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March 16, 2011

Reselling SEO in 2011 – A SPN Exclusive Article

SEO resellers have traditionally earned their revenues by acting as middle-men. They manage the sales and marketing for search engine optimization services while outsourcing the delivery work to a third party. Many white label SEO reseller organizations have sprung up to meet this demand, making it considerably easier for a small web design, PR firm or ad agency to start reselling SEO services. But as the competitive landscape has become significantly more difficult, the traditional SEO reseller approach has been been less effective. Furthermore, there have been huge advances in the SEO industry in the last few years. This begs the question: What are the new trends for those wishing to gain competitive advantage reselling SEO?

Emphasize transparency With the recent Farmer Update, the issue of ethics in online marketing are once again front-and-center. Similar to the many highly public updates Google completed in 2007 and 2008, 2011 is proving to be an active year for the search engine optimization industry. This, once again, shines a light on those firms that prefer to do their work under the cover of darkness. While we don’t really know if there are ethical problems with how these firms operate, the bottom line is that you don’t want to find out. Don’t partner with these types of organizations.

J.C. Penney That almost says enough. If you have been following the SEO reseller industry then you know that J.C. Penney outsourced their search engine optimization services poorly. And the firm they selected most likely used a broker for link acquisition (outsourcing the outsourced SEO). It all ended quite badly. Know your SEO reseller organization and what they are doing. They should be very reachable, communicative and professional. These are easy things to determine through phone calls.

Selling SEO alone is no longer enough With social media gaining momentum, and email marketing a must for any business, it is clear that modern search engine marketing packages need to be a hybrid of these components. The idea that you can cobble together such an offering from 5 different Internet Marketing vendors is not viable. Many claim that they can pull the best SEO from Firm A, email marketing from Firm B and then social media management from Firm C. But this does not work in practice at any reasonable scale. In reality, you end up with a fragmented delivery team and higher costs. Modern SEO resellers are looking to one place to outsource their delivery needs. This keeps the partnership clean and the work delivery efficient.

SEO technology is essential The search engine optimization industry has come a long way from title tags and directory submissions. While that was a great gig in 2007, in 2011 the bar has been raised significantly higher. Today people expect solid analytics. They need backlink profiling as well as SEOMoz stats like Domain Authority and MozRank. They want to know how many backlinks to their website are being credited by the search engines, and how fast? Your SEO reseller should offer you an easy view into these important search engine optimization statistics.

Customer retention Finally, your ability to retain a customer will grow with the number of services you offer to them. Moreover, those services need to actually provide value. This thought should be pervasive in everything you sell and also in your decision criteria for selecting your vendors.

Conclusions The search engine optimization industry has been evolving quickly over the last 4 years. We’ve seen many significant changes with the addition of social media marketing, explosive growth in link-building activity and the introduction of innovative SEO statistics. People using an outdated SEO reseller strategy will have a competitive disadvantage to those who have partnered with more innovative delivery organizations that have embraced these industry trends and incorporated them into their product offerings.

Dr. Adam Stetzer is President and Co-Founder of HubShout, LLC, an online marketing and SEO reseller organization based in the US. With over 15 years experience in IT, working with Fortune 100 companies such as Coca Cola, General Electric, Chevron Texaco and AT&T, Dr Stetzer brings considerable experience to the SEO reseller community.