Site Audits: Dealing With Deliverables, The Follow Up, and Implementing Your Work

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In the world of SEO, you could put in hours and hours of work to piece together the best recommendations for your clients, but if those recommendations aren’t presented and communicated correctly, nothing good can come out of all that hard work.  Here, we can show you what it takes to spell the difference between having a site audit being left in the dark, and something that could be a great thing for your SEO company.

This information in this post is based more on the follow-up process, although there will be some other points that will have a direct influence on that part of the project.

The Starting Point of Sales

Like in many businesses, sales are really important.  The sales conversation with your client is the best time of the process to find out what the goals are, understanding the clients business, and what, in the end, will need to be done to really help achieve their goals.  How the conversations went at the start of the project can really impact how effective your follow-up is.  This is why finding out what your goals are for the project are important.

One really good question that many ask is how much should be given away during the sales process.  It really depends on you.  Some people may run a sample audit, while others won’t give any information at all, unless they have full documentation.  It’s a good idea to be sensible about your time.  This means you need to learn how to consider every situation based on its own individual circumstances.  In the end, it will take time to piece together your proposal, so you need to determine what is the best use of your time.

The lesson is that you need to understand the situation.  You want to sell the right project to solve the right problem.

The Kick-Off

In retrospect, if you take a step back and consider many of the projects that didn’t do so well, you will probably realize how many things probably went wrong before even starting your project.  Many would admit that they’ve dealt with projects that made them feel a little rushed.  Because of this, team briefings might be overlooked, and as a result, the team will get slammed with work without having any idea of delivery dates, and what the client wants or needs from the project.  From there, things could get pretty ugly.

If you want to make sure that a good brief is done with your team, there are certain things that you should try to cover, as a bare minimum.

  • Deliverables
  • Key dates
  • Goals and Objectives
  • KPIs
  • Key personnel

These points are important to cover with your team, because if they are left in the dark about the important points of the project, many of them could miss the mark, and that could make your company look pretty bad.  Another reason why team briefings are important is that if the project is placed in front of them with no warning as to what they will be working on, they wouldn’t be very happy about that.  By getting your team in the know, and by getting THEM excited about the project, they can in turn get the client excited.  If everyone is excited, then more things can get done, and everyone will be happier for it.

Finally, The Deliverables

A pretty big part of the project is the physical deliverable that you will present to the client.  When presenting the information to the client, different presentation tactics can be used to help display your work.  Sometimes, “highlights” presentations that detail the biggest issues will work just fine.  Other times, you may be required to show a much more detailed and in-depth document may be the key.  It really depends on who you will be delivering to, and what the initial outline of the project was.

What form should your deliverable take when presenting it to the client?  A large document, a set of data, or a simple top ten of action points?  After playing around with these different forms of presentation, it is best that you do a combination of all three.  All that you need to take care of is to tailor the exact delivery style to the client.  Typically, creating a master document that contains a detailed explanation of your findings, along with the necessary change requests are the usual fare for presentation.

Delivering data is a fun thing to do, as data always backs up the project that you’re recommending.  Being able to show info is much better than just telling people you want to change up the client’s SEO tactics.  If you can walk the client through the data that you’ve found, then you’ve just earned the credibility to what you’re saying.  By providing the data, it is much easier for a developer to work out what’s going on.  This gives a good reference point for future questions that may eventually crop up.  Finally, most clients will ask for the data anyway.

Providing task lists are also very important.  Providing answers in task lists is a good way to stem the flow of questions that are bound to pop up along the way.  On the top of all our documents, a prioritized list of all change requests are a great way to get things rolling in the right direction.  This is also great thing for the follow-up calls and meetings, since everyone will be able to refer to the same task list.  Since development resources can be in high demand, this enables you to schedule the biggest fixes first.

If your concerned that your clients aren’t very “techy”, and you’re afraid they may not understand every part of your website audit walkthrough, then it is wise to deliver a “highlights” type of presentation.  You can then break down the problems and focus on the benefits of resolving the issues.  When explaining the information that you’ve found, but make the attempt at explaining the benefits of fixing each of the issues can have on their business.  It’s really all about the ROI.  By getting the client excited about the idea that you can help fix things, imagine how much influence that will win you.

The hardest part of any technical audit is the follow-up process and implementing the work.  It takes a good SEO to be able to diagnose the issues.  It takes a great SEO to be able to follow up and make sure that the problems are fixed.  Having a central resource to track changes and keep on top of progress can be a great help to the follow-up process.  Using tools like Basecamp can be a terrific way to keep the communication between team members clear and neat.  Even if you’re not using tools like Basecamp, using a simple thing like a Google Docs sheet can be just as effective.  If you can combine that with regularly scheduled calls or email checks can give you the ability to keep the project moving in the right direction.

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