What SEO Agencies Can Do to Work More Efficiently
Search engine optimization (SEO) agencies usually have their hands full. They’re trying to constantly meet the needs of their current client base while reaching out for new opportunities, and all it takes is one ranking algorithm update or competitor encroachment to throw their best-laid plans into chaos.
It’s one thing to know the fundamentals of SEO, but it’s another thing to be able to execute them efficiently. If your SEO agency isn’t operating efficiently, it won’t matter whether you’re able to earn high rankings and good results for your clients; you’ll be spending so much money and wasting so much time that you can’t make a profit.
So what steps can SEO agency owners take to make their efforts more efficient?
First, understand that SEO specialists are far more efficient at their jobs than SEO generalists. Small SEO agencies are often tempted to hire multiple people who have a wide range of knowledge on different topics. However, in exchange for this versatility, these generalists are typically unable to truly “master” any one subject of expertise. As a result, an SEO team with ten generalists will generally be less productive and less skilled overall than a team with ten specialists, each of whom focuses on a single area, like technical SEO, link building, or client relations.
If you already have a team, it’s probably not in your best interest to lay people off and start building from scratch. Instead, provide onsite training to gradually turn each individual in your company into a specialist over time.
You can also greatly increase your efficiency by outsourcing at least some of your responsibilities. Working with an agency that has access to more resources, more specialists, or more experience means you’ll be able to do better-quality work for your clients—and probably for a lower cost than you’d pay an in-house hire. For example, you could use a white-label link building service to build links for your SEO clients on your behalf; you’ll save time, spend less money, and ultimately present your clients with a better final product.
Of course, there are caveats to this. Not all agencies are worth their salt, and if you don’t manage the relationship carefully, it could end up hurting you. Do your research in advance and aim to improve your communication as much as possible if you go this route.
Next, you’ll need to work on your internal processes to optimize them, both in terms of the quality work you’re able to put out and in terms of minimizing the time you spend preparing it. There are many phases to this, and many ways it can manifest.
- Process documentation. First and foremost, it’s important to have all your processes documented. This will aid you in several areas; for example, with a documented process, people will be more likely to stay consistent in their work, avoiding the duplication of effort and reducing the number of errors that need to be corrected. People will also have a resource to consult if they’re confused about what to do, and you’ll all have a foundation to alter when it comes time to update a core process.
- Maximization of valuable time. Working on your processes can also help you increase the total amount of time you spend doing “valuable” things. For example, if your SEO writers are so busy responding to emails and attending meetings that they only spend an hour a day writing, something needs to change. Ideally, you’ll adjust the roles and tasks within your organization to increase the total amount of heads-down work time your specialist employees have.
- Value evaluation. You’ll also need to spend time scrutinizing everything you do, from the strategies you use for your clients to how you spend your idle time in the office. You’ll need to ask yourself whether this particular task is contributing value in some way (like actively boosting your clients’ rankings) or whether it’s a waste of time. Pruning time-wasters is vital for an efficient SEO agency.
Learning and Adjustment
SEO agencies also need to commit themselves to constant learning and reevaluation. Google has a history of updating its algorithm routinely, and your competitors are constantly looking for ways to one-up you. If you aren’t on top of your game, updating and improving your core processes, it will be all too easy to fall behind.
Making your SEO agency more efficient doesn’t require you to rebuild from the ground up, nor does it require you to change what makes your agency unique. Instead, it requires you to commit to a series of ongoing tweaks and adjustments, calling on outside experts and demonstrating enough flexibility to accommodate more efficient practices. It may take some time, but eventually you can polish your agency to run much more smoothly.