Much of the world is out of lockdown, a new normal is negotiated, but there are many moving parts left to be tackled.
Of different sizes and shapes, these parts continue to reshuffle as demand keeps on evolving in new ways:
- Online behaviors change.
- Industry landscapes rearrange.
- The agency-client relationships transform.
- SEO campaigns have new challenges to consider.
If, at the start of the pandemic, agency clients may have paused campaigns or stopped the ongoing acquisition process, now the first signs of recovery appear, so we can address what’s next. But some companies are still approaching new campaigns with caution, not being sure what to expect from the following months.
In this context, how can SEO agencies unlock contracts and unpause campaigns still pending from a very different reality?
This part has no one-size-fits-all answer.
However, a series of questions can help you view this situation from a new perspective – helping your clients untangle their uncertainties through the right data for solving their problems. Your clients may have loads of data that keep on piling up, but they need your know-how to get the proper lens of what’s to be done right now.
Let’s dive into each question and see how your SEO agency can connect the dots.
How Is the Client’s Business Looking Right Now?
If we look at their pandemic journey, companies can be categorized by their operational status into what Found, a successful UK SEO agency, used as:
- Triaging: Shoring up cash and operations, while being focused on short-term actions.
- Assessing: Shifted from triaging to searching for opportunities, but on a small scale.
- Pivoting: Seeing opportunities in the new normal, changing some things that they were doing, and focusing on new products or services.
- Investing: Clients who’ve been thriving and are focused on continuing growth.
Knowing where the companies situate on the scale above helps your SEO team decide when to engage with them, how to open the conversation, or if it’s still better to “Wait and See”.
One way of designing that scale is to evaluate the health of the clients’ business.
You can measure it as the impact on their organic traffic in the last 3 months based on the year over year trend in order to remove seasonality influences.
You can add to this layer the comparison of the first 3 months of the year and what happened during the pandemic, to get an overview as well. So here’s how it can be addressed:
- Less than 10% drop in traffic: If their traffic is slightly affected, then they’re probably already investing in new opportunities and searching for ways to connect with their consumers. So they can be in a pivoting or investing phase.
- 10% – 30% drop in traffic: If their traffic is mildly affected, then they may be triaging or, provided they have a current increase, may be starting to assess small scale opportunities.
- Over 30% drop in traffic: If their traffic is moderately to severely affected, then they’re probably continuing to triage and need more time to get back on track.
You may also consider replacing organic traffic with conversions, based on the same scale above, to get a closer version of your clients’ reality regarding their financial situation.
When Is the Best Moment to (Re)Engage Your Clients?
Once you’ve mapped your clients’ portfolio in terms of health, you can start thinking about timing. Businesses may be waiting before making any decisions regarding their SEO investments because they need the data for now, so as to know where and how to develop their marketing strategy.
If your frozen accounts are still triaging and traffic doesn’t seem to be recovering, you can keep the communications open and share fresh insights (search trends, new consumer behaviors) from their industry, to maintain the relationship close.
But it’s probably not the right moment for negotiation.
Yet, if you have a solution for their specific problem, then you should make that call and offer to help, based on the current data you uncovered.
Also, if your frozen accounts show an improvement in week-over-week health measured in organic traffic and conversions, then you can start thinking about ways to reopen the conversation with a set of solutions in your pocket.
Want to focus on your clients’ particular needs and improve your chances of getting a response from them?
Use search data from the start to review their portfolio and engage in the right level of conversation.
Furthermore, as the best moment to interact is when something has changed in their health and you can intervene fast, you may want a system in place for this portfolio evaluation process, that automatically alerts you.
With this in mind, we adapted our SEOmonitor agency dashboard to present the health of your clients’ business in real-time and alert you via email whenever there’s a change in status, so you can take the necessary steps.
What Do Companies Need to Make a Decision About (Re)Starting Campaigns?
Now, as you decide to go even further with your research for the clients that can be contacted, you can address their reserve with specific data, and even support them in reprioritizing their products or services.
This review implies various data points you should take into account.
Impact on Non-Brand Organic Traffic
SEO performance is directly related to non-brand organic traffic, so try to evaluate the business based on the percentage of organic traffic coming from brand versus non-brand related keywords.
Is the percentage of brand-related traffic bigger or smaller?
Splitting the traffic like that is a good method of showcasing where your work’s value truly is and how you can help the business grow with the SEO campaign.
The last three months have completely transformed search volumes and there is still a lot of shaky ground here. Make use of search volumes data from Google Ads, or even Google Trends, and identify the main topics in your client’s industry right now.
Also, look at competitors’ insights and see if they started ranking on keywords they weren’t ranking on before COVID-19. This can be an avenue for spotting opportunities for your clients and a good argument in building your case for unpausing that campaign.
Speaking of opportunities, you can add an evaluation of your keywords’ opportunity score in your process, to understand where the effort is too big and where you need to further focus for better results.
Seasonality vs. COVID-19
This is the moment when year over year search trends become meaningful in highlighting the shifts in demand, so compare them and see where there are critical changes.
Group those keywords into COVID-19-impacted and no-change – this will give you the necessary lens to offer the business strategic support if they’re considering refocusing their efforts. Plus, you’ll make the case for the right keywords to improve visibility for.
Project Business Results
One last step is to estimate business impact based on the existing conversion rates for the selected keywords. By making the connection between rankings and clicks and conversions, you tie the new SEO proposal to the projected business results.