You know, I’ve been an SEO guy for a very long time now. Over a decade in this industry is a very long time.
I’ve worked client-side, agency-side and as a Consultant.
I’ve seen the good. I’ve seen the bad.
I know the reality of SEO from all sides and top to bottom.
I want to talk about an unfortunate mistake I see clients make when it comes to onboarding a partner they’ve hired to help them with their SEO.
I see some clients form their SEO strategy from the pitch strategy shown to them by the partner that wins their business.
I want to say this to you in a frank manner.
SEO, agency-side, is different to SEO, client-side.
The SEO strategy put together during pitching is different to the SEO strategy required to improve your business’s SEO.
Pitches, point blank, are to win the business. Simple.
It doesn’t matter how glamorous the SEO strategy or how detailed-oriented it may seem on a pitch deck, the goal is to have you, the client, bite, for the partner to win the business.
Win the business. Not improve your SEO with the greatest strategy in the industry. The goal is to win the business. Simple.
And, ordinarily, there wouldn’t be anything wrong with this goal. It’s business, right?
The issue that often occurs from this point is the client and partner have different expectations.
You see, whilst you, the client, may have hired the partner due to the SEO strategy presented to you, the partner may (would) assume they won the business due to a successful pitch.
Whilst you may expect the SEO strategy presented in the pitch to be realised during the course of your business relationship, the partner may only have a sense of how to help your business with your SEO needs.
They may not even have an idea of how your business works.
And the more niche your business is, the more likely this would be the case.
Let me give you an example.
Let’s say you’re in the maritime industry.
You want to grow your SEO. You send out an RPF and are really keen on a partner that claims they can 3x your current traffic and revenue with on-page optimisation.
They have keyword research, which, in their pitch deck, shows the growth that can be made by targeting keywords within a certain category.
A category that, alone, makes up 2/3rd of the traffic and revenue increase that they claim.
This gets you excited. With an SEO strategy so considered and a pitch so immaculate, how can they fail, right?
This partner wins your business. They then begin on their quest to increase your traffic and revenue by focusing on the category that can lead to 2/3rd of the 3x goal they claim they can achieve for you.
It’s at this point that reality sets in.
It’s at this point that the partner underwhelms.
It’s at this point that you realise that the strategy is flawed.
You see, whilst the numbers may have been enticing, whilst the pitch deck may have looked great, the reality is that on-page optimisation requires a certain level of understanding of a business and the industry the business is in, in order to improve your SEO with this pillar.
If you’re in the maritime industry, your SEO partner has to have a certain level of understanding of this industry if they are to improve your site from an on-page SEO point of view.
This level of understanding is not something that’s likely to be achieved during the pitch process.
Because the goal during the pitch process is to win the business. Simple.
It’s not to come up with the best on-page strategy for your business.
What this means in real life is that when the keyword research is being carried out, it’s carried out broadly.
And this is if it’s been carried out at all. Getting a list of keywords that a site ranks for, from SEMRush, is not keyword research.
This is what salespeople do, not what SEOs do.
If keyword research is done this way, for your business in the maritime industry, categorised, pitched to you and sold as the first step in optimising your site to get you that uplift in traffic and revenue, do you see why it’s a bad idea to base your SEO strategy for the year from the strategy offered to you in the pitch deck?
There are many flaws to this strategy.
It’s not an SEO strategy to benefit your business. It’s an SEO strategy used for to benefit the business of the partner. In other words, it’s an SEO strategy used to win your business, not one used to benefit your business.
Realising this from the very beginning will save you from a lot of frustrations in your journey to improving your site’s SEO.
If the pitch that wins your business has keyword research that’s been carried out, for the sake of being able to breathe steadily whilst you work, ensure this is carried out again after you onboard the partner.
Ensure they demonstrate an understanding of your business, and the industry, before they carry out keyword research that you’ll use to inform your on-page strategy.
Using the keyword research from the pitch work as the basis of your SEO strategy is not a good idea.
I can guaran-damn-tee you that the keyword research would not have considered the intent, deep enough, of the audience you are aiming to attract.
The intent behind the keyword research would not have been to improve your business.
There’s been many instan…
…well, let me stop here before I start to rant.
Let me say this as a closing thought.
Basing your SEO strategy off of the strategy presented to you in an SEO pitch deck is like basing your SEO strategy off of the presentation deck a prospect SEO professional pitches to you during the hiring process.
No matter how brilliant the presentation was, it would have been carried out with limited information about your business.
It’s fine to have an outside-looking-in perspective. However, knowledge of your business, from your business, is essential to form an SEO strategy that will improve your website’s performance.
The SEO strategy formed during pitch work is to win your business. Simple.
After a partner wins your business, the strategy developed then, should be the one that’s used. It should never be the strategy from the pitch. This is a pitfall you’ll want to avoid.