Rank & File: How to Effectively Onboard an SEO Agency

In this episode of Rank & File, we walk through how to successfully onboard an SEO agency. Watch and learn what documents you should provide & what your SEO agency should ask.

Going through the process of finding the right strategic partner to work with can be very difficult, but once you’re there you want to make sure that you’re set up for success. While it’s up to your agency to execute a winning framework to get everything they need, some of it is about the client being prepared to give the agency all the information they need.

In this episode of Rank and File, I walk through a series of things that you, as a client, should consider doing to set your SEO agency up for success.

Video Transcription:


Greetings and salutations, folks. Welcome back to another edition of Rank and File. I’m your host, Mike King, managing director and founder here at iPullRank. Today I want to talk about is how to effectively onboard an SEO agency.

So some of that we have to do obviously with our clients, and I want to speak about this from the client’s perspective on how they can be prepared to onboard an SEO agency to set themselves up for success. Obviously, you’re working with an SEO agency because you want to get a result and the best way to do that is to onboard them effectively.

Restate your goals

So the first thing is you want to restate your goals. No matter who ultimately sold the project to you. They may or may not have effectively communicated what it is that you’re expecting to have happen as a part of your engagement with them.

So you want to, in that first kickoff meeting, or even in the emails that lead up to that kickoff meeting, restate what your goals are as a business. Like, why are you working together? What do you want organic search to do for you? That way to hearing it from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. And that way everyone that’s working on the account understands what we’re trying to accomplish there.

Complete your intake questionnaire

Complete your intake questionnaire. So as part of our process, we very much lay out a series of questions so that we can extract all the information that we need to be effective here. But more often than not we get back that questionnaire like half-filled out and they’re like, Oh yeah, we’ll answer it on the call or what have you. And a lot of times those questions never get answered or they don’t get an answer to effectively.

And so we’re still trying to extract that information as we go into the project. And we ended up with a lot of questions as we get started with the project. So we always push our clients to make sure that they’re filling out that questionnaire completely. And then that way we have all the information we need to get started.

Be forthcoming and comprehensive

Be forthcoming and comprehensive. So there is some times you get into a situation with a client and a client is like, okay, let’s see if they can figure out what’s going on or what we did before or something like that.

That is a waste of everybody’s time. So the more that you can be forthcoming about, you know, the things that you’re experiencing or you know, your tech stack or some of these nuances that we need to know to be effective, the faster you’re going to get to those results.

And then also outline relevant work guidelines and processes. So I can’t tell you how many times we’ve come up with like a content idea and it’s something that they worked on before and then they just never did anything with. And they’re like, Oh yeah, we tried that before and we have these documents. And it’s like, okay, well why didn’t you share that in the beginning? We wouldn’t have, you know, wasted cycles on those different ideas. We would have come out with something else.

And so there may be issues where, you know, um, there are guidelines you need to know about as an SEO and as an agency working with you.

So we know what frame we need to work within to develop a strategy in order to be effective there. And the same thing around processes. So there may be internal processes that keep you from doing a given best practice.
So having an understanding of that helps us come up again with the right solution so that we can get to those results

Be clear about delivery expectations

And then be clear about your delivery expectations. So if let’s say we’re working on content for you and you expect it to come in a certain format, having your agency understand that upfront is going to again, allow them to deliver those things in those ways that you expect. So delivery as far as like how it’s formatted.

Also, any timelines that were agreed to or at least timelines that you may even have implicitly thought were going to be met, make sure those are communicated as well. So then, uh, as your agency you can really work around those ideas. So if you have a timeline in mind, it’s not communicated or you have something going on, a project that’s coming up, you know, you’re doing a large campaign and other channels, make sure all that stuff is communicated so your agency can work around it

Give access and data

Give access and data. You know, there’s been a lot of times where a client is like, Hey, I need this report, but they don’t give us access to their analytics. So, uh, being upfront about like what you can have access to and what data you can get and what those pipelines look like, you know, if it has to be an export of some sides or some kind that comes from a certain person, make sure that we’re looped in with that stakeholder.

And then in general, you want to make sure you’re looping in all the right stakeholders and introducing them to your agency so they know who to go to for what. And there are fewer bottlenecks across the project. And then finally be clear about risks. So, you know, any project that anyone does is going to have a series of risks. Whether that is a code freeze that’s coming up at a certain time or any other number of things that could happen as a result of things that are going on across an organization.

There are so many people working on so many things. So the more that you can be clear about what may impact the project, the more your agency can be agile and prepare for those things and be effective at driving those results. So I think it’s really important that as you think about bringing on an SEO agency, even if it’s not us, make sure you’re prepared for that SEO agency. You have all the right things set up, and then that way everyone is set up for success. So I hope that helps. And I’ll see you tomorrow.

What are some other things that you believe would be valuable during the client onboarding process?

Mike King

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