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How to work with an SEO agency (and secrets they do not tell you)

How to work with an SEO agency (and secrets they do not tell you)

Your SEO agency does not tell you everything.

There is an excellent chance that you will not get the most out of your agency relationship because of what you do not know.

If you are a bad client, you leave money on the table.

If you put off or make things difficult when your agency needs something, you leave money on the table.

If you treat your agency like a waiter taking your order instead of a strategic partner, you are leaving money on the table.

I want to pull the kimono back a bit and tell you some secrets that your agency will never tell you, because if they did, they would probably make you angry. And crazy clients tend not to pay their bills.

3 types of SEO clients

There are three types of SEO clients.

Two of these customers are good customers.

One is … not so much.

Let’s talk about the good customers first.

Customers who understand what their agency is trying to do with SEO

These are good clients.


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If clients know SEO, they can often work with their agency to make sure they set the right priorities.

Customers who know SEO can provide valuable resources for the agency’s work.

These resources often result in the success being more marked than whether the agency or the client could achieve alone.

2. Customers who do not understand SEO … and know they do not understand it

These are good clients.

These clients typically let an SEO professional do their job.

As long as the results are promising, these clients allow the work to be done.

These clients work best with SEO practitioners who can deliver a turn-key solution and not just a roadmap.

These clients allow SEO professionals to flex their creative muscles as they are typically not limited by preconceived notions of how SEO should be done.

SEO professionals can do what they think is right, as opposed to doing what the client thinks needs to be done, which we will talk about when discussing the bad clients.


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And now, the third and only bad type of client.

Customers who think they know SEO and want to dictate the SEO process

These are typically bad customers.

These are the clients that send you every SEO tip they read from people who honestly are not qualified to do SEO.

They forward you emails from spammers claiming that the client’s site is not well optimized.

These clients believe in the far-fetched claims of these random, shotgunned emails that are not worth the pixels they pick up on screen.

These clients are attracted to the latest shiny object from the SEO world, whether that applies to them.

Working with these clients can be a nightmare.

As an agency, your only hope is to turn them around and either train them to become a client who can contribute – or get them to retire and let you do your job.

For some client personality types, both options can be difficult to achieve.

Trust your SEO or fire them

The relationship between an SEO professional and the client is over when the client loses confidence in the SEO professional.

Sometimes this happens before the relationship even begins.

About half of the clients who come through our door have had a bad experience with a previous SEO.

So often we are dealing with luggage that we did not create.

Trust is certainly earned.

However, if a client is not open to letting an SEO professional earn their trust, the relationship is doomed from the start.

If you have previously been burned by an SEO agency, make sure your new SEO agency knows what happened and why you feel weakened.

Give your new agency the chance to earn your trust.

If you can not, your efforts will fail no matter how good the new SEO agency is.

On the other hand, if you find that it can no longer trust that your SEO agency will help you achieve your goals, it’s time to part ways.


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There is no shame in divorcing.

This does not mean that the SEO agency is bad – or that the client is bad.

That means there was no seizure.

I have learned over the years that there are many competent SEO professionals out there, but not all fit all clients.

When trust is gone, success is elusive.

Try to be your agency’s favorite client

The absolute best way to get the most out of your agency is to be their preferred client.

SEO agency work is ungrateful. When things go well, you rarely get the credit you deserve.

The agency is almost always the one to blame when something goes wrong, whether it is their fault or not.

As agencies, we must constantly communicate our success to the client. In most cases, they will not recognize the performance of the program, even if the results exceed some reasonable expectation.


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In the short term, you can get more out of an agency by using a stick and threatening all kinds of chaos if you do not get your way.

But over time, this strategy will backfire.

Eventually you will be the boy who cried wolf and your agency team will not jump when you really need them.

In some cases, you will be fired as a client. Yes, I fire an average of 2-3 clients a year.

When dealing with your agency, the carrot is a bigger weapon than the stick.

If you become your agency’s favorite client, you can get more out of them.

Most agencies do not care how much you pay.

They know this information, but most likely their compensation does not just depend on your retention fees.

If your daily contacts like you, they will work on your stuff more than their other customers.

They look to you when they have extra hours or other perks that often come up at agencies like participating in beta programs, etc.


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This does not mean that you should just let the agency go and not communicate with them.

In fact, on the contrary.

If you are silent, you can be ignored.

But if you treat your agency representative with respect, thank them for their work and give them what they need, you will be amazed at how much more you can get without spending extra money.

Bottom line, treat your bureaucrats as friends and people, and the benefits can be huge.

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