How to Get SEO Clients in 2023: A Beginner’s Guide

SEO client competition

One of the biggest challenges marketing and SEO agencies face today is nabbing new business. No matter the size of your agency, winning new clients is crucial for sustainable growth.

Digital marketing consultant, Harpreet Munjal writes:

“SEO is the best marketing channel to grow your business with the highest ROI. It can give small businesses the power to beat giants that have more money and resources. It can help you grow your business and outrank your competitors. It also has the potential to establish your business as an authority.”

With competition from in-house marketing and consultancies fiercer than ever, your agency needs a strong plan backed by data to find, win, and keep SEO clients.

Read on to find out the best way to get SEO clients and how agency analytics can be used in every step from prospecting for leads to maintaining an ongoing relationship.

How to get SEO clients

When you break it down, securing SEO clients is a matter of nailing three steps: finding the right prospects, creating a winning pitch, and then sealing the deal (and keeping their business).

How to get SEO clients flowchart

Step 1: Prospecting – How to find SEO clients

In order to secure more SEO clients, you first need to find the ones that need help improving their SEO performance.

Seems simple enough, right?

There are tons of ways you can look for new business. Take the following steps and leverage high-quality data for the best chance of success.

How to prospect for SEO clients

Identify your niche

Before you get started looking for clients, it’s time to identify your target niche. You want to ensure that you’re looking for the right type of client for your digital marketing agency. If you’re just starting out, think about what kind of business will most benefit from your services and be able to afford them.

This means that you should target industries that you expect will have the budget to invest in driving more traffic to their website. Look for industries that require a larger consumer investment over time. Real estate, online services, medical practices, and law firms are all good places to start.

By pinpointing a niche audience, you can target your efforts more effectively to address specific client needs and pain points, increasing the likelihood of winning the client.

Be an authority

It’s important that you earn a reputation within your niche for helping business owners improve their SEO. You can show that you’re an authority in your field by utilizing content marketing and social media to spread the word that you’re an SEO expert that gets results.

Another way to earn a positive reputation is to attend trade shows, conferences, and events covering the topic of SEO, as well as other adjacent events. By attending other industry events, you can reach new audiences, which will help you make contacts and solidify your brand.

The more your agency’s name is out there, the more brands and industry professionals will start to see you as an authoritative voice and trusted resource. Once you’ve earned this reputation, you can use this clout and the relationships you’ve made along the way to scale your agency further.

Leverage existing relationships

You want to highlight case studies that show the success you’ve achieved with past clients. Writing guest posts on reputable websites is another good way to get more exposure to new target audiences. These efforts will encourage other businesses to entrust you with their own SEO.

Another step you can take is partnering with a different type of agency to provide additional services. Think about what other needs you could be providing clients, from web design to PR and everything in between. Partnering with another agency will give clients confidence that they are investing their money wisely to get the maximum return.

Eat your own dog food

When you give a friend advice, you don’t usually turn around and do the opposite for yourself. If you’re “gonna talk the talk,” you need to “walk the walk.” So why do so many agencies do this to their clients?

It’s important that you “eat your own dog food.” Too often SEO and marketing agencies don’t listen to their own advice and fail to implement the best practices that they preach. They tend to focus only on their clients’ success and forget about their own digital marketing materials.

Digital media industry veteran Russ Fradin writes:

“Eating your own dog food enables you to become so much more educated on every facet of your product and company. This education leads to confidence, allowing you to open a powerful dialogue with your staff, consumers and the general public about the countless benefits of your product.”

The same goes for your agency. If the services you provide clients include finding organic keyword opportunities, implementing backlinks, and auditing SEO performance, then you had better make sure you’re using all of these practices on your own website and collateral. This will instill more confidence in your clients and potential customers.

Dig into the data

Numbers don’t lie, and research is usually the first step in any successful project. When looking for new business, you should follow suit and use analytics to find the right prospective clients for your agency.

Being able to perform SEO competitive analysis and conduct research with a keyword tool will give you the power to make informed, strategic decisions.

You can find new SEO leads for your agency using Similarweb by analyzing traffic patterns and conducting keyword research to discover trending organic search terms in your target industry.

SEO keyword analysis

Once you’ve found a focus keyword, you can drill down into the organic competitors for that term to see who is ranking at the top of the SERPs and who could use a boost – these are your potential clients.

Anyone who is not consistently on the first page (positions 1-10) could potentially use your SEO services to improve their ranking and traffic.

Organic keyword research

Now it’s time to zero in on a prospect. Look into their traffic and engagement in relation to their competitors to spot opportunities for improvement.

It’s also crucial that you look into the search performance of potential clients to see that they’ve begun investing in improving their search performance, whether PPC or SEO. This is a good indicator that they have the budget to invest in your services.

Once you’ve chosen a target prospect, you can use digital intelligence to discover keywords that are driving high volumes of traffic to the competition and ranking at the top of the SERPs.

Competitor keyword gap

These are the top organic keywords and most valuable opportunities for your prospect to focus on. You can create a list of target keywords to add to over time.

Step 2: Pitching – How to win SEO clients

Once you have a list of prospects that you want to target, you’re ready to start crafting the perfect pitch. It’s paramount that your pitch demands the prospect’s attention and addresses their unique needs. The best way to do this is to create a personalized, data-driven pitch.

Create a winning pitch with SEO research

Personalize your pitch

Maybe you’re used to sending cold emails en masse to potential clients. There’s no problem with this approach, but if you’re not including unique insights and suggestions then you’re making your outreach easy to disregard.

By tailoring your pitch to each potential client, you can give them candid feedback on their current activities and help them see opportunities and threats. You can also include case studies where you achieved similar goals to reaffirm your credibility.

Once your prospect sees that you’re offering concrete, actionable insights, your pitch will be much harder to ignore. If they feel that you really understand their business and their challenges, they’ll be more likely to hire you. Ultimately, clients want to see that you bring results.

Let intelligence be your guide

Talk is cheap. Your pitch will demand more attention if it includes eye-catching visuals and graphs that are easy to understand and illustrate the changes that you can make for your clients.

You can use Similarweb to look deeper into each prospective client’s market to understand their current standing and industry standards. You’ll want to understand the marketing strategy of your prospect and benchmark them against the competition so that you can identify what is currently working for them and where they need your help.

Begin by benchmarking your prospect’s digital marketing performance to their competitors and industry standards to see how they measure up.

President of SEO-PR Greg Jarboe explains: 

“[Benchmarking] provides valuable context, helping us to compare our data with aggregated industry data from other companies – at least the ones that share their data – and gain insight into trends occurring across our industry.”

Look out for new affiliate partnerships and opportunities for referrals that your prospective client could be taking advantage of. You also want to see which marketing channels are performing best within your niche, who ranks the highest, and how they’re driving these efforts.

Incoming traffic data

Check out which competitors their clients are cross-browsing on, and what other websites they frequently visit.

Remember, you’re looking for personalized details to include in your pitch or outreach email, so the better your understanding of their marketing strategy and the more untapped opportunities you find, the better.

Avoid spamming prospects

When reaching out to potential SEO clients, it’s important to be strategic. Once you’ve pinpointed ways that your SEO work can improve their business, send them a simple, personalized email or LinkedIn message that outlines some of the untapped opportunities you’ve spotted, and ways that search engine optimization can help them improve their performance.

If you don’t hear back, send a follow-up that’s straight to the point. Avoid spammy messaging and bombarding them, so that they’ll think of you in the future when the offer may be more relevant.

Sweeten the deal

Everyone loves free stuff, right? One great way to make your outreach even more appealing is to give your prospects a little bonus.

This could be as simple as sending out branded swag or delicious treats that will keep them thinking of you. You could also offer free marketing materials or training, and conduct free SEO audits for prospective clients.

By putting in some extra effort at this stage, the business will see that you’re dedicated to using your time and resources to get to know them, identify their obstacles, and solve their pain points down the line.

Step 3: Reporting – How to keep SEO clients

So you found the right clients and your pitch impressed them, now comes the most important part: sealing the deal and ensuring a long-lasting agency-client relationship.

Once you’ve been hired, regular communication is essential to make sure that you’re meeting your client’s goals and adapting to changes over time. You should conduct regular SEO audits so that your client can see the return on their investment.

You can use a Similarweb template to build an SEO monitoring dashboard to oversee their progress. These dashboards can be easily exported and shared with clients and prospects.

SEO monitoring dashboard

Reporting is a key service your agency provides to communicate the changes you’ve made for clients. Providing regular reports that show the impact of your SEO will keep your clients happy and wanting more.

Win SEO clients with the right data

In today’s competitive climate, winning new business is a challenge that every agency faces, no matter how big or small. If you’re just getting started, or you’re trying to scale your agency further, it’s crucial that you use the best tools and data available to prospect for new clients, create a winning pitch, and secure their business in the long term. Similarweb agency intelligence streamlines every process, helping you use comprehensive data to get and keep new SEO clients.


What industries use SEO?

While some industries may have more competition for SEO keywords, the truth is that any business with a need for web traffic should be using SEO to market themselves. The greater their online presence and the more content they produce, the more essential it will be to their strategy. Businesses that operate exclusively (or predominately) online have an even greater chance to benefit.

How do I get high-paying SEO clients? 

When you’re looking for prospective clients to target, keep in mind that businesses with a higher revenue stream and customers with a higher lifetime value will have more budget to invest in your services. Real estate, online services, medical practices, and law firms are all good places to look.

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