Top 5 Expectations a Client Should Have When Beginning an SEO Engagement

Making the decision to begin a full-service SEO project for your company is not a light decision.  There is a fair amount of due diligence involved in understanding the difference in service offerings among competing agencies, consulting of client references, and securing a dedicated marketing budget.  However, once you’ve made the decision is make to begin a comprehensive SEO program you should give yourself a pat on the back for making a wise investment.  That being done, it now must be demonstrated that a wise decision was made by both you and your colleagues.  There are certain expectations you’ll have which need to be fulfilled.

As SEO continues to evolve, I’ve seen client expectations that run the gamut.  While certain expectations such as ‘all keywords moving to the top of page 1 within 6 months,’ may be a bit of a stretched goal, there are a handful of expectations which I believe any comprehensive SEO project should fulfill.  Below, I outline 5 key expectations any client should have when beginning a holistic SEO program.


1-Continuing Positive Trend for Number of Keywords on Page 1

good SEO firm is likely not to guarantee any specific number of keywords moving up to particular ranking positions, however is should be expected that an overall positive trend in keyword ranking improvements is seen over time.  In general, it will take 1-2 months after implementing the first round of SEO changes to the site before improvement in keyword rankings is seen. Please keep in mind, that this data should be seen.  The 6-month mark should look better than the 3- month mark and 12 months out should look drastically better than 6 months.

2-Proper SEO is more than just changing ‘Metas’

SEO is more than just updated meta-data such as ‘page titles,’ ‘descriptions,’ and ‘keywords.’  There are several key aspects to a comprehensive SEO plan that should be included such as: a comprehensive inbound link building program, an analysis and set of recommendations to make your site structure more search engine friendly, and a focus on recommendations for generating high user value content.

3-Agreed-upon Metrics should be established upfront and measured regularly

No search marketing investment can be proven valuable if  key metrics are not established and measured regularly.  It is important that you and your agency establish a ‘scorecard’ which will define success, and which is to be updated and discussed regularly.  After collecting 2-3 months of data, monthly ‘targets’ should be established in order to confirm the team is on the right track and generating the best results possible.

4-Your SEO Team has the technical savvy and resources available to make quick site changes

With SEO evolving so quickly, it is vital that there are technical resources available to understand your site’s back-end and efficiently make site changes as needed.  Timely SEO implementation can be a strong competitive advantage.  Implementation that is infrequent or inconsistent will results in slowed results.

5-The Account Management Team regularly discusses the latest developments in search marketing

Has your search marketing agency discussed the SEO implications of Google’s +1 and its connection with Google’s overall plan with Google+?  To obtain the best SEO results and stay ahead of the competition, you must be on the leading edge of understanding the rapid developments in the field.

In the end, following these 5 expectations closely will help you discover the right solution providers for your SEO program.  Each SEO program must be specially tailored to each unique business and it is the responsibility of the SEO program leaders to have a deep understanding of your company’s goals, benchmarks, and future development plans.  Cultivate your search marketing strategy around these 5 tips and you will be ready to take on the project in the right way, with the right expectations.