After reading a post in the Facebook group SEO Signals Lab by Jonathan Townsend I have decided to write about maximising value from your SEO supplier.

Whether you're already spending or thinking about spending some of your marketing budget on organic search marketing through SEO, it's important to know how to get the best out of your SEO supplier. Not only does this keep you in control of your marketing spend and activity, but it will also help you to maximise the value you get from any money you spend with suppliers.

screenshot of SEO question

Understand SEO Basics

As an SME/SMB owner or even a marketeer in a larger organisation, understanding the basics of what you're going to be spending your money on should be a fundamental starting point. You'd apply this logic to any other business descision you make, from buying IT equipment to moving to new office space so why wouldn't you do it when you're spending what could amount to a good proportion of your marketing budget.

Improving your SME/SMB's visibility in search engines like Google can be lucrative, driving increased website traffic and unfortunately there are a lot of people out there who will take advantage of your desire to get this traffic. Over the years I've worked in search marketing I've seen loads of "promises" including position 1 rankings, large increases in traffic or sales and everything in between, so lets cover some basics:

SEO traffic is not FREE traffic

If you want to succeed in SEO then you need to be prepared to invest in your marketing, the better you resource your team, the better the results will be.

Quality vs Quantity

SEO is not always about driving huge quantities of new website visitors, but attracting the right type of quality traffic. Which would you rather have, 100,000 visitors who won't shop with you or 500 who will?

You're buying time

You can't "buy" SEO positions. You can buy time for an expert to give you advice though so you need to hink about how you want that time to be spent, do you really want to spend £40 an hour for someone to resize your images?

Focus on the opportunities

SEO is a broad subject and it can be tempting to try and do everything. Focus on the opportunities which will give you the biggest ROI, for example if you're a local business you may want to focus on Local SEO rather than trying to rank for a competative generic search term.

SEO is more than a few keywords on a page

In the early 2000's you could get away with stuffing a few keywords on a page and ranking really well. SEO has changed a lot since then and so should your approach, content, website experience, site load time and more are all essential.

There are no guarantees

Like pretty much all marketing, there's no guarantee of success with SEO. Of course if you find the right people who use best practice you stand a better chance of your SEO working well.