How to Handle Large SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Clients
All SEO Clients require special handling. Why? Because SEO (Search Engine Optimization) has unique characteristics unlike most things purchased or otherwise contracted for. These characteristics include:
- SEO is not well understood; even worse, many think they understand it but they don’t. In other words, those folks “don’t know what they don’t know.” This creates huge risk for the SEO Company and the client or potential client unless it is dealt with effectively.
- SEO is relatively expensive compared to what most people expect. It is not uncommon for those who contact us to actually believe that you can rank organically at the top of Google for highly competitive terms for the price of a Yellow Page ad.
- SEO always takes longer than most people realize or hope for.
- SEO does not involve “tricks.” Many think so, like some kind of magic or voodoo.
- SEO involves literally hundreds of individual steps and processes that are done continually, necessarily to remain competitive online. In other words, it’s sophisticated, complex and is only effective if it is employed consistently without stopping. When SEO is paused or halted, the reverse effect negatively affects the website’s visibility and the investment suffers.
Large SEO clients offer additional unique considerations that we will discuss in this writing.
Structure, Organization and Efficiency
Smaller companies generally work with us through one or two people so that all communication is relatively simple or centralized. Larger companies often operate in teams or task forces that inevitably create communication problems i.e. does the right hand know what the left hand is doing? This can be disruptive in SEO because great SEO is all about great execution and there can’t be great execution if there are delays and disruptions simply due to the way a larger company operates. Examples of these delays are best typified by the reliance on an internal team that does not communicate well amongst themselves resulting in slow or poor response to needed input. For instance, when Optimum7 is first hired, one of the first steps in our processes involves keyword and competitive research. This requires certain feedback from the client. When feedback is complicated by a “committee-like” approach, it inevitably delays and retards SEO progress and results. The point here is simply that the structure and organization of large companies, into and of itself, creates challenges to productivity through lack of efficiency. Size Matters!
Controlling the SEO Process
Optimum7 deals with the issues of size, structure and decision making in a rather straight forward way.
- Within the first 48 hours all members of the team will be (1) Provided access to our Project Management Module (PMM) which provides a centralized location for all communication, accessible through regular email, where all assignments, files, communication can be shared and stored, insuring that everyone can stay up to date and on the same page and (2) Will Receive a complete and thorough Execution Plan and Schedule through the PMM. This document provides an outline of the steps that we will be taking, when they will be occurring, which ones involve client feedback and when that feedback is due.
- Insist on a “point person” … one individual who will be ultimately responsible for responding and meeting any and all client responsibilities. This is critical to eliminate actually being involved in the clients’ internal politics and processes.
- Strong Leadership – there is no substitution for this. Optimum7, and any SEO, must exhibit strong leadership in communicating with the large SEO client to ensure that all processes are being completed on time and effectively.
- Truly being a “webmaster” … large SEO clients often are characterized by having a number of individuals with website content responsibilities as well as server and network responsibilities. This can lead to very negative consequences as this structure can lead to the proverbial “too many chefs watching the soup” scenario. The fact is that onsite implementations, server changes and any other access and action taken on the website itself without the prior review and approval of an expert internet marketing person surely will lead to negative SEO results. Optimum7 has dealt with this by insisting on prior notification and review of all changes to the website(s) and / or servers to prevent unwanted negative effects including lost search engine rankings and site wide penalties which is a very real consequence in the new Panda / Penguin era. Simply, it is not enough to be expert specialists for SEO clients; we must also be expert communicators and leaders to control all website actions to avoid very painful negative consequences.
In brief, there can be no compromise of the issue of control if you are looking to generate, maintain and continually grow your traffic and conversions. Large SEO clients present unique issues that require the communication, organization and control skills to effectively execute SEO and all other internet marketing activities.
Inevitably large SEO clients will require consultation and service outside of the realm of SEO. Their additional needs may include Paid Search Management, Conversion Optimization (included in Optimum7 SEO), Reputation Management, Malware Recovery, Ecommerce Development and Optimization, Web Programming, Email Marketing, Retargeting Strategies, Deep Competitive Research and much more. The point is that unless you are a full service Internet Marketing Company, you will need to network to identify and partner with additional expertise to really bring the full value required of larger SEO clients. In reality, larger clients will always be much more than SEO clients and you need to be well prepared structurally to provide the value needed.
Results and Reporting
While all SEO clients require reporting, large SEO clients require reporting to meet the needs of a potentially diverse set of interests within the organization. This requires careful thought and organization and a good deal of customization. The VP of Marketing will likely want to see traffic stats and trends but will most likely be more interested in the number of leads and / or sales resulting from the website. The CFO will be interested in the Return on Investment through comparisons of Accounts Payable for Service vs. Sales and Profits derived from the Service.
The common thread to all the reports that you provide to your clients, including the large ones with multiple participants, is to clearly and accurately illustrate through data, charts and graphs the value that you are providing for the client. Beyond that, you need to customize the reports to meet the needs of individual recipients as referenced.
Here are some key metrics that generally apply in reporting SEO results:
- Keyword Rankings
- Keyword Breadth (Diversity)
- Backlink Quality
- Website Traffic / Trending
- Total Traffic
- Focus on Organic Search Traffic (SEO)
- Paid Traffic (PPC)
- Trending – 90 Day, monthly rolling comparison
- Goals / Conversions – 90 Day, monthly rolling comparison
- Pay for Performance – Optimum7 is paid in direct proportion to results primarily measured through Organic Search Traffic increases and Organic Keyword Rankings as the fees pertain to SEO.
Analytical software such as Google Analytics and Omniture are capable of providing independent, 3rd party objective data for reporting purposes. Innumerable customizations are available through these analytical tools providing any SEO the ability to tailor the reports for each and every metric regardless of the client participant.
Large SEO Clients provide unique challenges and opportunities. They require special, customized attention simply due to their size and structure. The SEO Methodologies are primarily the same as with smaller companies. However, the execution of the methodology carries a requirement for leadership, communication and organizational skills towards generating truly top level results.
Optimum7 welcomes any comments, inputs or inquiries. If you are seeking Professional Internet Marketing Services, contact us for an initial, no obligation consultation.