Paul J. Bruemmer is Director of Search Marketing at Red Door Interactive, and a recent guest on the Online Marketing With RSS Ray show. He is responsible for the strategic implementation of search engine marketing activities within Red Door’s Internet Presence Management (IPM) services.
Search engine optimization is an online marketing strategy that has become mission critical in today’s marketing arsenal. When your company ranks highly on Google and Yahoo!, you not only drive business to your Web site, you drive customers to your offline location as well.
When you procure search engine optimization (SEO) services, most search marketing firms will provide you with a general overview of their SEO methodology without delving into the details. While they claim this practice relieves you of the boring details of SEO, the reality is most firms don’t wish to divulge intellectual property.
Ironically, engaging the client in these details would actually improve the business relationship and not end it. Search marketing firms that empower their clients to understand not only the “how’s” of SEO, but also the “why’s” will find themselves viewed as a strategic business asset.
The Benefits of Knowledge Transfer
First, search engine marketing strategies evolve on a daily basis; so companies will always need experts to help them create and implement successful programs. By engaging in knowledge-transfer, agencies will articulate the need for their customers to embrace SEO as a regular discipline within their marketing department. Clients that adopt the knowledge-transfer mindset will benefit from the insights afforded, making them more likely to retain the services of their search marketing partner for longer periods of time.
What’s more, search marketing firms will supplement their own SEO knowledge as the knowledge-transfer process becomes reciprocal and they start learning from their customers. Active clients provide their marketing firms additional eyes and ears to changes and trends in a particular industry or from the end user’s point of view. In essence, customers provide validation to theories developed on the drawing board. This can also give agencies a leg up on the competition.
Where to Begin
Ideally, a search marketing firm will start the client partnership by explaining how to conduct and analyze a diagnostic audit. While agencies rarely document and disclose such processes, doing so will build the foundation for understanding the follow-on tactics and techniques necessary to improve search rankings. From this initiative, clients can better identify and understand the obstacles to driving traffic through natural search means, as well as ways to optimize technical and editorial factors hindering their site rankings and search marketing efforts. Using this document, agencies will find their recommended solutions make better sense to the client, who in turn, will accept the recommended changes more quickly.
Moreover, clients that are empowered to understand the “how’s” of search marketing will be more patient when initiatives don’t show immediate results, as SEO initiatives can take time before rankings improve. Instead of prematurely severing ties with an agency, a customer will more likely actively work with the search marketing firm to fine tune tactics. In turn, agencies will discover their client just became a business asset. Retention and referral rates will subsequently increase.
Companies will discover that firms who consider it their mission to pass on knowledge that can improves all facets of their marketing efforts will make for better partners and better business assets.