Most negative experiences business owners have with SEO fall into some variation of the two following scenarios:
Month 1 SEO Service: You pay your bill, no results
Month 2 SEO Service: You pay your bill, no results
Month 3 SEO Service: You pay your bill, no results
Month 1 SEO Service: You pay your bill, fantastic results!
Month 2 SEO Service: You pay your bill, rankings down, but still further along than you expected!
Month 3 SEO Service: You pay your bill, can’t find your site anywhere on the first 10 pages of Google
Totally unacceptable right? Agreed.
The SEO Company from Scenario A is probably doing solid work but because he has nothing to show you for 90 days of work, there’s no perceived value on your end.
SEO Company from Scenario B is looking for a quick pay day and just want’s to get you short term results, your future reputation with Google be damned.
Though some attorneys might reason that at least you “got something” out of Scenario B, I would argue that odds are you’re probably in much worse shape long term than you are in Scenario A. But that’s not the point of this article. What we’re going to discuss in this article is what led to these scenarios.
The Problem With Most SEO Companies
The problem with both of the above SEO companies is that they are either taking too much of a long term or short term approach and they are secretive about their process. They don’t want to share with you the tasks they’ve completed or the links they’ve built because either they haven’t done what they should or they’re scared. Scared of you picking their work apart, scared of you firing them and doing it yourself or worse, giving their super secret formula for success to a competitor.
Because of this most SEO providers operate with zero transparency which is why when I meet with a potential client who has an SEO company they usually say something along the lines of “I don’t know what my SEO company is doing but the results are bad/good/just ok”.
And that’s where a lack of transparency is a very bad thing.
I’ll be first to tell you that no one can guarantee SEO results, particularly in competitive areas. But what your SEO company should be able to provide you at any time whether you’re dominating your search market or have zero online visibility is some form of deliverable outside of “results” that shows that your investment in SEO (aka your company’s future) is going toward important work. I’m not talking about keyword ranking reports or even web traffic analytics. I am talking about things that show me you’re actually putting in the hard necessary work to help my business in the short and long term. Some examples of what I would call deliverables your SEO should be providing are:
- Links that have been built
- Links that have been attempted attempted but not successful
- Content created
- Sites you’ve marketed this content to
- Written analysis of your web site’s performance
- Milestones to measure success along the path to internet dominance
These are just a few SEO tasks but what I can tell you with near certainty is that if you do these basic things month in and month out, you will eventually rank in most competitive Local SEO niches. And that is why it’s so important that you know, that along with kw rankings and organic traffic increases, if you’re SEO company is doing these things. To borrow a football analogy (I’m known for those btw), this is the blocking and tackling of SEO. It’s tedious, it’s time consuming. Nobody wants to do it. Everyone wants to score touchdowns (rankings) or get interceptions (conversions) but without blocking and tackling you have no chance of winning the game. None.
How Elite is Transparent
We have two applications that allow us to track almost every single thing we do for our clients; TeamWork and RavenTools.
TeamWork is a project management app that shows all the scheduled tasks for every client we have. Outside of one off tasks here or there, everything we do for our clients on a monthly basis is documented in TeamWork and they have access to it with their own login.
RavenTools, on the other hand is the best application I have worked with (and I’ve worked with them all) for tracking link building efforts. So if a client want’s to know what links have been built, we simply run a report in Raven Tools (which creates a tidy little responsive HTML report) and there they have it.
What this level of transparency creates is trust in us from our clients who see us working hard for their business. On months when organic rankings/traffic/conversions are not where we want them to be or where our clients expects them to be, it helps us immensely to justify their investment in our service. Don’t get me wrong, nobody is more disappointed when a campaign isn’t performing but the benefit here is that because we aren’t beholden to JUST rankings, we don’t have to (and won’t) take short cuts to them, which means we don’t take unnecessary risks of getting our clients penalized.
On top of that that our process has proven itself over and over again across a wide array of competitive markets and ultimately what we are asking our clients to believe in. Our process and our ability to execute that process on their behalf.