Live Webinar with Courtney Harrington and Thomas Riley

This month we had a special guest for our Live Q&A session, Thomas Riley, Senior Director of Analytics at MarketScale. Thomas came on to tell our audience how he uses WooRank for scaling his sales and reporting process. We also took some live questions from our viewers about SEO, digital marketing and using WooRank as a sales tool!

Learn more about Thomas' WooRank journey here.

Note: this webinar originally aired on November 24, 2020.

Q: We currently do everything in-house but are considering outsourcing some of our marketing and or SEO. Any advice on what to keep in-house and what to outsource first?

A: Each company is different, but try to tackle some internal tasks first. With a tool like WooRank and Google Search Console, you can likely do most of what needed to get started. Outsourced firms aren’t always worth the money but have their place to do everything. See what you can control and then, if needed, outsource to supplement your efforts.

Q: How do you approach clients who are very unfamiliar with the concepts of SEO?

A: Education first, details later. It's critical to get your clients to understand SEO in 2020; and I would say you need this even with people who are ‘long-time experts’ with out-dated ideas on SEO. I like the ‘ask a random question they’d Google and ask how they’d find that out’. For instance, ask them how they would find out how many Oscars Leonardo DiCaprio has won. Then show them the search engines results page, with all of the rich results. It's a good first step to understand why SEO is important.

Q: If a client has a very small budget, what do you suggest they focus on?

A: First, I suggest asking what their biggest concern is. After that, I would say the most important areas are: Sitemaps, Google Search Console information, Title Tags, Meta Descriptions for their top revenue pages.

Q: My clients are all hyper-focused on the end goal. Conversions, ranking #1 on Google, etc. How do you speed up the process for your clients? Or, how do you tell them that SEO takes longer than they might expect?

A: You must get them to understand organic growth is a marathon, not a sprint. If you want immediate results, go throw money at Ads. If you want to build something that benefits you today, tomorrow and next year, build organically.

Once you explain this concept, try to compare to other decisions they make for future of business and capital expenditures.

Q: A lot of my clients have told me that they have been burned by SEO providers in the past. How do I convince then that we are different - and what metrics & reports can we give them to show them what we do actually works?

A: It’s a fair concern and we all know they’re out there.
Build a strategy and a plan, in coordination with client, that lays out expectations and fit with the business. It's so important to get them to see this as an investment and strategy, not a ‘game’.

Once you get past that, I like keeping it simple. Organic traffic and rankings. Tools like WooRank help or even using GSC works. Let’s find your biggest opportunities, get smart with long tail keywords and build a strategy to grow traffic with organic as driver (content, social strategy, etc).

Q: Our agency has issues with keeping clients on the books past month 3 - they all expect a miracle in 3 months or they leave. How do we turn this around and tell them it’s a marathon - not a quick run!?

A: As someone selling digital services, you have to be honest and upfront in sales. Don’t promise the moon if you can’t deliver it. And don’t be afraid to tell them that.

"You want to rank first for the biggest keywords in your industry next month? That’ll cost you $x a click and let me refer you to an Ads agency."

Your win with your client at 3 months would be taking that WooRank Site Crawl report littered with issues and failed items and showing them a clean report card.

With an effective strategy you can point to some big bumps on a handful of long-tails.

But, as always, set reasonable expectations.

Q: Our biggest issue is showing the clients value. We know that what we do for them works because we see it in the data (Analytics, SERPs, etc). However these kinds of reports go over the heads of upper management. What key metrics should we be reporting to keep them engaged?

A: You have to translate the metrics into the bottom line. Too many professionals with an agency mindset get caught up on direct-result KPIs. You need to get them to buy into a strategy and philosophy where you truly understand goals/conversions. It’s okay to take a PPC approach to SEO sometimes.

Don’t be too technical, pitch the business value as if they’ve never heard of Google.

Q: A client of ours has been approached by another SEO agency who has told them that their SEO is rotten. Without getting into a “he said, she said” how do we show them hard evidence that what we have done over the past 6 months has worked and that this is just a sales tactic?

A: $10 that I can find at least 10 SEO issues of relevance on any website you name. No one is perfect.

First, I’d recommend you build your business on service, relationships and education. If you have provided great service to a well-informed client that you have a good relationship with, these questions don’t come up. Agency doesn’t have to mean impersonal!

Since we’re here…
Make sure you know what you’re doing and have the data to back it up. If you do, you point to results. Traffic growth, rankings, conversions. Using those customized WooRank reports can really back-up the data you're showing for their important pages.

Q: Hi - we are a small digital agency with a very niche client list. We pride ourselves on taking on just a couple of clients for each team member and doing a really awesome job. Our clients are happy to pay for this! Lately though, due to COVID they are looking at cheaper offers from elsewhere. We know that the other agencies won’t do as much work as we do - but how do we prove our “worth” to our clients in a world where every dollar counts more than ever?

A: Hopefully you have a strategy based on conversions and business impact. If you rely on SEO KPIs that don’t translate to business impact, you’re putting yourself in a tight spot.

Like I mentioned above, rely on results and how those align with client goals. With that level of relationship, hopefully you have a great understanding of the client's business and can translate your work to their results/success.

Q: As a large agency we outsource pretty much every aspect and only handle project management and client comms internally. Lately though some of our suppliers seem to be dropping standards - do you recommend we bring it all back in-house due to COVID or do we put extra pressure on our contractors before we lose clients?

A: That’s tough and needs to be a business decision on your end. Generally I’m a firm believer in the 90/10 rule (90% of results for 10% effort) so I’d encourage you to identify various components that can be replaced. I’d argue that with the right tools (like WooRank) you can do a lot more than you realize in-house.

Q: Aside from Analytics & Search Console - what are your top 3 SEO tools?

A: To be honest, WooRank has replaced a lot of the tools I used to use. So I don't have a "top 3". It's SpyFu for keywords and WooRank for basically everything else.

Q: Do you recommend to start using Google Analytics 4 - some clients have asked about it!

A: Absolutely, we’re going through this now as a team. It’s going to be much more useful for ‘impactful’ data and understanding traffic, flows and behavior.

I’d encourage everyone to set up a separate property for your site and start learning the new functionality.

Also, before you upgrade, be sure to read this helpful GA4 installation guide from WooRank so that you don't lose the data from your Universal Analytics property.

Q: We often go up against 2 other agencies when quoting - how do we make our sales decks more compelling? More data? Better reports? We don’t want to give all the information away in a full audit only to lose to another agency

A: I’m an Analytics Director so my answer is always more data. Use-cases for companies similar to them go a long way, but at the end of the day, the proof is in the numbers.

Rely on your results and strategy too. Approach them with a more comprehensive plan than just SEO jargon.

Encourage content, other channels matter, build a strategy around business goals.

That with some clean Woorank reports should provide what you need.

Be sure to tune into our next Webinar about Small Businesses in January 2021!