Getting The Most From Your SEO Agency
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A lot of SEO clients aren't getting the most out of their SEO engagements. Not because the SEO agency is doing anything to be deceptive or being uncooperative in any way, but simply because the SEO client hasn't put much thought or effort into what they should be doing. In an earlier post I described several different SEO client types along with highlighting the good vs. the bad. In this post I'm going to expand on the idea of what makes an SEO client a good client which in turn results in the client getting the biggest bang for their buck.
The overall problem I see time and time again is that clients behave as if they don't need to really be engaged in the SEO campaign. They show up for the weekly meetings where they proceed to zone out; nod their heads in agreement like a bobblehead on a car dashboard; and set new standards for what it means to push paper. Instead, a truly involved client is one that:
Considers the impact of SEO recommendations…
… and alerts the SEO agency to potential obstacles. Or, if that knowledge is not on hand, invites others (e.g. editorial or technical staff) from the company to the meetings where recommendations are discussed. Doing so can reduce the amount of time wasted circulating SEO recommendations for review, approval, and implementation. With more than one client I've had recommendations circulating for over 3 months just because the right people weren't involved at the beginning.
Actively identifies opportunities…
… for the SEO agency to shine. No matter how good the SEO agency is, there's no chance of them knowing all of the projects and activities going on within the client's company. Having these highlighted could bring to light areas where the SEO agency can have a significant impact which is a win-win for both parties. The most common type of failure here, in my experience, is when a new site is in the works and the SEO agency doesn't hear about it until it is in the staging environment and ready for deployment.
Builds trust with the SEO agency
There aren't too many things that can as effectively kill the success of an SEO project than a client that is constantly asking for detailed justification of every recommendation. It's like asking your doctor for a summary of all of the research he's read regarding every ailment you've ever had. Sure, the SEO agency should be able to provide this information at any time, but having them do so repeatedly uses up resources that could otherwise be allocated to actually doing something productive. Establishing trust isn't necessarily easy, but if both sides don't trust each other after a couple of months into a yearlong campaign, that's a really bad sign.
Champion changes to their website
These changes could be structural or content-based. In some cases this means the client may need to help the SEO agency argue for a change to corporate policy by bringing different parties together. I worked with one company that had a formal policy of seeking out sites that had linked to them without permission and requesting that those links be removed. Shocking, I know. The client wasn't willing to put my team in touch with anyone to discuss the negative impact of this policy and to explore possible changes.
Is willing to learn
The more a client knows, the less the SEO agency has to explain. So if a concept has been covered a few times, the SEO agency should be able to build on that concept to constantly elevate the sophistication of the SEO effort. If, instead, the client doesn't care enough to get a handle on the concepts, I can pretty much guarantee the SEO agency won't get support for more advanced techniques like building links through social media marketing. There's only so many times you can change a page's title…
If you ever land an SEO client that does most or even all of the above, I recommend you do everything you can to keep them happy. If not, watch your back because I'm going to come in and steal the perfect client from you. What? You think I'm kidding!?