Finding the right SEO agency can be a challenge so a client will want to get the most out of this relationship once it is established, and this article is a “relationship guide” to doing just that. Like any other type of relationship, both parties need to contribute in their own ways to ensure it is a fruitful one. More specifically, in the famous words of New York hip hop duo Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock, “It takes two to make a thing go right. It takes two to make it outta sight.”
Keep reading to find out how both an agency and a client can help foster a lasting and fulfilling SEO connection.
Seven Ways to Build a Lasting and Meaningful SEO Client-Agency Relationship
Before getting into recommendations, we want to first discuss some points to get an agency-client relationship started the right way. Notably, it is important to come in with a goal in mind and some data in-hand, if possible. Knowing where you want to go, whether that is growing revenue, increasing leads, or reducing cost-per-lead, you need to have a reason you are hiring an agency that ties back to your bottom line.
Furthermore, an agency should take time to answer a new client’s questions and address their misconceptions about SEO practices. Our Director of Marketing Services, Noah Kain, offered this example, “There is a misconception that you can buy keywords for companies that are new to investing in SEO. Keywords can only be bought when buying ads. When you’re doing SEO, you’re optimizing your website and other web properties to increase the likelihood that you will rank for the keywords that matter to your business.”
Once a baseline understanding of SEO’s boundaries gets created, the focus should turn to sustaining the partnership. Below are seven different actions an agency and a client can take in order to nurture their bond.
1) Be Responsive to Agency Requests
Just as an agency needs to respond in a timely fashion to client requests, the same is true in reverse. During the initial phase of an SEO client-agency relationship, especially, agency members will be learning about a client’s business, their writing style, and other qualities. Likewise, there may be times where client input is necessary for content creation (blogs, responses to journalists) as they are the subject matter expert.
2) Provide Your Agency with a Thorough Overview of Your Business and Goals
Prior to engaging with an agency, an SEO client should identify its goals and be able to relate what it does in an easy-to-understand manner. Yes, it may be alluring to believe an agency should know everything about a client beforehand, but unfortunately, they will not. Like other relationships, getting to know one another takes time but is built upon a foundation of clearly stated wants and needs.
3) Educate Yourself About SEO Basics
Clients seeking a meaningful and productive SEO agency relationship have a responsibility to learn about the discipline. Not only does this provide a shared language between partners, but this act also helps keep one another accountable and may inspire a deeper connection.
4) Make SEO Relatable to Your Client’s Business Goals
The most important thing is that the agency and the client agree on what the main goal is while working together. More specifically, an agency should speak with their client about their business goals and provide an actionable and customized strategy that contributes to achieving them. No one size fits all approach to SEO; put in the necessary work up front and reap the benefits later.
5) Set Realistic Expectations for Your Services
As part of the initial goal-setting, SEO professionals will want to ensure they establish realistic expectations for their work. Being clear about turn-around times to requests and what can be achieved in particular time periods and with a client’s budget helps keep all parties grounded and lessens the chances for misunderstandings in the future.
6) Be Consistent, Honest, and Proactive in Your Communication
Weekly or bi-weekly communication is a must. The agency needs to know if they are driving quality leads and the client needs to be able to share wins or hiccups when they occur. Early on, set-up recurring calendar invites for check-ins and hold a client accountable for attending.
7) Don’t Opt for “Wins” That Actually Hurt Your Client in the Long-Run
While agencies may be tempted to implement shortcuts for SEO success, we encourage fellow agencies to rethink this tactic. Using things like private blog networks, or PBNs, or purchasing guest posts on spammy sites, for example, potentially risks the client site getting flagged by a search engine and suffering lower rankings as a result. Instead, flex those creative muscles and put in the hard work to do things such as developing quality content for a site that can be shared with third-parties for backlinks.