Find a Balanced Working Relationship with Your SEO Firm

Written by Nick Stamoulis

Signing on to work with an SEO firm is a big step for any company. It’s an attractive option for SMBs that don’t necessarily have the budget to hire an SEO professional to work in-house, but understand how critical the work is. Outsourcing to a trusted firm is the next best option. Yet, the client needs to understand what outsourcing should and shouldn’t look like.

Ideal Client/SEO Firm Relationship

An ideal SEO firm/client relationship is one in which both parties are actively involved in the process. This is because, while an SEO firm specializes in SEO, they don’t specialize in the client’s company or on a broader level, in their industry. Over time a good SEO firm will start to learn the ins and the outs but they’ll never have the level of knowledge that the client has about the company, products, services, or industry. If the SEO campaign is going to accurately market the client, the client needs to play a role and provide input, suggestions, and feedback every step of the way.

This partnership is beneficial for both parties. It keeps the SEO campaign on the right track and keeps the client in the loop about what has been done, what is currently being done, and what will be done in the future.

When Clients Don’t Understand the Relationship…

Unfortunately, some clients don’t understand this concept and things can go one of two ways over time. First, the client might remain too hands-on. If the client wants to be involved in every single decision or is always looking for other ways to do things or fighting the suggestions of the SEO firm, the campaign suffers. With this level of push back and approval delay, essentially nothing is getting done. When the client won’t give up any control, they might as well be executing the campaign themselves.

Or, on the opposite end of the spectrum, some clients think that outsourcing SEO work will mean that they can disappear from the process entirely. However, that’s just not possible in today’s SEO world. The SEO focus today is on quality and relevance. Every piece of content and every new link opportunity should be reviewed by the client to ensure it is a good fit for their company. A good SEO firm will always get approval from the client before publishing anything.

Unfortunately, some clients don’t want to invest their time. When this happens, they might go searching for an SEO firm that specializes in their industry, but that’s actually one of the worst things they can do. SEO firms that specialize in niche industries often take a cookie cutter approach. Every client is getting similar, if not the same, work done. The campaign is on auto-pilot and there is nothing that is going to separate the campaign from others in the industry (perhaps even direct competitors).

The key to a successful SEO firm/client relationship is balance. Both parties should be playing an active role and supporting each other. If you don’t think your relationship with your current SEO provider is balanced, it might be time to reevaluate that relationship and potentially look for other options.

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