Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?
I look at a lot of key performance indicators, and I’m trying to allocate that success to our SEO expenditure, but it’s really hard. SEO is one of those things that, when you spend a bunch of money, you need the expertise to be able to handle problems and do certain things correctly. We grew from nothing to a company that has millions of page views a month, and a lot of that traffic is direct. We perform really well organically; we’re on page one for a lot of the things that are important to us, and we’re doing things to stay there all the time because the competition is working really hard to displace you.
Regarding SEO, it has been a successful investment. There have been some really big projects, like the knowledge center, for example, putting it outside the content management system. Having really good SEO-friendly content at the root level was their idea, and those entry pages are extremely valuable to us.
How did SEO Advantage perform from a project management standpoint?
I don’t really have anything bad to say about them, but nobody is perfect. We’ve developed this relationship where they understand that I’m the lead on this side, and I work with a lot of different people at SEO Advantage. They have project managers, but I don’t have a specific project manager that I deal with. I really deal with the stakeholders. They’re as good as anybody else is with project management. They’ve done a reasonably good job, or we wouldn’t continue to partner with them.
We get in-person visits periodically from one of the stakeholders. I have access to cell phone numbers as well. I call them on a regular basis, we exchange emails as necessary, we do JoinMe meetings and we have content meetings on a regular basis about what we’ve done, what we are doing, what we’re going to do, and what’s working. I get analytics reports from them monthly and I can get any ad hoc information that I need, which I do need quite often. There are a number of people over there who are just really great at providing extremely helpful information. We have quarterly summits about the big stuff that we’re doing, and we meet monthly to discuss a couple of other things.
What did you find most impressive about SEO Advantage?
I feel like they are a partner, and that’s really important. Their success is connected to my success, and I feel that from them. They’re an honorable group of people and have a high rating in my book in terms of integrity. They have no problem making sure that you understand what the approach is. There are no shortcuts, and sometimes things take longer than expected when you’re talking about organic performance, but they do it right, and they’ve been right enough times that I trust them. That’s a really hard thing to find in a partner that you’re spending a lot of money with. You want to trust them, and you want to have access to their expertise when you need it. We consult them on lots of things that are outside the scope of our agreement with them. They have always impressed me with the things that they have done.
They’ve always gone above and beyond. If I need something and I think they can do it for me, they do it. I really appreciate them going the extra mile for us. We’re really important to their business and we understand that.
Are there any areas SEO Advantage could improve?
It’s their business, and they’ve done a really good job with it. At first, there were things that didn’t come soon enough for me, like time tracking. Now, they do a really great job of that. It’s something that they grew into, but it’s not something we really pushed hard. The biggest challenge that I’ve had is that I’m between them and our stakeholders, and I have to defend the expenditure. When somebody asks what they did for us this month, you’d like to have a long list of all the great things that they are doing.
In the early days, they were growing, they were short-handed, and technology maybe wasn’t really their strong suit. Their strong suit was optimizing websites to perform organically for their clients. I could’ve partnered with somebody else who could have provided me with a bunch of fancy reports that maybe would have made our stakeholders happier, but the truth is that we may not be where we are right now had I done that.