The last 10 years of my life have consisted of marketing products or services of one kind or another to potential buyers (big and small) all over the world. The one truth I have come to understand is that most business owners know they need SEO, but don’t know it’s true value. This leaves them feeling stuck when it comes to managing an SEO firm.
Below are some very clear frustrations companies using SEO and marketing firms have shared with us about why they switched their services to Fannit. (And, in all fairness, in our early days before we figured out how to communicate more effectively with our clients Fannit made some of the mistakes I have outlined in this post.)
My hope is that sharing the mistakes Fannit used to make can help you communicate with your SEO firm if you are not feeling they are delivering value for your business and (selfishly) persuade you to talk to Fannit if you would like to make a change in your SEO firm.
We Don’t Know What You Do, But We Need More Visibility
Ironically, when clients of SEO firms are asking to see which tasks are being done it is because the value (like higher rankings, more traffic) of the SEO work is not being experienced by the client.
For most SEO firms, this is typically a communication problem rather than the inability to do the right work or a lack of doing the work.
Think of it like this, inexperienced SEO firms are like a duck moving across a pond – the duck is moving, but you don’t see the duck’s feet feverishly paddling. These inexperienced SEO firms do not understand that their clients need to see the value of good SEO and the results of it.
Here are a few things you can ask to get better visibility on SEO efforts
- Are we ranking higher more consistently on the right key words?
- Are we ranking higher more consistently on a local level?
- Is the content we are producing receiving more traffic?
- What are we currently trying to accomplish with our SEO efforts?
These SEO Reports Are Useless Without Intelligence – Tell Us What This Means!
We all know the experience.
You receive a report at the end of the month and it might as well be written in hieroglyphics.
The reports say your web site is ranking for 10 key words, your domain authority of 50 and you have 27 backlinks. In addition, bounce rate is 65% while averaging 2.3 pages per visit with an average time on site of 2 min 12 seconds. And, to add to the confusion, the report includes a list of the 10 keywords you are ranking for as well as the change in position each word is ranking. Alright then –
Wait – what?!
Keep in mind, SEO is only a portion of the Internet marketing a premier marketing agency would be doing for your business, so only looking at your marketing in the context of SEO will always give you an incomplete picture. Marketing agencies who understand the value of strong SEO will communicate with your business in a slightly different way.
Here are a few key questions you should be discussing with your SEO firm.
- How are our rankings impacting the amount of traffic we are drawing to our web site?
- What content is driving new visitor traffic to our web site?
- How do search engines view our web site’s ability to draw relevant traffic?
- Is there anything we should be doing to improve our ability to draw more relevant traffic?
- Which content is converting the most traffic?
How Does SEO Help Us Get New Business?
The first answer most SEO firms give is the proverbial, “it’s complicated!” As you talk with these firms it might feel a bit like you are being fired upon by an ‘SEO machine gun’. As you hear words wiz by as you take cover – key words, link juice, Google algorithm, onsite optimization — the list could go on and on.
The simple definition of search engine optimization is that it is the ongoing effort to optimize how your web site is found by people searching for what you are offering.
Yup, that’s it!
Consequently, you might try testing your assumptions about how well the SEO efforts are doing relative to organic search (ie. humans typing on keyboards of all types all over the world to find things). Place yourself among the following benchmarks.
- We are being found by the right people
- We are being found, but not by enough of the right people
- We are being found by the wrong people
- We are not being found at all
If you find yourself in any one of these states, start investigating by asking your SEO firm – why?
SEO can be a complicated subject, but when it comes to understanding it in relation to how well your marketing is doing, I hope the aforementioned three areas for discussion help you start to make sense of it all and improve your results.