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Do SEO and Online Marketing for a Small Business in Exchange for Equity
Everyone in the SEO game is trying to snatch up local SEO clients because it tends to be easier to rank them while they still afford to pay a premium. Yes, it's easier to rank a client for local SEO terms and don't believe the hype that "It's all the same, local or global, you'll have to put in the same amount of hours!" because that's not true. I've done tests on this, set up two different websites, and targeted the same industry/niche and keywords.
Do you know what my results were after doing the same thing for both websites?
The local site ranked for the local keywords while the global site was still on page 20 for difficult keywords. The local site was getting much more traffic than the worldwide site, and I wasn't even selling anything lol.
Now then, doing SEO for a local business in exchange for equity (partial ownership of the company) will always be a tough pitch because no one wants to give up something they created from scratch. Small mom and pop shops might not give up any equity because they're used to their old ways and newer companies may not give up anything because they think they're the hottest thing on the block and don't need your help.
You need to find the right business person, the smarter startups, and pitch them the concept of you doing free SEO and online marketing for them in exchange for some equity. You won't be getting 1% equity for your efforts; you should always get a minimum of 10% because that's a fair exchange for your work being done. You can always work out a better agreement later on if you're hitting all the goals set by the company, but that's for another discussion lol.
Small Businesses Never Pay you for SEO
If you're doing this, you can never ask for a penny of profits from the company to pay for your SEO and marketing services. If you're getting 10% equity, that doesn't mean you get 10% of the profits, so be sure you can afford to do SEO and know what you're doing to keep the bills as low as possible.
Since local SEO tends to be easier, all you'll have to do is the basic GMB listing as well as local niche backlinks and build off of there.
Get a Contract Signed
If you get a company to agree to exchange equity for SEO and Online Marketing services, then you'll always want them to sign a contract. You will want them to sign over XX% of the company at the contract signing and be sure there is something in the contract that says "If (your company) does not provide adequate services, the equity given to them is forfeit to the original owners and all deals are considered null and void" or something along those lines. You'll want to make sure the companies you're working with understand you're serious about doing this work, and you'll give everything back if nothing comes of it.
But, you'll be a boss and get them top rankings to prove you're the best and they'll gladly let you keep a percentage of the company in exchange for your services
Be Sure to Track Everything
You need to track absolutely everything, so you know what's working, what isn't, and how much the company is making because of your work. This will allow you to be able to show them statistics on growth, profit, conversions, traffic increases, engagement, etc. and they will gladly let you keep doing what it is that you've been doing.
If you're not tracking anything and the company decides to cut ties with you, you won't be able to fall back on your contract because there's no evidence you've done anything positive for them. A judge will laugh at you for not tracking performance and award everything back to the company.
You'll Need Access to Their Backend Dashboards
Since you're a partial owner now, you should be getting access to any websites dashboard and back end systems. You should be able to log in with ease, not have to be given access, and work on whatever it is that you need to tweak or fix.
If the company you're working with doesn't give you access, they're going to be a problem, later on, so be sure to still track everything and be sure to mention that you were never given access and your services could have been 100x better if you could have done simple on page work.
You're now a Partner, ask for Banking Information
Some businesses may be reluctant to give this up, but you're a partial owner now, and you need to track everything, so you'll need access. If they can give you access that doesn't allow you to transfer funds, use funds, or buy anything that would be perfect. You only need to watch, take notes, and make sure the profits are going up, so you know for sure your work is beneficial. You can also use tracking plugins for eCommerce, but that's only good for businesses that sell online, and this won't work well for brick and mortar type businesses.
Exchanging your SEO and Online Marketing services for equity in a company that needs your help is a great way to build your portfolio, profits, and network of partners to expand on later on in life. You can boost dozens of local businesses, bring them all together as a master business, and take over the world (not really). Most people won't want to give up equity in exchange for SEO and Online Marketing, and that's why you need to say, "Our services are priced at $5,000+ per month. What do you think you could do if you had a partner that was giving you this for free?" and they will start to think about it lol. I have a couple of local companies that I've recently signed on for this equity exchange, and they seem to love it so far. I haven't taken any payment from them, they've been more profitable, and I will continue to grow their businesses as much as I can online so I can make more over time when I start taking payments
Thanks for reading