In this article, I’ll be covering 15 ways you can make money from your SEO skills.
In fact, most of the ways to make money with SEO I’ll be covering are ways I’ve made money with SEO as well.
After learning SEO, my first job was as an SEO consultant. After a couple of years, I was promoted to an Enterprise SEO consultant role.
After gaining enough experience, I decided to quit my job and try my luck as an entrepreneur, using my SEO skills to create websites around topics that I enjoy talking about (such as marketing with this blog!).
I now run my own blogs and e-Commerce stores, and if it wasn’t for SEO, I probably wouldn’t be making money with my sites.
With all that being said, let’s dive into how we can put those SEO skills to work to make us some well-deserved cash and some of the lessons I’ve learned along the way with these tactics.
Table of Contents
15 Ways to Make Money With SEO
1. Work at an Agency
The first way you can make money with SEO is by working at an agency. This is the first way I actually made money and how I learned SEO in the first place.
The cool thing about agencies is that they tend to have large budgets for SEO campaigns, so if you’re good at your job, you can make a lot of money.
If you decide to work at an agency, do your due diligence on the agency and see the clients they’ve worked with, how big the company is, how many departments they have, and how long they’ve been around.
In terms of the clients they’ve worked with, you want to check to see if they’ve worked with big-name clients this way you know they are a reputable agency.
Knowing how big the company is is important because this will tell you how “close” each department will be and how easy it will be to communicate with your manager. Some agencies are so big that it’s hard to get 1-1 time with your manager making it more difficult to ask questions.
You’ll also want to know how many departments they have. For example, some agencies just do SEO while some agencies provide SEO, PPC, and CRO services. If you want to learn all the digital marketing practices outside of SEO, then I recommend finding an agency that offers services outside SEO as well so you can learn how they work.
Lastly, knowing how long they’ve been around is good because this will tell you if they have their processes and systems set in place already. If they are new, there still might be growing pains and things changing every week. If they’ve been around a while, then they’ve probably found out what works and what doesn’t in terms of processes which provides an easier experience as a worker.
Overall, my experience working at an agency was great, I learned, developed, and honed my SEO skills and was able to work with some of the best and brightest in the SEO field. I also made pretty good money because I quickly climbed the ranks at my agency. Here are my pros and cons:
Pros of Working as an SEO at an Agency
- Learn SEO quickly and always up to date with best practices
- Can make good money
- Work with the best and brightest in SEO
Cons of Working as an SEO at an Agency
- Can be stressful
- Work long hours
- Balancing multiple clients at one time
2. Work In-House
The second way you can make money with SEO is by working in-house for a company. As opposed to working at an agency, working in-house for a company means you will only be working on one client — the company you work for.
Many SEOs who work in agencies tend to transition to an in-house role in their later years as they get burnt out from the long hours and stress of agency life.
After working at the agency, I was going to work in-house for a reputable company but I decided to not take the position and try my hand at going solo and starting my own business (#YOLO).
But in all seriousness, my old coworkers who transitioned from agency to in-house work only have positive things to say.
With that being said, here are some pros and cons of working in-house as an SEO and how it could affect the money you make:
Pros of Working as an SEO In-House
- You can focus all your attention on one client (your company)
- You will likely have great say in how your department is run
- More flexibility and time (as opposed to agencies)
Cons of Working as an SEO In-House
- You may get complacent with your SEO skills because you no longer work with other top-talented SEO specialists
- You might have to set up your own processes and systems as the “SEO person” in the company
- Might not make as much money as opposed to working at an agency
3. Start a Content Ad-Based Website
The third way you can make money with SEO is to start a content ad-based blog. This method is a bit more long-term but can be very profitable if done correctly.
A content ad-based blog is a blog that’s focused on creating and publishing helpful, educational, and high-quality content around a certain topic or niche. The goal of a content ad-based blog is to attract an audience through SEO and then monetize through advertisements.
This is currently one of my revenue streams with the portfolio of sites that I have (imaginated.com, deepinthemix.com, noclout.com, smellthescent.com, betterbestgaming.com, and this site).
The way to make a lot of money through this method is to drive a lot of traffic to your website.
For example, on one of my sites, I currently get around 100,000 monthly sessions and that makes on average, $80 – $100 a day or more.
So let’s say you decide to build some content ad-based blogs on niches that you love talking about. You could have a portfolio of sites that just make passive income.
I always love comparing websites to real estate property, and that’s really what websites are — digital real estate properties.
In the “real world,” if you buy income properties, you could rent them out and make some passive income each month.
Now, of course, passive income really isn’t passive, but you get the point.
If you’re wondering how to put ads on your site, I’ll probably create guides in the future, but basically, there are ad networks you can use to make it easier.
The most common ad networks include Google Adsense, Ezoic, Mediavine, and Adthrive.
Some ad networks require a minimum amount of monthly sessions to apply. For example, Mediavine requires a minimum of 50,000 monthly sessions and Adthrive requires a minimum of 100,000 monthly sessions.
I have sites on both of these ad networks and I only have good things to say.
When you start a website, however, you should also have other ways to make money through the website such as affiliate marketing, sponsorships, merchandise, etc. which I will discuss later in this guide. Having ads on your site should only be one revenue stream because it can be the most volatile as I’ll explain in the pros and cons:
Pros of Making Money Through a Content Ad-Based Blog
- Write an article and it can continue to make you money years down the line
- You’re in complete control of the content you publish
- Can leverage SEO skills to outrank the competition
Cons of Making Money Through a Content Ad-Based Blog
- Ad revenues can be volatile due to Google Algorithm changes and competitors outranking you
- Need a lot of traffic to make good money
- Not really creating a distinct brand that offers a valuable product/service
- Ads can slow down the site which affects the SEO of the website
4. Start an Affiliate Marketing Website
The fourth way you can make money with SEO is to start an affiliate marketing website.
Affiliate marketing is when you promote other people’s products or services and earn a commission whenever someone buys through your affiliate link.
This is a very popular way to make money online, especially in the “make money” and “work from home” niches.
There are a few things you need to know about affiliate marketing before getting started:
- You need to have an audience that’s interested in the products or services you want to promote. For example, if you want to promote weight loss products but your audience is mostly people who are interested in SEO, then you’re not going to make many sales.
- You need to find affiliate programs that offer products or services that your audience is interested in.
- You need to promote the affiliate products or services in a way that will convert your audience into buyers.
- You need to track your results so you know what’s working and what’s not.
Personally, I have experience with Amazon’s, Walmart’s, Target’s, and Best Buy’s affiliate marketing programs.
I’ve also been a part of the affiliate program of other companies such as some photo-editing-based companies.
I’ll mention it in the cons, but the biggest thing with affiliate marketing is that in 2022 and beyond, it’s getting harder and harder to do. With Google Updates such as the Helpful Content Update and the multiple Product Review Updates they keep releasing, they’re essentially telling all webmasters who have affiliate marketing websites to get it together.
They are now favoring website owners who actually have experience with the product by using it themselves and by being an expert on the subject.
Long gone are the days of starting up an affiliate site in a niche you know nothing about, and spinning up articles that all start with “# Best in …” (10 Best Mattresses in 2022).
I’ve made good money with affiliate marketing and this used to be my main revenue source but with constant updates and companies lowering their affiliate commissions (Amazon’s program is only like 3%!), I’m starting to get away from affiliate marketing altogether. Here are the pros and cons of making money through affiliate programs with your SEO knowledge.
Pros of Making Money with Affiliate Marketing Sites:
- Similar to ad-based sites, you can write an article and it will continue to make you money
- Control the content you publish
Cons of Making Money with Affiliate Marketing Sites:
- Subjected to changes in affiliate income percentages
- Google is making it harder to start affiliate sites with their Algorithm Updates
- High competition (Deal with sites with high Domain Authority)
- A lot of work for a relatively low payout
5. Start a Course-Based Website
The fifth way you can make money with SEO is to start a course-based website.
This is where you create a website that offers courses on a particular topic. For example, you could create a site that offers SEO courses if you have an SEO-based blog. Or if you are in the finance niche, then you could create courses on how to manage and invest your money effectively.
There are some niches that work better. For example, I have a blog that focuses on smells and scents and there is no way I could create a course around that.
There are two ways to make money with this type of site:
- You can sell the courses yourself and keep 100% of the revenue.
- You can find other people’s courses to promote and earn a commission on each sale.
The courses you sell can be either one-time purchases or recurring subscriptions.
I’ll talk about this in the pros and cons but the biggest advantage of starting a course-based website is that it’s a very passive way to make money. Once you create the courses, they can continue to sell indefinitely.
And the downside is that it takes a lot of time and effort to create high-quality courses. It’s also difficult to stand out in this space because there are already so many course providers.
Here are the pros and cons of starting a course-based website:
Pros of Starting a Course-Based Website:
- Can charge a lot for the course and it can be passive income once you put in the up-front work of creating the course
- You feel good teaching others everything you know
- Can help your own personal brand out if the course is good because others will talk about it
Cons of Starting a Course-Based Website:
- Lots of work to actually create the course
- There might be maintenance work depending on how you set up the course (Facebook group, Slack Groups, Discord Groups to answer questions)
- Need to funnel users down to buy the course which means you need a lot of traffic or a loyal following
6. Sell Digital Products
The sixth way to make money with SEO is by selling digital products.
This could be anything from an eBook to a software program that you have designed and created. The keyword here is “digital” product, so nothing physical (we’ll touch on merchandise/physical products in the next point).
The great thing about digital products is that they can be sold over and over again without any additional costs. So once you have created the product and put in the up-front work, you can continue to make sales indefinitely.
The digital product I have experience in is selling Lightroom Presets which are presets you apply to photos you have taken. The goal with digital products is that you will want to create products around the niche you are in.
When it came to selling the presets, I used my SEO knowledge to rank for keywords around “lightroom presets.”
So for example, a lot of recipe bloggers create digital products of Recipe eBooks you could buy.
The downside is that it takes a lot of time and effort to create high-quality digital products. And it’s also difficult to stand out in this space because there are already so many digital products available.
Pros of Selling Digital Products:
- Passive income once the product is created
- Can be sold over and over again without any additional costs
Cons of Selling Digital Products:
- Lots of work to actually create the product
- Need to funnel users down to buy the product which means you need a lot of traffic
7. Start an eCommerce Business
The seventh way to make money with SEO is by starting an eCommerce business.
An eCommerce business is a website where you sell physical products. These could be your own products that you manufacture or source from suppliers. Or they could be products that you resell (known as dropshipping, but I dedicate a separate point to this).
The eCommerce experience I have is by selling shirts and candles through my websites using Woocommerce, which is a WordPress add-on that lets you set up a digital store.
Going the eCommerce route is a great additional source of revenue or a great main source of revenue for a website. There’s nothing like creating something physical, being able to hold it in real life, and selling it to somebody who wants it and seeing that item bring them value.
When it comes to eCommerce, you can use your SEO knowledge to rank for keywords around your product and optimize the page with schema and Google Merchant listings.
Here are some of the pros and cons of starting an eCommerce business:
Pros of Starting an eCommerce Business:
- Can be a great main source of revenue or an additional source of revenue
- Can manufacture/source your own products maintain
Cons of Starting an eCommerce Business:
- Will have to learn how to ship items and the whole process behind it
- Might have to deal with returns
- If you start getting a lot of orders, it will be a great thing but you will have to scale up production which could mean buying a warehouse, hiring workers, etc.
8. Start a Dropshipping Business
The eighth way to make money with SEO is by starting a dropshipping business.
Dropshipping is similar to eCommerce in the sense that you are selling physical products on your website. However, with dropshipping, you don’t actually manufacture or source the products yourself.
Instead, you partner with a supplier who manufactures/sources the products and they ship the products directly to your customer’s doorstep.
The great thing about dropshipping is that you don’t have to worry about inventory or manufacturing/sourcing the products yourself. You also don’t have to worry about shipping the products since that will be handled by the supplier.
However, the downside is that you will have less control over the quality of the products since you are not manufacturing/sourcing them yourself. And you will also have less margin since you are working with a middleman.
The other thing to note is that it can be difficult to find good dropshipping suppliers who are reliable and who provide good quality products.
Here are some of the pros and cons of starting a dropshipping business:
Pros of Starting a Dropshipping Business:
- You don’t have to worry about inventory or shipping since that will be handled by the supplier
- Can be a great main source of revenue or an additional source of revenue
Cons of Starting a Dropshipping Business:
- You will have less control over the quality of the products
- You will have less margin since you are working with a middleman
- It can be difficult to find good dropshipping suppliers
9. Start a Local Business
The ninth way to make money with SEO is by starting a local business.
This could be anything from a physical brick-and-mortar store to a service-based business like a plumbing company.
The great thing about starting a local business is that you can use your SEO knowledge to rank in the local search results and get in front of your ideal customers.
Local SEO is a whole different beast from regular SEO but it’s something that you should at least know the basics of if you are in the SEO field. I’ll be sure to write guides about Local SEO in the future.
I currently use Local SEO to promote my own portrait photography business (oh I didn’t mention I’m a part-time photographer?):
Here are some of the pros and cons of starting a local business:
Pros of Starting a Local Business:
- Can be a great main source of revenue or an additional source of revenue
- You can use your SEO knowledge to rank in the local search results and get in front of your ideal customers
Cons of Starting a Local Business:
- You will have to deal with the day-to-day operations of the business
- You will have to deal with local competition
10. SEO Speaking Engagements
The tenth way to make money with SEO is by doing SEO speaking engagements.
This could be anything from giving a talk at a local meetup to being a keynote speaker at an industry conference.
I’ve personally spoken at a conference for digital artists about the importance of SEO in their business. It was a fun experience and I got some followers from it!
Not only will you be paid for your talk, but you’ll also get exposure to a whole new audience who may be interested in your services.
One thing to note with speaking engagement is to make sure you know how to comfortable talk about SEO. At my job at the agency, I was in a client-facing role so I got used to explaining SEO to people who have no clue what it is and how it can help their business.
And if you’re a keynote speaker at an industry conference, you’ll get even more exposure and you’ll be able to network with other industry leaders.
Here are some of the pros and cons of doing SEO speaking engagements:
Pros of Doing SEO Speaking Engagements:
- Can be a great way to get exposure to a new audience
- Can be a great way to network with other industry leaders
Cons of Doing SEO Speaking Engagements:
- You will have to prepare for the talks which can take up a lot of time
11. Sell SEO Audit Services
The eleventh way to make money with SEO is by selling SEO audit services.
What is an SEO audit? It’s basically a report that you generate that gives an in-depth analysis of a website’s current SEO state and what needs to be done in order for it to improve its ranking in the search results.
This can be a great service to offer because it’s always good to know where your website stands in terms of SEO and what needs to be improved.
The audits can either be based on creating a game plan on how you would use SEO to help their website or how to recover from any Google Algorithm penalties — or a combination of both.
And if you’re just starting out, you can use free tools like Screaming Frog to do the audit for you. Once you get the hang of it, you can start charging for your services.
Here are some of the pros and cons of selling SEO audit services:
Pros of Selling SEO Audit Services:
- You can have a templatized process that will allow you to get audits done quickly
- This can lead to an upsell to sell them other services
Cons of Selling SEO Audit Services:
- Not very passive because you will have to do the audit until you can hire people to do the audit for you
12. Sell SEO Writing Services
The twelfth way to make money with SEO is by selling SEO writing services.
This is a service where you write articles for people based on keywords that they want to rank for.
It’s a great way to make money because you can charge per article or per word and it’s not very time-consuming once you get the hang of it.
Plus, there are many websites where you can list yourself as an SEO writer such as iWriter, HireWriters, UpWork, and Fiverr.
Here are some of the pros and cons of selling SEO writing services:
Pros of Selling SEO Writing Services:
- You can charge per article or per word which can be very profitable
- This is a relatively easy service to sell
Cons of Selling SEO Writing Services:
- Not very passive because you will have to write the articles until you can hire people to write for you
13. Sell Link Building Services
The thirteenth way to make money with SEO is by selling link-building services.
Link building is the process of getting other websites to link back to your website. This is important because it helps improve your website’s authority and ranking in the search results.
There are a lot of different ways to build links, but some of the most common methods include guest posting, directory submission, and broken link building.
Here are some of the pros and cons of selling link-building services:
Pros of Selling Link Building Services:
- You can charge a lot for this service because it’s very time-consuming
- This is a service that is always in demand
Cons of Selling Link Building Services:
- Not very passive because you will have to do the link-building until you can hire people to do it for you
14. Sell SEO Technical Services
The fourteenth way to make money with SEO is by selling SEO technical services.
Technical SEO revolves around anything to help make websites easier for Google to crawl and index them. This could include finding 3xx, 4xx, and 5xx errors on sites, canonical errors, duplicate content errors, broken backlinks, improper code implementations, schema errors, etc.
The best way to stand out as a Technical SEO consultant is to also have some small background in HTML, JS, and PHP — although this is not needed to do Technical SEO.
Here are some of the pros and cons of selling SEO technical services:
Pros of Selling SEO Technical Services:
- You can charge a lot for this service because it’s very time-consuming
- There is a lot of money to be made in fixing technical SEO errors
Cons of Selling SEO Technical Services:
- Not very passive because you will have to do the work until you can hire people to do it for you
15. Build SEO Software
The fifteenth and final way to make money with SEO is by building SEO software.
This could be anything from an SEO plugin for WordPress to a rank-tracking tool to a keyword research tool.
If you have a good idea for SEO software, then you can either build it yourself or hire someone to build it for you. Once it’s built, you can then sell it on your own website or on other sites.
Here are some of the pros and cons of building SEO software:
Pros of Building SEO Software:
- Can be very profitable if done right
- Passive income once the software is built
Cons of Building SEO Software:
Can be time-consuming and expensive to build
Needs to be constantly updated to stay relevant
In conclusion, there are many different ways to make money with SEO. Whether you want to sell services or software, there is a way for you to do it. Just remember that it’s not always easy and it will take some time to build up your business. But if you stick with it, then you can definitely make a lot of money from SEO.
Hey there, my name’s Nate, and welcome to my blog where I write about all things marketing and business. Before diving headfirst into entrepreneurship, I was a Digital Marketing Consultant. I draw most of my experience and choice of topics from my personal and professional experience, hoping that I can provide some insights and value to your life — personally and professionally.