There’s no doubt that SEO is critical to the success of any website, but it can be challenging to truly harness great SEO when search engine algorithms and best practices are always changing. Working with an experienced SEO company can help you give your website a foundation for progress. Read on to learn more about how to work with your SEO company, what to expect, and what you’ll get out of it.
Announcer: Helping you to navigate the crazy world of Internet marketing, SEO, analytics, paid search, link‑building, web development and more, welcome to Digital Marketing Madness.
John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher and this is “Digital Marketing Madness.” This podcast is brought to you by McDougall Interactive. We’re a digital marketing agency in Danvers, Massachusetts, on the North Shore of Massachusetts.
Today my guest is Meghan Williams. We’ll be….
Meghan Williams: Hi, John.
John: Hi. How are you?
Meghan: Good. How are you?
What to Know Before You Sign a Contract With an SEO Company
Today we’re going to be talking about how to work with your SEO company. So Meg, if I’m working for a company and we have a website and I’ve just engaged an SEO company or an SEO agency to work on my website, what happens then?
Meghan: If you’re talking to an SEO company, first of all, good for you for understanding the importance of organic search marketing. We’re biased, obviously. We think that’s really important.
The second thing, I think one of the most important things you want to do before you sign a contract and really commit to a relationship with an SEO company, is to understand how the work that they’re going to be doing jives with your end goals for your website.
What Your SEO Company Needs From You
If you want to sell more of a certain kind of product and that’s a key goal for Q2, your SEO company needs to know that. You should have a conversation with them about how to talk about that product on your website, what words to use, and just in general the kind of content you’re going to want to create around that product to gain visibility in search to help you sell that product.
John: It could be a product or it could be a service that you offer, or whatever.
Meghan: It could be anything. It could be sandwiches. It could be software, whatever you want. An SEO company can help you with that, but you have to talk to them about it.
John: Being upfront with your goals, that’s one of the key things.
Meghan: They should be asking you that. That’s another piece of it. If somebody doesn’t care what your specific goals are for the next quarter or the next year, they’re maybe not going to do the work that is necessary to achieve those goals. They’re going to do their own work and have their own goals.
John: Obviously it’s important still because Google is all about search, keywords are important. But if your SEO company is only focused on, “We’re going to rank you for these keywords,” and that’s all they focus on and they’re not really focused on actually getting you more business and converting, and like you said, selling products or selling services or getting you leads, or something like that, that could be a sign that maybe they’re not going to be in touch with what your goals are as a company.
How to Know If Your SEO Company Has Been Successful
Meghan: Absolutely, and one other thing I wanted to talk about today was how to know if your SEO company is successful. One way to do that is to look back at the beginning of your relationship, the goals you gave them, and see if you achieved them.
The bottom line is they gave you high quality leads, people who converted on your website who came from organic search traffic. That’s the bottom line. You have to start with your goals.
John: What are some other good questions to ask an SEO company before you hire them?
Meghan: One thing that we work on a lot is content generation at our SEO company. We have a constant conversation with our clients about content they’re going to create and content we’re going to create. It’s important at the beginning of your relationship with an SEO company what they need from you to do their job.
What to Expect When Working With an SEO Company
John: How engaged you’re going to have to be with that SEO company? Are you going to have monthly meetings or weekly meetings? Are you going to have to be writing blog posts every single day in order for the SEO to work?
John: You’re going to want to know going into the relationship that this is not going to be [a situation where you] hire them and they do all the work, but there’s going to be a lot of work on my part, too.
Meghan: The way to get the results that you want is to work together. You should want an SEO company that is going to be communicating with you as much as possible, getting your feedback and approvals on every step of the process.
If it winds up being too much, it’s OK to say, “I can only talk every other week,” or, “I can only talk once a month.” But at the beginning, you want to establish how that relationship is going to go, so that further on in your contract or in the relationship, you’re not disappointed that they’re not reaching out enough or they’re not thinking that you’re engaged, or whatever.
What to Take Away From Your Experience Working With an SEO Company
John: How do you know if your SEO company is successful? You mentioned going back to those original goals that you set, hopefully, in one of those first conversations that you had with your SEO company. What are some other ways to know that at the end of the project that your SEO company was successful?
Or maybe you’re thinking about renewing your contact and continuing on with that SEO company, and you just want to know that it’s still working, it’s still worth continuing to pay them. How do you go about that?
Meghan: I would say that some of our happiest clients are the people who feel like they learned something from us. So, in addition to having your goals met, you also want to feel like you’re getting something a little more intangible out of the relationship.
You’re a little bit smarter about Google analytics, and you’re a little bit smarter about WordPress and even HTML and web development and what’s possible and what’s not. And how to take something vague, like what you want a certain feature of your website to do, and turn it into an actual piece of code and an actual functionality to your website.
And that your agency is communicating with you and giving you information. I would say one of the best parts of my day is I get to learn so much about such broad topics in terms of the web, just from general stuff like social media marketing to specific stuff like 301 redirects and what they are and how you use them and why they’re good.
It’s all important and interesting, but what’s even better than me learning it is when I get to talk to a client about it and a lightbulb goes off, and they get what’s going on behind the scenes and how it all works. It’s not just me on the other end of the phone talking mumbo‑jumbo and they trust, “Whatever. It’s going to work and we’re going to get rankings.”
They understand what’s going on behind the scenes and they can appreciate the work. You definitely want an agency that’s giving that back. Even if you end the relationship and you decide not to go with them, you’re going to be better off from having worked with them.
John: Because you’ve gained a lot of knowledge and maybe know what to look for now in another SEO agency or maybe you can do a little bit of it yourself ‑‑ although there’s so many different things to learn.
It can take years and years to catch up to where things are, and things are always changing with Google. Which is one the advantages, I think of hiring an SEO agency, is that they’re keeping up on all the latest trends and things like that.
Meghan: And it’s great when they’re able to explain the why behind what they’re doing. That’s a sign, I think, of a dedicated company and a knowledgeable SEO company.
They really know what they’re talking about when they’re willing to take the time and walk you through it. They’re not afraid of the details. I think that’s a really important thing when you’re going to hire an SEO company.
John: That’s excellent information, Meg. Thanks for speaking with me today.
Meghan: Thank you for having me.
John: And, for more information about digital marketing, visit mcDougallinteractive.com and subscribe to this podcast on iTunes. See you next time on Digital Marketing Madness.