SEO is a business that is much more than just implementing of a well-developed website optimization strategy. Anybody can get SEO advice or learn some tips and tricks by reading blogs, attending a conference, or participating in online webinars. If you are an SEO, or you have or will hire an SEO, there is a relationship issue that is part of any good business strategy.
That relationship feeds into the long-term success of your business. How the SEO engages with you--the client--can make or break your success. Everybody wants a good skilled SEO. But you should also want one that's good at business as well.
Here are seven things that good SEOs will do:
SEO cannot be shoved into a one-size-fits-all campaign. Every site is different, from its architecture to navigation to content, therefore each site needs its own unique SEO and marketing strategy. Good SEOs know this. Before you get a proposal for services the SEO should have taken time to review your site in order to determine what services you need most. Once the SEO work begins, more research needs to be performed so a strategy for success can be developed.
There is much more to SEO than just throwing some keywords on the page. Good SEOs plan out a strategy specific for every site they work with.
The SEO and the client must be communicating on a regular basis. I've never seen an SEO campaign that didn't require a client's involvement, and I would likely avoid taking on a client that wanted to avoid involvement. The client knows their business better than any SEO does and that input is valuable to creating a successful campaign. And as the SEO progresses, the client needs to be kept informed of what's going on and be given opportunity to provide their input. The client should also have access to ongoing status updates and measurement reports.
Without communication the potential for a derailed SEO campaign is significant. Good SEOs keep in regular contact with their clients, seeking their input and providing status updates.
SEOs have to focus on many things, most of which revolve around keywords. Many clients still look at "keyword rankings" as a measure of success. But good SEO has to go beyond adding keywords to the site, they also need to focus on a site's overall architecture. A good site architecture can make a difference in a site's overall performance by giving the search engines better access to all the content, cleaning up spider-stopping or -slowing code and implementing a stronger internal link structure.
The better the site's architecture is the greater the opportunity for SEO success. Good SEOs will look for issues within the architecture that can or should be fixed for better SEO results.
SEO deals in cutting edge technology. The search engines are always changing and algorithm updates are made on a regular basis. SEOs must continue to stay educated of these changes. While SEO strategies are remarkably consistent over time, small subtle changes can, and often do, make a big difference. The SEO must keep their team, and even their clients informed and educated. The clients need to know how changes may affect them, and what the SEO's plans are if any adjustments are to be made.
While not every bit of information is a game changer, keeping up with industry changes is essential. Good SEOs keep up to date, and make sure clients stay informed.
Many businesses look to SEOs to improve their rankings. But really what they want is someone to help them grow their business. Rankings are just a means to achieve that goal. Despite what any client thinks they want, a good SEO will look beyond rankings and help the client gain traffic and improve sales. This means they have to analyze the progress of the campaign and the effect keyword rankings are having in regard to traffic and sales. The SEO will also focus on usability issues that could improve the ability of the site to do sell better.
Revenue is generally the number one thing clients want, even if they are not thinking in those terms when hiring an SEO. Good SEOs help the client focus on the bigger picture and measure success properly.
As SEOs we often see things that need to be done and get frustrated when the client doesn't do what we want. Clients often get frustrated when they don't feel the SEO work has been successful. In order to get things done the SEO may need to compromise. Maybe the client can't implement the change recommendations exactly how the SEO wants it, so the SEO must work with the client to find solutions that can be implemented while providing the best possible result.
Compromise is essential to SEO success. Good SEOs know that a half fix is better than no fix at all. They go for the small victory now in hopes of the bigger victory later.
There is no set-it and forget-it in SEO. While some major issues can be fixed up front, keyword targeting and usability fixes are an ongoing, everlasting process. The SEO campaign should be under constant review. New keywords should be tested and optimized and new strategies for improvement should be implemented on a regular basis. Unless the site runs out of keywords (very unlikely except in niche industries) the SEO should always be targeting new phrases for ranking on a regular basis.
When it comes to SEO there is always more that can be done, provided it fits within the scope of the client's contract. Good SEOs are looking for opportunities (in or outside of that scope) that can help the client improve performance.
Good SEOs are not always easy to come by. Many SEOs know how to do one thing really well, but don't focus on other essential aspects. The most important thing one can find in an SEO is one that cares about his clients. Good SEOs want their clients to succeed and are willing to make these seven best practices a part of their business model.
Stoney deGeyter is the President of Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. Stoney is a frequent speaker at website marketing conferences and has published hundreds of helpful SEO, SEM and small business articles.
If you'd like Stoney deGeyter to speak at your conference, seminar, workshop or provide in-house training to your team, contact him via his site or by phone at 866-685-3374.
Stoney pioneered the concept of Destination Search Engine Marketing which is the driving philosophy of how Pole Position Marketing helps clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Stoney is Associate Editor at Search Engine Guide and has written several SEO and SEM e-books including E-Marketing Performance; The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!; Keyword Research and Selection, Destination Search Engine Marketing, and more.
Stoney has five wonderful children and spends his free time reviewing restaurants and other things to do in Canton, Ohio.
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