Whether you’re trying to start a brand-new digital marketing agency, or looking to supercharge your current one, white label SEO can be a game changer.
Lots of digital agency owners have been able to multiply their profits exponentially by bolting on services to their current lineup, even if they’re not exactly sure how to perform those services to begin with.
It may sound like false advertising, but outsourcing services to third parties is nothing new. Business productivity experts like Tim Ferriss have been preaching it for years. With the available resources at your fingertips now, there’s no reason to not at least consider it for your business.
What is White Label SEO?
White label SEO technically has two components: search engine optimization (SEO), and private label SEO. Let’s take each one of those in turn.
SEO optimization is the practice of ranking individual webpages higher up in search engines. That may sound one-dimensional, but it involves on-page optimizations, content strategies, link building, and dozens of other practices.
SEO campaigns can be very technical, but it’s something that most digital marketers will argue is more of an art than a science. As such, it can take years to master.
White labeling refers to reselling someone else’s services underneath your own branding. If you’ve ever dabbled in private labeling products, you know what this looks like.
You simply take a generic product or service, add a logo, customize the features a little bit, then sell it. You don’t have to engineer a product from scratch, you’re just involved in the branding and marketing.
The best part is you can charge whatever you want for the service or product, then pocket the difference. You’re not responsible for manufacturing or quality control, (which is always nice).
And if you take it a step further by dropshipping these items, you’re usually not responsible for customer support and technical issues either.
Using a white label SEO firm allows you to tack on additional services that are not in your wheelhouse.
A digital graphics agency, for instance, may also add on custom video creation for clients who want to create YouTube videos.
Even though they have no actual experience working with video, their experience in digital graphics means that they can expertly manage the content creation process. And, since they have a client base built up, they can sell those services directly.
White Label SEO Partner vs. SEO Reselling
The terms “white label SEO” and “white label SEO reseller” are usually interchangeable. Truthfully, there’s very little difference between the two concepts, with the notable exception of disclosure.
When you’re dealing with a white label solution, the service provider is completely hidden from the client. All of the reports and communication to the client comes directly from the intermediary. As far as the client knows, they’re only dealing with the agency.
With SEO reselling, on the other hand, the service provider may or may not be hidden; it doesn’t matter in the relationship either way.
Another major difference is in how you construct the white label SEO packages.
White label services are usually all-inclusive, composing many different types of activities in one. A local SEO service, for instance, may include managing a Google business profile as well as building citations and local backlinks.
Reselling SEO services can be done one at a time. Clients have the ability to pick and choose whatever it is they want at an agency markup.
In the end, it all depends on the niche and how the agency wants to structure their business model.
How Does a White Label SEO Partnership Work?
When you start working with a white label SEO agency, it’s basically like hiring on an entire team all at once.
You essentially become a client and a boss at the same time. You’re managing the various elements of the agency while making sure all the deliverables are up to your standard.
Typically, a white label project comes in a few stages.
First, you’ll receive the project from a client, such as a local service in your area or an enterprise client that you’re now onboarding. You will be responsible for the discovery call that outlines the specifics and scope of the project. You’ll also be responsible for managing expectations for timeline and receivables.
Activate White Label Team
Next, you’ll transfer those to your team members just like you would if they were in the house. You’ll direct them as to which projects need to be started right away.
You’ll also oversee the process from start to finish. Client communication is up to you, so be ready to implement any changes that may come up during the project.
Finally, the white labeler will deliver the project for your client to review, who will make a few recommendations before signing off. If the project requires ongoing work, you’ll manage the appropriate team members for project dashboard set up by the white label service.
One of the key pieces in this whole process is determining your profit margin.
In order for you to see increased revenue, you’ll need to determine what percentage of the project is your fee, while still remaining competitive with the marketplace.
Hitting the right balance between white label SEO partnerships and clientele can be difficult. However, many agencies have found success in niching down and keeping a similar price point for their projects.
What Kind of White Label SEO Services Can I Buy?
When you’re looking for white label SEO solutions, it’s important to determine what your agency’s individual strengths are. Some teams are great at sales and managing workflows. Others may be highly skilled in a certain segment of digital marketing and want to offer their customers other services.
It’s always best to play to your strengths and seek out the support you need to help you grow your business, no matter what department that’s in.
Don’t be fooled by white label services that simply offer the lowest price. Do your research and ask for portfolios from people they worked with in the past.
Look for white label companies that have worked in your niche specifically. If possible, do your own research with those companies to determine their success rate.
Below is a list of some of the services that you will find offered by white label SEO companies.
SEO audits are great for determining the initial strength of a webpage. Nearly all digital marketing agencies will begin any interaction with the client by doing a site audit, sometimes even offering it for free.
But auditing a site the right way can be difficult. Software can help you collect the data, but that can be expensive for smaller agencies. Plus, you need to know what you’re looking at in order to make recommendations to the client.
White label providers can provide you with an on-page or off-page SEO audit, determining the heading and content structure that is ideal for your client.
It may also look at site speed and page performance to determine whether or not the site is friendly with search engine algorithms.
Just as importantly, a good site audit will also evaluate whether or not the website is hitting certain conversion metrics.
What is the site designed to do, and how effectively is it reaching that goal? These require a trained eye. They’re usually more expensive as a result because you’re drawing on years of expertise.
These days, content is everything. Regardless of whether you’re referring to long form blog content, social media posts, email campaigns, or even white papers, developing (and executing) a holistic content strategy for your clients can be exhausting.
When evaluating content providers, you can go one of two routes.
Either you can hire a content creation agency to outsource the material directly, or hire freelancers. If choosing the latter, make sure you have someone on staff to provide editorial oversight for your writing team.
One of the unique difficulties in outsourcing content strategy is in keeping a consistent brand voice across all of your written media. Having a style guide will be helpful. But if you want to outsource even that, a good white label content marketing team can craft one for you as well.
Paid Media Management
If you really want to help your clients reach the next level with their business, your marketing agency should strongly consider offering paid media management.
But with today’s ever-competitive ecosystem, formulating a strong paid media campaign (including PPC services and social media campaigns) can get expensive in a hurry. It may take a long time to figure out what type of copy, visual assets, and type of audience is right for your niche.
Paid media consultants have the ability to cut through the noise. Since this is usually the only thing that they do, they have a workflow that they can simply plug multiple clients in and achieve results much quicker than average.
In some cases, these paid media teams may even be performance-based, which means you only pay them if they drive results. Typically, the fees on these agencies are higher though, so you’ll have to weigh that against your own budget.
Another option is to pay an agency a percentage of the overall budget (with a minimum ad spend, usually).
For instance, the white labeler may charge 15% of your clients budget as their fee, but if you charge the client 25% (an acceptable number depending on industry), you pocket 10% for simply providing the connection.
If done right, this can be an extremely lucrative white label option for your marketing agency, since paid media allows you to get results much quicker than standard, organic traffic.
Additionally, paid media can scale with the increase in revenue, so you might be dealing with a budget that is 10-20x more than what you started with. As that grows, so does your percentage.
Most businesses don’t think about review generation as an important ranking signal to search engines. Even if they do, most ignore the importance of responding to reviews, both good and bad.
And yet, having a solid set of reviews on your business may be the one thing that pushes them to the top of the search results.
For local SEO, at least one study has found that review signals account for 15% of local search engine ranking. That’s nothing to sneeze at.
White label agencies can help you gain reviews and respond to negative reviews that may crop up from time to time. They do this via email or text messaging after the purchase, or integrating it inside of an email list that goes out your customers regularly.
Additionally, they may develop review funnels for your business, or go into the back end of your website and create schema markup for your reviews to start appearing in search results. The more technical it gets, the more you’ll most likely need to rely on an outside agency like a white labeler to help.
If you’ve been in the online marketing world for any period of time, you know how important white hat link building tactics are to your website success.
Google has openly stated that it built its foundation on citations and backlinks, so all the items on this list, link building may be the most important one for you to outsource.
But not all links are created equal. Those that are created by using black hat tactics may be short-lived at best. They may tank your client’s website beyond repair at worst.
It’s extremely important for you to vet every one of your link building agencies to make sure they are getting quality backlinks. You can accomplish this through manual outreach, guest posts, or broken link building.
Be prepared for this to be the most expensive service you purchase on this list. Since link building is so important, most agencies are able to charge a premium for their services.
They usually have connections within the niche that you may not. They can leverage that to increase your client’s website authority. For a price, that is.
Still, if you want results fast — aside from using ads — a strong link building campaign is usually your best bet.
Ask anyone who does keyword research regularly, and they’ll tell you it’s either exhilarating or extremely tedious. It just depends on how excited they are to pore over rows and rows of data.
But no matter which way you slice it, there’s no doubt that keyword research is one of the most fundamental parts of any white label SEO strategy.
Without it, your webpages won’t rank in the SERPs. And if you don’t rank in the SERPs, there’s no web traffic, no conversions, and no clients.
Keyword research is also time-consuming though, which makes it one of the best items to offload to a white label SEO firm.
Not only will they create a detailed report of target keywords your clients websites should be ranking for, but they can also send it directly to your clients with your branding. You’ll still be responsible for communication and how it fits into the overall marketing strategy, but the bulk of the work is gone.
A good white label SEO company will provide reports that are up-to-date, reveal current trends that your clients can capitalize on, and track volume over time. This provides a competitive edge for your clients websites, as well as increased results that you can take the credit for.
Benefits of White Label SEO Services
In addition to the below benefits, one of the best things about having a white label SEO partner is that everyone benefits. Your client receives better results and your business’ reputation goes up. Meanwhile, the white label agency themselves gets to focus on the technical aspects of the job without dealing with clients.
In short, everybody wins.
On a more granular level though, there are several great things about using a white label partner that you should consider if you’re remotely interested in taking this path.
As a benefit of white labeling, outsourcing is the most obvious one. You get to take credit for the work without actually having to do the work yourself (even though you are responsible for managing the process).
The beauty of outsourcing anything is the ability to scale your company. The nature of all business — especially digital marketing agencies — is that you are often restricted by the amount of staff you have on hand.
Downtimes can make your budget sheet look red, while you’ll also have to turn down work because you don’t have the bandwidth to deliver on time.
Outsourcing allows you to offload some of the more fundamental aspects of your projects. You’ll also only have to keep a skeleton crew on staff to oversee the process from start to finish.
Since you only pay them for the work that they’re doing, you’re able to flex with the economy, rather than hire and fire at the drop of a hat.
Is it better to be great at 100 things, or expert level at a few?
While we would all prefer to be the best at everything, the truth is that there are some people who are better than us at most aspects of our job. Leaning into your strengths and offloading areas that you consider your weak points will help you create an agency that is more well-rounded and efficient.
In turn, the quality of your deliverables goes up. Your keyword research is better and your paid ad management is better, if for in no other reason than that someone is able to dedicate more time and resources to the task.
As a result, your client is happier and your agency’s reputation improves.
The combination of increased scalability and higher quality deliverables will inevitably lead to more opportunities for your company to grow. Reducing overhead is another factor that will plant your company’s bottom line. With a white label SEO partner, you’ll slash your operations budget exponentially.
Depending on the location of your agency, your overhead probably consists of a lot of things that you can completely eliminate with a remote-first mentality. Office space, company perks, insurance, and equipment all go out the window when you remove an in-house team.
Additionally, since you’re not having to pay someone full-time, you’re able to reduce your tax hit as well.
In fact, you may be able to write off a significant portion of your white label expenses on your taxes, since they’re not technically employees but are subcontractors. Talk to your accountant about the financial implications of such a move would create. It might be a surprising difference.
Other areas that you’ll save overhead in are the software and other resources that you need to carry out these functions. If your agency spends thousands of dollars in subscription services to carry out client projects, offloading these to agency partners will allow you to scale those back significantly, if not eliminate them completely.
This is the name of the game, isn’t it? At the end of the day, any business practice that increases your revenue (in addition to profits) is worth consideration.
Outside of the projects that you are already engaged in, offering a slew of new white label services provides additional income streams for your agency to benefit from.
Most reputable agencies are constantly bombarded by their clients for requests for additional digital marketing services; with white labeling, you can deliver them.
If your goal is exiting the agency, having a solid white label partner will be extremely valuable. The ability for a new owner to step right in and remotely manage a team provides less headache and less friction during the transfer. As a result, you may even be able to net a higher sale price.
How Much Does a White Label SEO Provider Cost?
As with any business, the price you pay for white label services will vary by agency and project. Some simple, one-off projects may only cost you a couple hundred dollars, while larger website builds — especially those that are custom and/or rushed — may be tens of thousands of dollars.
Fortunately, most white label agency partners are very upfront with the pricing and what they’re able to deliver. They have both project and hourly-based pricing, as well as short and long-term contracts. Sometimes, it will be a combination of everything, with an initial project price as well as ongoing support packages.
Just like you, white label agencies don’t create their prices in a vacuum. They’re based on their own setup fees, production expenses, labor, and overhead.
Because they operate as a de facto digital marketing factory, they’re able to create an assembly line to deliver services. This allows them to deliver at a lower cost, which is then passed on to you.
In order to determine your own price that you then pass on to your clients, use the following formula: Cost + Markup = Client Price. Your customers don’t need to see a detailed breakdown of your own expenses, to show them the final price and explain to them what they’ll receive.
5 Best SEO White Label Services
Determining the “best” white label partner is nearly impossible, primarily because it boils down to which niche you’re entering and what your price point is.
Generally speaking, though, there are several agencies that have great reviews and prices that are fair for everyone. Here are several.
One of the best reviewed white label services on the planet, Higher Visibility has worked with clients from every industry, such as trucking, roofing, and even bridal shops.
They’ve also won numerous awards, claiming 2020 SEO agency of the year from Search Engine Land, and appearing on Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Companies. The list goes on and on.
Their list of services also runs the gamut of just about everything you would need for your business to grow: SEO, local SEO, link building, web design, and even paid media. They also specialize in eCommerce companies, which is a difficult market by themselves.
They claim to be experts in conversion optimization, putting client results at the top of the pile. Although they don’t have the prices listed on the website, there’s no doubt they build this expertise into their prices.
With nearly 500 employees spread out across the entire world, Boostability has enjoyed steady growth since its inception in 2009. They’ve also been recognized as one of the top local SEO professionals by Clutch, as well as by Inc. Magazine, for being one of the fastest growing companies.
Boostability’s expertise is primarily in local SEO, although they offer other standard services such as blog writing, keyword research, and analytical SEO tools. They offer a free consultation to any new SEO clients, as well as a suite of free resources and SEO tools for agencies to use on their own.
Whereas most white label agencies focus on delivering services to their clients, Vendasta, in their own words, “provides an end-to-end platform used exclusively by local experts who sell digital products and services to small and medium businesses.” This includes newspapers, telecom companies, financial services, as well as marketing agencies.
It doesn’t need to be complicated, though. Vendasta handles basic website services, hosting, and support for your clients. They also focus on finding new opportunities to increase ROI.
They are also interested in helping you develop monthly recurring revenue, and have a lot of solutions to accomplish this for your agency.
AgencyPlatform is one of the few white label agencies that discloses their pricing upfront. They have four different platforms — bronze, silver, gold, and platinum — with the base price of anywhere from $60-$500 a year.
For this price, you’ll have access to their white label dashboard for both staff and client logins, and then purchase the services separately. The standard services are there, such as local and global SEO, paid media, and website development. Higher levels of subscription will get you a discount on the services.
Most digital marketing agencies have heard of The HOTH, primarily for their backlink services. But that’s just a piece of their SEO services. They also provide reporting, SEO, paid media, local SEO, and even video production. Like other services on this list, they also have several resources that you can use for free.
With several hundred glowing reviews from SEO clients, it’s easy to see The HOTH is one of the premier white label agencies on the market. It’s up to you to determine if it’s the right fit for your agency.
Choosing a white label agency for your business can be overwhelming, so it’s best to focus on those elements that you need now and add on later.
You also don’t have to use one service for all of your needs. Mixing and matching services from a few agencies may be your best bet.
If the idea of hiring other people to do your work is exciting to you, then consider several of the digital marketing companies listed above. Or do your own research to find one that suits you just right. It may just be the ticket your business needs to really take off.