t was a long and extensive process to find the right SEO agency to lead your charge into the digital marketing realm, and, at this point, our job is just getting started. But that doesn’t mean that yours is done.
The most lucrative relationships between agency and client happen when there is a team mentality, rather than a transactional mentality.
This article was somewhat inspired by a comment we received on our blog post entitled: How to Choose an SEO Company (And Feel Great About It).
The comment simply stated: “Perhaps someone on this site could reverse roles and also write about “How To Pick The Right SEO Clients For Your Business”.”
We laughed about that because agencies obviously can’t go around just picking and choosing the clients they want. But that got me thinking:
If we could pick the right SEO clients, what would they be like?
I realized that the characteristics we’d look for in a great SEO client would not be things like “just listen to us and take our word for everything.” It would simply be a company that is really looking to build a long-term and lucrative relationship.
You’ve hired us to do a very specific job, and we’re going to do everything we can to make sure we see successful results. However, greater success always comes when there is a solid, team foundation between the client and agency pushing things forward.
Relationships are Never Easy
A relationship takes work. There’s no way around it.
In this case, we have an agency and a client coming into the situation from two very different backgrounds. It’s going to take some time for personalities to mesh and for all those little quirks to appear so that you can work through them together.
More than that, though, any one-sided relationship is going to fail. It’s really just that simple.
Each party has something to bring to this relationship, and when they come together and realize they can both contribute to the success of the campaign, that’s when you’ll see real changes happen.
The Goal of a Successful Client-Agency Relationship
The goal of this relationship – on both sides – is to meet your online marketing goals, work more efficiently, and develop an understanding and trust for each other.
As your SEO agency, we are going to be doing our part to increase your rankings, streamline your website structure, and develop your social media presence.
As our SEO client, we’re going to need to you participate in very specific parts of this campaign in order to keep things running smoothly.
Many clients simply don’t want to hear that they have to do their part in this relationship.
“I’m paying you right? Isn’t that my part?”
Admit it, that’s what a lot of you were thinking just now.
Well, no. That’s not the only thing you bring to this relationship.
If that’s the attitude going into this relationship, then you are only looking at this as one big transaction. And if that’s the case, let’s just say it’s not the kind of relationship that lasts very long and leave it at that before this metaphor gets really inappropriate.
How to Be the World’s Best Client
Let’s be completely clear about the above statement. This isn’t about being a good client for our benefit. We’re not saying that clients have any obligation to interact with us in a certain way.
We are saying that there are two sides to every equation, and the best clients know that when they bring something else to the equation, there is a much better chance to see positive results.
So here are 6 things you can do to build a better relationship with your SEO agency.
1. Communicate about your goals
When we say “communicate,” we don’t mean telling your SEO company that you want Trophy Keyword 1 and Trophy Keyword 2 to rank in the number one spot and won’t settle for anything less.
Communication is a two-way street. You can tell your SEO team what you expect, but you should also listen to the things they have to say. They may be able to help you set some other goals that will have a direct and fast impact on your ROI.
2. Be open and transparent
We need to understand your business in great detail. This will help us determine which strategies will be the most effective for your situation.
It’s okay for you to expect the same from us. We will be open and clear about the strategies we are implementing so you know what is going on at any time in the campaign.
3. Stay in touch
You’re busy. We get that. But if we don’t get input from you for 3 months, or you don’t regularly review your reports, and then come back and say: “What have you been doing with my money and why am I not ranking #1 for Trophy Keyword 1?” then we’ll have a long conversation ahead of us.
It’s important that you respond to communication from your agency in a timely fashion. Otherwise, you may end up bottlenecking some of your potential progress or missing an important opportunity.
4. But don’t be clingy
Your SEO agency is also busy. We hope you get that. A good agency will strive to make sure that your needs are constantly met, but you do need to understand one thing:
The time your team spends on the phone with you is time they could be working to improve your rankings.
You hired them to do a job. You should expect to be kept in the loop, but you need to let them do the job you hired them to do.
We send monthly reports which have all the important information relevant to your campaign, and we have worked hard to set the best strategies and develop a plan.
Now it’s important that you give us the freedom to do our jobs right.
The best relationships are built on trust, and you’re going to have to trust your agency to do their job.
5. Treat your agency like a member of the team, not the proceeds of a transaction
If you’re really treating your online marketing company like a member of the team, you’ll include them in the decision-making process of anything that involves your website, social media, or other marketing endeavors.
We can’t be treated as outsiders and strangers if you want your campaigns to succeed. We may not be in the building with you, but we need to be treated as if we are.
We encourage you to take our recommendations like you would any other member of your in-house team. You’ve hired certain people because they bring particular skills to the table and you are using them to grow your business.
The same needs to apply to your SEO team. You’ve hired us because of our skills and experience in this industry. Trust us to do our jobs.
6. Always remember that we both want the same thing
SEO is not just about rankings. It’s about conversion. It’s about incorporating social media. It’s about targeting the audience that is ready to make a purchase. And it’s about ranking – but maybe not in the way you think.
We both want the same thing:
The continued success and growth of your company.
We find that one of the most common breakdowns in communication happen when a client insists that success can only come from ranking one or two specific keywords. The SEO company will keep pushing the idea that overall traffic growth and increased conversion rate are far more important, but that’s not what the client wants to hear.
They came into this expecting to pay start showing up higher in Google for specific terms. They’ve paid for those specific results and want nothing less.
This is the transactional relationship we mentioned above. They’re looking at this like a customer.
The more lucrative relationships happen when they create a real partnership with the agency.
We may initially have different perspectives on how to achieve the best results, but by working together like a team and listening to the advice and concerns from each side, you’ll start to see real and sustainable results.
earch engine optimization (SEO) is a term that gets thrown around a lot. It is no longer a hip, mysterious thing. Many people know what it is and numerous large companies already have a well-developed SEO strategy in place.
It has become so commonplace that the term no longer holds much weight nor evokes excitement. Everyone already knows about keywords and their use in title tags, meta descriptions, content and the like (even if they don’t know how to use them as effectively as possible).
A solid SEO strategy takes time to develop and takes even more time to start seeing favorable results. Many companies feel confident in their SEO strategy and marketing. In fact, with all the available tools out there to analyze every possible visitor interaction with a website, there is no excuse to not have some sort of search engine marketing strategy, let alone a solid, well-refined one.
At the same time, it’s all too easy to get bogged down by cost-per-click numbers, conversion and bounce rate percentages, total revenue raised and seconds people stay on each page of your website using a plethora of tools. That’s where artificial intelligence (AI) is slowly coming onto the SEO scene.
Artificial Intelligence and SEO
Data and data analysis are vital in establishing and managing an ever-changing search engine optimization strategy. To disregard data would be to purely trust and rely on the whims of the almighty Google and its constantly changing algorithm. To rank well in search results, your SEO strategy would merely adjust and conform to the techniques and procedures that align with Google’s search formula, de-emphasizing the needs, wants and opinions of your targeted audience.
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Artificial intelligence has been used in the science, medical and tech industries for years, analyzing big data that help producers, manufacturers, and retailers provide quality products consumers want, need and expect.
AI has the ability and power to do the same for SEO.
As mentioned before, search engine marketing heavily relies on number crunching. All the analytics tools out there are handy, but the human brain can only process so many of the stats. The usefulness of the data from these website analytics tools can be maximized with the number crunching power of artificial intelligence.
Just think if your SEO strategy could be even more refined and yield even better search ranking results. That can be achieved with using AI.
AI has been used in digital marketing for many years. Artificial intelligence has armed marketers with the ability to gather ad targeting data, identify cross-selling audience segments, determine the effectiveness and relevance of content and analyze the emotional impact content has on a target audience.
While AI is used extensively in many industries, its use is fairly new in SEO.
How AI SEO Works
Artificial intelligence utilizes super computers to analyze data. These machines don’t have emotions nor can they read, see or respond.
While AI can take the bulk of the data analysis off your shoulders, it is still your job to provide quality, valuable, interesting content.
Although, it has to be said, artificial intelligence can help you come up with content for your website.
AI uses analytics data to construct and analyze patterns in your website visitors’ interaction and experience with your site. The insights generated and analyzed with AI yield a list of future user engagement site behavior and recommended action items to best serve users. AI can even help carry out some of those action items.
The super computers of AI have the ability to execute the more technical action items such as coding, which greatly reduces the need for humans to code software and saves huge amounts of time and money.
To see AI and SEO work together, check out Google’s RankBrain.
RankBrain analyzes keywords against searches to let Google know what type of end results a web user is looking for. Google can then use that data to rank the relevancy of webpages concerning those keywords.
Some of the other benefits AI offers to SEO include:
- The ability to publish higher-quality, optimized content
- A gauge to measure other websites against the resulting data
- The ability to discover and implement the best SEO strategies for your website
- Gives your website an advantage over the competitors
What AI SEO Software is Out There?
AI is not heavily used in SEO because there are currently very few options.
To achieve the heightened SEO results offered by artificial intelligence, you can either utilize AI software tools such as SEO Powersuite and Muncheye (just naming a couple that are out there and this should not be taken as a specific software recommendation), or make the hefty investment of purchasing a multi-million-dollar super computer.
User Experience and SEO
Artificial intelligence not only benefits your business by supporting your efforts to rank in the search engines, it helps you better analyze and understand your website’s visitors. This allows you to offer them a better experience on your website.
SEO and user experience (UX) go together. A solid SEO strategy based on careful analytics analysis will boost your website’s search results rankings which will result in more eyes seeing your website. A good user experience will lead to more users visiting, staying on and converting on your website.
UX is becoming a greater factor that Google is using in its search ranking algorithm. While it is still predominantly data based, the Google ranking algorithm is shifting to focus more on the user experience.
Google wants to retain its reputation as a quality search engine, so it’s main goal is to make web browsing enjoyable. The satisfaction and enjoyment of web users will only be met if users are given search results that are relevant, safe, useful and easy to navigate.
To ensure the best web browsing experience possible, the software engineers at Google created a search ranking algorithm that thinks like Internet users.
Now, your web developers can do all the ethical SEO best practices out there to get your page to rank highly in search results, but if users don’t have a good experience on your site, all your efforts will be in vain.
How to Create a Good User Experience
You don’t merely want people to see your website. You want them to visit it, spend time on it and take the desired actions on it.
You can do that by offering a website that people enjoy and find useful and valuable. On a basic level, a website with good user experience has easy navigation, interesting, useful and valuable content, an aesthetically pleasing design and has quick and easy access to other pages and content on the site.
Some specific action steps you can take include:
Optimizing your website for both Google and web users. As hinted above, catering your search engine optimization strategy efforts only to the Google algorithmwill probably lower your search results. At the same time, focusing only on the users will ignore some of Google’s page rank algorithm which will keep your page from ranking as well as it could.
Making your site easy to navigate. Web users are busy and they expect to find the answers to their wants, needs and questions immediately. If your site is confusing and hard to navigate, people will leave and never come back.
Creating relevant, useful, valuable content. Google’s algorithm takes into account users’ interactions and experience with a website based on how long they stay on a page and what webpage in the search results a user clicks on.
Featuring an adequate number of high-quality links. If you can’t meet a visitor’s need on that page, direct them to a page (or even another site) that can. The user will greatly appreciate it and your webpage’s authority will be boosted.
Developing a responsive design. The proliferation of smartphones and tablets mean more and more consumers will be viewing your website on the much smaller screen of a mobile device. For a good user experience, make sure your website is mobile responsive, rendering correctly on a desktop, laptop, tablet and smartphone.
Using AI to Develop Your UX
Artificial intelligence can greatly help improve your SEO strategy by taking the huge amounts of data from your website and provide more in-depth insights into your pages’ analytics. This, in turn, can be used to design a better user experience.
As Google continues to prioritize the user experience in its algorithm, this data can become critical. It’s one thing to provide a list of items that generally lead to a better user experience (like we did above), but it’s another thing completely to be able to address extremely specific elements of that experience.
As more tools become available that employ some form of AI, we’re going to see a lot more SEO strategies that rely on this level of analytical prowess.
This, in turn, will lead to new types of action plans that can help your rank higher in search results and give your website visitors a better experience.
ou’re excited about how your business is growing. More and more people are becoming aware of your company and brand. You want to continue to advertise your business and its products. You’ve heard great things about Google Adwords and think it’s a good next step to grow your business.
Before you fully get in over your head with Google AdWords, though, you need to make sure your business is really ready for this kind of pay-per-click campaign. Google Adwords, after all, isn’t a magic bullet for marketing success, and a poorly planned and ran AdWords campaign can easily lead to disaster.
It isn’t beneficial for a company to immediately dive into an AdWords campaign simply because other companies talk about how profitable it can be. To get the most benefit from using Google Adwords, you should have these elements in place:
1. Customer Demand
The first ingredient is customer demand. If your customers are not searching for your product or service in Google, then, obviously, AdWords search advertising is not going to work for you. So, before you get too excited about creating your first campaign, you need to verify there is, in fact, search volume for what you’re going to offer.
The tool to use is the Google AdWords Keyword Suggestion Tool. Besides showing the amount of traffic for any given keyword, its advanced options can also show you how competitive a word is, the amount of local monthly searches, relevant alternative phrases, and the cost per click of the keyword.
When coming up with or settling on keywords, ask yourself if the keywords are actually being searched for enough on Google to justify your efforts. This can also help you determine the intent of the user and if you can afford the CPC of the keyword.
2. Marketing Budget
After doing some research and narrowing down your target keywords, calculate your maximum cost per click (CPC) you’re willing to spend. The more competitive a keyword is, the more you’ll have to spend (or bid) on it. Don’t just go after keywords that are competitive, target ones you can afford and which will most likely give you profitable results.
You don’t necessarily want to push your budget. For example, if you’re maximum CPC is $5, you’re more likely to make a profit by using a keyword that costs $4 instead of $5.
To get an idea of what your maximum CPC should be, you’ll need to assign numbers to your website conversion rate, your advertising profit margin, and the profit per customer.
There is a handy formula from Kissmetrics that can help you calculate your maximum CPC. It goes like this:
Max CPC = (profit per customer) x (1 – profit margin) x (website conversion rate)
3. Understanding of the Competition
If you really want to crush the keyword game, you have start with those high-volume keywords, but you should also know what keywords your competitors are using.
There are several tools that can help you spy on your competitors, like one that is aptly named KeywordSpy. This tool collects and provides information on your competitors’
past activities, including the top keywords used and how long they have been using each keyword. If you see someone using a certain set of words for a long time, you can take it as an indication that that keyword has been successful for them, which means you should consider similar terms.
You can even look up a competitor’s past advertising and marketing copy and material that feature their top performing keywords and then export all the necessary information into your AdWords account.
4. A Unique Selling Proposition (USP) and a Deal Too Good to Pass Up
There are millions of websites out there promoting all sorts of brands, products and services. Any kind of digital marketing, including the utilization of a Google AdWords campaign will be useless if your brand merely blends into the noisy background. You need to offer products and services that are unique and will separate you from the competition.
If you don’t yet have a USP, you can look to your company’s strengths, get insights from your current customers and look for opportunities your competitors have missed. A strong USP will catch people’s attention and drive more traffic to your site which will lead to more conversions and sales.
In addition to a strong USP, you need to have an offer that customers and potential customers won’t be able to resist. Coming up with an irresistible offer may seem fun and easy, but it can be harder than it looks. After all, every advertiser is seasoned in creating attention-grabbing offer ads.
What are the characteristics of a powerful irresistible ad? Well, they must offer value to the potential buyer, they must be believable, they don’t involve risk, and there is a clear call to action.
5. Outstanding Ads (and the ability to create them regularly)
When you use AdWords, you pay each time someone clicks on your ads. With that in mind, you need to create ads that not only lead to clicks to your website, but you only want high-quality prospects who are likely to convert into sales to click on your ads. This means you need to create eye-catching ads that speak to a specific audience.
In Google AdWords, the goal is to increase sales through more visibility and more clicks. The amount of clicks you get can even have an effect on the costs of your ads, because it contributes to the overall Quality Score.
In other words, it pays to create exceptional, well-thought out ads.
The text of an AdWords ad is very limited, so you need to be quick to the point and only feature the most important information (in an interesting way). The standard elements of these ads include a headline, a two-line description and a display URL. You’re only given 25 characters for the headline and 35 characters for a description. Make them count.
6. Dedicated Landing Pages
If you’re new to internet marketing, you may naturally think you want the homepage of your website to rank for all your top keywords, and you may even want to send all the traffic from your PPC ads there, too.
This is a common mistake that can easily derail the effectiveness of your AdWords campaign.
When you create an ad in AdWords, make sure it goes to its own dedicated page on your website (not the homepage). You want the user to have a pleasant experience on your site so they make a purchase. Dumping them on your homepage and leaving it up to them to navigate your site to find the item they’re interested in will lead to high, costly bounce rates.
Instead, create a dedicated, destination page to link the ad to. Take the time to create a page that is relevant to the text in the ad and makes it extremely easy for the visitor to take the next action.
7. The Ability to Track and Measure Results
Before you make your ads on Google AdWords “live,” you should understand how to track the results of each of your advertising campaigns. If you don’t set up tracking, you’ll lose insightful data that can drastically improve your efforts. You will also be unable to identify weaknesses in the campaign and make necessary changes and improvements.
In Google AdWords, campaign tracking is found in Conversion Tracking. You’ll have to make sure this is set up and activated before your ads are deployed.
To set up Conversion Tracking, you must define what a successful conversion is for your company and its advertising objectives. Simply click on the + Conversion button and enter your conversion definition. A piece of code will be generated. This string of code will then need to be installed on the last page of the conversion funnel. For many companies, this is a “thank you” page.
So, Is This The Time To Get Started?
A Google AdWords campaign is an effective method for your business to increase sales and be successful. Always remember, though, just as a well-planned and timed advertising campaign can benefit your company, a poorly planned AdWords campaign can hurt your company.
It is best to familiarize yourself with the Google AdWords platform and be sure to have the abovementioned components in place before making your ads “live.”
Working with Google AdWords can be intimidating, confusing, frustrating and time-consuming, but you can determine if you’re ready to jump in based on the above criteria. Of course, if you still aren’t sure, you can always discuss your options with an experienced company.