Monday, September 11, 2017

Question of the Week: What Is White Label SEO and Should I Be Using It?

Well, let’s strip it down and first look at white labeling without the SEO.

White labeling is when a company provides you with a service or product at a discounted price so that you can put your name on it and turn a profit. They do this so they don’t have to spend money on marketing and you get to avoid spending time and money on developing a product or service. 

It Is Essentially the Same Thing as Private Labeling

You’ve seen it at your favorite grocery store - like Trader Joe's. When you’re there, you’ve probably noticed an overwhelming number (like, almost all) of the products there that have the Trader Joe’s label. Joe is ALL about private labelling.

In essence, private labeling is the same as white labeling. It’s when one entity makes the product - i.e. the butcher, the baker or the candlestick maker - but surrenders the brand so they can place their product in front of a wider audience. The partner group who sells the product (our buddy Trader Joe) gets the brand, but has nothing to do with its production.

So How Does White Label SEO Work?

Take that idea of private/white labeling and bring it to the SEO industry. 

White label SEO is that same sort of partnership. It’s an arrangement where two companies - an ad agency or business, and an SEO reseller - partner together for the sales and delivery of SEO services and then share in the profits from the sale.  

So let’s say you’re an advertising/marketing agency who’s new to the SEO game. One of your long-standing clients is in
the business of selling lederhosen. You’ve created an amazing lederhosen website for them (congratulations on THAT feat, by the way) and they’re now in a position to now start adding SEO to their strategy. 

In this case, if you were to seek out a white label SEO provider, you’d pay them to do all the heavy lifting of industry and keyword research. (Insert sweaty grunt.) They’d handle the on-page and off-page SEO. They’d optimize that stunning lederhosen website for conversions, monitor visitors using analytics and heat maps, and a whole bunch of other SEO type stuff. Then they’d send the information directly to you in the form of reports.

Those reports would be white labeled with your logo and message, which you could pass on to the lederhosen maker without their ever knowing you have a partnership with the SEO reseller. Presenting this SEO data as your own keeps you in good standing with your client and, in an ideal world, lederhosen sales surge.

Should You Be Using a White Label SEO Strategy?

The usual and thoroughly annoying answer to that is - it depends.

If you don’t have a team of SEO experts, getting on board with a white label SEO program will completely remove the need to build one. And unless you happen to have a gaggle of friends who are also SEO whizzes, building a team is never easy. It requires a lot of time and even more green. 

Also, having a trusted white label SEO partner on board as part of your services allows you to adapt to the constantly changing digital needs of your client without tearing a huge hole into the fabric of your agency. In other words, you can focus on your competencies while the white label resellers round out your agency’s portfolio of offered services. 

As with Anything, There Are Caveats

If you do decide to go the white label SEO route, be wary of those offered at a discount. And frankly, even those that aren’t. You need to remain vigilant. 

SEO is still largely a link building game and lesser SEO resellers could resort to spamming blackhat links - which Google does not like. Also, you might end up with links from sites with poor content. And while Google’s algorithms won’t catch this, your clients might. It’s not a chance you want to take.

So there ya have it. Whether an SEO reseller is right for you will probably take some experimentation. So pull up your big boy/big girl lederhosen and get to it. 

And Viel Gl├╝ck!