How to Cooperate with SEO Specialists

15 May 2018

How does the cooperation between SEOs and clients look? Besides all the formalities, you ask us for help on your website, we assess the current situation, create an offer, and then we work together to make your site perform better in the search results. After which, you give us money for a job well done and everyone is happy and content.

Sounds easy, right? Well, it’s not always that smooth. First of all, what do I mean by we work together?

We list all of the problems that are present on your site, make an 80–100 page SEO audit, send it to your developers to do whatever they want with it, take your money, and run as fast as we possibly can?

We don’t do that.

If you aren’t one of our clients, you might not be aware that here at Onely we (on-page SEOs) emphasize transparency in our activities.

In saying we work together, I mean we work directly with our client’s developers using project management systems like Jira or Trello, create particular tasks for every single problem we find on your website, and check them dynamically. We want to make sure that our recommendations are implemented correctly and we want your team to have a full view of things we’re recommending and why we are recommending them.

Before we go on, here’s a quick look at Onely’s workflow:

I think the most important thing in the cooperation between an SEO Specialist and the client is how the cooperation “feels.”

And that’s why I wanted to write this article. If you and your team feel good about your cooperation with an SEO, not only does it go as smooth as butter, but the later results might even be way better.

I’d like to list some of the most common problems I have come across that made me…

How to cooperate with SEO specialists - Star Trek facepalm

These can be easily avoided to make the cooperation feel awesome.

And before I forget, I’d like to thank Andrew from Optimisey.com and the people from the Onely team (Ania and Artur!) that shared their experiences with clients and helped me in creating this article.

Access to Stuff

First of all, I’d like to point out the most basic problem. If we ask you for access to your site’s Google Search Console (GSC) and Google Analytics (GA), it means we need it. If you don’t know what GSC and GA are, then we might get the kind of situation Andrew best describes in this tweet:

How to cooperate with SEO specialists - Optimisey on Search Console and Google Analytics are not the same and clients don't understand that

GSC and GA are the most accurate sources of data that helps us monitor the current state of your site. Thanks to them, we can tell if what we’re doing to your site is positive or negative.

The same goes for your server logs, the best source of data on how your site is crawled by Googlebot, so we are able to optimize your site’s crawling budget.

We need these resources to provide you with our best work.

Overall, if we’re asking for something we have a real reason for why we need it, and we always give you what those reasons are.

If you don’t understand why we need something, please ask us for an explanation. We will be happy to explain it better.

If you only give us a limited amount of the data that we need, we simply can’t be 100% sure of the results.

How to cooperate with SEO specialists - Limited access to Search Console and Google analytics means we can't help you - image of doors locked with chains

(Side note: Speaking of GSC and GA, I’d like to emphasize one more thing — SET THEM UP for your website!)

“I Can Do It Better”

The legendary “I can do it better” attitude. This might sound rude, but in my opinion, the dumbest thing you can do during a cooperation with an SEO Specialist is to dismiss a recommendation because you think we want your site to lose traffic or that you can do it better.

It’s a clear waste of money — you give us money to help you and then you want to ignore our help. Don’t do that, please.

We’re all human and we all make mistakes, but ignoring our help “just because” makes the partnership between the client and SEO feel like a toxic relationship where you spend your nights secretly checking each other’s phones.

How to cooperate with SEO specialists - Toxic relationship couple sitting on a bench

I understand you might not want to implement all of our recommendations or you’re not able to because of some technical limitations, but because we work directly with the developers, we’re able to find alternatives to doing some things. Most of the time it works out really well and both the client and SEO feel great about it. There is always a way.

Fear

This is one of the most ridiculous problems — clients that are afraid to make changes on their site because they are afraid of a visibility drop!

Yes, it happens, and it does make some sense that you are afraid. You don’t want to lose the traffic and revenue you have already gained, I understand. But let me ask you one question — what if the visibility of your site continues its downward trend?

It’s our job to make your site perform better. I understand that some of our recommendations might cause a temporary drop (like deindexing a low quality section of your site) but it’s worth noting that technical SEO provides your site with long-term effects.

By getting rid of all of the technical issues from your site, we can make your site achieve a lot more in the future. There is nothing to be afraid of — we get paid to help you.

Read, Understand, and Ask, Ask, Ask

This is an obvious one. As I said before, we work directly with our client’s developers, and we provide them with particular tasks for every problem we encounter. Here is where we encounter one little problem.

If you get a task from us, it can be simple or really complicated. Read it. Then read it again. And even if you think you understand it, read it once more just to be sure. If there are some parts you’re not 100% sure about, always ask for clarification.

This is the core of communication — we need to understand each other. Sounds obvious, right?

How to cooperate with SEO specialists - miscommunication issues - person reading chineese picture

Why am I asking you to do that? Because it’s totally natural for people to read fast and skip even the crucial parts that need to be remembered and understood.

If you have even the slightest confusion, don’t be shy and always ask for an explanation.

Fix and Check

If you know what you need to do with the task we gave you, then you can do your part and fix the issue.

When you’re done with your part, please do one more thing — before you put your task to the “To Check” section, please double check if everything is fixed properly and works as it should.

How to cooperate with SEO specialists - 2 wrenches - number 20 made in USA and second one made by farmount cleve

This will speed up the process and you won’t need to go back to the same task for the millionth time because some picky SEO like myself found a little bug in the same task for the millionth time.

Don’t Deploy on Friday

Oh man, do you even care?

How to cooperate with SEO specialists - don't deploy on friday - tired man sitting in armchair

It probably sounds obvious but I believe that there might be some people that are thinking, “What the heck is he talking about?”

Let me show you what I mean. Imagine you are working with us on optimizing a new version of your site, or a new section or a new something else, and you want to deploy your new baby as soon as possible.

Then you pick a date that happens to be a Friday(!). To make it even worse, Friday around 4 pm(!). Why is that so bad? Because we need to constantly check if the deployment is going well to prevent any problems from happening, and react dynamically.

Even with a clear redirect map that shows you how every single URL should be redirected, there is always room for error. And if you deploy on a Friday, especially late afternoon, because “#YouOnlyLiveOnce” we won’t be able to help you during the big event.

Please, please, please pick a more sensible day so we have some time to react and fix any issues that might appear. It’s so simple and so helpful at the same time. We will be thankful.

How to cooperate with SEO specialists - red neon sign saying thank you

So What Should I Do?

Besides not doing the “clever” things that I listed above, I’d like to emphasize one thing that you actually should do.

You should trust your SEO specialist.

If you picked a particular agency, or a particular specialist, then you have already checked them out, looked at the work they have done, and read some opinions. You already know what they’re capable of.

You sought us out to make your site perform better. We want the same thing — it’s our job.

So please trust us, trust our recommendations, so we can all live happily ever after. ❤

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