Choosing Search Professionals – Part 1
Here at Buzz Starter, as much as I would love to always have you on board and work with you on your next SEO campaign, I always tell potential clients that I also look for a good fit. My team and I can always do the work to the best of our abilities but I always try to have a deep conversation with my clients on what exactly its that they’re expecting from an SEO engagement. Within the consultation phase I also advice my clients on trying to even look for other agencies that can compare Buzzstarter’s services and work. This advice is something I would like to share in this article.
- The Big Picture – Goal Setting
How big is your team? How well do they know SEO? Is your organization aware of what SEO is? It is not that bad to do some research first on what the basics are about search engine optimization. Learning some aspects of it on your own gives you an idea what the best practices are. It also gives you an idea of certain things that you are not aware of or do not understand about the practice. Understanding what you know and what you do not know gives you a sense of where you want to go in your SEO project. Have that list ready when you start talking with agencies and you will get a sense of how things will flow once you commit to a vendor.
I have been lucky to work with a number of startups and companies who are savvy enough to understand what their objectives are as a whole when it comes to running their organization. Where I come in is to bridge the gap between their objectives and how SEO fits in. Be it generating leads or improving gross revenue I come in to help them connect the dots. Sometimes it may be hard to understand where the ROI comes in when dealing with search optimization. This is natural, it takes a lot of trust for any organization to understand what SEO is about, let alone how it fits in with any company’s big picture. Aligning their goals and what SEO can realistically offer is really where things should start.
- Ask Around – Talk To Your SEO-centric Friends
Have you ever worked with agencies before? Or have you ever outsourced any sort of work to other companies? If you are, you’re a step up in understanding the concept of deliverables and consulting services. Be that it may, start going to your peers in your vertical or industry and start asking around if they have focused on SEO or have done work with an SEO professional. Familiarize yourself with various social networks. For example, LinkedIn offers a number of groups in your same business as well as SEO. Doing simple searches on Facebook or Google yields a number of listings for forums and blogs that also offer not only information about SEO but recommendations and lists of the best SEO companies out there. Due diligence is key and knowledge is out there, you just have to sort the wheat from the chaff.
- Communication Is Key – Talking Is Better
Most of my clients are referred through the usual medium, Email. It really is interesting how email has taken over a lot of our day to day lives, be it sending documents or getting in touch with your family and loved ones. However one thing that you can never forget is that having an actual person to person talk over the phone (in-person is even better if the schedule works out) is always much better. Sometimes email can either be to cold and formal or too relaxed and unprofessional, it is always great to discuss business outside of that medium.
Establishing a relationship with your SEO consultant is always a good thing, making sure that he is in-charge of your project and that person is not delegating it too much. I mentioned earlier that I look for a fit as well when it comes to working with clients but that works both ways too. If you feel like you cannot seem to create a level of comfort with your professional, put things on hold and evaluate what is pushing you back from proceeding any further. If it isn’t something that you think can be resolved, you are better off cancelling the project but make sure you honestly convey the reasons why you aren’t moving forward.
- Being Crystal Clear – Knowing The Deliverables
It is hard enough to understand sometimes what SEO is, it is even harder to know what the actual work entails. In my experience, I have consulted with organizations who had no knowledge of SEO and are like cavemen seeing the light of day for the first time. I have also had worked with people who think they know SEO and would argue with you constantly without even getting past the discovery phase. The one big item that can help clarify this is requesting that the SEO professional actually lay out the tangibles in their proposal. It should contain what work will be performed during the first month of the project, hours it will take to do the work and the frequency on how the work will be delivered. It should also contain what work will be done every month from that point on and how it will be measured. Be sure that you are clear in this aspect and make sure to ask questions. Spend time over the phone or in person to clarify this and avoid any back and forth emails.
Posted in: BuzzStarter, Optimization Floor, Search Engine Optimization
We will continue the next and final part of this article next week. Stay tuned.
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