles. Probe on visions for the partnership to spot disconnects between ambitions and reality.

This avoids mismatched expectations that erode trust over time.

Over-Communicate in Early Months

Increase touchpoints as relationships form. Being proactive builds authority and familiarity. Patience runs thin when issues require chasing down account reps repeatedly.

Send regular recaps, share relevant insights, and over-deliver on reporting numbers. Consider weekly or bi-weekly check-ins initially.

Review Campaign Health Proactively

Don’t wait for clients to question account performance. Every report, meeting, and discussion should revisit:

  • Overall account trajectory compared to goals
  • Notable wins or achievements recently
  • Any red flags needing addressed
  • Coming opportunities or considerations

This constant looping back reinforces successes and keeps accounts on track.

Quantify Value Relentlessly

Attach measurable business value delivered to each SEO task and major activity. Over time the perceived ROI directly impacts retention and renewals.

Go beyond ranking and traffic reporting to connect meaningful metrics like lead volume, revenue influence, form conversions, etc. back to SEO investments.

Develop Trusted Advisor Relationships

Graduate client interactions beyond superficial reporting and become a strategic advisor. Look for additional revenue channels to infuse like:

  • External advertising
  • Website redesigns
  • Personalization tools
  • Additional location expansion

Proactively coaching and educating on business growth shows commitment beyond defined SEO deliverables. This cultivates powerful advocacy and referrals.

Key Takeaways

  • Create inbound marketing content tailored to your ideal SEO clients. Promote educational resources driving organic traffic and conversions.
  • Network consistently both locally and within target customer industries. Referral partnerships, conferences, and events expand reach.
  • Master a structured sequence for connecting with prospects, diagnosing issues, matching solutions to needs, and systematically following up.
  • Close more deals by addressing objections early, offering retainer discounts, and quickly handling paperwork.
  • Set proper expectations upfront and over-communicate across frequent touchpoints early in customer relationships.
  • Become a trusted advisor focused on measurable value. Proactively optimize accounts and uncover additional revenue opportunities.


Finding and retaining profitable SEO clients at scale hinges on targeted inbound marketing, structured sales process, and exceptional account management.

Regardless of current business success, consistently applying the tactics in this guide will systematically improve results over time.

Patience and persistence are mandatory – SEO sales cycles often span months for enterprise deals. Maintain rigorous follow up across multiple touch points over time with every promising contact.

Now more than ever businesses need help driving qualified organic traffic from search engines. That creates immense opportunities for skilled SEO consultants who can reliably deliver outcomes.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What types of businesses need SEO most?
    SEO delivers the most value for companies selling considered purchases, relying on informative website content, selling to other businesses, or dependent on website conversions. 
  2. What qualifications or certifications should an SEO consultant have?
    No particular credentials are mandatory. Results delivering successful SEO projects matter most. Many consultants get certified with hubs like Search Engine Journal or SEMrush. 
  3. How long does SEO take to show results?
    Simple website fixes impact rankings within weeks. Scaling content and linking build over 3-6 months typically. Expect 6-12+ months for competitive industries. Manage expectations accordingly. 
  4. How much does SEO cost on average?
    SEO costs vary based on project complexity, deliverables, and location. Many consultants charge monthly retainers between $750-$2,500. Packaged solutions improve perceived value. 
  5. What is the difference between SEO and digital marketing?
    SEO improves organic search visibility and traffic. Digital marketing incorporates all online channels, including paid search, social ads, email, content marketing, online PR and more. 
  6. Should I hire an SEO company or freelancer?
    Weigh expertise against costs. Freelancers provide more customization for lower fees. Agencies handle scaling better with more infrastructure. Retainers improve quality either way. 
  7. What SEO results can I expect in the first 3-6 months?
    Target site fixes showing Google crawling and indexing improvements early. Content launches should hit within 2-3 months to pace rankings over 6-12 months. 
  8. How do I know if an SEO consultant is legitimate or not?
    Vet consultants thoroughly. Review past client results. Check consultants posting public case studies. Confirm they avoid overpromising quick wins only possible via manipulation. 
  9. What SEO tactics should I avoid?
    Avoid anything deceptively manipulating search engine results like keyword stuffing, shady backlinks, sneaky redirects, or stolen content. Ethical SEO improves experiences for searchers. 
  10. How do I track SEO results?
    Monitor monthly organic users, sessions, bounce rates, pages per session, goal completions, and attributed revenue in analytics. Compare to prior periods. Watch for improving trends. 
  11. Can I do SEO myself?
    Absolutely. Mastering technical SEO and content best practices requires significant expertise though. Freelancer platforms like Upwork offer entry-level access for initial projects. 
  12. What should I include in an SEO proposal?
    Cover previous conversations, audit findings, expected outcomes, proposed solutions, timelines, pricing, results tracking, credentials, and secondary supporting materials. 
  13. How much should I charge for SEO services?
    Typical SEO pricing ranges from $50-$150 hourly, $750-$2,500 monthly for retainers, and 15%-30% of ad spend for commission-based engagements. Factor in knowledge, demand, and local rates. 
  14. How do I show the ROI of SEO to potential clients?
    Connect SEO completely back to desired conversions and revenue. Share case studies quantifying traffic and conversions influenced. Calculate potential value using modest assumptions. 
  15. How can I improve my SEO close rate?
    Improve close rates by addressing objections early, offering package discounts for prepaid retainers, and quickly handling contract paperwork. Follow organized sales sequences. 
  16. What should I focus on to retain SEO clients?
    Set clear expectations, over-communicate initially, review campaign health continually, connect SEO to revenue often, and evolve into a trusted strategic advisor over time. 
  17. How do I scale my solo SEO consulting practice?
    Documenting processes, productizing services, and outsourcing fulfillment tasks maximizes scaling. Hire team members slowly as revenue covers costs. Maintain excellence over growth early. 

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July 2024


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