Regardless of whether you run an SEO agency with a seven-figure bottom line or you're struggling to get off the ground, the goal is the same for every SEO business: obtain and retain clients. If you can do these two things--and do them well--you'll be successful for years to come. However, despite the simplicity of this statement, very few SEOs are able to do either of these things with consistency.

The Challenge of Obtaining New Clients

Before you can worry about retaining clients, you obviously have to obtain them in the first place. This is the primary issue for SEO agencies that are just finding their legs, but isn't something seasoned agencies are immune to either.

For new SEOs, it can be difficult to standout. After all, who wants to trust their internet presence with an "inexperienced" newbie when they have access to a slew of so-called professionals? Even you have to admit that's a tough sell. It's certainly a challenge, but we'll discuss some tips for climbing that mountain later in this article.

If you're an existing SEO firm with some decent experience and a steady client list, it can still be difficult to find new clients on a regular basis. This is due in large part to the fact that new SEOs are popping up all over the internet and it's becoming increasingly difficult to compete. However, the fact that you've already developed a name will come in handy and diminish the overall challenge of obtaining new clients. Regardless of where you stand--from an experience point of view--obtaining clients is the key to getting off the ground and running a business.

The Challenges of Retaining Existing Clients

While many newer SEO agencies would love to have the problem of retaining clients (because it would mean they have clients in the first place), the issue is still a serious one. In a business world where relationships are sustained on the principle of "what have you done for me lately," you always have to be on top of your game.

You have to remember that SEO is still in its infancy and just because you understand a basic concept, doesn't mean those around you do. Retaining clients becomes exponentially more difficult when you fail to deliver on expectations or can't properly quantify the value you bring to the table.

Not to overstate the obvious or add unnecessary stress to your plate, but unless you want to spend all your time obtaining new clients, completing a project, parting ways, and repeating the process, you must find ways to overcome the challenges of retaining existing clients and start building sustainable relationships.

Knowing Where to Look for Guidance

When it comes to learning, improving, and growing, you have to know where to look. In the SEO world, whom better to model your business after than the ultra-successful Neil Patel. He's co-founded multiple businesses--including KISSmetrics and Crazy Egg--worked with dozens of the world's biggest corporations, and was even named one of President Obama's top 100 entrepreneurs under the age of 30.

So, if you wonder why his name pops up a bunch in the following tips, understand that it's because he knows what he's talking about. Unless you consider a seven figure SEO agency small, you may want to listen.

3 Tips for Obtaining More SEO Clients

Without further ado, here's what you need to know about obtaining SEO clients in an effort to get your business moving forward:

You have to start somewhere.
Find speaking engagements.
Invest in an Internet presence.

3 Tips for Retaining Those Clients

And here are a few tips for retaining those clients you gain in order to establish a sustainable business for years to come:

Get to know the client.
Adjust expectations.
Know how to deliver results.

While the goal is to never lose a client, it's not realistic to retain everyone you work with. "Whether a client is referred to you or they found you through some other means, sooner or later they are going to leave you," writes Patel. So regardless of what you do, there will be churn. Diminishing that churn rate is the overall goal.

Putting it All Together

In the end, it comes down to how you approach your business. If your focus is solely on making money, you'll forget about the importance of building a sustainable business model. However, if you commit to laying the groundwork, building relationships, and delivering quality results, you'll succeed at both obtaining and retaining clients.