How to build an SEO agency that is trustworthy

To build a trustworthy SEO agency, you have to treat your client’s online presence as if it’s your own through services that educate and help your client reach their goals.

written by Derrick English Jr.
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An SEO agency offers search engine optimization (SEO) services to businesses to help them improve their online presence. A benefit for a business using an SEO agency is that they will be working with a team of specialized consultants who are experienced in helping businesses rank and drive more organic traffic from search engines.

In today’s market, there are all kinds of agencies jumping on the SEO bandwagon to provide clients more digital services. These type of agencies come in all shapes and sizes, but they lack the true understanding and discipline to deliver tailored SEO services that will help a client reach their goals.

If you are looking into creating an SEO agency or be a better one, here is how you can develop trust to make your agency stand out from the crowd.

Why focus on building a trustworthy SEO agency

First let’s begin by explaining what SEO really is – which is activities to improve a website’s search ranking and receive an increase of organic web traffic. I have spoken to plenty of clients and still see so-called SEO agencies promoting search engine marketing (SEM), such as Google Ads and Facebook Ads, as SEO. An SEO agency should offer SEM but it’s not SEO because it won’t help a website’s search ranking.

If you want to focus on building a trustworthy SEO agency, it starts by helping to educate the client. Majority of clients don’t understand SEO and I feel that they need a basic understand if they want to see the true value that it can bring. By you taking the time to educate the client on how long it will take their business to see results and what SEO work you will be doing on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis to help them reach their goals – you will receive a great long-term relationship between you and your client. Additionally, you’ll get an ambassador who will be willing to recommend you to others.

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Be transparent to build trust with your client

Our agency truly believes that being honest and transparent is key to a great long-term relationship with our clients. If our clients win, then we win.

If your agency can’t be transparent with the work you’re doing to help the client increase their organic ranking and online presence then you’re just in it for the money. I am not saying that you have to go over all the technical details but rather that you need to speak the client’s language. Follow by presenting your work and results on how it’s helping the client’s overall goals as well as any issues or continuous improvements that need to be made. Your SEO agency’s interest should be doing work that complements your client’s marketing efforts and help them understand it if they ask any questions.

If you are being transparent, you should never promise any client that:

  1. SEO is a one-time “fix it” and you’re done service. SEO is an investment that can take 6-12 months, depending on the industry, to see true results.
  2. You only need a link building strategy or use my “secret sauce” to succeed. We all know that quality content plays a huge role and any Google update can affect your prior work if you strictly focus on outsmarting Google.
  3. A client can rank #1 for certain keywords. Yes this can be true, but it doesn’t benefit the client if visitors go to the page and the content doesn’t add value to them so they leave (increase in bounce rate). Quality content is a huge factor that plays into the webpage ranking by delivering on the searcher’s intent.
  4. You can give a free SEO audit of their website. It’s not an SEO audit but rather an SEO review, because a proper audit takes time and will come back with recommendations to optimize each specific webpage.
  5. Offering cheap SEO services. To do SEO properly, plenty of customization will be needed – so there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution.

SEO services that you should offer

There are plenty of digital services that can be related to SEO. Here are the standard ones that we feel you should have in your portfolio:

On-page SEO

On-page SEO is the strategy and execution techniques needed to optimize and organize your client’s content, images and webpage code around a topic/keyword. This will help search engines understand a searcher’s intent when searching for that topic and it will help your client’s content be found and clicked on.

Search engine marketing (SEM)

Search engine marketing doesn’t directly affect a client’s Google ranking but it does play a part in driving qualified leads to a website and improving on brand recognition. People are actively looking for a product or service on search engines – so until your client’s SEO strategy kicks in, a quality SEM strategy can help them to see results faster.

Keyword research

Keyword research is a service provided by every SEO agency to discover exactly what keywords and search phrases that your client’s targeted audience is using. This helps with creating quality content and PPC campaigns to attract visitors. However, writing one article to rank for a keyword won’t work nowadays – topic clusters have taken over to deliver multiple quality content around a specific keyword cluster.

SEO audit

Any client with an established website should conduct an SEO audit each year to determine opportunities and issues that may lay within their website’s and brand overall online performance. Search engines and social media platforms make regular updates each year, so with your help, you should deliver recommendations on what is needed to keep your client relevant to their targeted audience.

Competitor analysis

In marketing, a competitor analysis is a key aspect to get an understanding of the tactics your competitors are using to help you penetrate a specific market. The same goes with offering this service to help a client understand what their competitors are doing and opportunities to help a client have a better digital presence than them.

SEO copywriting

With SEO copywriting, you will write copy that is attractive to both search engines and visitors by doing content creation or optimizing existing content. Investing in content marketing is needed because it’s the new way of selling. So make sure your SEO copywriting delivers results by improving your client’s website performance, SEO rankings and overall conversions.

Link building

Link building (off-page SEO) is an important part of SEO because quality backlinks from relevant external websites are seen as a “vote of confidence” to search engines. Majority of SEO agencies offer this service by doing the research and finding relevant opportunities to get quality backlinks for their clients.

SEO training

There is always a chance that a client may feel that your services are out of their budget range and it’s better to hire someone in-house. I recommend that you be open for training their staff in each specific SEO service you offer because it may lead to other opportunities in the future.

Trustworthy SEO agencies to follow

SEO is a field with a sizeable learning curve that is changing constantly. Thankfully, there is an SEO community, which you should be a part of through your blog and comments, to pass on their knowledge. Here are a few trustworthy SEO agencies that “Keeps it real”:

Bruce Clay, Inc.

Bruce Clay is an SEO pioneer who’s been active in the industry since 1996. His digital marketing agency specializes in SEO, PPC, social media, web design and conversion rate optimization. The agency has offices around the world and is the creator of the award-winning SEOToolSet and its acclaimed SEO Training course. If you want to grow and build your credibility, it’s best to learn from one of the best.

Seer Interactive

Seer Interactive is a digital marketing agency located in Philadelphia, PA and founded by Wil Reynolds in 2002. They believe in doing a few things, and doing them well. By following this agency, you will also learn the means to deliver outstanding service and innovation across SEO, PPC, and Analytics.

Blue Corona

Blue Corona is an inbound marketing agency located in Gaithersburg, MD. Their top goal is to help business owners and marketing executives use technology and the internet to measurably improve their marketing performance and ROI. This starts by accurately tracking every single marketing strategy – which if you want to build trust, Blue Corona will help you to speak the business language of your clients and show them the results!


Distilled is an online marketing agency located in the UK & USA. The agency works with SEO, technical consulting, creative services and digital PR to help businesses make the most of the online world. They love to share knowledge – a lot of knowledge. You can find the freshest ideas and insights via their blog, guides, online marketing training and conferences to grow your SEO agency.


A trustworthy SEO agency will treat a client’s online presence as if it’s their own. If you want to focus on building a trustworthy SEO agency, it starts by helping to educate the client. From there, you will be able to build a great relationship with your client and stand out from crowd against these other so-called SEO agencies.

Is there additional advice you can give an SEO agency to build up its credibility? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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About Derrick English Jr

Derrick English Jr. is a Digital Marketing Strategist that creates customer-centric marketing strategies and campaigns that help companies to grow their brand, leads and sales. Follow him on Twitter @dlenglishjr.