A Lesser Known Route to Agency Profits: White Label SEO
Many agencies are unaware that there is a very profitable path into the search engine optimization business. In fact, many agency owners are downright scared of the digital transition and of SEO in particular because of the stories they have heard in the industry.
While it isn’t necessary to become a full-service digital marketing agency, it is widely accepted that an agency that doesn’t embrace digital marketing is going to have a difficult time retaining their clients, as well as attracting new business. As a result we’ve seen a flurry of activity around digital marketing for traditional agencies in the last few years. Search engine optimization is one part of the digital revolution that still confuses agency management.
White label SEO is a newer approach to SEO Outsourcing that has shown strong success for many agency owners.
White label SEO is a way to outsource SEO by branding a proven product that was created by a third party as your own. In this Arrangement, also known as “private label SEO,” an outsourced organization actually delivers the search engine optimization work. The outsourcing company is able to mark up the product in a typical wholesale / retail relationship.
Outsource SEO Work
Much of the confusion around search engine optimization for agency owners comes from a lack of clarity on what work is actually required is successfully optimize a website and move it up in the Google search rankings. Broadly speaking this work is divided into on-site SEO and off-site SEO.
On-site SEO is the more traditional work of website developers and initially was enough to cause a website to rank in the eyes of Google. Traditionally, SEO was thought of as a technical exercise in which a website is optimized so that the spiders coming from the various search engines, and Google in particular, can categorize the website correctly for retrieval when users search their database.
Typical activities in on-site SEO include analyzing the speed of the site, optimizing the code and images so they load quickly and browsers, looking for broken links and other obvious technical problems with the website, and ensuring that appropriate keywords are used to signal when a website is about.
In recent years on-site SEO has begun to look more and more like content marketing. Content marketing was traditionally a method where free information was given away in the hopes of generating traffic to a website. However, onsite SEO has become more sophisticated and now has elements of content marketing built into it. It is now typical for an on-site SEO project to include extensive content development. Keyword research will be done so that content can be formed around keywords known to be valuable to the business, which are then used for long-form content, which gives readers something useful in exchange for their time.
A good on-site SEO strategy will also include an analysis of the images and other visual assets that are presented to users. Modern websites need to be visually appealing and can’t be overly text heavy. While Google may faver long-form blog posts, in excess of a thousand words, readers still very much like pictures and are likely to stay on a website that has videos and appealing visual components.
Off site SEO is another major component of the search engine optimization process. Moz estimates that offsite SEO is 25% of why you rank in a Google search result. So what exactly is off site SEO? Simply put this is the practice of attracting backlinks to a website. And this is perhaps the most time intensive and confounding portion of the search engine optimization process that prohibits agencies from entering this business.
In the early days backlink were acquired easily through forum posts and other free websites where registration included a dofollow backlink. However after the penguin update of 2013 Google signaled quite strongly that they did not favor these types of backlinks. Since that time it has become much more difficult to land quality hyperlinks to a blog post. A variety of different techniques have popped up to facilitate the process, all of which are labor-intensive. Many agency owners are not interested in building out a full team to service the various requirements of backlink building or backlink solicitation. For these reasons, a white label SEO service company may be very attractive to these agency owners.
One major advantage of a white label SEO product is that the team doing the SEO work is invisible to the client. In other words, the branding of the entire operation remains that of the agency. This is the essence of the “white label” portion of this approach.
This is a model that is well known in retail for various other verticals. For example, if you were to walk into any grocery store you are likely to find a house brand of spaghetti sauce. Of course, the particular grocery store you’re in is not likely to have manufactured that spaghetti sauce themselves. It is much more likely that they are white labeling a spaghetti sauce product from another vendor who is happy to surrender their brand in return for shelf space at that supermarket. While a relatively new approach, the SEO market is using this same strategy for privately branding search engine optimization services.
In addition to branding, another major advantage for the white label SEO approach is that a scale. Particularly for smaller agencies, it is impractical to scale up a link building operation to meet the needs of the business without a major investment in product development.
With a white label approach, the product development expense lies not with the agency but with the outsourced organization. And because they serve many different agencies they are able to amortized expenses across many different organizations. This achieves an economy of scale that no single small agency could ever hope to have.
There are certainly disadvantages to outsourcing SEO that need to be carefully considered by agency owners. For starters, quality control is not nearly as tight when the team delivering the SEO does not directly work for the agency. For this reason it is very important that an extensive selection process is used before engaging a white label SEO provider to ensure that the quality standards will meet customer needs.
Another disadvantage with Outsourcing SEO is lack of control over the direction of the product. While significant capital can be saved on product development, agency owners will have much less input to the product development process. Again, to mitigate this risk it will be important to ask many questions about the product direction and how product development is executed by the White Label organization.
Many agency owners are unaware that they can have a world-class search engine optimization product, with their logo on it, without having to hire an entire team of website optimizers and link builders. This is because the white label SEO industry is relatively new and have overlooked this opportunity as they transition to digital marketing.
A white label SEO company can allow your agency to outsource difficult work, avoid hiring resources, and markup products that can achieve significant profits. While there are some setbacks and disadvantages to this arrangement, with careful selection criteria and a thorough interview before hiring, the risks can be mitigated such that all parties win.