SEO (search engine optimization) is a field of digital marketing, specializing in increasing the rank and visibility of their clients. In other words, as a business, you’re hiring SEO specialists to ensure that when people use Google search to look for services and products in your industry, your site pops up as one of the first results presented. From the perspective of an SEO specialist or industry, it’s your job to make this possible.
While understanding your end goal is a great start, knowing how to get there can be quite challenging. This is especially true for someone who’s just starting in the SEO field.
First of all, you need to learn how to talk to the client. You need to learn how to say no to their ridiculous demand and ensure that they don’t downplay your great SEO accomplishments.
Then, you need to learn how to execute a great SEO campaign from a technical standpoint. How do you assemble manpower for such a task and what are your options if you don’t provide end-to-end service?
Let’s try to answer all of these questions and more.
The first thing you need to understand is that not everyone understands how SEO works. It is your goal to provide your client with the optimal white-label SEO service but for them to appreciate it, they must first understand what it is exactly that you’re offering.
The goal of an SEO project is to provide you with greater visibility and a better search engine ranking. These two goals, when accomplished, will undoubtedly lead to a higher corporate reputation, and higher revenue, and provide a client with a massive PR boost. The problem is that some of these perks are indirect.
Why is this a problem?
Well, you can offer them case studies and statistics but, at the end of the day, you can’t promise them to increase their revenue by X percent. This is not what you do and you need to make this abundantly clear from the first meeting.
Before the meeting, do some research on their market. Check some keywords, check how segmented their field is, and even offer to conduct a free SEO audit. Then, do the analysis and projection with your team to come up with a draft of a proposition. During the meeting, show them where they are now and where they can be in the future.
In other words, set some metrics (KPIs) from day one. This way, when you have some results, you’ll be able to show them to your clients. The medium you use to communicate your results to your team and clients can vary. It can be through a report, a dashboard, a dynamic presentation with interactive charts, or even a Notion board. This will give you peace of mind and provide them with a way of confirming that you are, indeed, worth the money that they’ve invested in you.
Any client who can think logically will check your own brand’s SEO first. If you fail on that front, you won’t have too much credibility or authority, to begin with. So, while you do have to work for the clients, you just can’t afford to neglect your SEO.
You need to start by establishing your brand. Here, you go for all those standard brand-building moves like giving a value proposition, defining your place in the industry, stating your mission and vision, etc.
The quality of SEO service that you can provide is just as good as your team. Now, SEO is an end-to-end service. This means that, on your team, you’ll need content marketing managers, writers, designers, link builders, market analysts, strategists, and numerous other specialists. Now, there are not a lot of SEO agencies with as rich of a workforce, and how they provide this end-to-end service is through white-label SEO. This is a concept of teaming up with other individuals and agencies to cover all of the services that we’ve just listed.
Other than just focusing on the team, it’s also important that you provide the team with all the necessary tools for work. Keep in mind that postponing the purchase of a license is generally not a good idea. Even the best tools are as good as the person using them and the majority of these tools will require some onboarding. The fact that a platform is offering an impressive performance is irrelevant if your team doesn’t know how to use it. So, give your team some leeway to learn and master the tools, don’t wait until the last minute for this.
While this sounds a bit oversimplified, the truth is that to become the best, you need to do a lot of little things the right way around. So, the simplest answer on how to become better at SEO work and provide a superior SEO service would be to try and understand what SEO consists of and segment it into separate skills. Then, improve these individual skills.
For instance, to provide a better SEO service, you need to become better at:
- Keyword research
- Link building
- Content management
- Local SEO
- Mobile SEO
- Video SEO
- Web market analytics
- Competitive analytics
Once you revisit this list, the course of action becomes clear. For instance, to provide better keyword research, you need the right keyword research tool and a person who knows how to use it. So, you either hire an SEO veteran with experience in keyword research or train someone with an analytical mind for this task.
Link building, on the other hand, is a field that requires a tremendous amount of experience. Sure, the basics of link building can be taught rather quickly.
You can also quickly master Ranktacker, SEMrush or Ahrefs link buildling tools. But the only way for one to become good at it is to keep doing it. Sure, there are some tips on how to ask for backlinks, build relationships, list your site in trustworthy directories, deal with copywriters, etc., however, until you’ve done it enough times, you won’t quite get it all. Then, there are the less-known tricks of the industry, like recognizing a brand mention and politely asking for a link.
These are just the examples for the first two entries on the list. By slowly working your way down the list and improving every single one of these aspects, you will automatically raise the quality of your SEO work. In turn, your clients will be more satisfied.
Generally speaking, the lifecycle of a content piece is not done when the content is published. You still need to check in on it, update it, tweak it, and monitor its progress. Let’s say one of the links in your article goes bad. Removing this link is quite important for the post’s SEO ranking and the sooner you do it, the better.
Next, certain content pieces have a limited lifespan. Sure, statistics are important but after a while, their value changes. A piece from 2014 offers statistics that are probably no longer relevant (unless used for comparison). Does this mean that the entire post is now useless? Of course not! With just a bit of update, you can easily recycle this content and have it as a valuable resource for a while.
It’s also important that to stay relevant, you must constantly stay in the loop. You need to publish new content, update your blog, generate more backlinks, etc. Your work is never really done. It’s not like you can just get a No.1 in the SERP and then go dormant for a couple of weeks. It doesn’t work that way. Remember, the landscape of SEO is constantly changing and you need to keep up with it.
Sure, if you create link-worthy content, some of your best posts will generate backlinks for years to come. However, they still need to be supervised. They’re a worthy asset but, on their own, they’re not enough. To stay trending, you need to invest a continuous effort.
As the ranking of your pages changes, you need to stay on track. This means that you need to perform an SEO audit even if nothing seems to change or if everything goes according to plan.
Keeping your clients is the best way to grow your business, especially when compared to the effort and cost of finding new clients. In SEO, this is particularly important, seeing as how the more you familiarize yourself with a certain niche, the more effective you become. This is also why some SEO companies choose to specialize in certain niches.
The thing is that the longer you provide the SEO service to a single company, the better you’ll be at it. Also, SEO is a process, and taking over for someone or having someone else take over your long-term project is not an efficient way of handling things. It is for this reason that the effectiveness of your methods will grow exponentially. This creates a loop that you want to stay in – the longer you work, the better the results. The better the results are, the higher your reputation in the industry.
Now, one part of how to retain customers is mentioned in the first section – establishing parameters of success. However, it’s also important that you don’t neglect your old clients for the sake of new ones. Sure, at one point, everyone was a new client but you must be realistic about your workload capabilities. Accepting a new project even though you can’t make it is a horrible tactic. Losing an old client to gain a new one is never a good thing, however, it’s more likely that you’ll lose them both if you carry on this way.
Having a great negotiator on your team can make a difference between keeping and losing a client. So, make sure that you have the right person for the job in the position of liaison.
As an SEO business, you’re creating content, building links, and reaching out to two types of audiences – human and algorithm. While, on the surface, these two audience types seem like they care about the same thing, there’s a fundamental difference in how they approach SEO. An algorithm, no matter how sophisticated, is still quite rigid, and if you want to exploit these deficiencies, you need to understand the rules.
The best example of these differences can be seen in SEO writing. For instance, the algorithm doesn’t favor uninterrupted segments longer than 300 words. It generally doesn’t favor the use of passive voice or sentences longer than 20 words. These three rules seem ridiculous to a human reader. Sure, shorter sentences are often easier to digest, however, some of the brightest, most quoted messages are longer than that.
As an SEO specialist, you’re in an unenviable position where you have to appeal to both of these entities. While this may sound like a simple task, the truth is that sometimes the keyword that you’ll try to cram won’t seem to fit naturally or the blog that you have a great cooperation with won’t seem to make sense for your link/client. The truth is that this industry requires so much creativity daily and even for some of the simplest of tasks.
Like in every craft, sport, or art, it’s your job to understand the laws that govern the industry and use all your intellect and creativity to mold it to your liking. Also, keep in mind that due to constant algorithm updates, these rules tend to change.
Your business is just as good as the quality of work that you provide. The SEO field is no exception to this rule. Nothing can be hidden forever and there are not a lot of enterprises with an undeserved business reputation. Sure, someone will not like your work but if you’re doing your job right, there will be 1 bad review for countless positive ones.
So, as an SEO business or a specialist, your sole objective is to provide quality service and later use this as leverage to gain more clients in the future. With the above-listed ideas, trends, and techniques on your side, this shouldn’t be impossible to pull off.