Is SEO In Your Circle of Trust?

Your SEO Team Should Be One of Your Trusted Business Partners

We meet too many small and medium business owners who have lost trust in their SEO vendor. When they do, they drop the contractor and let the SEO work wither on the vine.

Broken and defunct SEO is an opportunity cost and an opportunity lost.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Is Foundational

SEO – the ever-changing best practices that help your business get found by the people who are looking for it – is big business because it works.

While it’s a powerful tool to grow your business, build a strong brand, strengthen credibility, expand reach, and more, SEO is not the only piece of your growth machine. Search Engine Optimization is just one of many moving parts comprising a successful internet marketing program.

SEO Is Not the End-All, Be-All

High-volume online marketing vendors who over-hype SEO are one of the reasons why business owners lose trust and toss the whole kit and caboodle with the trash.

Remember Bobby DeNiro’s Jack Byrnes in Meet the Parents?

If we can’t trust you, we have no choice but to put you right back outside the circle of trust. And once you’re out, you’re out. There’s no coming back.

Choosing an SEO Consultant You Can Trust

No need to be as rigid as Mr. Byrnes – watching your SEO provider, studying their every move. Or as rhapsodic as Sting – watching every breath they take.

You’ll know you’ve found your SEO partner when they exemplify the habits of good communication, clear expectation and goal setting.

  • Your partner SEO team is willing and able to explain things cleanly and clearly.

    You’ll meet online marketing folks who are experts in every piece of this complicated process, from keyword whisperers to load time prodigies. Doesn’t matter if they can’t explain to clients and prospects, like yourself, how it all works as well as current best practices. All SEO providers are in the business of communications. After all, what else is the internet? The burden is on them to win and keep your business with open and frequent communication.

  • Trustworthy SEOs set proper expectations.

    Save us from unscrupulous marketers. Nobody can guarantee search engine rankings. Full stop. Remember the old adage? If it sounds too good to be true, it is. Like, say, doubling your site traffic in x months. C’mon! It’s possible that any prospective SEO partner you interview may have to overcome your prior knowledge and assumptions, which you might have picked up from years of cocktail parties and chamber meetings where SEO has been touted as marketing’s better mousetrap and silver bullet.

  • Good SEOs are up-to-date on current SEO best practice.

    The internet is one of our greatest inventions and it’s still just a baby, growing and changing faster than any toddler. Your SEO team can’t be stuck in “the old days” talking about keyword stuffing, gaming the algorithm, and other sheisty and long-since debunked practices. Your SEM crew are hip to user experience (UX) and the mobile revolution.

  • Professional SEOs will ask about and help you interpret your budget.

    Anything worth doing is worth doing right – SEO is no exception. It’s an investment and a long-term one at that, requiring continual monitoring, tracking, and tweaks, ongoing inputs, maintenance, and updates. To be successful, it’s a process that requires a steady hand, careful vigilance, and adult supervision. Here’s one way to check your prospective internet marketing vendor’s integrity – tell them you only have $300 per month to “throw at” SEO. If they don’t flinch and explain to you the foregoing, then they’re probably here to take your money. In an upcoming post, we’ll look at some good starting budgets and what you should be able to expect from such programs.

  • Your partner SEO will make sure you understand what you’re buying; i.e., their deliverables.

    This goes back to the requisite strong communications skills — a big part of any sales job is client education. That’s no different for the seller of SEO services. Educating you on what to expect from their efforts on your behalf is the beginning of their accountability to you. If you don’t understand the program goals and objectives — what they’re supposed to be doing — you won’t know if they’re doing it or achieving it. You certainly won’t be able to help them help you and you might inadvertently do things that get in the way of their efforts of your behalf.

That’s why, in our next post, we’ll look closer at SEO deliverables – what are they these days? What constitutes a solid and winning SEO strategy? What doesn’t? What does a trusted SEO consultant look like? What will it yield? What won’t it?


Justin Staples

For 15 years, Justin has guided businesses on a transformative journey through strategic marketing and design to craft their unique online identity.