Build Your SEO Agency The Right Way: 10 Must Have Departments to Deliver Success
My SEO team has evolved lot over the past year.
I used to have some virtual assistants and some micro workers to help deliver SEO services. Oh, how the times have changed. In order to deliver results that actually benefit a client these days it takes an entire team of people, all with different roles and responsibilities. This is why the days of $199 monthly SEO are long gone when it comes to long term SEO. There will always been a need for low quality spam services, but if you are a real business and want your website health to survive updates and penalties you need a quality service.
My agency, SerpLogic, has been built from the ground up. I started it originally as a blog, but it quickly transformed into a full service SEO agency. We now provide SEO service direct to businesses all over the world and do a lot of behind the scene work for some of the largest SEO agencies in the industry.
While I would love to take full credit for the rapid growth of the agency, none of the success would have been possible without my entire team. Every single person that works for me plays an important part and without them we wouldn’t be delivering the highest level of service and results that we currently are.
So, here are the 10 departments that most major SEO agencies use to provide service.
1. Agency Manager
There has to be one person that oversees everything and at SerpLogic that’s me for the time being. While I’ll eventually replace myself with a full time manager, I wanted to be 100% hands on during our initial growth. The first few months of launching an SEO agency are the most important. That’s where you build up your team and client base. Bad team equals bad results and no clients. No clients means you can’t pay your team and the entire business falls apart. It happens all the time in this industry. SEO agencies come and go daily.
I wanted to make sure SerpLogic was going to be around for the long term, so I worked my ass off and still do every day. I let my project managers do their job, but I am always involved in every client we onboard simply because I want to make sure we are always delivering the best quality. I don’t micromanage anyone, but I do like to review all parts and steps of each campaign.
I think where a lot of agencies make a mistake is when the owner steps too far away. SEO is always changing, so if the owner of the agency isn’t up to speed on what does and doesn’t work there is nobody setting the expectations and holding the company to a certain standard of quality. Even when I replace myself with a full time agency manager I will still be heavily involved.
2. Project Managers
My project managers are the ones that have direct access to each client. They handle the direct communication and I suggest you have one dedicated person for each client rather than having someone new call them each time. When the client talks to the same person over and over the feel like they are more than just a number. This type of personalized service goes a long way in helping to define your agency as a legitimate business.
Back in the early days I can remember receiving support tickets that would say something like, “I need to speak to someone about my SEO campaign.” Now, those types of requests are eliminated because if the client has a question they are logging into their client dashboard and speaking directly with their project manager.
Having dedicated project managers also removes a lot of the little responsibilities from my plate and allows me to do things like writing these blog posts and working on building the agency. Without my project managers I’d have so much busy work that I’d never get anything else done.
3. Content Team
Content will make or break an SEO campaign. You could have the best outreach team and get blog owners and editors to respond, welcoming guest posts, but if you send them a shitty piece of content they are going to deny it and guess what? They will never give you another chance. Your emails will be blocked or just deleted right away.
Too many SEO agencies try to cut corners and they will buy $5 articles that are 500 words and written by someone that clearly can’t read or write. Those low quality articles can be used all day long for your spam type rank and bank projects, but if you are after content for your blog or for guest blogging you need to be prepared to pay for quality.
People seem to forget the main point of content is to get the reader interested to the point that they want to either get more information or buy something. If content ranks well and pulls in organic traffic but that traffic doesn’t convert it’s worthless.
4. Outreach Team
SerpLogic’s outreach product has by far been our best performing service to date. Why? Because most SEO agencies don’t know how to do proper outreach and most business owners don’t have the time either, nor do they want to even learn. That’s why they are hiring an SEO agency to handle it.
People have been asking for a list of sites we offer. TRUE outreach involves taking a look at the clients’ needs, niche, and website, and identifying websites that would provide a major SEO boost. This means great link metrics and also referral traffic and branding. Everyone is so used to buying links of fake blog networks that don’t see any human traffic.
Outreach involves making contact on behalf of the website owner and negotiating back and fort, either with free content for the website or something like an animated video or an infographic in exchange for a link. Heck, sometimes it’s a cash offer. Outreach is all about making connections, building relationships, and negotiating our way onto a website for a client. There is no inventory on standby.
5. Link Builders
Not all links are going to come from outreach. The good ones, yes, but SEO is all about diversity and a diverse link profile needs to include blog comment links, Q&A links, social media links, web 2.0’s, etc.
I have a team of link builders that are constantly searching the web to locate link opportunities. As much as people think a link on Forbes will instantly push them to the top of the SERPs, it’s actually the entire campaign, from authority links to on-site optimization and external mid level links that are responsible for upward movement.
We build links every single day for our clients and that means having an entire team that has one job only: secure links.
6. Design Team
How many SEO agencies do you know that have their own designers? Not many, because they think that their work involves just building links and creating content. If you are just building links and tracking the SERPs for your clients you aren’t doing a good enough job.
Do you think that most business owners know what a good website design is or what a landing page needs to include in order for it to convert high? No. Most of them bought a website from whomever closed them and sold them? It could have been a local designer or a robo dialer spam call from overseas. Most business owners think all website designs are the same. They don’t know whether they have a nice website with potential or a complete cluster fuck of a website design.
If we rank a client #1 for all their keywords and get them featured on all the best websites and it results in thousands of visitors a day but they don’t get any sales they are wasting money and we aren’t doing a good job. This service is extra of course, but we have designers ready to work on new layouts and features to improve conversions. Not only does it help the client and make our relationship stronger, but it’s also another source of income for the agency.
7. Coders & Developers
Just like designers, coders and developers aren’t the typical team members for most agencies. Well, thankfully SerpLogic isn’t like most other SEO agencies! 😉
Having great designers on the team won’t do any good without coders and developers to bring the designs to life and converted into WordPress themes and HTML pages. It also helps to have them on the team when it comes to technical SEO, like on-site optimization and things like schema markup, which is something a lot of SEO agencies don’t touch because they don’t have the technical knowledge to get it set up properly.
8. Customer Service Team
Our customer service team is great at providing support to our existing customers, but since we have project managers, the majority of our support tickets come from potential clients and other SEO agencies that want to outsource things like outreach and link building to us.
Having a dedicated customer service team means that we can quickly respond to inquiries as soon as they come in. That quick response time is what potential clients use to determine whether or not you are a competent agency, and other agencies love to see it as well.
Since we have clients from almost every corner of the world, we have a customer support agent available at all times. Even when my team and I are asleep I know that any question that comes through our website will be handled immediately. Even if it is past business hours, our customer service team can let the person know that we received their inquiry and that someone will reach out to them as soon as we get in the office. This instant first communication sets the tone for solid communication and now they are looking forward to hearing from us, eliminating a cold-call vibe.
9. Conversion Experts
It doesn’t matter how many visitors your SEO work drives to a client’s website. If they don’t convert and make them money how are they going to afford your SEO service? Most SEO agencies don’t care. They judge their own performance on keyword rankings and traffic numbers.
I like to help every client make money. This does two things. It keeps them loyal and onboard, paying our fee every month. It also gets them to talk about my agency to their friends and fellow business owners. A lot of our business is referrals and I attribute that to going the extra mile for each client.
We have team members that are conversion experts. They can look at a landing page and know whether or not there are potential problems. They are also good at split testing and optimizing in order to improve conversion rates. Show a client that you can improve his traffic AND sales and I will show you a lifelong SEO client.
10. Business Development
SerpLogic is growing at a very fast pace and there is no sign of slowing down. We don’t necessarily have a separate business development department, but we do have brainstorming sessions where we identify growth strategy and opportunities and lay out a plan to execute each month.
You have to always be thinking of the future. You never know when you are going to lose a client because they make a bad business decision or just decide to close their doors one day. Focus on growth. It doesn’t have to be overnight. Slow and steady is the best, as it allows you to keep up with it and deliver a good service.
When you really break down the staff and team required to deliver an effective SEO service, you quickly realize how it’s impossible to deliver quality for a couple hundred dollars per month. Common sense comes into play, but that doesn’t mean we will see low quality Fiverr type packages disappear.
There is always going to be a use for them: rank and bank, pure spam, and even for diversification on websites that are basically throw always and not intended for a long term project.
I’m not putting down all low cost services, because some of them serve a purpose. I think this blog post will just help open some people’s eyes, especially those that aren’t too familiar with what agency level SEO really involves. When you understand all of the working parts it’s easier to see how some agencies charge $3,000 – $5,000 a month. Considering all costs of business and staff, it really isn’t a lot of money at all. They definitely aren’t getting rich, because the costs are so large.
If you have any questions about SEO or running an agency leave them below and I will try hard to reply quickly. I’m always open to talk about anything SEO related. Let me know how I can help you. Until next time, I’m out of here.