This is a conundrum that a lot of smaller or medium-sized search engine optimization agencies ask themselves as they seek to expand their business. Licensing and reselling is not much different than franchising in the restaurant world, and it’s a way that a company can rake in substantially more profits than ever before without the firm itself growing to a similar scale or size. There are pros and cons both ways, so keep reading to learn some of the advantages and disadvantages of taking this route if you are a part of an SEO company debating about doing this.
The first immediate advantage of licensing or reselling your SEO services is that you might be able to make up for an inherent talent shortage or area of weakness in your business. If your SEO company is successful in search engine optimization matters, it’s likely because your crew is very technically inclined and accustomed to working on things like website design, generating backlinks, and creating content. You love sifting through analytics that reports on what Google is doing and tracking URLs you promote as they go up. What your technical crowd likely is not good at is just old-fashioned selling. So, you can either hire a sales crew, or you can just let your services be licensed and resold. The second option lets you grow your business while sticking to what your good at because others do the selling for you.
The second inherent advantage in letting others do your licensing and reselling is that you can branch out into other markets without actually putting your resources in those communities. If all your SEO work can be done online, which it certainly can, given the nature of the industry, then you can do SEO work for clients in Seattle even if your office is in Miami. It would cost overhead and payroll to set up a sales office in Seattle, but if you just allow reselling, someone in Seattle can sell for you. You get a business up there without having to spend money up there!
Having said all this, there are downsides. One of them is the fact that you might be at the mercy of your resellers. For them to license or resell, they have to get a profit margin from the transaction, and it has to be enough to motivate them to sell. Your cut might get a little thin.
Another problem inherent to the SEO industry is that if your unique SEO techniques and tactics get used by too many clients through licensing and reselling, then you might pop up on Google’s radar. It only takes one algorithm update to wipe out everything you do. While you can likely adjust your operations with a little research, if the upheaval is too much for your resellers to stomach, they might not come back to you when you have adapted.