I’m not a salesperson but in order to win hearts, minds, and new client contracts I need to explain how SEO works and what tasks we’re performing monthly. It’s hard enough explaining how SEO works to someone who already has a marketing background. Explaining SEO to potential new clients (PNCs), business owners, and people from a non-technical background can be down-right agonizing. But a client’s basic understanding of how search engine optimization works is paramount to retaining clients and getting new ones.
Sure, some will openly tell you they have no idea how it works and just trusts you. But blind trust could land the livelihood of your business in the dangerous lap of a bad SEO. Learn more about the tasks your SEO company should be performing regularly by niche, and red flags to identify spammers masquerading as SEO experts.
A successful SEO campaign works by ranking your site for its most valuable keyword searches. Factors that affect ranking include topical, recently updated content; domain history, quality, and trust; quality, relevant backlinks; citations; site speed and performance; and user experience (UX). It involves much more than this, but we’re keeping it nice and simple so you don’t fall asleep.
The most important piece of advice I can give you regarding SEO is that you ask for a monthly work summary and access to all accounts created for your campaign. There are so many factors affecting a website’s visibility and keyword ranking. They can be lumped quite generically into three categories: on-site optimization, off-site optimization, and research. On any given day I find myself doing one of the following things for my clients’ campaigns and so much more.
SEO Task Examples
- Keyword research
- Competitive research
- Industry research
- Content gap analysis
- Conversion optimization tweaks
- Content Improvements
- Technical site audits
- CDN configuration
- Website maintenance
- Tracking tests
- Goal configuration audit
- Microdata markup validation
- Finding content opportunities
- Auditing and updating citations
- Finding new citations to create
- Outreach to source experts
With so many moving parts it’s hard to see where time is being spent but it’s even more important to know where it should be spent. Let’s take a look at the most important tasks your SEO company should be performing monthly by the type of campaign they are managing for you.
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Universal SEO Tactics
The most important SEO tactics that are universally important for all campaign types are:
- Curating copy, copywriting, and publishing quality content on a regular basis
- Improving existing content
- Mentions and links from authoritative and niche sites
- Schema and micro-data
- Visible qualifications, expertise, licenses, certification
- Website speed and performance
- Strategic Calls-to-Action (CTAs)
- Tracking & Reporting
Important Tasks for Local SEO
If you’re a local business your SEO company should also spend time finding and creating new local citations. They should be consistent, descriptive, and have as many categories filled out as possible that make sense for your business. Streamlining citations is an extremely time consuming (some might say it’s soul-destroying) task that is ongoing. It’s never finished. They may ask you to sponsor a local sports team, event, or non-profit in exchange for a mention or link. Creating new content and improving your existing content regularly is also extremely important.
They should be posting on Google My Business occasionally and monitoring your GMB listing to make sure third party “suggestions” don’t become permanent. Local Business schema should also be deployed, complete with service, and review schema to mark up every one of your service pages.
Legal Internet marketing is one of the most competitive campaign niches. Lawyers and law firms rely heavily on local search ranking and ads for leads. Your campaign manager should be building legal citations that align with your firm’s official name, address, and phone number. Your content should help explain quoted statutes in terms a non-legal audience can understand. Your site should also have “Legal Service” schema, “Has Offer” schema, and “Star Rating” schema for review markup in SERPs. Your team will likely be spending the bulk of its time curating citations, creating content, and performing outreach to find opportunities off-site for you to contribute your expertise to journalists who need to cite a credible source.
Legal search results fall within Google’s YMYL (your money your life) category, so Google puts more weight into the authoritativeness and proof points on your website and across the web. Your website should display your firm’s experience, accolades, accreditations, certifications, and awards prominently on the homepage and every practice area page.
…ask for a monthly work summary and access to all accounts created for your campaign.
Some of the top legal niche websites your firm should create are below.
- Expertise.com (not a legal site but great op to improve authority)
If you have an SEO team that also manages your online store, they should be focusing heavily on creating new content, schema implementation, improving user experience (UX), and outreach to find opportunities to highlight and link to your products from other places online. Social media can really drive sales and help build audience segments for your site by product pageview so that you can follow abandoned carts up with retargeting product ads.
Warning Signs Your SEO is Really a Spammer
Unfortunately, spammers plague the search engine marketing industry. Instead of using skill, strategy, and performing like professionals some use antiquated tactics that can lead to an algorithmic penalty or manual Google penalty. Link building is by far the most common type of SEO spam. Warning signs the company you hired is building spammy backlinks include:
- Mention of Web 2.0 links, reciprocal links, or directory links (eeeeek!)
- Site ranking for terms that are way off-topic
- Homepage suddenly not showing in search results
- No explanation of work performed off-site except “link building”
- High ratio of exact match anchor text links to non
- Backlink count growing at an unnatural rate (check backlink data free at ahrefs.com)
- Content on your site has unnatural keyword stuffing
- They don’t include content expansion and improvement in tasks
- Your campaign is outsourced to a third party team
If you identify any of these red flags run for the hills! But first, make sure you have full access to your website and all of your accounts and secure any possible with 2-factor authentication. Unfortunately, a small percentage of this industry has earned a reputation for retaliating against companies who cancel their services.
If you find yourself in this boat, give us a shout. We’ve helped tons of other business owners get out of this sticky situation mostly unscathed.