Like any relationship, a well-oiled SEO agency-client relationship takes time, nurturing and commitment. Both parties must be willing to adapt on the fly and work together towards the same goals – even if it means taking risks or diving into uncharted territory.
Businesses hire SEO agencies for various reasons with varying expectations. With these actionable tips, you can be confident you’re getting the most (and more) from your SEO agency relationship day-to-day, month-to-month and year-to-year.
1. Agree on the Big Picture
If your marketing objectives are too vague, or even worse, your marketing goals differ from what your SEO agency is trying to accomplish, you can expect your agency-client relationship to fizzle out fast.
To avoid this, it’s crucial to establish a quarterly strategy with regular check-ins. Each quarter, the client and the agency must align on the following:
- Core challenges and opportunities
- Goals and objectives (in detail)
- Required tactics for achieving goals and objectives
- Required metrics for measuring success
- Marching orders (who is responsible for what)
- Regular communication cadence
- Reporting structure (how decision makers will know what’s working and what’s not)
Once the above pieces are established and agreed upon, you’ll be on the right path toward sustainable SEO growth.
2. Integrate & Engage
Once you and your SEO agency have outlined the quarter’s marketing strategy and worked out how it will fit into the overarching annual objectives of your business, it’s all hands on deck.
This will require a regular communication cadence that reinforces what is being done and why. Whether it’s weekly, biweekly, or even monthly, every touch point with your agency must have a clear purpose and address the following items:
- What is being worked on and why?
- How are tasks being prioritized?
- How are these tasks building towards the larger quarterly/annual goals?
- When will these tasks be completed and what’s next?
- Is it working? If not, what can and/or should be done differently?
The key to this, however, is two-way engagement.
Your SEO agency must be fully engaged and integrated with your business – the wins and losses, important personnel changes, new service offerings, etc. Ideally, they should understand what’s important to your company’s decision makers just as well as you do.
At the same time, you as the client must also be engaged, excited and transparent about your agency’s day-to-day work.
In agency-client relationships, enthusiasm is contagious and leads to great work.
3. Cut Through the Jargon
Using the same terminology is an integral part of moving the needle on annual priorities, quarterly goals and daily tasks. If you and your SEO agency are speaking different languages, it’ll be nearly impossible to experience long-term growth and success.
Clear communication should begin the moment your SEO relationship kicks off, but if you’re still unclear about what your agency means when they talk about crawl budget, sitemaps and schema markup, it’s not too late to get on the same page.
Throughout your relationship, you can get more from your SEO agency by simply replacing jargon with transparency. Here’s how:
- Ask questions
- Your agency is there to help you connect the dots.
- Be thorough
- Provide your agency with clear, documented business needs.
- Hold all parties accountable
- Hold your agency (and yourself) accountable for ongoing SEO initiatives.
If you’re not understanding something clearly, then your agency isn’t doing their job. Or at the very least, your agency could be doing their job better. Don’t be afraid to say, “What do you mean by X and Y? And how will X and Y help us achieve goal Z?”
That said, if your agency is unclear about certain terminology within your business, it’s important for them to ask the right questions so they can truly understand the ins and outs of your industry as well.
Replacing jargon with transparency will not only help you better understand what your agency is working on, but will ultimately leave you with better results that align with your specific business needs.
4. Leverage In-Person Face Time
Distance permitting, in-person face time between agencies and clients is a great way to take integration and engagement to another level. Experiencing your agency’s work environment and seeing the team in action firsthand can help facilitate a more fruitful ongoing relationship.
In addition, face-to-face meetings (both formal and informal) will allow you to tap into the unique personality traits of the individuals who work on your account and vice versa – traits and characteristics that may not always shine through via email or phone communication.
Visiting your agency in person can naturally help you get more out of your SEO agency in the following ways:
- It shows you’re engaged with the work, the product and the results
- It humanizes the relationship, resulting in more transparent conversations
- It creates a friendly bond that enhances your ability to work towards common goals
- It helps both parties understand how to motivate each other more effectively
Of course, the above also applies when an agency visits you and your business in person.
If time, distance and money allows, we encourage you to meet with your agency face-to-face at least once a quarter to get the most out of your ongoing SEO relationship.
5. Encourage Collaboration
Continuing with the theme of agency-client integration, you can actually get more from your SEO agency by offering collaborative opportunities with your in-house resources, whether it’s available copywriting staff, web developers or graphic designers.
It’s easy for businesses to fall into the disconnected trap of “These are my SEO people. These are my design people. These are my PPC people. These are my web developers” and so on. But in reality, your digital marketing efforts will often have better results if these different resources are working together.
Have open conversations with your SEO agency about available resources, and if your agency or internal team is limited in certain areas, discuss how you can collaborate more efficiently to get the job done.
The following questions are a good place to start:
- What’s your copywriting capacity?
- How can we loop your team in with our web development activity?
- Are there any design or creative limitations holding back our SEO content strategy?
You’ll be surprised at how much each respective department will be able to lift each other up when a more collaborative work environment is in place. But in order for seamless collaboration to happen, all departments must understand their role and how it fits into the established marketing goals of your business.
With individual egos at play, this is easier said than done. But it’s possible. More importantly, it’s worth it.
So if you feel like you’ve hit a wall with your SEO agency or find yourself frequently questioning the investment, give these tips a try. Together, you and your agency can inject new life into the engagement and, ultimately, add more value to your business in the end.