Often times when we meet with a client for SEO services they have a list of questions they want you to answer to help them decide if you are the company they want handling their website. Many times these questions involve how we go about our work, who have we worked with in the past and what we can guarantee them. Too often we fail to ask our clients important questions that they need to be able to think about and try to answer to help us in our work. The following is a list of questions that I like to provide my client early in the analysis stage, prior to securing a contract. These help them to determine what they are really looking for and how it will help their business as well as provide me with valuable information to better serve them. Lastly, it can tell me if I should walk away from the client!
1. What are your goals from SEO? – The client should have some general goals that they expect SEO to accomplish and be able to state them. It is your job to advise them if the goals they wish to achieve are reasonable and achievable.
2. Who or what is your business? – If the client cannot explain who or what their business is all about you are going to have a difficult time figuring it all out yourself. They are supposed to be the experts on their business so they should be able to articulate it.
3. Who is your target market? – If a business has been around any length of time they should have a good idea of what they target market looks like in terms of geography, sex, age, and what products or services are most appealing. This can all help in determining what content needs to be added or improved to increase engagement and conversion.
4. What differentiates you from the competition? What sets you apart? Why should I pick you or your business? – If a client cannot tell you why their product of service is different from every other website selling the same thing it will be impossible for you to figure it out. If they think they are the best they should be able to tell you. This is important information when putting together the content they will need for their website. Their differentiation may only be price but whatever it is it should be clearing pointed out on the website.
5. What are some of the reasons given by your customers for having chosen you? – Although your client may think they know what makes customers choose them, it is important that they are able to tell you what customers say.
6. What role do you see your website playing in your overall marketing and what are the exact goals for the website over the next 6-12 months? – If is important to have an idea of how the client expects the role of the website to play in their overall marketing and the goals they expect to achieve over a given time period. Without setting goals you have no idea of whether you are being successful. Remember that goals can be adjusted if necessary.
7. Who are your top competitors? Are they mainly local, national or international? – Keep in mind that when you are talking about top competitors you are looking for those that are ranking higher in search engines than the client, not necessarily the one down the street or across town. You are focusing on those that draw more visitors to their website.
8. Do you currently have someone handling your search engine marketing and are you satisfied with the results? – If a client has not used an SEO service previously you are starting with a clean slate however, if they have use an SEO before and had a bad experience it is important to find out what they were dissatisfied with to ensure you do not make the same mistakes.
9. Do you have a definitive strategy for social media? – Without a clear social media strategy you are just posting without really knowing why.
10. What are your specific goals for each social media platform? – Hand in hand with having a social media strategy is determining specific goals for each platform. Ultimately you are using social media to increase you exposure and drive traffic to your website but you should set goals for each platform that are measurable.
11. Have you identified unique audiences for each platform that engage with you? What type of content do they engage with? Are you actively engaging your fans, followers, readers on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.? – The client needs to identify the audience that they engage with and the type of posts that receive significant engagement in order to plan your strategy and tactics to increase engagement. This should also include such information as sex, age and geographic location of follows, likes and readers to assist in developing content that will increase engagement.
12. Who handles each of your social media platforms? – If their social media platforms are run by a variety of people it will make coordinating and adhering to strategy and tactics more difficult.
13. Have you done any paid advertising on the internet and if so, how effective was it? – It is important to determine if the client has previously tried paid advertising and how effective it has been. If it was a bad experience they may not be interested in trying it again and paid advertising may be what they need initially to draw the number of visitors necessary.
14. How much is one customer worth (on average)? How much are you willing to pay for a service to get that one customer or more? – It is important for the client to know what once customer is worth in order to determine how many customer need to be attracted to make your service valuable and affordable.
Although a possible client may not be able to completely answer all of the questions above it is important that they give them thought and discuss those they are confused about or simply do not know the answer. You can assist them by providing additional information to determine the answers. All of the information they can provide you will help you in formulating your SEO plan and both you and the client will start with a better understanding of what both of you expect. In closing it is critical that you understand what your SEO company should be doing for you. Find out the tasks they should be performing and that they really know their business.