Many companies decide on a whim to jump on the SEO bandwagon without really understanding the ramifications. While SEO is becoming more and more vital to a successful business model, there are many things that need to be considered before moving forward. Below are a few points to get the juices flowing.
Seems like a simple thing, but you need to know how SEO will fit into the overall marketing objectives of your company. What will it accomplish? What do you want it to accomplish? Don’t just do SEO because everyone else is doing it. Do it for a specific reason.
Timing is everything
Don’t rush into an SEO campaign because you are feeling pressure to get results. Here are some timing considerations to think about before you move forward:
Seasonality. Does your industry have a high and low season? If so, then you probably want to start your SEO in the low season. This way, you are in prime positions during your high season to capture key traffic.
Website redesign. A new site launch is a big deal, and yes, it DEFINITELY affects SEO. If you want to start an SEO campaign, but you know in your gut (and have known for a while) that your website desperately needs an update, take care of the site FIRST. New site launches during an SEO campaign are a huge hindrance and can delay results significantly.
SEO is not a quick fix
Search engine optimization is a long term marketing strategy. No, let me rephrase, EFFECTIVE SEO is a long term strategy. If you are looking to jump into an SEO campaign in October because you need to finish out Q4 well, you’re a day late and dollar short. There are no “special contacts at Google,” no magic buttons, and no amount of guarantees that can change this. Depending on your situation, SEO can take anywhere from 6-18 months to see top results.
Access to a Web developer
Chances are that if you have a website, you have a developer you work with that manages that website. SEO campaigns require many time sensitive website adjustments. Having a reliable and available Web developer that can implement recommendations made by your SEO firm is vital to success. Make sure you have a developer and he or she is ready and willing to make changes before embarking on your SEO campaign.
Content generation capabilities
It is no secret that content is king. Relevant content on your site is a huge aspect of SEO. Be aware that some sites require more website content then others, depending on your current layout. Assure that you have content creation capabilities, and if not talk about your limitations with your potential agency upfront.
“I only need you for…”
SEO companies can be partners in your marketing efforts. They have the ability to provide expertise in Internet marketing, not just SEO, that can benefit your overall marketing vision. Let them do what they do best. Don’t tie the hands of your SEO company because you only want link building from them. Mostly likely their approach is more holistic, and not allowing them to utilize all the aspects of SEO will underhand their efforts and sabotage success. Listen to the expertise of you SEO firm. Allow them to perform their work, because after all, you hired them for a reason.
The full Monty
Full exposure. Complete transparency. SEO companies cannot be your partner if you treat them like a vendor. Be open, honest and transparent with your goals and the current state of your business. Explain your business model, your industry, past experiences with search marketing, and most importantly what it is you are trying to accomplish with your website. Give your SEO company the data to prove their value to you, in dollars.
If your SEO company only sees a small piece of the pie, they will do their work based on that information. This can cause frustration and a communication breakdown as bits and pieces of information can be taken out of context and misconstrued. Prevent this through open and honest communication. If you don’t feel comfortable exposing yourself just yet, you may want to hold off on an SEO campaign until you can.
Everyone knows that it’s about the bottom line, so what return are you getting on this investment? Do you know? Can you know? Have you put the appropriate metrics in place that will tell you? Ask these vital questions first. If you don’t know the answer, don’t hesitate to consult a trusted SEO company to find out.
When you do hire a SEO company, make sure you communicate the importance of evaluating ROI, if they don’t already, and your willingness to cooperate in that effort.
It takes two to Tango
If you haven’t noticed already, an underlying theme throughout this post has been cooperation and partnership. To execute and effective and successful SEO campaign you have to be involved. SEO is an active marketing effort, requiring constant communication and adjustment. The best SEO firms will always be in communication, and wanting to work together as an active partner. If you lack the time to attend such an effort, find someone who can.
Try to eliminate red tape as much as possible so things can get done. Again, SEO can be time sensitive. The quicker recommendations are implemented, the quicker you see results. It’s that simple.
Hopefully now, you will be better prepared to ask the right questions before beginning your SEO campaign.