What does transparency in a business relationship look like? Why is it important? The world of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and online marketing has often been associated with “smoke and mirrors.” I often share the analogy of a scene from the original “Wizard of Oz” with my clients. You know the one – where the curtain is pulled back and behind all of the projection and pyrotechnics is one guy spinning wheels and pulling levers. An effective internet marketing strategy is not smoke and mirrors. Your SEO partner or website provider shouldn’t be hiding behind a curtain of secrecy and supposed daily updates based on the Google Algorithm. One of the primary ingredients I look for in a business relationship is transparency, and that absolutely applies to the work of SEO and the work we do to bring our clients new business from the internet.
Transparency is candid. Honesty, even when it’s not what someone wants to hear. It’s being comfortable and confident enough to share not only the “how” but the “why.” It’s sharing a combination of insight, experience, understanding and genuine metrics so that good decisions can be taken and implemented. It is important for our clients to understand each piece of their internet strategy and why it matters. It’s also important for them to understand how the elements fit together, and why we are taking each step along the way. If a dollar is being invested, you should clearly understand the objective, the reasoning behind taking an action, the method(s) for measuring the effectiveness and results of that action, and the net return that dollar actually generated.
Transparency is also a two way street. We depend upon an open conversation with our clients. It is important for us to understand the types of phone calls and e-mail responses they are receiving from our efforts. When we achieve success, we dump gasoline on the fire! When something is “close, but no cigar” we want to understand the ingredients that were missing which would have turned that prospective case into a valuable client. You take an action, you monitor the results, and then take new (or more) action based upon those results. We work together, openly, transparently, to implement and manage strategies that bring profitable new clients. In the end, that is the only way to measure the value of this relationship.
The world of SEO is genuinely evolving, and every day brings new challenges and deeper understanding. Google rarely makes radical changes to their algorithm. It’s more like they are honing in, getting better at separating the “posers” and those who are projecting into markets they really can’t serve from those who are going to provide genuine, valuable information to Google’s client – the person placing a search into the box on their computer screen. Google wants to make sure their users find what they are searching for – quickly. Yes, they monetize every aspect of that page when they can, but this is not a “pay to play” ballgame. Many of our clients deploy PPC (Pay-Per-Click advertising) as a part of their internet strategy, but the majority do not need or choose to do so. It may be part of a strategy, it’s not a primary strategy. The real strategy is to provide a solid, trustworthy, credible and substantive answer to the question Google’s own customers put in the box. When you do, the inquiries coming into your law firm are much more qualified, and the job of converting that visit into a retained client becomes much easier.
This world is ever changing. We don’t believe it is possible to know everything, but that is also part of “transparency.” We share actual experience and expertise gained over more than a decade of helping attorneys and small law firms to compete and succeed in the online marketplace. We share what has worked, and more importantly “why” it worked. We are transparent about the difference between those things we are “sure” of, and those areas where good and expert SEO strategists disagree (or don’t know). We openly share bedrock principles and evolving tactics so that our clients can make the best decisions based upon their own perspectives, the size of the opportunity and their appetite for risk. Our clients appreciate and value our transparency. We value and appreciate our client’s transparency as well. Together, we partner to enjoy the work of building a practice. Transparency isn’t only vital to building a trustworthy business relationship, it’s a lot more fun, productive and profitable.
What does transparency look like to you?