SEO Recommendations: Take it or Leave it

Written by Nick Stamoulis

In my opinion, the first part of any new SEO strategy should focus on the onsite optimization aspects including keyword research, content optimization, navigation and internal structure and more. My reason for this is that the best link building campaign in the world may drive visitors to your site, but if your site isn’t prepared to handle/convert your new found traffic then all your offsite efforts will have been in vain. The main job of SEO is to drive new, targeted traffic to your website—it’s your website’s job to do the selling.

When working with a new client on their onsite SEO, at the end of the whole process I present a master document to the site owner with all of the high level SEO changes (internal linking issues, design and layout, call to actions, etc) and page-by-page SEO recommendations that I think would help their site do better from both an SEO and user experience perspective. However, at the end of the day these SEO recommendations are just that, recommendations. I cannot force a client to implement the changes I suggest. While I do my best to explain the “why” behind each SEO recommendation, it’s up to the client to approve and implement them (or give my developer the green light and access to their site).

So many site owners that I speak with want to wash their hands completely of SEO and leave it up to their SEO provider. Unfortunately, SEO doesn’t work that way. While a white hat SEO provider is going to provide the best SEO recommendations they can for your site and guide you through the process, there comes a time when it is up to the site owner whether they want to listen to those SEO recommendations or not.

I’ve dealt with several clients over the years that have fought me every step of the way and even tried bringing other SEO professionals into the mix to get a second opinion and see if I would change my SEO recommendations. At the end of the day, when you hire an SEO company or consultant to help you manage your SEO campaign you have to trust them to have your best interests at heart. While it’s hard for a site owner that has been burned in the past to do so (and I can completely understand why!) there comes a point when you have to decide whether you are going to take your provider’s SEO recommendations or not. If you aren’t willing to at least listen to the recommendations and consider the potential value of making those changes, why did you hire an SEO company in the first place?

It’s important to remember that there are very few hard and fast rules to SEO. Yes, the search engine webmaster guidelines give us a pretty good idea of where they draw the line between black hat and white hat SEO, but they reason they are called guidelines and not rules is because what works for one website may not work for another. There is not set formula a site can follow to guarantee success. Your SEO provider creates SEO recommendations based on their knowledge and experience, as well as your unique situation and online goals. It’s up to you as the client to decide whether or not to listen to those recommendations.

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