Robert Murray from iProspect starts with some statistics from Jupiter Research. 64% of search marketers run into obstacles when trying to implement SEO recommendations. 48% of search marketers says they underestimated the resources required to implement SEO recommendations.
So what are the root causes of these obstacles? Its popular belief that client thinks they can handle all the work for the SEO. It’s the responsibility of both parties to get these tasks done. There is a lack of understanding clients constraints. Some of the solutions are an extensive discovery process, involve IT department early on, and build a realistic plan. The majority of times an SEO firm will recommend a significant change on the site and if you don’t involve the IT dept. then it may not get done. Lack of senior management commitment to SEO. Some of th4e solutions are to understand there are multiple constituents involved, senior management sponsorship and before the contract look. The next item is the inability to assess impact of SEO. Some of the solutions involve providing supportable forecasts, relevant case studies, and competitor examples. The next item is lack of prioritized recommendations. It’s a must for the SEO to have the IT department work on the high impact things first, do the easy things later. Rank items as low, med, and high impact. Also assess the effort of implementation vs. return. There needs to be understanding of a development schedule. The next issue is failure to set appropriate expectations. To do ease this you need to educate clients on SEO vs. P4P results. Provide a timeline with resource requirements. There are also internal vs. external requirements. You need to be realistic in your expectations. Robert did a good presentation, he mentions a url to see a report they did here: http://www.iprospect.com/about/free-sem-information.htm
James Gardner from One to One Interactive is up to share some insights from their work. His expertise is from pharmaceutical and life sciences clients. He says we are not in the business of delivering reports, its to deliver results. The responsibility as SEO there are some core expectations in order help our clients achieve success. Training clients to become great clients.
Awkward thought: How well do you really understand what goes on inside your client organizations? Think through how you can put yourself in the client’s shoes. He ask how many could step into there job and do it at the same efficiency? No one raised there hands. In his clients world, SEO success is not mission-critical. There are large complex organization with matrixed line of authority. Multiple internal stakeholders as well as multiple agency partners to deal with. He says they had one client to do an ethnographic study of their customers, it was amazingly revealing.
Managing internal resources is important. Sell SEO and make it a priority and sell the right expectations. Get (and keep) the right internal team is essential so that things can get done. If you are running a tight project with a client that is not involved you will suffer because of it. He also says have the client lead the charge, don’t delegate or outsource to an intern. He says he has seen it done where an intern is given the work. That will not work. Celebrate and share success with clients. Also conduct periodic review summits.
About managing SEO partners and his recommendations for people contracting an SEO firm. Ask hard questions early, and ask if they know anything about your industry. Encourage to share initial hypotheses you need to share with your SEO partner – then step back as you don’t want to limit your SEO. Let them explore and let them come back with creative thinking. Find out how SEO partner help us succeed with key stalkers. Make sure to recognize successes from your SEO. Expect and welcome new thinking. Don’t settle for a laundry list – insist on prioritized recommendations. Also ask about non-recommendations. These are things that usually don’t make it you, ask your agency why they didn’t recommend certain things. Engage an SEO as a long-term partners, not project based vendors. Share and escalate feedback so the agency can improve. He also mentions a matrix for deciding what the items are the most critical. Business value one side and how significant the recommendation is on the other axis.