Marketing folks, check your SEO ego at the door

James is editor in chief of TechForge Media, with a passion for how technologies influence business and several Mobile World Congress events under his belt. James has interviewed a variety of leading figures in his career, from former Mafia boss Michael Franzese, to Steve Wozniak, and Jean Michel Jarre. James can be found tweeting at @James_T_Bourne.

There’s lots of content out there about how to go about selecting an SEO firm that is the right fit for your company. We’ve even written plenty on the topic ourselves. This is all well and good but what potential SEO clients need to understand is that it goes both ways. Just as you are checking out the SEO firm and have a list of credentials that you want fulfilled, the SEO firm is scoping you out as a potential client too.

The relationship between an SEO firm and a client should be viewed as a partnership. There needs to be ongoing communication and give and take between the two parties. If the SEO firm doesn’t think that the partnership would be a productive one they won’t take you on as a client. A surefire way to turn off an SEO firm is to enter with a huge ego.

The entire reason to hire an SEO firm is that you need a team to handle your SEO and you don’t have the resources to do the work in house. This means that all SEO work is handed over to the SEO firm, everything from strategy to implementation to ongoing reporting. After all, that is what you are paying the firm to do.

However, we’ve experienced situations where the potential SEO client wants to come in and define everything on their own. They’ve read all of the blogs and attended conferences and workshops and think that they are an expert in SEO but just need someone to implement everything. Here’s the thing- reading blogs and attending workshops doesn’t make you an SEO expert that has the knowledge to create a strategy.

The only way to truly become an SEO expert is to actually be creating strategies, implementing them, and analyzing data and making recommendations on an ongoing basis for years.

If you really think that you have enough SEO knowledge to dictate the strategy- why are you contacting an SEO firm in the first place? If you are contacting an SEO firm, there’s obviously some skepticism and some doubt on your abilities. You need to be realistic about your knowledge level.

If you have the resources to execute an SEO campaign in house and are just looking to have someone around to ask questions and get feedback from, what you are looking for is an SEO consultant, not a full service SEO firm.

If you are in the market for an SEO firm, you need to be careful about how you approach the first few emails and calls. If your huge ego shows and you are telling the SEO firm what needs to be done and what doesn’t need to be done (“We don’t need keyword research, we’ve got that covered.” Really…Really?) it’s going to be a huge red flag.

An SEO firm needs to feel comfortable with its clients and know that the client will be able to adapt as SEO changes over time (which it will!). If you come out of the gate guns blazing, there’s a good chance you’ll get a “Thanks, but no thanks” from the SEO firm.

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