How an SEO Partner Can Boost Your Business + 7 Crucial Steps For Success

You know that feeling… You’re chatting with a new client about, let’s say SEO. It’s an extra service you know they need and they’ve just agreed with you. The problem is that you have little-to-no experience in SEO and you’d really rather spend your time on what lights you up, not scouring the internet for the latest ways to optimize for search.

You need to find a specialist fast and don’t know where to start - not a great position to be in! This is where having a selection of pre-approved partners up your sleeve is golden. No panicking is required because you know exactly who to turn to in your little black book of specialists.

How an SEO Partner can boost your business

Why start a partnership with another business?

Whatever field of business you’re in, there are always sister niches that complement your expertise. I’ve found that getting together with like-minded business owners who are web developers, designers, copywriters, marketers, etc and who are all specialists in their respective fields, is a great way to build a network of trusted experts who can help my ideal clients.

Sometimes we’ll work on joint projects, other times we’ll host or deliver masterclasses, or refer clients to one another. In fact, word-of-mouth referrals have been one of the main ways I’ve grown my client list in recent years.

No scrambling to find a web developer last minute - what bliss!

When to partner with an SEO specialist

I’m sure you’ve already got a fantastic reputation and plenty of happy clients, so why add SEO to your offerings?

If you’re working with clients who are committed to growing their business and you want to help get more of the right eyes on the sites that you build and content you create, then it’s time to start investigating SEO partnership options. In turn, you’ll have even happier clients plus more referral traffic and glowing references!

If your prospective or current clients are asking questions like these, you’ll want to consider bringing in some specialist SEO support:

  • “I want my new site to get more traffic, can you help with that?”

  • “Can you make sure we show up on Google maps?”

  • “How quickly will my new site show up on page 1 of Google? Pretty fast, right?” (Honestly? It depends on a lot of factors. Typically 3-6 months with the right SEO work. Let me help you bust this SEO myth & more.)

  • “My dream site is [insert top-ranking market leader or multi-national powerhouse] - can you make mine like that?”

  • “Why I can’t find my site online when I search in Google?”

  • “Do you do SEO?” (If the answer is no, or you said “yes” and now you’re in over your head - give me a shout.)

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What does a collaboration feel like for you vs your clients?

It really depends on the specialist that you’re partnering with, the projects you’re working on, and the dynamics and parameters of the relationship. I personally offer a handful of ways to work together, which are customized to each partner. Here’s what I’ve noticed happening in my SEO partnerships...

Your experience as a Partner

A successful partnership can feel like you:

  • Have a high-level mastermind team on board ⚡

  • Are in a mutually beneficial relationship (not coddled or micro-managed) 😎

  • Have a fellow business owner who gets you 🙌

  • Can present a full-service agency service to clients 🌎

  • Have more ideal client referrals coming through your (virtual) door 💌

Your client’s experience

Whether you remain client-facing at all times (white-labeled partnership) or your client knows about your partner, your clients:

  • Will have less work to do because you’ve found a trustworthy partner with a high-level of expertise ⚡

  • Are well looked after and understood 😎

  • Can enjoy a full-service agency experience 🌟

  • Within 3-6 months have more traffic, enquiries, and dream customers ✨

7 elements that make SEO partnerships successful

Successful partnerships involve many moving parts, so I’ve separated the most important ones into 7 elements. This list really goes for any budding partnership, but I’ve given some personal examples I’ve experienced as an SEO specialist…

1 | Ethos alignment

I believe this is the most important element because if you don’t share a similar ethos with the people you’re working with, you’ll likely struggle in many of the following areas.

For example, as a creative + analytical SEO strategist, I love working with business owners who have a long-term growth mindset and a take an authentic, non-sales-y approach to sales and marketing. If integrity + strategic, long-term growth is front and center for you, we’re going to get along well!

A great way to see if your ethos aligns with one another is to meet for an informal chat in-person or online to see if you get the right vibes from each other. More on that coming up.

2 | Expertise and positioning - the offered services & support

For the project(s) and partnership to be a success, all partners need a certain level of expertise. Ideally, each partner is a specialist in their field and their role will complement the roles of their partners.

For example, while I personally enjoy working on some aspects of design, content creation, and coding within my own business, I will always recommend working with experienced professionals - designers, developers, copywriters, project managers, and so on.

Checking your potential partner’s level of expertise and quality or service before you start working together makes a big difference. You can do that while scoping projects together and figuring out how your collaborative relationship is set up. Regardless of whoever is client-facing, you’ll all be ensuring your client’s experience goes beyond their expectations.

3 | Win-win collaborative approach

Designing projects to ensure everyone wins is crucial. Knowing what success looks like for each stakeholder (partners and clients), and managing expectations by being upfront and realistic about what results are achievable will help.

Taking a win-win approach can also help you decide what projects will succeed and which ones may implode. You’ll all likely have a few years under your belt and have a clear idea of who your ideal clients are.  

Another great thing about working with partners is that we can support and look out for one another. Knowing you can implicitly trust your partners is vital to a successful collaboration.

By working together in this thoughtful, collaborative way, everyone wins - you, your partners, and your clients.

4 | Clarity for every step

You’ll be conscious of avoiding things like project scope creep, overwhelm, or confusion - any negative things that can turn a business relationship sour. A great way to reduce the risk of this happening is to ensure clarity for every aspect, including:

  • Research & discovery - what happens at the start? How do we kick off?

  • Process - do you understand one another’s processes? Does the client?

  • Timeline, for example:

    • What can be streamlined?

    • Are the deadlines realistic?

  • Contracts:

    • You can inject your contracts with clear responsibilities & rights

    • Have a separate contract for the client

    • Have a partner contract made/checked by your lawyer

  • Client-facing - who’s client facing? Who’s behind-the-scenes?

  • Flexibility - how much leeway is built into the project/relationship?

  • Guarantees - think carefully about what kinds of guarantees you’re offering and your choice of wording to explain those to your clients.

5 | Communication that is honest & open

You also need clarity of communication and because I think this is so important, I’m highlighting communication on its own right here!

Integrity and openness will help your projects run smoothly and nurture your relationships. Please don’t hide if you’re feeling overwhelmed or if things aren’t going as planned - talking about issues as soon as they arise will give you time to deal with them with grace.

6 | Investment from everyone

You, your partner(s), and the client are all making a commitment to one another - you and your partners will be investing significant time, energy, and expertise which is what your clients are paying for.

In this situation, each client is essentially hiring a small team for a one-off project or an annual retainer. They understand the need to invest in their own business and they want to hire specialists and experts to help them grow, reach, and surpass their goals.

That means partners need to be upfront about fees and work with clients looking to make a big shift. This leap into growth comes with a strategic financial investment in their business.

7 | Feedback for more success

You may already have a follow-up process with clients to receive their feedback and testimonials - it’s also a good idea to have a short debrief with your partner(s). You’ll gain a deeper insight into your projects - what worked & what didn’t - and you’ll be able to pivot and evolve your processes together. In time, you may even find you know each other so well, that very little feedback is needed!

Over to you...

How can you find partners to collaborate with? Here are some ideas:

  • Try going to local networking events

  • Attend a business conference or two

  • Set up virtual and/or in-person coffee chats

  • Ask past clients for referral introductions

Checking out their website and social media can give you a good idea of their ethos, but when you meet virtually or IRL, you’ll find out more about each other’s businesses plus general philosophy/outlook. You can probably tell pretty quickly if you’ll work well together.

Have you participated in successful partnerships yourself? Tell us about your experience in the comments below and leave us your tips or questions.

Download the Essential SEO Architect & Rank Booster

🗸 Discover what SEO can do for your clients’ sites (and your bottom line)
🗸 Answer your clients’ SEO questions with confidence
🗸 Retain & boost your clients’ rankings with every site build

SEO Rank Booster Ebook

how an seo partner can boost your business

Danielle Zeigler

I'm Danielle, an SEO and Digital Marketing Strategist on a mission to help creatives and entrepreneurs harness their strengths, personality, and energy to easily + authentically market their work to exactly the people who need it.
I specialize in SEO and content marketing as ways to attract clients TO you. I'm extremely introverted, so I'm allll about the inbound marketing!