Start at the Beginning
When a client is getting ready to work with a new SEO firm—whether it’s their first or their fifth—the two teams need to get coordinated. A good SEO audit starts with a careful documentation of the client’s goals, metrics and history. This information helps the SEO firm perform a successful round of research, but it also makes sure everyone is on the same page and few assumptions are removed from the process. The last thing anyone wants is to assume an SEO strategy is working if it’s not.
Create a Roadmap
If you’re going to collaborate on an ongoing SEO strategy, everyone should agree on the goals and the benchmarks for success. We’ve all heard about an SEO firm who was ‘working hard on rankings’ but didn’t offer clear, measurable results. We’ve also heard about the client who wanted to ‘rank on page one in the next two weeks’. Neither approach is effective.
A roadmap allows everyone to see the recommendations and methods in plain English. If there is confusion about who is doing what, or why they’re doing it, you can refer to the plan…again, removing assumptions and miscommunications from the process.
Hold your SEO Firm Accountable
Once you’re gone through an audit and signed off on some–or all–of the recommendations on the roadmap, you have a timeline in place. It’s possible that progress won’t follow the roadmap as planned, but if you’re not seeing the results you and your SEO firm are working toward, ask why not. If there are encouraging signs, modify the plan to one you’re comfortable with.
If you’re not seeing results you’ve laid out in your 3 month or 6 month plan, you have a clear timeline for removing or replacing the SEO firm. SEO isn’t magic and it shouldn’t be a service you pay for in the absence of results. Make sure you can measure your results and have a plan ready if you’re not hitting your milestones on a reasonable timeline.
Audits should provide both the client and their agency with lots of information, a plan of attach and a timeline to look at if progress isn’t as quick or effective as planned.