Making $180K/Month As An SEO Company By Running Our Own "SEO Tests"

Published: May 27th, 2023
Kyle Roof
Founder, High Voltage SEO
High Voltage SEO
from Phoenix, AZ, USA
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Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

My name is Kyle Roof. I am the co-founder of High Voltage SEO. We do local SEO, national SEO, international SEO, to everything in between. We provide bespoke SEO services that are based on scientific testing.

Starting this business has provided me the opportunity to live where I want to live, travel as much as I want to travel, and live life the way I want to live it. I feel like I invented my job and not only has it somehow paid money, it has paid me extremely well.


What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

My co-founder, Andrew Steven, hired me off of Elance for an SEO project. After that project we worked on a couple more projects and then said to each other “Should we just start an agency?” and that’s what we did. We worked together for about a year and a half before we met in person.

One of the huge advantages of starting a service-based business is that you do not need a lot of capital to get things started. Essentially, you are cash flow positive on your first client.

In starting an agency, we didn’t just want to be another SEO agency, we wanted to have a differentiating factor. When I started doing SEO, I would search “Is this a ranking factor?” and I’d get three yeses, three nos, and three maybes. I quickly realized I needed to run my sites and develop my tests to see what is or is not a ranking factor.

In 2015 I spoke at a conference and presented the method I developed for running SEO tests. I assumed everyone was running tests to gain insights into Google’s algorithm. It turns out, they were not. The vast majority of SEOs do not do any testing.

Andrew and I realized that we could capitalize on that fact and stand out as a scientifically based bespoke SEO agency. An early tagline was “We don’t test things on your website.”

The concept resonated with a lot of potential clients and allowed us to stand out from the crowd. A couple of years later I was awarded a US patent on the testing method.

SEO has been dying my entire career and not only has it not died, but it has also flourished. Everything that was supposed to kill SEO created opportunities.

Take us through the process of building the first version of your product.

Productizing our services was a big key to our early success and then our sustained growth. One of our earliest products was the reverse silo. I found through testing we could create virtual silos inside websites that would pass authority from smaller pages, often blog posts, to more important target pages.

The very first client we implemented the strategy on went from not ranking to page one for eight of their ten target keywords in about two months.

They fired us the following month. They said that we did not do anything, all we did was put links on their existing pages and that was not “SEO.” The firing was a good lesson for us. We validated that testing off-site and then implementing on-site would result in successful campaigns.

The other lesson was in creating product names for our services. When we implemented the reverse silo at the time we called it something like “updating internal links.” The concept didn’t resonate with the client and didn’t feel like it was part of a cohesive strategy.

Now, we implement Reverse Silos. The name of the product provides a level of legitimacy. Nearly all of the services we provide have a product name that we have developed.

As we work with clients to find solutions to their SEO needs, all of the solutions we offer have our product names. Additionally, we don’t deviate from our products. If a potential client wants something “off the menu” that client isn’t a good fit.

We know our products are effective and we know we can be profitable using them. We won’t reinvent our entire system just for one client, no matter how big they might be.

Describe the process of launching the business.

The launch was pretty much “1, 2, 3, aaaannnnd we’re a business.”

We started as an Australian company as Andrew is Australian. At the time he was spending part of the year in Melbourne, Australia, and part of the year in Berlin, Germany. I was in San Francisco.

Thus we had three addresses for branches of the business and we were immediately a multinational company. It looked a lot sexier than it was as there was only myself, Andrew, and one VA at a time. Nevertheless, the branches went on the website and the business cards and I think they helped us land some of our first clients.

One of the huge advantages of starting a service-based business is that you do not need a lot of capital to get things started. The first client will pretty much make the business profitable. You might have to get creative on how to get those first clients though if you do not have a marketing budget to start.

Something we did was offer free workshops, both in person and online. Those workshops did not cost very much to put on and led to several good clients for us early on.

Potential clients love case studies. Case studies show that you know what you are talking about and demonstrate that you can solve problems similar to what that potential client is facing.

When just starting we didn’t have client case studies but we were running tests on Google’s algorithm. We could show the results of those tests. We used the line, “Ask any potential agencies you are talking to what tests they are currently running.

If they aren’t running any tests, that means they are testing on your site.” That concept resonated with a lot of clients and allowed us to get clients through the door before we had our solid case studies to show.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

One of the biggest things we have done to retain clients is to benchmark where things were before we started. It’s easy for clients to get into the “what have you done for me lately?” mentality and will often forget all the progress that you have made.

On our monthly reports, we benchmark where a page was before we started our optimization.

In the example below, you can see that we had a great month. The following month might not be as good or might not have the same amount of growth. At the bottom of the page, we show where the page was before we started so the client can always see how far we’ve come, even if we have a flat or down month in the future.


Another big shift was to move away from month-to-month clients and go after six to twelve-month contracts.

If you are working month to month you are auditioning for your job every month. If you are looking to wow the client to keep them each month you will often not put long-term strategies into play which ultimately will be to the detriment of the campaign.

Additionally, clients that can sign longer contracts already have the money budgeted out. They know where they will be in six months. Month-to-month clients often are running their businesses month to month and may not be around for six months. When we shifted to longer contracts we went from an average customer lifespan of eight months to an average customer lifespan of eighteen months.

We made the decision that we wouldn’t take clients that wouldn’t sign long-term contracts and it paid off for us. It’s not a one-day transition but we found that we would end up losing one to three month-to-month clients and replace them with one long-term contract client thus dramatically increasing our profit margins.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

The future looks bright. A lot of people are freaking out about AI this or GPT that and many think it will kill SEO. SEO has been dying my entire career and not only has it not died, but it has also flourished.

Everything that was supposed to kill SEO created opportunities and I think this new SEO “killer” will only create more opportunities. Often I’ve seen that when these types of disrupting events happen, many SEO agencies close because they do not know how to adapt. As those agencies close, even more, opportunities present themselves.

Recently I have stepped back from the day-to-day operations so I can focus on two of our other companies, PageOptimizer Pro and Internet Marketing Gold. I’m still working on leadership and strategy for High Voltage, but I’m not as hands-on as was before.

I am testing and researching how we can improve our processes with AI. During Covid, all of our companies experienced exponential growth and I see with AI implementation we can continue that growth.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

You should build your business to sell from the start. When making decisions, ask yourself: does this get you closer to the sale? Will a potential buyer like this decision? Even if you don’t want to sell or are nowhere near a sale, if you build to sell you will make much better business decisions. You will be leaner and more agile, you’ll have better staff, your systems will improve, and your margins will grow.

It’s really easy to tell someone else how they can fix or grow their business rather than fixing or growing your own. I’ve found that if you imagine someone right there that wants to buy your business and you have to explain to them why you did something, or why you are keeping certain staff around, or why your SOPs are how they are, you will fix any issues you have and you will have a much better chance of success.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

When it comes to an all-around SEO tool, we use SEMRush. It has the most features that match our SEO processes. We, of course, use PageOptimizer Pro for our on-page SEO as we developed the tool. I’ve also found that we can’t function without Zapier pulling in data from all over the place.

For marketing, we use Hubspot and ActiveCampaign. If you are looking for SEO Chrome extensions, I like to use Keywords Everywhere, SERPWorx, SEOQuake, and SEO Minion. I find that all of those are very handy for getting quick insights into why websites are ranking and finding potential keyword gaps that we can fill.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

I dislike self-help books and I particularly dislike business self-help books, but I can make two recommendations. One strong recommendation I can make is The Algebra of Happiness by Scott Galloway. The book explores how you can find happiness while also striving to be a successful, high-income earner.

If you are thinking about getting involved in SAAS and are looking at the VC funding route, I recommend Lost and Founder by Rand Fishkin. The book is pretty accurate on how VCs approach business. Spoiler alert, it’s not great.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

Think about the thing you want and think about where that thing is. Then go to that place and be active. People always consider those around them first when they give referrals, start partnerships, or begin joint ventures. You must be present to get those opportunities.

If you want clients, which clients do you want? Once you identify the client type, then find out where they are physically. For example, do they have regular industry meetings? Offer to get involved and be active in those meetings. You will start to get referrals when someone in the group needs your services or hear of someone else who is looking for a provider.

If you want to level up your business, who is at the level you want to get to? Once you identify those people, go to where they are and be active in their groups. I moved to Chiang Mai, Thailand because I knew there were very high earners in the SEO space closing multi-million dollar deals and I wanted to be a part of that and do my multi-million dollar deal. I had my first multi-million dollar deal in September of last year.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

We are currently looking for a US-based SEO Campaign manager. When we have open positions we post them here.

Where can we go to learn more?

You can learn more about us at our site. We post a lot of content teaching how SEO works on our blog. Here is one of our more popular posts on using a reverse silo.

Kyle Roof, Founder of High Voltage SEO
Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story
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