Have you ever thought of your business interactions as a relationship? Essentially every single business transaction or interaction between you and another business is a relationship. Some may be short lived, like the relationships when you’re just making a quick purchase. But the ones you work on for years as you improve your own business are the ones you want to cultivate and constantly improve on.
Those are the relationships I want to talk about today. At Boostability, SEO is our bread and butter and the nature of our business. We work on these relationships with our direct customers and with those we work with through our partners. So in that vein, we’ll talk today about what to expect from your SEO company and what you can expect from your SEO provider in order to set your website and business up for success.
First things first
Like in life, you should make sure that before entering into any business relationship that you are comfortable. You should never feel like you’re being forced into anything or have no options. Whether it’s SEO or any other partnership, you have to be comfortable and feel like it’s a right fit for your business goals.
In order to make sure you’re hiring the right SEO company, you need to ask the right questions. You need to learn about how they will go about optimizing your website, who will work on your website, and how frequently you can expect to be updated on progress. We’ve written about 12 questions you need to ask any agency before hiring them here.
What an SEO Agency Can and Cannot Control
An SEO campaign can do a lot of things for your website and help you improve your online presence. However, there are several things that an SEO Agency cannot control. If it’s a good fit for your business, and they have high standards, they will do all in their power to improve your website’s rankings.
Oftentimes, it’s expectations that are not set correctly out of the gate. For example, if you sell running shoes in a busy market like Portland, you’re not going to get immediate or promising results for a keyword like “nike running shoes” with a $150/month budget. That’s an incredibly competitive keyword in a very big area. Those who currently rank for that likely have been working on their SEO for years. So it will take both time and a higher budget to get results like that. The SEO agency can’t control your budget. And if you’re not flexible on your keywords or what you want to rank for, you likely won’t have a very successful campaign.
Unfortunately, an SEO agency can’t work miracles. An agency must take general best practices of SEO and the Google algorithm into account. Starting slow and building up to more competitive keywords over time. Once a site has better authority, this is a better course of action. Know an SEO agency can’t make something out of nothing and will not be able to achieve results with minimal budget or restrictions on keyword and content goals.
You can still achieve results with a small budget, but it will take time! An SEO Agency can control the process and help you rank over time. They will not be able to make progress without the correct login information or without approval from you to make changes and move forward. Know they’re doing the best they can with what they are given. It’s up to you give the access and information enabling them to make the optimizations and make your campaign a success.
When you first start an SEO campaign, you should expect an audit of your website from the agency you’re working with. It should have all the underperforming points for your website and where you can improve. These audits have action items that they can then move forward on in order to best improve your website. That’s usually the first stage of an SEO campaign is to make those improvements and take on the long hanging fruit of a website.
When starting a campaign, you should ask to see the audit of your website. If they can’t provide that, consider it a red flag that they’re not taking on those first action items to lay the groundwork for the rest of the SEO campaign.
Suggestions for Improvement
Throughout every SEO campaign, work gets done to improve the website and optimize it. But with every step taken, there’s additional room for improvement. Your SEO Agency should be presenting these opportunities and suggestions for improvement at every step of the way. Of course at the beginning there will be a long list. They will walk you through all these items likely included in your underperforming audit of the website. But, it’s once you knock through these low-hanging items that the expertise comes in.
Perhaps they’ll find an opportunity later on once the campaign runs for a few months. Good SEO agencies constantly monitor progress and will adapt the overall strategy to best take advantage of those opportunities. The core work of building relevance and trust will be there, but a good agency should always monitor for those areas of improvement beyond the SEO basics.
One of the key questions you need to ask before hiring an SEO agency is to understand who will be handling your campaign. Is it a team? Just one SEO specialist? Do they outsource any tasks offshore? Who will you be talking with when it’s time for a campaign checkup?
Every good SEO agency has a team of specialists who will work on your website. Make sure you understand who these specialists are and the role they play in the process. Your agency should make sure that you’re understanding the process, that their specialists know what they’re doing, and that they keep you updated on progress.
Every agency will have their own methods of displaying results to clients. At Boostability, we have a dashboard through our Launchpad platform where a customer can log in at any time and see how the campaign is progressing. We also have regular calls with all our customers. Each agency does it in their own way, but the key aspect is that you’re being contacted. That their specialists are keeping you updated. Make sure you understand how you personally will monitor campaign progress.
There’s so much more that could go into this list. But you should be able to expect these basics from an SEO agency that you work with. If they can’t provide these or set the correct expectations, then you might need to consider looking elsewhere for your SEO needs. Make sure you build a good relationship with your SEO agency. That will help propel your site for success.