I recently got hired as a SEO consultant at a medium sized agency (20 employees). Any tips I should know before I start?
This will be my first fulltime entry into the online marketing world after my graduation from university.
Over the years I have done 1 five-month internship at a leading e-commerce company in Germany. So I do have some practical experience, but that was in-house. Besides that, I have been reading and following well known blogs such as Ahrefs , Moz and Backlinko for a long time. My theoretical knowledge is well sufficient.
I'm looking for tips from people who work on the agency side. What can I expect when I start? What should I watch out for?
If it is any help, I'll be dealing with companies that have monthly budgets for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) + AdWords of around €5,000 – €10,000.
Thanks in advance!
Do you have any experience with ranking sites from scratch?
• Always back up your work and make notes. Test your backups, they will fail. If on WP turn off caching plugins before backing up anything.
• Run A/B test whenever possible
• Do NOT make a bunch of changes at once. Shit goes bad, then you have no idea what to revert and what went well.
• Always inform clients about risk before making decisions. You're going to mess up and there are lots of instances where your rankings will take a nose dive with little to no explanation.
• If your client sites have WordPress, learn how to optimize that well and manage dookie plugins that will bring the site down. (Ideally less plugins the better)
• Be honest with results, don't over promise, don't rank them high for garbage keywords just to show "you got them results". Focus on what makes your clients businesses succeed as that will save you headaches in the long run.
• Always have results, opportunities and new things for your clients. During the infancy period of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)/Pay Per Click (PPC) clients will be happy to hear of all the changes and upgrades happening to their sites, don't forget to to throw new things to keep them feeling like they're getting value.
• Communicate with your clients, don't go silent. Even if you're providing great results make sure they KNOW that. My happiest clients are ones that I talk to 15-30 minutes on the phone weekly.
• If you're running Adwords make sure you're constantly running split ads, managing negative keywords, and leveraging location/demographic bid adjustments.
• Your agency probably has it, but make sure to playback visitor recordings to see if parts of your client's sites are goofing up and what can be done to increase customer engagement.
Thanks so much for all these tips, I will surely bear it all in mind. I think the most important lessons I've already learnt from talking to different people is that showing proactivity is crucially important. Communication is key!
Do most agencies dual purpose SEO and PPC?
Nearly all SEO agencies i've worked with have either specialized or handled PPC in some capacity. Though PPC is a monster of its own, it intertwines closely with best SEO practices and site optimization.
Question: as someone who is very interested in SEO, and i think i could do the work well, but with terrible people skills, is SEO still for me in some form?
A lot of smaller agencies require the SEO consultant to be both the salesman, advisor and technical person. However, any good agency will make sure to highlight your strengths and assign you tasks related to that. So if you're not good with people, there's plenty of technical and analytical work that comes with SEO that you can delve into.
Just one side note, even if you're not good with people, it's very valuable to be able to see things from the perspective of a new user. Meaning, first time experience, ease of access to information and ability to convert from a website visit. As the SEO guy you pretty much turn into the web development guy when it comes to making sure your clients sites are able to get sales. I know a lot of guys that get blinded by rankings and forget that a good website/ad copy/content is far more important to the business. More traffic doesn't always = better for the business, even if it's slightly relevant.
You can record the playbacks of users visiting your site using screen tracking software like Mouseflow or Hotjar.
Manage expactations! If they think you'll bring them 20% more Traffic in the next month, tell them it would be an untrustworthy statement if you would promise that much increase in traffic. Understand the customers pain points and how SEO can help with that.
Yes! I believe as a starting point with every new customer it is important to manage the customers' expectations. Simultaneously, it's also very important as the SEO marketeer to understand the clients business.
Thankfully, thinking realistically and making correct estimates of time, costs and the like have always been a strong point of mine.
Thanks for the tip!
That's good to hear! You're very welcome.
Keep a log of everything you do/change. It will help you with future projects, keeps ur boss happy so they can quantify your work and if you make a mistake or whatever to you can go back and remember what you've done.
Certainly a good idea. I will already have to write up everything I do, so that the company can properly justify bills to clients.
You'll likely work with multiple clients. Always make sure you're tracking everything from the start. As you find yourself prioritizing clients, its easy to forget about the small ones that have odd campaigns once in a blue moon. You're going to thank your past-self for ensuring tracking was installed months prior to receiving a sudden request to for research/reporting.
Thanks! What are your favorite tracking tools?
For keyword ranking so far I prefer SEMrush. For basic SEO Key Performance Indicators (KPI)s such as bounce rate, conversion etc I've just been using Google Analytics so far.
Analytics is great. Link up all your platforms like Adwords and Search Console to it
I use Google Tag Manager (GTM) for the more granular tracking (scroll depths, video plays, events etc)
For keyword research, Adwords Display Planner is great for long tail ideas.
I've worked as Head of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for two years and currently I'm at one of the biggest webshops in Denmark selling baby clothes. When I got here the first thing I did was to make sure where the lowest fruits are. Do they have a proper link profile, is the code optimized and fast and finally how does the content look on-site.
Afterwards I made a very thorough plan for where to start.
Do you have to do both SEO and AdWords??
Thanks for your tips! Would love to work in Denmark; I have some experience working with BESTSELLER in Aarhus and Amsterdam on their webshops.
I will not be doing AdWords, my collegues will do that.
Thank you for your pointers on where to start. Definitely sounds good to me, and preparing a plan like that certainly shows proactivity to your customers from the very beginning. Surely they will appreciate that!
I do still have to learn more about the coding side of things, though. I'm doing my best to quickly learn the basics of HTML and CSS before I start.
Sounds great – BESTSELLER in Aarhus is quite big! Remember to argue for why your plan looks like that. Companies want to learn what you are doing – they wont use you as a consultant for several years, so get that into your head ;) Just like if you had your own company. At some point they want to insource the whole thing – and a guy like you :-)
I also started as a SEO Consultant in a medium size company. After doing some On Page changes ( Title, Meta Description and Content), I got 10% increment in organic search but things went backwards after that. Since I have didn't have any logs it is becoming difficult for me. Always keep logs of what you are doing. Also make use Google analytics, webmaster and even Google adwords. They may not be precised but still they give so much information regarding keyword search.
I started as a SEO Consultant. After doing some On Page changes…
Consultants gather facts and data, then present a report(s) via PDF or slide deck as to what the problems are, and how they can be overcome. They have been engaged by people who need to know what the possibilities are given their current situation. Consultants do not put their hands on the levers.
Engineers and Software Analysts and Programmers flip the switches. So if you touched the levers and made a measurable difference, you're an SEO Engineer, and you actually made a difference. You didn't just theorize a possible outcome, you made a demonstrable, measurable improvement!
Since I have didn't have any logs it is becoming difficult for me…
(This is mostly motivated by a new employee who is bombing out, so bear with me)
• Ask Questions – Pretending like you understand when you don't, will get you nowhere.
• Learn Their Methods – Doing something the way your manager wants is more important than doing it the right way. (Down the line you'll likely learn their way is better, but for now assume the person paying you is right)
• Build a Knowledge Base – If they don't have one for you, start documenting (step-by-step) every thing you do each day. Not only will it help you remember (and is great for reference) it's a great training tool down the road, and shows you take initiative.
3 is way less important than 1 and 2, but it's been a huge help, personally.
Thanks for your input. Will certainly try to ask as many questions as possible :) I'll be surrounded by senior SEO specialists, so lots of knowledgeable people around me. Definitely trying to get the most out of that!
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