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SEO service providers come in all shapes and sizes. If you have dealt with SEO experts in the past, you know that some love to communicate, some don’t; some provide tons of information, some don’t; some provide ideas and solutions, some don’t; some are cheap – and some are very expensive. Once you decide on a service provider for your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) services, it’s worth it to take some time to consider what kind of relationship you can expect from this person. It’s good to have a clear idea upfront so you will know what to expect and not feel disappointed when you realize that he or she is not what you had in mind.

As with any service, building a good relationship requires effort on both sides, so don’t assume that your provider knows or understands what your expectations are for this necessary relationship. Ideally, you should let him or her know right up front what you are hoping to achieve and how much interaction you would like.

Here are 5 easy steps that you can take to help develop a good relationship with your SEO provider.

1. Ask questions

You have every right to ask as many questions as necessary. As they say, the only dumb question is the one you didn’t ask. That’s because if you don’t ask, you will never know, or you will find out too late. Find out some basics as to how this provider plans to work with you. Exactly what services does he or she provide as part of the packages that are offered? If you are wondering about a particular area of SEO and how it’s handled, ask. Have a concern? Ask.

I have had clients wait six months down the road to ask me pertinent questions and then become angry when they learn that a particular area was not covered with their package. While I try very hard to cover all things through emails and contracts, there are sometimes other issues that need to be addressed. How much better if we had that discussion from the very beginning.

You may read online that SEO providers do certain tasks, or a well-meaning friend may tell you that his or her provider is handling particular tasks. Rather than assume your provider does the same, ask him or her for clarification. If you want or need additional services, it’s usually offered and may be a part of their packages as well, but don’t compare your provider with someone else’s.

2. Work with your SEO service provider

If your SEO expert is doing a good job, he or she will ask questions, make recommendations, and clarify issues regarding you, your business, your website, your content, your employees, your services, and more. They may need your approval before moving forward with a campaign or before posting a blog post or webpage on your website. Maybe you need additional content, a vital part of SEO and getting ranked on Google. Work with your provider to give them what they want or need to do their jobs properly.

Sometimes, it’s necessary for a verification number to be confirmed to get your business listed properly on Google, and these numbers can come via email, text, or a postcard in the mail. Getting ranked in Google is the main job of your SEO provider, so give them what they want and need. Sometimes, clients won’t cooperate with their providers, and they miss the opportunities to help their SEO campaign be as successful as possible.

3. Be patient and trust the process

SEO is all about search engines and keywords and your website. There is a lot of confusion about what SEO is and what it is not. For example, SEO is not Google Ads. Google Ads are PPC (pay per click) advertising, and while some providers offer PPC services (we do here at Capstone), it’s not the same as SEO. SEO is the skillset to get your website ranking organically for keywords that people search. Don’t assume that other forms of marketing or advertising will be done unless it’s been discussed.

There is also confusion about conversions sometimes. Keywords usually are chosen based on 1) SEO provider experience, 2) SEO provider research and 3) the wishes of the client. Your SEO provider should do his or her due diligence to find the best keywords so that people will find your site and eventually hire you to work for them (conversions). However, no one can make anyone buy something from you. And if you have insisted on keywords that aren’t converting, don’t blame that on your SEO provider – they were honoring your wishes. If you see that happening, go back to your provider and explain that you may have been wrong and let them work their magic.

In a future post, we will discuss conversions and the reasons that your site may not be converting people to buy. However, in the end, remember that your SEO provider cannot make conversions happen. Yes, it’s the goal, and yes, it’s why you’re paying them money. However, it’s one way to make conversions more probable, not a guarantee. PPC campaigns, Facebook advertising, website design and development, good content, and other things are also ways to make conversions.

Regardless of how smart your SEO provider is, he or she cannot “make” Google do anything. Google is a tool, a search engine, that can be used to help people find you. It requires time for this to happen. Some keywords rank more quickly than others – usually due to 100 different reasons. Every website is different – from the coding to the message to the person running the business.

Your SEO provider should never promise that you will rank quickly or be on the 1st page of Google. No one can make that happen. If your keywords aren’t ranking well after a few months (depending on your industry, of course), ask your SEO provider about the keywords they have chosen to use. If you can offer clarity, then do so. No one knows your business like you, so work with them and offer help.

A contract between you and your SEO provider that requires a minimum amount of time of service can be the best thing for you. Before I started requiring a monthly retainer for my SEO services, I had clients contacting me to ask why they weren’t ranking after one or two months. It just doesn’t work that way for most people because Google needs to naturally index your pages. If your industry is highly competitive, you may never rank at the top of the local map pack, but with time and patience, you should definitely see progress and more clients.

4. Be honest

Consider this scenario: Your friend offers to add some content to your website, assuring you that he or she knows about SEO and online marketing. Without thinking, you give them the login information to your site, and they commence to making changes. When you get your monthly SEO report, you see that your rankings have dropped, and you know what has probably happened.

At this point, the only honorable thing to do is to talk to your SEO provider and explain what happened. It’s likely that he or she will not be thrilled because your friend literally UNdid the work that they spent hours putting together. However, it’s better to be honest because it’s the only way the problem can be remedied. Swallow your pride and ‘fess up, so your site can get back to ranking in Google and getting you those clients you so desperately need.

Another situation is when you are paying other people or firms to handle other aspects of marketing for your site – PPC campaigns, Facebook advertising, additional content, backlinking, etc. While your SEO provider likely won’t care, those marketing tactics can affect what he or she is trying to do for you. Be honest and let them know so they can take that into account as they work for you. There is no shame in that and it will avoid the embarrassment of them finding out later and asking what’s going on.

5. You get what you pay for

It’s true with anything in life, you know. SEO services is a unique skillset that most websites need if they expect to be found on Google. While SEO work takes time, it also requires waiting to see what Google will do once keywords have been placed on a site. SEO work is an investment that puts your site in a good place so it can be found on Google by people looking for services like yours.

I’ve worked with people who balked at my prices even though they are lower than most SEO providers. As with any service, you get what you pay for. If you want to get your site ranking in Google, plan to pay the money to make it happen. I would suggest only working with providers that have a proven track record or testimonials. Unfortunately, I’ve worked at marketing firms where businesses were paying high-end dollars and not getting any work done. That was disheartening and one of the reasons I started my own firm.

At the end of the day, you hired this person to help you with your SEO services. It was your decision, and if you asked questions, you entered this relationship with a clear head. If you find that things are not working, ask questions until you feel better about things. Don’t be a jerk – you really need this person to like you. My favorite clients are those who appreciate what I do for them and tell me so. They know that I’m helping them, and they are appreciative. As my father says, “You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.”

Final thoughts

Having a good relationship with your SEO provider is very possible with a little bit of effort and a whole lot of common sense. The Good Books says that we should treat others as we would like to be treated. Be kind to your SEO provider and let him or her know that you appreciate the effort. Ask questions, assist as needed, and give them the benefit of the doubt. The proof is in the pudding, and if they are bringing traffic to your site, they are doing their job, so let them know that you appreciate it.

Contact Tracy for SEO Services

At Capstone Digital Marketing, we strive to develop clear relationships with our clients so they can get the results they are looking for. Our CEO and SEO expert is Tracy Gimpel, and she has proven time and again that you CAN get ranking in Google with some hard work and patience. Our clients’ win is our win, and that’s why we believe in honesty and communication. If you’re ready to work with an SEO expert who can make a difference for your business, contact us today and let’s get started. We can’t wait to work with you!