Here’s a selection of some of the questions to ask potential SEO clients before starting any kind of SEO project, and why they’re important to the overall success of an SEO process.
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It is important to figure out if your client has been doing any search engine optimization. This question will allow you to properly set up your process and save you a lot of headaches down the road.
First, if your client has not actively done any SEO you basically start from square one. If, however, your client has dabbled in SEO in the past chances are there are penalty issues that you need to look out for. Conduct a site audit and check their backlinks profile. Follow up questions should include:
An important question to ask potential SEO clients is if they have hired any other SEO agency anytime in the past. If the answer to this question is “no” then move on to the next question. If your new client had in fact hired an SEO agency before it’s really important to find out:
The main objective of these question is to help you determine:
This question is one of the many questions about the client’s business that you should ask to you client. I’m including it in this list because I think you definitely should not forget to ask this question.
As agencies, you are experts in your field but the client knows his business the best, so it is important to hear your client’s words what his business’s USP is. Other questions related to getting a better understanding of your client’s business includes:
Finding out your client’s sales process will help you in determining the best conversion actions on the client’s website. When it comes to sales your client rather than you will know what works and what doesn’t, so it should be your aim to take this information and complement what works with SEO and online marketing.
Other sales related points to consider when designing the SEO approach for your client:
Ranking high in SERPs (A search engine results page (SERP) is the page displayed by a search engine in response to a query by a searcher.
The main component of the SERP is the listing of results that are returned by the search engine in response to a keyword query) can only be done by replacing the incumbent, in other words, if you aim to rank your client as number one, you need to remove the current number one.
You should definitely do your own research on the target market of your client to find out who the other players are and find out what kind of tactics they are using to dominate the SERPs. Your client can help you do this task much better by listing the key competitors.
More importantly, this question allows you to further probe your client about why your client thinks these competitors are important. Your client’s answers to the “why these competitors are important?” will point out what your client’s SEO and online marketing weaknesses are in relation to the competitors.
Further, you should also ask your client about his company’s strong points in relation to the competition. The answer provided will help you come up with strategies and content for your SEO and marketing planning.
Another question about the competition which many agencies skip is “are you impressed by any of your competitors’ websites, tactics, or strategies?”. This will help you identify potential best practices of the industry that you may be able to replicate.
In the end, in order to be competitive you should do what your competitors do and then some more.
Most clients are under the impression that SEO implementation immediately results in traffic, which is almost never the case. Good and robust SEO businesses take time to implement and deliver results.
It is important for you and your client to understand each other and for both sides to know what the required results are. Skipping this question will create problems at a later stage when you are unable to meet your client’s unreal expectations.
It is quintessential to know right at the start what your client wants out of the project and how you will measure the success:
The conversation about resource allocation (Budget) goes hand in hand with the one about the desired results. So use the opportunity to take stock of all resources that the client is willing to dedicate to the project.
Simply asking the question “what resources are you willing to dedicate to the SEO efforts?” most likely won’t get you all the information. So ask specific follow up questions such as:
These questions are intended to find out if your client has any potentially useful resources that you can use to reach the SEO goals.
For example, links with authority websites in the industry can lead to a series of mutual guest blogs, charities where your client donates money can be requested to link back to your client’s site, in house web-developers will make it much easier for you to change the structure or layout of the website and pages.
SEO is not a standalone practice for quite some time now, to get the most out of your SEO efforts it is important to identify and create synergies. Find out what other marketing activities your client undertakes.
Look for content marketing and online PR activities (Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing the spread of information between an individual or an organization (such as a business, government agency, or a nonprofit organization) and the public.), as these two fields have a lot of overlap with SEO practices.
Finding out if your client does marketing through any other channels can open new avenues as well. Ask your client the following questions:
how knowledgeable is your marketing team on the topic of SEO? it is important to determine how best to educate your client. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that your client knows about SEO and digital marketing as much you do, so it is always a good idea to
Based on your client’s answer you can determine whether you need to educate your client.
This question has to do with workflow as you will most likely need access to various digital marketing tools that the client uses. By asking whether the client is open to giving you access to the accounts you create an opportunity to explain the reason behind the request.
Here’s a list of accounts that you should definitely bring up in the conversation and ask if you can have access to:
It is important to find out if the client has any social media accounts, Twitter, Facebook page or group, LinkedIn page, or group…
It’s always a good idea to end the intake conversation with an open-ended question such as this just in case the client forgot to tell you anything or if you forgot to ask a question.
The answers to these questions should give you a lot of information to get things started on the right foot. You can ask these questions in writing, over the phone, or in person.
Obviously, asking it over the phone or in-person gives you the ability to ask to follow up questions and explain concepts to your clients as you talk about more advanced concepts. It is, however, very important to not let the information got lost, so either make a recording of the conversation (with your client’s permission of course) or make sure to write down notes.
Surely, this list not exhaustive but it should give you a good basis to build your intake conversation on. Good luck!
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