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How to Cooperate with SEO Specialists

How does the cooperation between SEOs and clients look? Beside all the formalities, you ask us for help on your website, we assess the current situation, create an offer, and then we work together to make your site perform better in search results. After, you give us money for a job well done and everyone is happy and content.

Sounds easy, right? Well, it’s not always that smooth. First of all what do I mean by “we work together”?

We list all of the problems that are present on your site, make a 80-100 page long SEO audit, send it to your developers, make them do whatever they want to do with it, take your money, and run as fast as we possibly can?

We don’t do that.

If you aren’t one of our clients, you might not be aware that here at Elephate we (on-page SEOs) emphasize transparency in our activities. In saying we work together, I mean we work directly with our client’s developers using project management systems like Jira or Trello, create particular tasks for every single problem we find on your website, and check them dynamically. We want to make sure that our recommendations are implemented correctly and we want your team to have a full view of things we’re recommending and why we are recommending them.

I think the most important thing in the cooperation between an SEO Specialist and the client is how the cooperation “feels.” And that’s why I wanted to write this article. If  you and your team feel good about your cooperation with an SEO, not only does it go as smooth as butter, but the later results might even be way better.

I’d like to list some of the most common problems I have come across that made me…

These can be easily avoided to make the cooperation feel awesome.

And before I forget, I’d like to thank Andrew from Optimisey.com and the people from our team (Ania and Artur!) that shared their experiences with clients and helped me in creating this article.

Anyway let’s get down to it!

Access to Stuff

First of all, I’d like to point out the most basic problem. If we ask you for access to your site’s Google Search Console and Google Analytics, it means we need it. If you don’t know what GSC and GA are, then we might get this kind of situation – Andrew’s tweet describes it best.

These two (GSC & GA) are the most accurate sources of data that helps us monitor the current state of your site. Thanks to GSC and GA, we can tell if what we’re doing to your site is great or terrible.

The same thing goes for your server logs, the best source of data on how your site is crawled by Googlebot, so we are able to optimize your site’s crawling budget. We need those kinds of resources to make the best of our work.

Overall, if we’re asking for something we have a real reason for why we need it and we always give you what those reasons are. If you don’t understand why are we asking you for some resources, please ask us for an explanation. We will be happy to explain it better.

If you only give us a limited amount of the data that we need, we’ll have to work with it either way but then we can’t be 100% sure of the results.

Side note: Talking about GSC and GA I’d like to emphasize one more thing – SET THEM UP for your website. As I said, they are great sources of useful data. It’s easy to set up but there’s no time machine. You can say, “We now rank #1 for [keyword] which is driving $x of revenue!” – but you may have been doing that already. With no benchmarks and historical data it makes reporting and evaluating a lot harder.

“I Can Do It Better”

The legendary “I can do it better” attitude. This might sound rude, but in my opinion the dumbest thing you can do during cooperation with an SEO Specialist is to deny a recommendation because you think we want your site to lose traffic or that you can do it better.

It’s a clear waste of money – you give us money to help you and then you want to deny our help. Don’t do that please.

I won’t declare that all of our recommendations are 100% pure gold and we’re right every single time. We’re all human and we all make mistakes, but denying our help “just because” makes the partnership between the client and SEO feel like a toxic relationship where you spend your nights secretly checking each other’s phones.

I understand you might not want to implement all of our recommendations or you’re not able to because of some technical limitations, but because we work directly with developers we’re able to find an alternative way to do some things. Most of the time it works out really well and both the client and SEO feel great about it – there is always a way.

Fear

This is one of the most ridiculous problems – clients that are afraid to make changes on their site because they are afraid of a visibility drop!

Yes, it happens, and it does make some sense that you are afraid. You don’t want to lose the traffic and revenue you have already gained, I understand. But let me ask you one question – what if the visibility of your site continues its downward trend?

It makes no sense to deny our recommendations because you don’t want to lose more. It’s our job to make your site perform better. I understand that some of our recommendations might cause a temporary drop (like deindexing a low quality section of your site) but it’s worth noting that technical SEO provides your site with long-term effects.

By getting rid of all of the technical issues from your site, we can make your site achieve a lot more in the future. There is nothing to be afraid of – we get paid for helping you.

Read, Understand, and Ask, Ask, Ask

This is an obvious one. As I said before, we work directly with our client’s developers, and we create particular tasks for them for every problem we encounter. Here we can find one little problem.

If you get a task from us, it can be simple or really complicated. Read it. Then read it again. And even if you think you understand it, read it once more just to be sure. If there are some parts you’re not 100% sure what they mean always ask for clarification. This is the core of communication – we need to understand each other. Sounds obvious, right?

Why am I asking you to do that? Because it’s totally natural for people to read fast and skip even the crucial parts that need to be remembered and understood.

If you have even a slight sense of confusion, don’t be shy and always ask for an explanation. I’m probably repeating myself right now but the correct understanding of the task is essential for doing it right!


Fix and Check

If you know what you need to do with the task we gave you, then you can do your part and fix the issue. When you’re done with your part, please do one more thing – before you put your task to the “To Check” section, please double check if everything is fixed properly and works as it should.

This will speed up the process and you won’t need to go back to the same task for the millionth time because some picky SEO like myself found a little bug in the same task for the millionth time.

I think it’s all I wanted to say…

Hmm..

Oh! There is one more thing! One CRUCIAL thing!

Don’t Deploy on Friday

Oh man… do you even care?

It probably sounds obvious but I believe that there might be some people that are thinking “What the heck is he talking about?” Let me show you what I mean. Imagine you work with us on optimizing a new version of your site, or a new section or a new something else, and you want to deploy your new baby as soon as possible.

Then you pick a date that happens to be a Friday (!) To make it even worse, Friday around 4 pm (!) Why is that so bad? Because we need to constantly check if the deployment is going well to prevent any problems from happening, and reacting dynamically. Even with a clear redirect map that shows you how every single URL should be redirected, there is always room for error. And if you deploy on Friday, especially late afternoon, because “#YouOnlyLiveOnce” we won’t be able to help you during the big event. We’re not willing to work overtime or work on weekends to help you with your deployment.

Please, please, please pick a date that is more around the middle of the week so we have some time to react and fix any issues that might appear. It’s so simple and so helpful at the same time. We will be thankful.

So What Should I Do?

Besides not doing the “clever” things that I listed above, I’d like to emphasize one thing that you actually should do, and it’s probably obvious, too.

You should trust your SEO specialist!

If you picked this particular agency, or this particular specialist, then you had to have checked its (their) background, looked at the work they have already done, read some opinions, and probably got an offer which listed some of your site’s issues. You can clearly see what we’re able to do.

You decided to give us your money to cooperate with us to make your site perform better. We want the same thing – it’s our job to do that.

Then please trust us, trust our recommendations, so we can live happily ever after, at least as long as you pay on time <3

Published
  • 15 May 2018
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See all articles by Patryk Wawok

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