The struggles any new business faces can be daunting and numerous. Without a solid business plan, ample resources, a great idea and valuable skills, your average business will fall flat on its face in very little time. This is why prior planning is so essential to the long-term sustainability of any company.

Internet-based businesses lack some of the challenges that brick-and-mortar companies face, but also must deal with other issues exclusive to the online world. One of them pertains to credibility; with so many competitors and options on the internet, how can a potential client or customer be sure that your business is legitimate and trustworthy?

If you’re dead-set on pursuing a small business dream in the world of search engine optimization, then it’s crucial that you establish credibility as soon as possible. We’ll point you in the right direction and ensure that your startup SEO company can thrive.

Demonstrate Your Knowledge Base

Before you can seal the deal with any clients, you’re going to have to demonstrate your value. In order to build credibility with an audience, it is paramount that you list what services you provide, how each can benefit clients, and what experience you possess in this field.

Every time a person visits your SEO firm’s website, it should be viewed as a job interview. You want to make sure that your unique selling point is in full view. You also must ensure that nobody leaves your website without understanding why your firm explicitly is qualified to render services to them.

Avoid Spamming Your Presence

It’s difficult to gain that initial traction and attention as a startup SEO company. A quick Google search will show you that there are literally thousands of SEO companies and firms promising various services in all areas of SEO. How can you make inward roads in such a tough market?

Because of these obstacles, one of the first things many businesses plan is an ad offensive. However, your marketing strategy can quickly turn offensive if you’re spamming content about your offerings where it is unwelcome. This behavior can vary and includes anything from sending unsolicited messages to websites via their contact forms to messaging random influencers on social media.

In almost every situation, this will leave a bad impression. The proverbial cold-calling of people for SEO assistance in this day and age feels out-of-place and downright spammy: anybody who is intelligent enough to understand SEO services and value them either already has the situation under control or realizes that somebody soliciting them with an offer of assistance probably isn’t worth considering. There is a difference between marketing your SEO company and shoving it in peoples’ faces.

Consider Reselling

If your startup company doesn’t have much to its name in terms of reputation – or skill-set, for that matter – then you might want to consider how your business could thrive under an SEO reseller structure.

In short, SEO resellers do exactly what it sounds like they do: purchase services from an existing, credible SEO firm and resell them to clients at a higher price. This can be an ideal way to ensure that your initial interactions with clients goes smoothly and that you can develop a more resolute reputation via recommendations, online reviews and other feedback signals.

In order to be successful at SEO reselling, you’ll need to possess a few characteristics. First and foremost, you’ll need to be a good seller: keep in mind that a large part of this art form requires you to convince people to pay more for the services than they could for the exact same thing. You’ll of course have to possess innate knowledge of the products and services being offered (which you’ll need for any SEO business). Your customer service skills must be on-point. You’ll also need to provide ample interaction with prospective and current clients to ensure they’re well-satisfied.

This ultimately is harder than it sounds, but it can be one great way for a new SEO agency to develop its reputation and earn profits without massive amounts of work or manpower.

Build a Solid Website

SEO businesses are going to be evaluated first and foremost by how their websites look. Considering that – with the exception of your ad campaigns – a website is the first impression made for almost any SEO firm, this element must be absolutely perfect.

Considering that design (and more specifically, the technical aspects of it) is a key component of SEO itself, there aren’t going to be many smart people who sign off on services via a company website that looks like it was built in 2005.

Not only should your website be well-designed and look great, but it should also look relevant. Ask yourself: what is the overarching aura or vibe for my company? What experience are you trying to sell? If your pitch and approach take an unconventional or informal approach, for instance, then having a website that looks like it belongs to a Fortune 500 company will undermine your image. This is why the website must look great and embody the culture of the SEO company simultaneously.

Have a Marketing Plan

In the early stages of any business, there is a good chance that your marketing strategies will result in the first impressions anybody sees. Because of this, you have the ability to shape whatever narrative you desire.

There are a large number of outlets and ways to go about marketing your SEO firm with credibility in mind. Through targeted ads on LinkedIn, you can pitch your services to professionals in businesses where they have the ability to persuade SEO decisions. On networks such as Facebook, you’ll be able to target based on interests, geography and other factors. Through search engines like Google, you’ll have the opportunity to reach individuals searching for the specific services you provide. For both organic and paid forms of marketing, it is essential you have a solid game plan in place before you begin targeting anybody.

Ultimately, starting an SEO business takes time, dedication and money. There are a number of ways you can do this, but success will depend on whether people view you as credible. In order to boost that appearance, be sure to build a great website, have a marketing plan, demonstrate your knowledge and experience and steer clear of unsolicited spamming. By following these tips, you’ll have a chance to build a phenomenal SEO firm that truly can compete with the best of them.