“My rule of thumb is to build a site for a user, not a spider.” – Dave Naylor.
“Google only loves you when everyone else loves you first.” – Wendy Piersall.
“The best place to hide a dead body is the second page of Google search.” – Anonymous.
Take a moment to ponder these quotes- what does it signal? Every client coming to get the website SEO-optimized expect outstanding results, which means the top position on Google’s first page.
As an SEO professional, you need a strategy in place. Before you contemplate creating a well-thought and well-designed SEO strategy, you need to know everything about your SEO client.
These details are as important as knowing about the vehicle before you begin driving else it results in unfortunate accidents. If you seriously take the SEO assignment, you need to conduct a discovery workshop as there are many points in the SEO strategy that are interconnected, and each one has a tremendous impact over another.
How are you going to conduct the discovery workshop? Well, there is no rocket science in the discovery workshop. It’s just a fancy name given to the list of questions that SEO pros should ask their clients before onboarding so that you can create an SEO-friendly plan that prevents you from shooting the dark.
- Here’s the questionnaire- take a sneak peek inside it:
Here’s the questionnaire- take a sneak peek inside it:
Before doing any groundwork, you should ask the client to define the brand, the products that it offers, USPs, and their expectations to avoid confusion and know the business objectives.
After knowing goals at the starting of discussion, you must ask to define KPIs for the business goals as the expectations of every SEO client vary by a large degree. Some expect traffic, while others expect improved brand awareness and high CTRs. It helps in creating achievable and realistic KPIs in sync with SEO clients.
Your target audience
Knowing the target audience is all-important because the brands do not necessarily always target the right audience. This question helps you in understanding what exactly you need to do- begin targeting the right audience or make improvements in the strategy to sharpen the target audience reach.
The information on the ideal customer base allows you to create landing page content, set target keywords, and tailor the efforts accordingly. Also, analytics tracking is easy to set up to check if things are working as expected.
A fair analysis of competition is essential to carve a distinctive niche in the crowded market. It starts by asking the client about their top competitors so that you can perform in-depth research and analysis about the competition, and get insights that reveal the strength, weakness, and others.
It helps you know the top-ranking keywords, the target audience, and the traffic sources so that you can make the SEO plan around it, which enables the client’s business to stand unique.
Your current ROI
You would find many SEO clients approaching you with high expectations set for ROI. You can check the feasibility of the expected results by asking the client about the latest ROI and future expectations. The comparison helps you at whether the improvements in the plan can make the target ROI achievable or not.
The comparison lets you show your client the plan that’s possible to accomplish; if not, then you can suggest a better plan with attainable ROI.
Your SEO budget
Better results through SEO gets better over time. It means SEO projects takes time that sometimes went up to months or a year to gain the desired results. The extended duration makes it necessary to check in advance whether the client has enough funds to keep the campaign running for achieving the winning upshots. Ask this thing from upfront.
Your top keywords
SEO success of the project depends on both parties involved. So is the case with keywords. As an SEO maestro, you know how to research and make which keywords rank. But it’s better to ask the clients for the keywords’ preferences like- long-tail or sales-oriented keywords they want to target before starting your research.
Instead of directly jumping on the research, consulting the clients save from later redundant efforts.
Your experience with the SEO company
SEO audit of the website makes it necessary to know if the website is previously SEO optimized or not. The information helps you know about the things you need to check like- content’s context, spammy backlinks, and more. When the website is already SEO-optimized, you should ask the client who has optimized the website before- the client did on their own or hired an SEO team?
The answer to this question helps in identifying the efforts that SEO agencies need to make because the clients most often employ black hat techniques to make things done, which is not the case with SEO professionals (Not necessarily always).
If the client says they have taken the help of an SEO agency before, you need to ask for more details. It includes the services they have offered, the outcome, name of the SEO agency, and the experience with the partnered SEO team that reveals the insights about the work they did and what you need to do.
The backlinks are the backbone of the website. The more the number of backlinks the business gain, the more the chances of getting to the top position increases. However, the way the backlinks get created also matters a ton.
Ask the strategy used to build backlinks that are found using backlink analysis tools. It showcases how the website has received the backlinks- through PR campaign, paid bloggers, or subscription to SEO packages. Knowing it straight from the client’s mouth makes the cat out of the bag.
Your involvement- the level!
After understanding the client’s expectations and feedback for the latest website strategy and future strategy, you need to ask how involved the client would be in the SEO strategy.
Some clients want the SEO agency to take permission before making any changes on the website, while others expect the team to make the changes and let the client know afterward in detail. Ask this question beforehand because the working style of every company is different that may not suit your working style.
Don’t forget to ask if they want every change to be legally approved by them or not before the changes go live.
Last but not least- have you ever penalized?
Google penalty is the biggest nightmare with which some companies went through. Regardless of good or bad, as an SEO professional, you should know because it indicates the type of work done before and the efforts you need to make.
Besides, it helps in auditing the website on the right parameters. For instance, if the website gets penalized for the spammy content, the information lets you know the rough estimate of work ahead of you and how you would fix the things.
Wrapping it up
The clients did thorough research before deciding to partner with an SEO agency. The situation is the same at your side. They are your customers, and you can’t start working with them just because they are ready to sign a deal with you. It’s you and your company have to offer the services and manage their expectations, which makes it utterly important to know everything about the website from in-and-out.
The questionnaire would help you know the hidden secrets that even the client never tells from the upfront. What’s more? You get to know how to audit the website, whether you can meet the client’s expectations or not, the client’s ROI expectations, their SEO budget, and their legal approval for everything. It helps a ton!
Don’t ignore the list of questions to ask from different team members as the answers save you from future conflicts and bad experiences. Bring them in practice and tailor them according to your client’s unique needs.
Name: Anil Patel
About me: Digital Marketing & Content Strategist Planner at NectarBits, An E-commerce app development company & On-demand App Solution Development Agency in USA & India, I am effectively forced behind the company’s content strategy, copywriting, brand communication and operations. My prime focus is Content Marketing, ROI. And I loves writing and sharing knowledge. I like to watch Tom and Jerry cartoon on TV in weekend days.