Your SEO agency may have the best intentions, but all too often a swift kick in the tuchus is required to move things into a direction that will both improve client services and YOUR internal growth. With 16 years of digital marketing experience I have seen it all; I’ve worked in upper management for tech startups, developed and sold off my own marketing company, and I even worked in management for a franchise’s internal SEO efforts where I was not allowed to perform high-level services or even get access to the client’s Google Analytics (the CMO was and probably still is doctoring up marketing reports). Clearly, the latter example is a rare one (I hope), as it reflects conflict of interest and fraud. If you are “one of these agencies” then just stop reading. My target audiences are digital marketing managers and owners searching for ways to button up their operations to deliver a higher quality level of client services, and grow internally by getting higher quality contracts from businesses who demand the strategic, above-average approach.
Are You Delivering What Your Clients REALLY WANT ?
One common oversight made by SEO agencies is focusing on getting their clients high organic ranking. On the surface this may not sound terrible. After all, ranking well in Google is a deliverable you can show clients and therefore it gives the illusion of value. But is high organic ranking REALLY what businesses want, or do they want to increase their sales? SEO agencies who offer low-level services are the ones who only focus on ranking. If your clients are above the fold on page one of Google, yet their revenue growth is dismal, you as their marketer need to examine the copy, consider the buyer audiences, create inbound campaigns, and execute a number of tactics to leverage the organic so it translates into actual business growth. If your SEO department is run by “rank queens”, go ahead and bend over for a kick square in the bum. Then reposition your team so that conversion rate optimization is equally pushed using a number of inbound tactics.
Are You Treating Your Client’s Customers Like Your Own Customers?
Clearly, you strive to meet and exceed your client’s expectations. And since your clients are working with an SEO agency to grow their business, you need to understand the actual source that fuels their growth–your client’s buyers. All too many agencies fail to connect the dots by marketing according to their client’s buyer’s needs, and the pains that fuel their online searches. Often, digital marketing clients don’t understand their customers the way marketing experts do. This is why you don’t want to be an “agency yes man” but instead present a strategy in line to help the client achieve his growth goals while offering the type of content the customers actually want. But don’t just venture off on your own path because you think you know best; communicate your concerns with your client, outline the benefits to the proposed change in strategy, and make it a team effort between both parties to better reach and serve the buyer personas most likely to convert.
Is Your Agency Producing Content for People or Bots?
Of all the possible reasons why an agency needs a boot to their tuchus, writing content for bots is the most common. This everyday no-no also runs in line with self-proclaimed SEO experts who focus on ranking but neglect their role as a marketer once their client is sitting on page one of Google. Indeed good content rewards high organic ranking, but better content both ranks AND converts readers into delighted buyers.
Once you have a good ranking formula, humanize it by writing for specific buyer personas. The first step is to understand the buyers; talk to the client’s sales teams to learn about various pains and needs, have the client comb through customer emails looking for emotional triggers, and send surveys out to both paying customers, and those who decided not to buy at any stage in the buying process.
Once you have this data, make a list of the most popular questions and problems people have relevant to your client’s products and services. Then create blog content that focuses on a unique topic directly related to the main product you have ranked, and write educational, entertaining, informative text that will strike an emotional chord. You will want to create multiple articles (between 10 and 20 per subject) and link from each one to the primary service / product page (the pillar page). This method is known as the content cluster model and, while it shows Google how in-depth the knowledge base is through multiple topics linking to a single page, the content resonates with buyers because it is written FOR THEM and provides a solution to their needs.
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