I have been running a successful digital agency for close to a decade now. We’ve grown from a one-man company to a 100 people company now. We have been fortunate to work with businesses of all sorts from all across the globe. And every time a new client contacts me, there is this same question I am being asked, “Why do we need an SEO company? We have enough members in our marketing team already.” And to be honest, I never get tired in answering this question. That’s because I just love to spread the knowledge about importance of SEO for the businesses’ online success in this technology-driven marketing age. And frankly, even if they don’t hire my firm, I’m okay with that. I ensure that they are made aware of the value of SEO for increasing their sales eventually.
Just like any other business alliance, entering into an SEO partnership is a mutual commitment. While the agency commits to work toward the success of the client’s business by making their website more visible on the search engine and helping them drive more organic traffic, for the client it’s more than just an investment commitment. I believe that if you make an investment into something without being hundred percent involved, you would be always remain half satisfied with the returns you get. From my decade full of experience into the SEO industry, here are some of the most common commitments that a business should be willing to make when hiring an SEO company:
Patience is the most important key.
SEO, like any other marketing investment, is measured for performance and the businesses are eager to see it impact their bottom line. And it is often quite pressing to tell them that changes take… patience. They call on Friday night to discuss the changes in the strategy and again on Monday morning, I would have an email in my inbox inquiring whether the site started getting conversions. I need to then explain to them that Google works in a certain way. If you did a 301 redirect on the old pages of the site, Google can take up to 4 weeks to completely remove the old pages from the index. The small fixes done in a matter of hours take days to reflect in the Search Console. So, usually my typical advice to them is: make a change, leave it there, go back to doing other content creation and promotion activities and come back to that change after a few days. So, the businesses need to commit to being patient about the impact of SEO.
SEO is a long-term commitment.
It’s all about setting reasonable goals and practical expectations. And as an SEO expert, it’s my job that they realize this fact. Along with optimizing the website for the search engines and users, you would need to work on linkable content assets. Most websites are cautious about establishing an association with others and hence if they sense anything irrelevant, they will immediately strip out the content. As a rule of thumb, you need to first spend time into identifying which websites would like to connect with you as they would see your content as adding value for their respective audiences. Once you have established the common grounds, you would need to identify the best ways to approach them with a value-added content piece and in a timely-fashion. Promoting the content also takes a significant amount of time. SEO involves a constant tracking of changes in performance in the Analytics and Search Console and accordingly adapting your strategy. The changes are temporarily placed in Google’s “waiting area” also nicknamed by many in the industry as SandBox. So, the bottom line is that SEO cannot really be a game of days or weeks. It needs a good amount of time in terms of commitment.
You only get the real taste of SEO, when you get your hands dirty. If SEO were a magic, you would learn it if and only if you keep experimenting. The best part about trying out different and new things in your SEO campaign is that there are very few things that are irreversible. So, when you join hands with an SEO agency, do give them the space to experiment. Tell them that you’ve got their back even if their experiment falls in its face. More than just a business advice, these are also my sentiments on a personal level. It’s all about taking the calculated chances. Stay within your boundaries and be transparent to Google about what you’re up to. It could be a minor design tweak on the site or some code change in the backend. With each experiment you apply new learning. And what’s there to lose when you are always producing what’s being constantly appreciated by the search engines and the users alike?
Commitment to interact often.
Regular check-ins on the SEO campaign are always welcome by the agency. The frequency doesn’t matter. It depends upon the mutual convenience. But, as long as you set a standing time with your agency, you get to be on the same page as their team. It’s about keeping in touch with those who work on your website, your brand, your business. Your business success depends upon those and hence it’s absolutely alright spending some time together. As in any relationship, it’s best to know all those are involved before making a long-term commitment.
Commitment to learn the technical bits yourself.
SEO is not a set-and-forget activity. You cannot set it on an auto-pilot and leave it unattended. It’s true that you’ve hired the professionals who know the bits and pieces of the trade, but it’s important for you to taste the waters too. You don’t have to spend an awful lot of time and efforts in learning the intricate technicalities. No, that’s the agency’s job. You should just touch upon the surface so as to be able understand what the graphs mean in your Analytics, what are the major traffic sources for your website, what does it mean when the Search Console flags something to you, etc. It also makes your interactions with the agency a lot easier and they feel appreciated that their work is being interpreted in the right manner by the client.
Offer responsiveness to your SEO agency.
Your SEO partnership with the agency is a contract of exchange. The exchange is not only commercial in value. It involves a much more important aspect than that. Your SEO company seeks your guidance ceaselessly. They want to know if the content idea is relevant to your business. They want to know if a publication platform is appropriate given the nature of your work. They want to ensure that they stay within the bounds of your branding guidelines. And all of these and much more requires your consent. So, be available to them, when they request for your guidance and approval. It’s understandable that you have your core business to look after and hence may not necessarily be able to allot a lot of time to the SEO wing of your business. But, sometimes a quick glance and a node is all it takes. If there is faith established in this relationship, then giving that nod won’t be too asking.
These are just a few tips off the top of my head and I can discuss these commitments at great lengths. The fact needs to be reinstated here that SEOs are merely humans. They are trying to do a necessary human job with dignity and decency, driven by compassion and competence. And collective success always starts with individual commitments and efforts.