SEO BROTHERS BLOG
White Label SEO: Reselling SEO Services With White-Label Providers
Outsourcing SEO is a very common practise in today’s digital agency world. With the constantly evolving landscape and the historically negative reputation, many agencies decide to stay clear of SEO, and those who approach it often do so in a white label SEO model or another type of outsourced SEO solution.
In this article we discuss the option of White Label SEO. Obviously, we’re a little biased as that is the service we offer here at SEO Brothers. However, we recommend this approach over other options such as reseller plans or contract outsourcing – and for good reason!
What is White Label SEO?
White Label SEO (also referred to as SEO Reselling) is a digital marketing solution that allows your agency to offer and sell organic SEO services to your clients without having to learn to hire in-house for those SEO services. You are able to deliver high quality SEO services through your own brand without having to do any of the work, often times while still leaving plenty of margin for your business.
The best kinds of White Label SEO solutions will provide the support and training that you would expect from a hire at a price point that allows you to experience at least 50% gross service margins.
White Label SEO vs Reseller SEO: How Do They Compare?
Reseller SEO is a very common term, that is often used synonymously with White Label SEO. However, there are usually some core differences between the two. To compare, I’ll include my definition of reseller SEO here:
What is reseller SEO?
Reseller SEO is a solution where you select exactly what core set of SEO actions will be completed for a client and you buy the package from an SEO reseller and deliver to your client. SEO reseller solutions don’t often come with any level of education, training, or support outside of the specific purchased plan.
The main differences between Reseller SEO and White Label SEO are as follows:
- Access to a team – when you partner with a white label provider, you usually have access to a project coordinator and account manager who will be there to help you succeed. They will work internally with a team of SEO specialists and help you communicate with your clients while identifying opportunities.
- Support & education – because you don’t often get a team with reseller seo packages, you likely aren’t going to receive a lot of support or education behind the service, deliverables, or SEO in general. This is something to be cautious of if you do not have a great understanding of SEO currently.
- Strategy – Most of the time, you’re getting a pre-set list of action items with a reseller package. However, with white-label you are likely to get a little more strategy support. To be fair, lots of strategy goes into developing packages that work in different situations so this isn’t necessarily a bad thing either way.
- Pricing models & margins – for a reseller SEO solution you’ll usually experience lower cost per campaign or project than you will a white-label provider. While this is not always the case, reseller packages are usually so very defined that they are able to drive price down.
- Ease of sale to your clients – When you’re simply reselling a reseller SEO package you often know exactly what you’re selling. If not results, at least the scope of work that will be completed. However, often times with White-Label (and with more strategy involved) the end product might be slightly different between clients and involve more of a discovery process.
How we combine Reseller SEO with White-Label SEO
We understand there are pros and cons to both reseller SEO and white-label SEO. This is why we’ve designed our productized service to include the best of both worlds. Here at SEO Brothers, every partner has a dedicated project coordinator with weekly meetings during the initial on-boarding process so that you know exactly how the process and deliverables look.
While we bring strategy to each individual campaign, we simplify things and make it easier to sell by making our process consistent. We take every campaign through the same process – however sometimes the work we do on an individual site may vary depending on what we identify based on the competition.
White Label SEO vs Hiring Overseas SEO Staff : How Do They Compare?
Many partners have tried the whole SEO VA thing. They posted a job and hired in the Philippines, India, Mexico, Russia, etc. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of talented digital marketers in these countries (and we employ many!) but hiring an outsourced or overseas SEO and expecting them to deliver world class services is like buying a treadmill and assuming that is going to make you lose weight – you need to put in the time investment as well.
We respect the attraction of this though – “maybe I can manage 10 campaigns with one employee and make a ton of money!” However, it never ends like that. Between time zones, culture differences, and missing context on your clients – it’s just not going to happen most of the time.
Benefits of White Label SEO vs Hiring in House.
We’ve defined what white-label SEO is. We’ve compared it to other popular methods of getting SEO done in an out-sourced fashion such as reseller SEO packages and hiring outsourced SEO employee. No doubt, finding a high quality white-label solution is likely the better strategic decision for most (not all) of the time.
But what about hiring in-house? Should you fork out 50k for a decently experienced SEO specialist and bring all the work in-house, or should you make the decision to partner with a white-label firm?
I have this conversation with partners often, and largely it depends. It depends on your existing relationship with SEO (do you have well defined deliverables and process already?), your desires as a business owner (do you want the responsibility of hiring in-house or would you rather partner), and how much existing business you either have now, or think you can hit the ground running with.
If you have a big book of business and a proven process – hiring in-house may make perfect sense. If you’re looking to downsize your overhead but still want a strategic relationship then maybe it’s time to look for a white label solution. There are some benefits to choosing a white-label SEO provider, but at the end of the day the decision you should make, depends on your unique situation.
So what are these benefits?
1. Leverage a proven processes and deliverables without having to build it yourself
When you partner with a white-label provider they should have a proven process that they bring to the table (I hope) along with a set of deliverables that you and your clients interact with. They’ll have an SEO document and check-list. They’ll have a website optimization document and a process around how they do research and communicate with you and your clients, etc.
Hopefully this process is already well ironed out and optimized based on feedback from other partners.
Trying to create this yourself is certainly doable, but do you want to invest the time to do it? If you don’t already have this, make sure it’s either in place before you hire, or the person you hire is bringing it with them.
2. The ability to scale and add new SEO clients without having to worry about hiring
The margins always have to make sense. A good white-label provider will understand that and work with you to help you sell in services at a price point that makes sense. As you add on more SEO clients you will have a very specific understanding of what your gross service margins will be on these accounts. Yes there will be additional time and resources in admin and account management, but your service margins will remain consistent.
Not only do you have a good understanding of margin, you also have the ability to scale quicker than having to hire and train new employees to serve clients as you grow. Since most white-label SEO firms are always hiring and training, you will be able to continuously add new accounts.
3. Add new revenue from existing clients without additional overhead
This isn’t necessarily exclusive to the white-label approach, but if you aren’t offering SEO currently and you create a strategic partnership with a white label firm, then you are able to immediately take that offering to your existing clients – whether they are web design clients, paid digital clients, social, etc.
There is no lag time in training an employee or figuring out an offering – you get to hit the ground running on day one.
4. White Label SEO is usually a more cost effective solution
Why not start offering a few campaigns with a $750 monthly commitment vs a $5000 monthly commitment of hiring an employee? With a white label provider you’re able to start smaller and scale faster than you would with a dedicated staff.
If you already have resources on your team and capacity to serve clients then that might be a better way to go. However, what we often find is that having someone on your team that at least understands the basics of SEO can do very well as the point of contact with a white-label provider in helping to relay important information to your clients.
What Should I Expect To Get Done For My SEO Clients With a White Label Provider?
Not all white-label providers are created equal. Nor should they be. Some specialize in local SEO, others in link acquisition. Some do content marketing and others won’t. Make sure you have a conversation before jumping into a relationship or test the waters with an account or two.
That said, here is the basic fundamentals of what you should expect to have completed for your clients with a white-label provider:
- SEO Strategy – Why are we doing the things we say we’re doing. That’s a question we get asked a lot – and one that you should really understand, especially when trusting a firm to provide SEO for your clients. For us, this is largely based on what the competition is doing. But a good white-label provider may customize campaigns slightly based on what they are seeing in the market.
- On-page Optimization – From basic site-wide page title and meta-data optimization, to a solid foundation of technical SEO, to more in-depth page-specific optimizations, on-page SEO needs to be a part of every campaign as a way to show the best results for your clients.
- Link Acquisition – While many firms will shy away from building or acquiring links, most white-label providers have some sort of link building solution. Whether they rely solely on citations, or they leverage relationships with website owners to manually create links, or they invest in outreach campaigns to acquire links from highly sought after websites – they should have some way of promoting the site across the internet. You’ll have some providers put a large emphasis on links while others will not. Here at SEO Brothers, they are a core piece of the puzzle – but work in combination with everything else based on what the competition is doing.
- Content Support – This is where many white-label SEO providers will also vary. Some provide a finite amount of content creation, some may only do optimizations and improvements to existing content, while others will create full content marketing plans and create consistent content – it largely depends on their approach to SEO. For us, we provide content creation as it relates to the success of a campaign (if a specific page needs another 400 words to better compete in the SERPs – we’re on it!), and we support content marketing with blog post idea generation based on keyword research.
- Communication and transparency – if you’re working with a partner that doesn’t tell you who’s on their team, or how they approach SEO, or what they are doing any given month or quarter, that’s likely a red flag. We share all of our deliverables with our partners. That said, we respect that the end clients don’t need to be bogged down with every technical detail or small change – as it may raise more questions than it’s worth. But you as the partner should be in the know every step of the way.
How To Choose a White Label SEO Solution?
Research, interview, and a little bit of gut feeling. This is a two way street. You want to choose a great fit white-label SEO provider as much as they want a great fit client. So make sure to connect, research and get to know the firm before jumping into things. While they may not need to fit with your office culture exactly, or have overlapping skill set with other areas of your business like you may look for in an employee, it’s still important that you get along and get a good vibe from the firm.
All that said, there are a few things we recommend you look for or ask while you’re on the hunt for a white label SEO provider.
Choose a firm that only provides white-label SEO.
There are a lot of white-label agencies out there. The white-label space is full of great solutions and firms that will provide private label or white label services through other agencies and let you sell in services to your clients. In our experience, specialization beats generalization – especially when it comes to SEO.
When you partner with a firm that only does SEO it means you likely have better processes (since they are only improving their SEO process not their paid or social process as well), better pricing (they will have such an effective and efficient process it’ll mean they are able to keep prices low), and better communication and education (again, they only talk about SEO so surely they should be able to communicate and educate you on it).
Ask them about their campaign process.
Book a sales call or a demo and ask them to explain to you what they do when you send them a new campaign. Ask them about the process, about the deliverables, and about the communication. The more you understand their process the more you’ll understand if it’s a good fit for your clients and the easier time you’ll have selling it in on projects.
Needless to say they should be able to walk you through both a partner on-boarding process and the project on-boarding process.
Meet at least some of their team.
Get some face time – know who you’ll be working with. If you’ve decided to choose a white-label solution over a simple reseller package it’s likely because you wanted the support and team that comes with that. Make sure you get a chance to meet some of the team – the sales reps, strategists, project coordinators – and get a sense for how they operate and what they are like.
Review their deliverables – what will you and your clients see?
Chances are you can find this on their website in some way or another, but if not you likely just need to ask. What are the deliverables that your clients will see? What will you have access to? How do they communicate changes, progress, reporting, etc.
Transparent process with a proven track record
Finally, look for transparency.
What Happens When I Want to Hire In-House or Switch White-Label Providers?
Sometimes, even after years of working with a white-label SEO provider, it might make sense for you to make the jump and hire in-house or move to a different provider. There are a number of reasons that you may choose to do this – from financial to service quality and anything in between.
It’s important to understand what this means and what insight you can bring from one provider to your own in-house solution or bring to another provider. Most white-label SEO companies will have their own set of deliverables that are their intellectual property. This is what they have optimized over the years to bring you efficiencies in providing SEO to your clients.
Unfortunately, when you leave this often means that you are not allowed to use their deliverables if you decide to hire in-house – so that is something you should be aware of.
When you’re switching providers, we often recommend a transition process that includes a series of emails to your existing clients that aim to educate them on a new process and approach to their SEO campaigns in order to provider a better service and deliver excellent results.
What else do you need to know?
We’ve tried to cover as much as possible and answer the main questions we hear around white label SEO but if you have any other questions please don’t hesitate to let us know!