Is Your SEO Agency Being Completely Transparent?

Written by Nick Stamoulis

As the owner of a white hat SEO agency, I believe that one of the keys to maintaining a successful relationship with my full service SEO clients is transparency. I know that the SEO industry as a whole has a less-than-favorable reputation and there are plenty of site owners out there that have gotten burned by a black hat SEO agency or freelancer before, so this makes them extra nervous about trusting and working with another SEO provider. Once burned, twice shy, right? That’s why I do everything I can to be as transparent as possible with my clients. I don’t want to give them any reason to doubt what I am doing on behalf of their site or where their SEO is headed.

How can an SEO agency be completely transparent?

Every SEO consultant, agency, freelancer, etc. is going to have a slightly different process, but in my opinion there are a few ways that every SEO partner can and should be completely transparent with you so you know exactly what is going on “behind the scenes.”

1. Link building reports.
Whether you get it once a month or once a quarter (I prefer once a month so there is no big surprise) your SEO agency shouldn’t hesitate to show you exactly what kind of links they are building to your site. Links are still very much the bread and butter of SEO, and at the end of the day you are responsible for the majority of the inbound links coming into your site. While the search engines know that you can’t control everyone who links to your site, if your SEO agency is flirting with black hat or even grey hat link building tactics it’s going to be you left cleaning up the mess when their antics catch up with your site. It’s your site; you have every right to know what kind of links your SEO agency is creating on your behalf! If your SEO provider tries to distract you with smoke and mirrors and doesn’t want to show you exactly what links they’ve created consider that a major red flag. They might be building low-quality links, or maybe even none at all.

2. Explaining their process and methodology.
If you don’t understand an onsite optimization recommendation made by your SEO agency you have every right to ask them to explain. Why should you only target 2-5 keywords per page? Why do you need to incorporate a footer? Why bother with Meta tags? Your SEO provider should be able to justify their recommendations and have no problem explaining their process to you for how they came up with those recommendations. Remember, you hired them to analyze their site from an SEO perspective and help you make it the best it can be, but it’s completely up to you to actually implement their suggestions. If you don’t understand why you should make some change to your site feel free to ask and a good SEO agency should be able to provide you with a satisfactory answer.

3. Scheduled calls.
There is nothing so urgent in SEO that it can’t wait until the morning, but that doesn’t mean that your SEO agency can just send you link building reports once a month and be completely invisible the rest of the time. Even if you don’t have anything incredibly pressing to talk about, it’s definitely worth checking in at least once every 3-4 weeks with your SEO agency just to see what’s going on and what’s coming down the pipeline. You shouldn’t have to chase your SEO provider for answers to your questions, be it by email or phone, and a routine call is a good way to make sure everyone stays on the same page.

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