SEO is a journey; it is not a one-time task. It is one of the pillars of Internet Marketing and every business that has a website needs to do SEO today. Most businesses that do not have an SEO consultant traditionally outsource the job to an SEO agency or ask the in-house Marketing team to take care of it. But, jumping into the task without having a proper plan set for it might turn out to be a disaster and results you get will not be fruitful.
If you are in charge of SEO, you’ll have to ask the following SEO questions from your company or client irrespective of whether you are a SEO consultant, agency or someone who just does internal marketing.
These questions will help you understand your goals before you commit to this SEO journey. The answers to these questions will help you create a strategy for all the SEO activities that you’ll be doing and save you a lot of time.
The 15 SEO questions that you should ask your client before taking up a project are:
- Why do want to do SEO and dominate the search engines?
The most important question to understand before you take up this project. The answers will tell you how serious your client is and what are they expecting from you. Once you know this answer you can dive in deeper.
- What is your primary marketing message?
Just like all marketing activities, understanding the primary marketing message is very important. In other words, what do you want customers to know about you? This question will help you be at sync with the other marketing messages of your client.
- What are your primary target markets?
Targeted marketing is very important today, as different versions of products and services are catered to different target markets. For e.g., different models of smartphones are targeted at different user groups.
- Which markets would you like us to concentrate?
You’ll not be targeting everyone everywhere at the same time. So ask your client, which markets does he/she wants to concentrate now.
- What is the geographic reach of your Product/Services? Please include all areas you would like to focus on within 0-100 miles of your primary target market.
You need to know the demographics of your target market and the geographies the business is selling into. Today there are websites which show different information to different geographies.
- Who are your competitors and what makes your service different from that of your competitors? Please describe.
Your client knows the best. Ask for a list of all the competitors that your client has. This will help you understand the industry. Also ask how their product or service is different from their competitors. This will help you understand the value proposition of your client’s business.
See if you can get the following details:
- Target Market & Market Share
- Products / Services Offered
- Quality of Product vs. Pricing
- Corporate Identity & Consumer Awareness
- Current Advertising & Promotion Efforts (Media Mix)
- List, in order of importance, the best attributes of your business that you would like to emphasize.
Highlight the key areas of business, features, services etc. This will help you later in your keyword analysis.
- What type of marketing have you used to promote your website up until today?
Businesses use a wide range of strategies for marketing and promoting the services and products, such as PPC, Social Media Ads, etc. Find out what the client has done so far and if possible get all the collateral that is ready with the customer.
- Are you using a website metrics tool? Do you have access to your log files?
Most companies will have web analytics tool installed. They might be using Google Analytics, Clicky, or something else. If not, ask them if they would implement the tool themselves or do you have to set it up.
- How are you analyzing your current website traffic? What metrics are you tracking?
If the client has already setup an analytics tool, get access to it and do a basic report on the number of unique visitors, backlinks, and other traffic data. What are the metrics they are tracking? This will directly help you plan the areas that need focus.
- Please provide list of 20 keywords/keyword phrases that you think your potential customers will enter into a search engine while looking for a website such as yours.
Get a basic list of 20 keywords or phrase for which your client wants her website to rank for. You can use this list to build up on your keyword basket. This way you’ll know your client’s expectations and work accordingly.
- List all the short term and long team goals of your business and website?
You want to get paid for what you do. For this you need to know the priorities and goals of your client. This will help you install goal tracking in your analytics tool and show specific ROI to your client.
- Please list all websites and domains you own.
Companies today have multiple URLs for their website, some even with misspelled words. You’d want to know that. Also, get a list of all the other URLs and online profiles the client has created for her business.
- Are you doing social media marketing?
Social media is a very important ranking factor for doing SEO today. You need to understand your client’s current social media presence and all the activities that have been so long performed. Ask if they want to continue doing it or want you to take over from them. Get all the specifics such as usernames.
- Do you have a content marketing strategy in place?
Find out if the company has a blog and who is creating the content for it? Is the content created based on SEO guidelines? What are the keywords used? Information rich authentic content built on SEO guidelines have a long term impact on search engine rankings.
- What are your expectations from this SEO project and what is your budget?
The Final Question: what does your client want and how much is she ready to pay for it. Most businesses think that with proper SEO implementation the traffic would just start pouring in. In many cases this does not happen. There are no short term returns. You need to give it proper time and dedication and build it up to excel.
So what do you think? Do you have other SEO questions you ask your clients to help you put together a proposal for SEO or other online marketing initiatives?