Onboarding a company for SEO

Onboarding a New Company for SEO: Questions, Setting Expectations and Warning Flags

Once upon a time in the not-so-distant digital past, SEO seemed like the mysterious language of mystics, conjured up by traveling salesmen to magically transport websites to the top of search engine results. But today, as businesses vie for attention in a world where Google processes a staggering 3.5 billion searches per day, I can tell you that SEO is more of a science than an arcane art.

In this article we will cover:

So what is SEO?

So, what exactly is SEO, and why do companies need it? Simply put, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the process of optimizing a website to rank higher in search engine results, thereby increasing its visibility, organic traffic, and potential customers. In a world where Google is the go-to source for information, it’s essential for businesses to have a strong online presence to stay ahead of the competition.

Onboarding a New Client for SEO

As SEO specialists, one of our key responsibilities is not only to optimize and enhance our clients’ online presence but also to expand and grow our own business.

Onboarding new companies for their SEO is a crucial aspect of this growth, as it lays the foundation for a long-term, mutually beneficial partnerships.

Let’s take a look the intricacies of onboarding a new company to do their SEO. We’ll delve into the depths of SEO knowledge and explore the questions, considerations, and warning flags to keep in mind during this process.

The Essential Questions to Ask

Before you get excited about a potential new client, it’s crucial to establish a solid foundation with the company you’re about to work with. Below is list of questions you might want to ask during the onboarding process:

  1. What are your primary business goals, and how do you envision SEO helping you achieve them?
  2. Have you conducted any keyword research? If so, can you share the list of target keywords you have identified?
  3. Do you have a dedicated in-house SEO team or have you worked with an SEO agency in the past? If yes, what were the results?
  4. Have you ever conducted an SEO audit of your website? If so, what were the key findings and recommendations?
  5. What is your current organic search traffic like? Can you provide any analytics data to illustrate trends over the past 6-12 months?
  6. Are you tracking any specific SEO metrics or KPIs? If so, which ones and how often do you review them?
  7. Do you have a content strategy in place? How often do you publish new content, and what types of content do you create?
  8. Have you optimized your website for mobile devices, considering the increasing importance of mobile search?
  9. How much attention have you paid to technical SEO aspects, such as site speed, structured data, and crawlability?
  10. Have you worked on building high-quality backlinks to your website? If so, what strategies have you employed?
  11. Are you aware of any Google penalties or algorithm updates that have impacted your website’s performance in the past?
  12. What is your current approach to local SEO, if applicable?
  13. Are you actively engaging with your audience on social media platforms? If so, which ones and how do they tie into your SEO strategy?
  14. How do you handle online reputation management and review generation?
  15. What are the primary challenges or roadblocks you’ve faced with SEO in the past, and what do you hope to achieve by working with us?

Establishing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Establishing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) during the onboarding process for SEO is an essential aspect of building a successful partnership with your client. KPIs are measurable values that help evaluate the effectiveness of a specific strategy or campaign, allowing you to track the progress of your SEO efforts over time. By setting clear, achievable KPIs upfront, you can manage client expectations, ensure alignment on objectives, and demonstrate the return on investment (ROI) of your SEO services.

Here are a few reasons why KPIs are important to establish at the beginning of an SEO engagement:

  1. Clear expectations: Defining KPIs early on helps set realistic expectations for your client, giving them a better understanding of what can be achieved through your SEO efforts. This clarity helps prevent misunderstandings and ensures that both you and your client are working towards the same goals.
  2. Quantifiable results: KPIs allow you to track and measure the success of your SEO strategies in a quantifiable manner. This data-driven approach provides tangible evidence of the effectiveness of your work and enables you to showcase the value you bring to your client’s business.
  3. Goal alignment: Establishing KPIs ensures that your SEO efforts are directly aligned with your client’s business objectives. This alignment not only helps in prioritizing your efforts but also demonstrates how your SEO strategies contribute to the overall success of the client’s business.
  4. Informed decision-making: By tracking KPIs over time, you can identify trends, patterns, and areas of improvement. This data-driven approach allows you to make informed decisions about adjusting your SEO strategies to optimize performance and maximize results.
  5. Accountability: KPIs provide a clear benchmark against which your performance can be evaluated. By setting and monitoring KPIs, you can demonstrate your commitment to delivering results, ultimately fostering trust and confidence in your client relationship.

Some common KPIs to consider when onboarding a new client for SEO include:

  1. Organic search traffic: The number of visitors to the client’s website from organic search results.
  2. Keyword rankings: The position of the client’s website for specific target keywords in search engine results pages.
  3. Click-through rate (CTR): The percentage of users who click on the client’s website link when it appears in search results.
  4. Bounce rate: The percentage of users who visit the client’s website and leave without interacting further.
  5. Conversion rate: The percentage of website visitors who take a desired action, such as making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter.

By establishing KPIs during the onboarding process, you create a solid foundation for a successful SEO partnership, allowing you to effectively manage client expectations, demonstrate ROI, and optimize your strategies for the best possible results.

Warning Flags and Vendor Considerations

As SEO vendors, our role in helping businesses achieve online success is paramount. However, when onboarding a new business, it’s crucial to recognize the potential warning signs and red flags that may signal a less-than-ideal partnership. Being aware of these challenges can help you make informed decisions, ensuring a healthy and productive relationship with your clients.

As with any good expedition, it’s important to keep a keen eye out for potential pitfalls and warning flags before onboarding a new company for their SEO needs.

Here are some considerations to keep in mind:

  1. Unrealistic expectations

One of the most common warning signs when onboarding a new business is unrealistic expectations regarding the results of SEO efforts. It’s important to establish realistic goals and timelines upfront to avoid misunderstandings and disappointment down the line. If a client expects instant results or guaranteed top rankings, this could be a sign of misaligned expectations that may lead to dissatisfaction and strained relationships.

  1. Lack of commitment to SEO

SEO is a long-term process that requires ongoing efforts and consistent investment. If a potential client is reluctant to allocate adequate resources, time, or budget to their SEO strategy, it could be a red flag. Without a proper commitment to SEO, it may be challenging to achieve the desired results, which can negatively impact your reputation as an SEO vendor.

  1. Frequent scope changes

While flexibility is essential in digital marketing, clients who frequently change their goals, priorities, or project scope can pose a significant challenge for SEO vendors. Constant scope changes can disrupt the progress of SEO campaigns and make it difficult to deliver consistent results. It’s essential to establish a clear project scope and maintain open lines of communication to manage expectations and navigate scope changes effectively.

  1. Poor communication and collaboration

Effective communication and collaboration are vital to the success of any SEO campaign. Clients who are difficult to reach, unresponsive, or evasive could hinder your ability to deliver results. A healthy working relationship requires open and transparent communication, so be cautious when onboarding a client who exhibits poor communication habits.

  1. Resistance to implementing recommendations

As an SEO vendor, your expertise and recommendations are crucial to improving a client’s online presence. If a client is resistant to implementing your suggestions or frequently questions your strategies without reasonable justification, it could signal a lack of trust and make it challenging to achieve desired results. It’s essential to establish a rapport and mutual respect with clients to ensure they value your expertise and are willing to act on your recommendations.

  1. History of short-lived vendor relationships

If a potential client has a history of frequently changing SEO vendors or has experienced numerous short-lived partnerships, it may indicate underlying issues that could impact your working relationship. Investigate the reasons behind these previous relationships and evaluate whether they align with your own values and working style.

By being aware of potential warning flags, you can better assess the suitability of a potential partnership and make informed decisions. Ultimately, this awareness will help you foster long-lasting and successful client relationships, paving the way for mutual growth and prosperity in the ever-evolving world of SEO.

By asking the right questions, setting expectations, and staying vigilant for warning flags, you can navigate the ever-evolving digital landscape with confidence and skill.

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