So, you’ve decided you need some help with your SEO.
Good for you! Outsourcing your SEO is one of the most efficient, cost-effective things you can do for your business. Not only are you opening up your time to be more flexible with the things that really matter to you and your brand, but you’re putting a difficult job in the hands of a professional. There’s no better way to ensure that your business will garner the online attention it deserves than with an SEO expert.
You might now be in the process of waiting to hear back from your chosen SEO partner in crime. Once you have, you probably assume, it’ll be a case of agreeing on some sort of deal, before parting ways and only hearing from your SEO expert in their regular reports.
Right and wrong.
Outsourcing your SEO can be that simple… in the end. But when you’re still in the stages of discussing your SEO with website developers, designers, PPC experts, and whoever else you’ve got on board to boost your online presence, communication is key. In fact, it’s vital.
You can’t expect an SEO agency to understand exactly what your brand stands for, or what you want to succeed from their SEO implementation, until you’ve made it very clear to them. And that might mean sitting back and thinking a few things through yourself.
Start simple. Do you know what you want to achieve from your business’ online platforms? What’s the message you want to communicate? Who are you aiming it at?
If you’re not sure yet, it’s time to make some essential considerations. Here are 3 things to have a deep think about before your initial discussion with an SEO expert:
What’s my strategy?
Every business needs a strategy. Think of it as your plan of action: it covers your aims, your goals, everything you wish to achieve, if you’re not doing so already.
You most likely already have some form of a strategy in place, but a strategy is nothing if it’s not clearly outlined somewhere (even if this is just in your head). Communicating your strategy to an SEO expert is the best way to give them a good understanding of your industry, which may be pretty niche, and the outcomes you’d hope to achieve in it. There’s no shame in highlighting what you’re already doing well, either. It’s important to act on positive trends from a marketing perspective.
When it comes to your strategy, ask yourself first of all: how am I currently communicating my purpose online? Your brand purpose, if you’re not sure, if the reason why you set up your business in the first place. It’s the gap you wanted to fill, the problem you wanted to solve. It usually involves helping people in some way.
Being clear of your purpose is the first step. Implementing it in your online marketing is something else.
Who is my current/target audience?
You need to make your SEO specialist aware of your precise brand purpose, going into as much detail as possible. Show evidence of how you currently communicate your purpose, if you do (don’t be concerned if you don’t – that’s what your new SEO campaign will achieve).
You also need to have a clear idea of your audience. Not just who you want them to be, but who they are. Because that speaks volumes. How big is your current client or customer list? Who are they? How do they behave? And, most importantly, how do you want your audience to evolve with your brand? Again, give this some deep thought and be sure to communicate it to your SEO specialist in that initial meeting.
Understanding your customers is key. They might like your products, but that doesn’t mean you have them on your side forever. The more you know about your customer, the better. Luckily, some aspects of SEO can help you to help you to learn more about your customers through their online activity alone. But it’s good to have some idea of what you’re working with before you start up with your new SEO campaigns.
Who are my competitors?
Perhaps the words fill your stomach with dread: your competitors.
We all hate to think about them, lurking just out of reach, not quite as far in the background as we’d like. Our competitors are our biggest nemesis – but we can also learn a lot from them. And you may have more than you initially thought you did.
Of course, your key competitors are those that have similar, or the same, brand purpose. Their mission statement is almost identical. They aim to help the same people with the same problem as you do. You also have competitors that solve a similar, or the same, problem as you do, but with a different product or technique. It’s just as important to keep your eye on them.
A final competitor to consider is your SEO competitors. These will most likely link up to your biggest competitors with a similar or identical brand purpose. They’re the ones who are performing best on Google and other search engines at the moment. You want to knock them off the top post.
While an SEO expert can do their own research into your competitors – and will do, no matter how much prior information you provide – you know your industry best. This gives you the advantage of being able to list out your top competitors from your perspective. They might not necessarily be the brands and businesses that are sitting at the top of Google. Sometimes competition goes deeper than who is outperforming you in search engine rankings – and your SEO specialist would really benefit from your knowledge.
Your point is not to copy your competitors. It’s to beat them. And with the right SEO implementation from an industry expert, and a solid, effective marketing strategy in place, there’s no reason why you can’t succeed in this, all while staying true to your business and everything it stands for.