In a world filled with shysters and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) pretenders, it can be a daunting task to source an ideal white label SEO partner/reseller. For a lot of agencies, it’s nearly impossible to find an SEO partner who isn’t poisoned with snake-oil salesmanship and who can provide quality work at a reasonable monthly fee that can be marked up for profitability.
In this article, we’ll cover the top 10 things to look for in a perfect white label SEO provider to help your firm navigate the rocky terrain of sorting, reviewing and selecting a white label online marketing partner for SEO outsourcing.
Now before we jump into the top 10 list, let’s state the obvious that due to the nature of outsourcing SEO to another agency as a reseller, it probably goes without saying you’ll need to have an NDA in place with any agencies you get in contact with prior to going through the vetting process. Without an NDA in place, there will be a shroud of secrecy and a lack of disclosure that could make the partner review process strained and
History is many things, but in the case of an SEO agency partner, history is everything. Some of the questions you should be asking about a potential partner’s history should include:
- How long has your company been in business?
- Have you integrated SEO during web design (JIC you want them to work with designers during web development projects)
- Are your SEO experts certified in Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Google Tag Manager, etc?
- What is the average number of years your SEO professionals have been working in the SEO industry?
- What is your average annual client retention rate?
- Are there other partners you’re currently working with or have worked with for longer than one year?
A solid private label SEO partner should have a long and distinguished track record in terms of performance and client retention whether it’s from working with clients directly or through other white label relationships with other agencies.
Any white label SEO program reseller firm worth their salt should be able to show potential partners client examples of their SEO work in terms of performance from their efforts. Things such as case studies, sample (often redacted without an NDA in place) Google Analytics reports, Google Search Console data, and position reports, can provide valuable insights into their performance capabilities.
Please note that whatever performance reports an agency provides you will be the creme de la creme of their best work. After all, who in their right mind is going to share “meh” results with a potential reseller?
Our advice is to do additional sleuthing beyond what an agency provides you by looking at client logos or client mentions on their site and do some research of those sites via tools such as Ahrefs, MOZ, etc, to see how the stats look for them. Keep in mind some of the companies an agency lists as clients may be former clients, so if you see anything in your research of major concern, consider asking the agency if the client is current.
Reviews are huge and should be a priority when evaluating potential reseller partners. Google Business Profile reviews should be the first stop with other review sites such as GlassDoor.com (employee/former employee platform), Yelp, etc., but note there are plenty of SEO-specific review sites as well to source reviews. Sites such as Clutch.co, GoodFirms.co, and UpCity.com are SEO specific review sites with Clutch being the top resource for quality reviews based on their strict review policy (they require someone to log in to LinkedIn to leave a review to ensure legitimacy.)
References are great because they will often provide the good, the bad, and the ugly. Keep in mind though, references are similar to a company’s “track record” in that potential SEO resellers will typically only provide their absolute best ones.
When speaking with or emailing references, be sure to ask probing questions that will give you a well-rounded perspective of the company such as:
- How long have you been working with agency xyz?
- Did the digital marketing agency partner provide an SEO audit to drive strategy and execution?
- Does/did the private label SEO partner provide SEO packages?
- Did/do they provide you with 100% unique content creation for content marketing and page optimization efforts?
- How is their communication, both written and verbal?
- Did the agency provide proactive communication and/or recommendations to augment results?
- Does/did the agency provide ROI attribution on a per-channel basis? (think organic SEO marketing vs. Google Business Profile Optimization)
- Does/did the agency provide you with custom white label SEO reports?
- Does/did the agency provide other digital marketing services complimentary to organic SEO such as local SEO and/or social media marketing?
- Did the agency show continuous SERP rankings and traffic growth throughout your engagement?
- Does/did their white label SEO services provide enough value and margin to make it a profitable venture?
- What is/was great about working with them?
- What are/were the areas the agency could have done differently or better in your engagement with them?
- Would you recommend their SEO reseller program to a family member or a loved one? (great question, isn’t it?)
Staffing is one of the more critical aspects of selecting a white label SEO partner/reseller since SEO is very much fulfilled by a pro marketing team and not machines or automation.
Small-to-mid size agencies usually don’t have high personnel turnover for obvious reasons and can often have long-tenured personnel doing fulfillment while larger agencies are more prone to employee turnover and can sometimes have their JV team attempting to play varsity. This is where asking about the years of experience a potential partner’s SEO team responsible for your account is very important.
If you’re operating a small or medium-size agency with only a handful of SEO accounts coming on board annually, you’re probably going to be better served with a similar-sized partner since smaller agencies tend to be more nimble and accommodating. If you’re operating a larger agency with a substantially sized portfolio of SEO clients needing work, we would suggest partnering with a similar-sized SEO reseller or perhaps slightly smaller since larger agencies can lose sight of high touch, customer-centric relationships and often look at clients as a number and not a name.
There are a ton of agencies out there that tout they’re the best and have a massive team of SEO’s on staff plugging away at doing keyword research, writing code and content recommendations, etc. That’s all fine and dandy, but is their fulfillment being done by full-time personnel? Part-time? Is the team even here in the United States? These are great questions that need to be asked.
There’s nothing wrong with larger agencies with high employee headcount. There are plenty of good ones out there with solid track records and year-over-year growth. However, there are two critical things to consider and evaluate such as:
- Employee Turnover
Larger agencies often have high turnover with personnel which creates a revolving door of sorts for account management and can leave clients constantly having to rehash previously covered items and topics with new account managers.
- Domestic vs. Overseas
We’re aware of several large SEO firms that outsource their work to overseas partners, but keep that as their dirty little secret and outside the purview of their clients. Ask your potential partners about domestic vs. overseas fulfillment.
Our philosophy is (perhaps yours should be too) to only consider hiring a private label SEO partner that is 100% domestically driven in terms of fulfillment. All too often, agencies outsource their work overseas where the English language is either a second language or a distant third. This can be disastrous since SEO is heavily weighted by content (and by links too, of course.) If you partner with a company that outsources their work across the pond, you are more than likely NOT going to be happy with the resulting copy and contextually-based coding variables they provide because they won’t match the client profile and won’t read correctly by your client’s users.
Partnering with an agency needs to be scalable based on your growth projections and your partner’s ability to scale and accommodate that growth with its own infrastructure.
If you are a small outfit and only need a partner that can do SEO for a handful of 1-10 accounts at any given time, scalability is probably not going to be an issue. But if you’re operating a larger agency that needs a partner to take on 1-10 new accounts each month, that’s where scalability comes into the equation. Make sure the SEO reseller you’re considering has the ability to scale based on your goals and projections.
Success in just about anything stems from strong communication. As you evaluate partners, make sure to touch on their communication methods and frequency. When touching on the topic of communication, make sure you have your ideal partnership scenario ironed out. Typically there are two types of partnerships with each requiring its own communication methods.
Scenario #1 – Direct Client Communication
If you’re looking to have a white label partner actively involved in communicating directly with the client, setting up private-labeled email addresses, phone call routing, CRM integration, deliverable delivery tactics, etc, to your partner and their clients become factors.
Scenario #2 – Indirect Client Communication
If you’re looking to have your partner completely behind the scenes doing fulfillment and only your team communicates with clients directly, your only concerns should be how they intend on communicating with your firm and frequency.
Once you’ve figured out which scenario fits your desired relationship, it’s at this point you need to establish communication methods that fit your company best.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
White label SEO partners should have a CRM in place that provides its partners and their clients a platform in which they can regularly communicate and source deliverables and reports.
When evaluating potential reseller partners, be sure to ask them about their ability to provide a white-labeled CRM that can be used as a part of the engagement since this will be the official workspace for all work and communication. Alternatively, you can always just use your own CRM if you already have one in place.
We prefer Teamwork since it provides everything an agency could want in a CRM from a single source. Another option would be Basecamp.
White label partners should be transparent in all aspects of their project fulfillment. This should include review and approval by you and your clients for code and content recommendations for site pages, blog posts, backlink/link building activities, and anything else relevant to your SEO campaigns.
Be wary of SEO firms who are not willing to provide full transparency in their project work. This should be a huge red flag and an immediate disqualification since they’re probably not doing things above board and could end up doing more harm than good for your clients.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to marked improvements and bottom-line results of SEO campaigns, so make sure your potential partner has the ability to report on KPIs in all aspects of their fulfillment and do so in a private labeled manner.
For reporting, a white label SEO company should be able to look at each of your client’s scope of work individually and have a dashboard set up to showcase all campaign items of interest and performance metrics for each channel.
Lead to Conversion™ White Label SEO Reseller Services
Founded in 2006, our full-service digital marketing company and experts have over 100 years of collective digital marketing expertise under our belts working with clients directly and behind the scenes as the best white label solution to agencies in all shapes and sizes. If you would like to learn more about how Lead to Conversion™ can to help your agency provide best practices white label SEO for your clients, just give us a call and let’s see if there’s a fit.