How to Keep Your SEO Clients Happy

How do you keep your SEO clients so satisfied that they’ll stay for a long time and recommend more customers to you? That’s what we’re discussing on episode 25 of the Knowledge Panel show where Dixon is joined by Himani Kankaria, Jake Gauntley, Olga Tsimaraki and Sara Moccand-Sayegh.

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Want to Read Instead? Here is the Transcript.

Dixon: Hello, welcome to the Knowledge Panel Show, Episode 25: “How to keep your SEO clients happy”. And as normal, I’ve got a great panel in with me. We’ve got one down due to Covid, I’m afraid, but Sara, Himani and Jake are with us, and hopefully we are going to have a great chat over the next 45 minutes over “How to keep your SEO clients happy”. We can probably use the fact that I have just said “no” to giving somebody a refund, as it’s a bad example of how to keep your clients happy, and we can talk about whether you should or shouldn’t, but a great team to get going with. Why don’t I ask you guys to start off by saying who are you and where do you come from. Sara, why don’t you go, because I couldn’t pronounce your surname, so you’re going to have to say it yourself. 

Sara: OK, I will do it. So my name is Sara Moccand-Sayegh and I work at Liip which is a mobile and development agency and I do SEO for the clients that come to us to build a website and I do SEO from some clients that just come for SEO and analytics.  

Dixon: And you are a sort of a huge company there, aren’t you?  

Sarah: Yeah, exactly. It is probably the largest development company that there is in Switzerland. OK, I didn’t say that, I come from Switzerland.  

Dixon: Thanks for coming on the show, Sara. Himani, tell us about yourself, where do you come from?  

Himani: Hey everyone, I am Himani Kankaria from India and I own an organic marketing agency, which specializes on content driven SEO. So we are mostly into content optimization, on-page optimization and all those stuff, and we are really aggressively target feature snippets. Every content that comes its feature snippets is the first target that we key.  

Dixon: OK, quite specific, so that sounds a good plan. Jake, how about you, who are you and where you come from?  

Jake: Hi everyone, my name is Jake Gauntley. I’m from the northeast of England, but I currently live in sunny London, very sunny today. I started working in SEO in 2011 so just over a decade in the game. Currently working at Reprise Digital here in London, I have been here for the last 5 years, manage a team of 6 people, and we cover some large multimarket global SEO accounts.  

Dixon: Welcome to the show, Jake. So, Jake and I are in sunny UK, and sunny UK is approaching 40 degrees today, which is going to be a record for us. We have one other person from the UK in the building as well, David, my producer. I’ll bring David in. David, what I have missed out today?  

David: Oh, you are getting very good at noting, not missing things out, actually. I don’t know if there is any job for me anymore, Dixon.  

Dixon: There certainly is.  

David: I just want to share with the listener, you are probably listening on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Podcast, one of those platforms. If you are, come and join us live next time if you can, theknowledgepanelshow.com, sign up to watch the next show live and join the hilarity, ask some questions live, and hopefully we will see you there next time.  

Dixon: OK, so let’s start off with my new phrase the tip at the top. One takeaway, if people haven’t got time to hang around for 45 minutes. When it comes to keeping your SEO clients happy, what one tip at the top would you guys give? Let’s go in the other order now. Jake, why don’t you go first?  

Jake: Sure. So without a doubt, my tip at the top would have to be education. I think it’s so important through a relationship from the second you start, kind of working with the client prospect, kind of fully educate them, not only on the processes of the agency, but also about the kind of SEO itself. The more you can kind of help educate a client, the more likely they’ll be useful in kind of getting things implemented and being able to communicate more effectively to get what you want done.  

Dixon: Excellent tip and I think that one will resonate with a lot of SEO agencies and possibly their customers as well. Himani, what about you? What thoughts have you got?  

Himani: Sorry, can you please come again, I had some network issues.  

Dixon: No worries, I’ll go to Sara and come back. Sara what tip have you got for one tip for takeaway if people haven’t got 45 minutes to stay.  

Sara: For me, I think that is communication, but it’s very connected to educating people, because in the reality like you, I like to have clients and I like to speak to them like once per week or every two weeks and then automatically you educate them about SEO, how we should work together and so, communication for me is the main tip.  

Dixon: So how often will you jump in and talk to your customers?  

Sara: It depends, I have some customer, then they come for the development, just do a website migration, and then I don’t see them anymore, that is very sad. And then I have a customer, then I like if they follow me, I follow them, and then we regularly speak. The largest one maybe once per week and another one like once per month, but we have regular meetings and I love it, I live for that.  

Dixon: Brilliant! OK, Himani, if I can come back to you if there is a tip you can give our listeners to take away. 

Himani: Absolutely, I totally agree with Sara. Communication has been the key with our Missive Digital, and we have seen that the more we talk with them, the more we showcase that the decision making is already taken by us. That’s where they feel like okay, we have partnered with the right agency. So they need 2 things. Most of the time they are so much overwhelmed with all of the task they already have, most of the business owner in the marketing is. What they need is that decision making should be done by the agencies, and they should just inform us, that this is what they are doing, and the client should just approve that whether we are on the right direction or not. So, decision making, they want to offload the decision making, but while having really high on the communication side, even if it is possible that just email them if for everything that you are doing and even just keep them in CC when you are talking with everyone and even maybe having calls with the development teams regularly, so they feel that OK, they are actually concerned about our website and our services and that’s how they will help us.  

Dixon: So, can I get us a clarification there? So, are you saying that the agency should be leading the decision making or the customer should be leading the decision making?  

Himani: No, usually what has happened with us is that most of the SAS companies they try and apart, I mean they are always looking for a SEO agency which takes the decision [Freezes] they have to every time pitch and they take the decision, they don’t appreciate that. So that’s why they want that the SEO agency should identify the challenges, and also they should be coming up with this solution, they will just play on, that kind of role where they just have to give you the approval or the rejection. That’s it.  

Dixon: OK. Jake, in your experience is that the same or do you think it depends from client to client?

Jake: Yeah, I think it kind of depends client to client, I think in some instances from my experience.  

Dixon: I can’t believe I just said It depends. I am sorry.  

Jake: In some instances I think you have to be quite collaborative with clients, so for example, recently we have been working on a hair tref lying with a client, and the usual way that we would recommend the client implement that across the sites, kind of isn’t possible without their websites are set up, so we have got to be more collaborative in coming to a recommendation that works for them as well as what we kind of want to do as the SEO agency. But I think we would always go in like this is what we would recommend, the best case scenario and what you should be doing, but then there’s always got to be that communication and open dialogue, it’s like well, what can we actually do with the system that you guys have got in place.  

Dixon: So Sara, do you find the same?  

Sara: So, for me, it depends on the expertise of the clients also. Sometimes on the other side, you find clients who have zero expertise and they come to you and they’re like, so what should I do? And then you evolve the process now behind that kind of clients, and then you have already more expertise and then it’s more a collaboration with them, and then as Jake said, then there is more… 

Dixon: As Montse just jumped in and said, it depends, because it does. Montse from the audience, thanks for jumping in. I think that then means that it does depend possibly on whether the right client is matching up with the right agency, doesn’t it? Because some clients, are very educated, or they think they are very educated, they may or may not be, and others maybe less so. If they are less educated, then of course they have to allow the agency to lead, but if they know what they want, then maybe they are taking a more hands-on approach and the agency is sort of having to fulfil the content requirements or whatever the message of the day is. So I think maybe that’s all about aligning expectations, I suppose. Trying to find that you got the right customer for your way to work is probably a good thing and I think we were talking about before we’re coming on, choosing the right clients. Sorry, did you say you had the luxury of being able to choose your clients?  

Sara: Exactly the opposite.  

Dixon: All right, you don’t have the opportunity.  

Sara: No, OK, because it is like this: I have two type of clients. So when I say “I”, I mean the team, the SEO analytics team. We have two type of clients. One is external and they are not connected to the development agency, there we can set our rules. But then we have the clients that are connected to development agencies, so their clients they are coming, because they want a new website and that is the core business of the agency, building a new website. So now, imagine they are spending a bomb and then I come and I say, listen, I really don’t think that we are a good match.  

Dixon: It is not going to work, really it’s the only choice they’ve got in town. OK, fair enough. Himani, do you get the opportunity at all to select, or I suppose, in some cases, fire your clients?  

Himani: I should not disclose this, but it’s something that happened to us like two or three months ago, I believe. And there was a time, where the client was very choosy on focusing on challenged base, and point based content strategy. And what was happening is, that was not aligning with the queries that actually the audience searches were. So that was the mismatch, that was happening. We were constantly explaining them, that you should be focusing on the query based, on content strategy, to make sure that your audiences search for you and you are there then they are searching for you. It was like completely, I mean, they just wanted that their performance marketing to work and that’s why they asked us that, we need these kind of pages, which were not, all created based on (…), but they were mostly created based on the audience or obtain points. Like, say whether they would be looking something in a product for strategizing, something for collaboration and something for analytics, so there was this product around, that was from the finance industry, and it was something created in that ways, and we were not able to identify the queries that would fit in that page. So we were like literally tired of discussing that these are the keywords we need, and we need people, I mean, we need traffic from these queries and on these landing pages. And they were like, there were a lot of huge arguments and everything that was happening and then finally we had to say, that sorry, the expectations that you had given to us – sorry, we can not match that, let’s close this. So that was something that happened, that was really crazy for us, as well, because we invested a lot of time in doing all that thousands and thousands of keyword research, clustering and mapping. And then at the end of that, you are just telling them, that no, sorry, we cannot do things for you. And it was like really… Even the teams was shattered that we had to let them go.  

Dixon: It’s a touring day when that happens.  

Himani: And it was a high-paying one.  

Dixon: Well, that happens sometimes, I suppose. There are kinds of ideas that you guys have come up with, thoughts that you’ve come up with so far. Fit into the ones that I sort of picked up from Search Engine Journal did something in October last year, on the six most common reasons why SEO companies go wrong, and they were misaligned expectations, so very much similar to what you are saying. Misaligned expectations, a failure to educate the client, a lack of value for money, which we haven’t just talked about, your clients don’t know what you’re doing, which we kind of touched, no visible results, fair enough, and the product wasn’t ready for SEO. So six ideas, but I think those are probably worth touching on. But before I dive into those into more depth, I wanted to start with sort of a happier kind of question. Have you ever done something that doesn’t just keep your clients happy, but they suddenly really delighted. It might be sending them a birthday cake or something like that, but you know. What is the icing on the cake moment that you might have, that you’ve done with your clients where a client has said: “Yeah, I’m really, really happy”. Jake, are you willing to go first on that one? 

Jake: Sure. I haven’t sent out any birthday cakes yet, but I’m gonna make a note of that idea for the future. But again, going back to kind of what I said for my tip at the start of the show, I think all of the really successful accounts that I’ve been part of, have been based around educating the client. Obviously communication is a very important part of that, but kind of making sure that the client themselves are educated and whether that is training your specific client contact as person, or delivering training for the teams internally client-side things like the PR teams, development teams, content teams, brand managers.

The more that people client-side know about how SEO works, I feel like that’s where more can happen client-side. I don’t really have control of what happens client-side. I can do great work for the agency, but as soon as I send my recommendations over, I’m relying on a completely different set of people to implement that. So if we can kind of get in there and be like business partners as well as service providers, you know, we’re helping to educate the people client-side and… 

Dixon: And how do you make that happen? What does training look like in your world?

Jake: If it’s just kind of one-on-one with the client contact, it can be relatively informal things. If you’re taking through a deliverable, and they’re not quite sure about things, you can spend some time explaining more about canonical tags or more about kind of page speed and things like that, but then if they kind of spot a need for you to help people their side, that can be more formal kind of works like workshops or like training sessions, SEO 101s things like that. 

Dixon: So have you gone into their offices in the past and sat there with them and gone through a formal sort of training sessions over to particular ideas with groups of people from the client?  

Jake: Yeah, quite a few. Common ones that we’ve done are SEO training for like in-house PR teams, obviously with the link building that’s very handy. We’ve done stuff with developers in the past as well, just kind of giving a bit more context to what we were asking them to do. We’ve worked with kind of brand managers who part of their new role was to be in charge of local SEO, so we kind of give them a bit of an insight into about local SEO, and it just helps to kind of upskill everybody and in the long term will help organic performance. 

Dixon: Absolutely. OK, back to the delight question. Sara, Himani, does one of you want to jump in with a story of delight? Sara, do you want to go there? 

Sara: So I remember this one time, it was like last year. Normally, obviously, if you achieve results is what makes a client safe, you know, that is basically where they’re paying you. But there was this one time, which was a nightmare. The client wanted something, that just a few people add, and it was a test by Google, so it was an icon. And finally, after a lot of go back and forwards between, I will not explain all the situation, but it was very difficult, with one of the developer inside the company, we obtained it. It was a live blog post, so with the written live blog during the match. And finally when we obtained it, I remember everyone was crying and the developer too, because we’re working like two months crazily to obtain that, so it was not a developer inside my company but outside, like from another company, and we were working every day trying to obtain that and every day we were like depressed. No, not even, and finally we obtain it, so the developer were like super happy. It was super proud in front of his team finally. I was proud in front of the client. So, client happy, I was happy, developer team was happy. That it was like a fantastic moment, because finally we were all happy. 

Dixon: Brilliant, good story! Himani, have you got anything to add on there? 

Himani: I never had this kind of thing, where we had to send a cake or something, where things were really crazily challenging, but what we have, because there are some of the large publishing sites, who come to us and tell us that “Hey, get us on the feature snippets and everything”, right, so in that case what happens is, some pages take lesser effort and some pages take larger effort to optimize those pages. So where we see that there are times, say, there is this client, they have like billions of organic traffic almost every month, so it’s like, there we have to optimize 10 pages a month. So what happened is that two of their pages took really less effort, so what we did is, because we thought that it was very less effort, so we identified one more challenging page, and we delivered the optimization for the 11 pages. So that’s what made them really happy, that you guys identified that it was the less effort, and you took the initiative and told us that OK, this is the page that you are taking up next for this month itself. So that little effort helped us and obviously there are areas where they feel that OK, they have given us something for free, so that’s what make them really little happy. 

Dixon: And a good thing that made you feel good there, I suppose, is that you find yourself on the front foot as opposed to being the beck and call of the customers demands and things there. Brilliant. Let’s get on to one of the reasons that was cited, not by you guys, but by a wider audience. The one of the reasons that customers aren’t happy is they can’t sense a concept of a value for money. How might you mitigate that and set it off so that doesn’t become an issue? I don’t know if anyone wants to stick their hand up and go first on that one. Sara switched off her microphone – you’re going first, go on. 

Sara: Jake, you want to go? No, too late, excuse me. So I think that there is one of the things then helps me and probably helps the client, is to set the target and to set the analytics goals, so that normally if you reach them, it helps you to understand, so I’m in the right way and if not, you know then you’re wrong, and then you have to assume, discuss with the client and… 

Dixon: So you’re setting targets based on the amount of organic traffic? 

Sara: Depends, that depends on the client a lot. I know, that I shouldn’t say “it depends”, because you said it at the beginning, but again, sorry about that, but it depends. So the advantage – I’m not like the best in analytics to be honest – what I have is then I have the advantage then there is a inside the team they are like four people that are specialized in analytics. The interstate it’s analytics, tracking, setting, doing workshop on analytics and everything. So my advantage is then I have them to support me. And then they will do some workshop for example with the client, I will be there, and then we can set the goals, and then they will drive the clients also to have the credit call, and then like this normally we are all happy at the end. If I don’t set. If I don’t arrive to the result, if that happens, OK, I will find an explanation to that, and then you know. 

Dixon: OK, I might come back on that, but I think I’ll let Himani and Jake jump in first as to how they might stop that from becoming an issue. Jake, do you want to go?

Jake: I think for me unlike the lack of value, it’s more so being open and honest up front at the beginning of the project about kind of what a client can expect for the money that they’re paying for that project, and then finding out what value is to them. I mean, obviously for like a lot of e-commerce businesses that’s going to be make more money, but also like in terms of the client contact themselves, like are there any specific metrics, vanity metrics, like goals personally that they have, that you can then continuously tie the results back to. So whether that’s kind of using smaller impact reports to show like continuous progress of the tactics that you’re doing but then from a more strategic view in things like qbr’s that’s when you’re looking at the overall impact to money. Like I said, vanity metrics, if they’ve got their heart set on some page one generic non-brand rank and that they really want to rank for, but maybe wouldn’t be super value for them, like is that something that you say “Oh, look, we’re now ranking first page for this!” that they will get a personal sense of value from or there’s also the element of if they want to see the value for money with your recommendations, how can you tie recommendations to a monetary value before they’ve even recommended it. So using things like click-through rates, conversion rate, and average order value to be like, look if you want value, this is the value of getting this keyword to position five, position four, position three, position two, position one. And if they can see the monetary value for that, they’re more likely to kind of be able to get the buy-in like, all right this is could be worth ten thousand pounds a month or whatever. I think just tying it back to that monetary value kind of helps to show value from the beginning.  

Dixon: So i mean it’s not always obvious though. But I’ll jump in on that one as well afterwards. Himani, do you want to jump in first. 

Himani: I would say 70% of the clients that we have are from the tech and the SAAS industry, so they have a lot of targets on MQLs, even more than SQLs, they are focusing on marketing qualified leads. So if they want to see whether the services that we are providing that are value for money or not, it’s something that as Sara said, we have to tie it with the targets, and we always have. Whenever we pitch the services, we always have those smart goals attached to the proposal. So what happens is, that they can understand that “OK, these many conversions we are expecting it by the end of this, say, quarter” or something like that, so we have to tie that and say for example, when we see, that we are maybe halfway or, even say, below that, below those targets, so on that month itself we take the precautions, and we take the clarification calls and everything and we tie and set the another milestone to achieve, because what happens is, if we don’t let them know in the advance, they will feel like that we were not proactive enough to take the right decisions at the right time. So that’s why we also bind the goals, that we want to achieve on the MQLs, SQLs and the traffic, and then we have to constantly monitor it and make sure that even if we are not able to achieve – that’s fine, they don’t look at that because SAAS founders and marketing heads are least concerned about whether they are achieving those targets or not, but they are most interested to know, whether we are in the right direction or not. So when you showcase that, that OK, we are progressing, but the pace is slow, then it’s fine, they are okay with it, but at least they should be having that feeling that OK, they are in the right hands, these people know what they are doing. 

Dixon: So I think mentioned qualified leads and you were talking in terms of leads. Sara was talking in terms of traffic and Jake was turning into talking in terms of rankings. And I think therein lies my sort of second dig further kind of question, because I suspect that it’s until you’ve jumped on one of those choices and got the customer to buy in, as to what you’re going to be measured against, the customer will have a tendency often to change what they consider to be value for money, when they’re just testing, paying that monthly bill, they’re kind of saying “Well, what have I got”, and they will have a tendency unless it’s very, very clear to choose whichever one you’re not going with, and I think that it’s not easy to know which one to go with, because to Sara’s metric of traffic that would be great, because you can sit there and say, well it would have cost this much to get this much traffic from PPC, for example, so you can show value for money from that point of view, but we all know that. Himani, if you had one goodly would go one really spot on visitor that person could convert and then your conversion rate is much better than the 100 or potentially thousand that come through from not a targeted PBC and then Jake, your challenge lies in the between, because what’s the difference in the value between a page one ranking and a page five ranking and a page ten ranking and then putting that across multiple keywords it becomes a difficult thing for the customer to see. So I guess, and then also Jake you make that point, I’m sorry, I’m sort of covering all of the things there and putting in another question really, but Jake, you make the point that different stakeholders may have different objectives, so that your direct customer may have a vanity metric, but the CEO or the finance director probably has a “how much cash am I paying out” metric and the marketing officers there’s “how many visitors coming in”, so there’s different stakeholders within there, so I bring it back and say, well, you know, is it a negotiation to try and set those targets to avoid an unsatisfied customer six months down the line or do you always try and go in the same direction. I don’t know if I said too much there.

Jake: I think it’s always going to be a negotiation, even if you kind of don’t necessarily want it to be, obviously you’re working with paying customers and if they want to focus on top line revenue traffic, things like that, are always going to be the most important KPIs of success businesses want to spend more money with an SEO agency to make more money. And if they’re not making more money, then obviously that’s when the questions start. But there can be instances, like going back to kind of rankings, where if demand for a particular product category or brand or something that has fallen, and a client comes asking questions, I’m not funny, but you can show that actually fewer people are searching for this product, than they were last year, and here’s some kind of backup KPIs, things like rankings, and you can pull in data from search volumes, Google trends, that kind of thing, to show that we have made SEO progress, but in order to kind of generate demand that’s maybe not a job for SEO, that’s maybe another channel. 

Dixon: Anyone wants to jump in at all on that or let it run?

Sara: So I agree with Jake 100%. For me there is like this workshop then help me, then I was saying before with the analytics team, then help me a little bit, like, OK you have all these stakeholders and make them be a little bit aligned also, and then there is also when I’m doing the job, I will try to figure out also based on this, for example which kind of page we are targeting,so some will have a search intent then we’ll go more for conversion, so I will go maybe more in that direction now that it will be just because they want to have a lot of leads, so you’re going in that direction and drive traffic there, so you have like also that they take to take into account. 

Dixon: OK, so Himani, sorry. 

Himani: I completely agree with Jake and Sara. It’s something that needs to keep going and what has happened with these days it’s like, my same queries would have indented results and everything, so it’s something that you cannot rely on. Say you’ve done something for six months and then there is nothing to do and nothing to go beyond. After six months it’s nothing like that, it’s always ever evolving and because this is now, I mean, there is a lot to go beyond, just rankings is something that we also know that these days after COVID people have started taking a lot of time to convert, so it’s not something that they should only look at SEO for driving business, it’s the holistic approach that they had to take for digital marketing to make sure that every channel helps the other to make sure the business keeps going and the demand generation keeps on improving. 

Dixon: Fair enough. So the thing then is, if you’ve got individual objectives for individual customers and they are all unique, and I led you down this road for this question And then you’ve got all your customers with a different kind of mentality of what they consider is value for money. One’s pounds and pens or dollars and cents, and one’s visitors, and one’s leads, and one’s rankings. Doesn’t that give a problem internally within agencies to try and develop internal systems that are going to help the agency grow because if every customer is totally different – does that mean that every SEO consultant within your agency has to be a real expert and you know really at the front of their game to be able to keep up or do you think there’s an opportunity for different agencies to take different approaches? If that’s a harsh question for anybody then that’s fine, but Jake seems to be happy to jump in, so no. 

Jake: Yeah I’ll take that one. To be honest, I think all of the different things that you’ve just listed within that question: rankings, revenue, traffic or things that an SEO performance report would include anyway, it’s just more so when you’re delivering kind of the insights are going through with the client, maybe you would kind of lean towards one particular part of that, is that the revenue do they want to look at, user engagement of pages, things like that. I think, generally, you are going to be reporting on all those things, but it’s more so how you then communicate success with the client as with that data. 

Dixon: That’s a fair point – which you said the first time around it’s primary results and secondary results which is a fair way to kind of have them all, and then you just decide what the key performance indicator is for that particular client.

What happens though, when you jump in there and six months down the road you don’t see results, and it may not be entirely your fault, because we do know these agencies, that as Jake said, he can produce the work to a good standard, give it to the customer and then the customer doesn’t act upon it and I know from previous Knowledge Panel Shows, that this is something that happens, that the customer pays for all of your advice and consultancy, then doesn’t do anything about it and then blames you for it not happening. How are you going to get around that one, Himani?

Himani: That’s so common, especially because the development, I mean we don’t develop and design in-house so like the developers and the development team are with them. So what happens is, whenever we recommend any UX suggestions or any tech implementations, it takes almost, say, they will say that it is in pipeline, but nothing goes as per expectations. And then, after two months, three months, they are like, where do we stand, and then we are saying, that this was given long time ago and because the business owners were not in loop, they were like okay we don’t know that this didn’t go ahead, and you should have asked us, and everything. So it’s like pretty crazy experience, when the development side implementations are not done and even these days we have seen with many SAAS companies who have signed up with us, they are using Webflow and not WordPress, so they are so much keen about not sharing their Webflow user access to us, so that we can update the blogs and everything on our end. So it’s like, we feel like, okay please come on, we need to implement these things, otherwise we won’t be having any control, and he won’t be able to show you any results at the end of the month. So we have to just keep on poking on Slack, channels and everything that hey please go and just let get these things done. I can just relate it with my two days conversation, I was poking the client since three days, that we need those landing pages live, if they won’t be live, we are not going to help you with anything. This is super crazy!

Dixon: I love this, I really hit the key of the problem here, didn’t I. Sara, you’ve got the same sort of feelings and issues?

Sara: So the advantage then, as I said at the beginning, I work for a development company, so it took me four years now, but I have a clear vision how to bypass all these kinds of problems. So how? So the secret is to understand the working sprint NO when the sprints are happening. So even when I work with external clients, my first question is: who is responsible for the development team? Can I speak to the developer directly and have their phone number? Second thing, they work with the PO normally, it depends what they use, Scrum or no, but normally it’s like this. So you want to have the number of the PO, you want to know what is their favourite way of communicating with the PO and you want to make sure to persecute him, to make sure then when you persecute him, you arrive to put your tickets in the sprint as you want it. So normally there will always be, yeah, but we have like a sprint in a week, and it’s already booked. No problem, next sprint is in the month? – OK, I can wait but let’s already go up in the hierarchy, prepare it for next month.

Dixon: So you’re assuming, that all your customers are using proper agile sort of lean systems?

Sara: No, no, that is, they are like this. If you just have for example a developer, somebody then will implement what you have to do is just persecute the developer. I mean, at a certain point they cannot avoid you forever.  

Dixon: I don’t mean to pick you up, but do you mean “persecute” or “pursue”?

Sara: No, no, persecute really. We call them: “Cheers, hello, I’m Sara, how are you?”. 

Dixon: That sounds more like “pursue” to me. “Persecute” means put in jail.

Sara: Oh, OK, than persue. Wrong word but you got it correctly.

Dixon: Sorry, I apologize for that. My Italian is a lot of worse, I shouldn’t really pick you up on that one.

Sara: I’ve learned a new word now.

Dixon: One of the things that InLinks does and – because the show’s sponsored by InLinks is a good chance to give them a plug here – the good thing about InLinks’ system is, that it’s a software as a service, so it’s not we’re not an agency, like you guys, but we’re injecting via a line of JavaScript and one of the advantages that has, and then the JavaScript will add the schema and add the internal linking. So we’ve got a lot of agencies who end up using our tool, not necessarily because they wanted to use our tool, but because the only thing they’ve got access to is Google Tag Manager, and at least now we can install the code using Google Tag Manager, and then they’ve got control of the schema, and they got control of the internal linking, which gives them a huge advantage, and they don’t have to go back to the developers. Do you think there’s a future now possibly, now that Google’s so good at a JavaScript, that there’s possibility to develop those kinds of ideas of getting around finding places where you don’t have to harass the agency’s developers? In another way, is Cloudflare and doing things on the Edge, which is probably a bit more high-tech or technical, but both those opportunities exist. Do you think there’s mileage in those, or do you think that’s a short-lived approach? No one wants to go in there, for sure. 

Jake: I think it sounds great. I think actually like trying to sell that in with a client about being able to just slip things in through that where it might be a little bit of a harder…

Dixon: May depend on the client then. If the client’s going to trust you, then that’s the thing to do.

Jake: Exactly, it’s all down to trust when it comes to something like that. Some clients, especially if it’s like someone in the finance sector or someone else in like your money, your life situation, that there’s probably going to be some level of kind of, well, you know, things that need ticked off internally by legal and things like that. Even if it is just simple: “I want to change an internal link” or something, some businesses, the wording and things like that might come down to kind of brand teams or legal teams and things like that, but in an ideal world it sounds great. I just can’t say being able to be used across like all businesses. 

Dixon: Then, Himani, what about another way to address it and have, when you start a contract, some kind of escalation procedure, so when you’re not getting that response from your direct report, you’ve already got something in place to say if it’s not moving forward, whether it’s, you’re not happy with your direct report, your direct report is not happy with the relationship with you, both sides have got a way to escalate it without it going straight to “I’d like to cancel my account”. What do you think about that?

Himani: Usually what we do, is we try and gather the reports and we try and indirectly tell them that okay we planned this much and we have not reached here, so we try and pick up their nerves, which is on the results that they have put in us, that hey you guys need to achieve these targets by this month. So we just try and share with them that okay this was the planned on the state and here we stand here and these are the metrics on the analytics. Just to inform you, that’s it. And we just let them take the decision on what’s not going and then they will pick it up with the team members and they will tell them that okay what is not working and everything. Because most of the time what happens is, we are talking with marketing heads and obviously their developer as well. But sometimes, as Sara said, they have their sprints to work upon and that’s why they don’t prioritize those activities. So there it’s when you share these reports with business owners and marketing heads, they feel really bad, that okay this is not working because of us. So then they will escalate it. So that’s how it has worked with us. 

Dixon: OK, all right. Guys, we’re already at 45 minutes, so I’m going to, just before I ask you guys to tell people how they can get hold of you and everything, I want to bring David back in, if I can, to tell us about the next episode and where we should be going.  

David: Superb conversation today. I’m sure it could have gone on for a lot longer, but hopefully we’re gonna have another just as good one next month. It’s a great topic, episode number 26 will be on Monday the 15th of August, that will be on “How to use log files for SEO”. We’ve already got all the guest book for that one, and the three guests are: Jerry White, Sophie Brannon and Stephen van Vessum. Monday the 15th of August, that’s going to be 4 PM UK time, 11 AM Eastern time in the US. Just go to the knowledgepanelshow.com to sign up to watch that one live. 

Dixon: Excellent! If you can find another lady on that one, that would be great. That’s a great crowd coming on already, so it’d be absolutely brilliant. Looking forward to that. So Sara, Himani and Jake, before you go why don’t you just remind people who you are and how they can get contact with you. Himani, why don’t you go first?

Himani: I’m reachable on Twitter, LinkedIn and even you can search my name on Google and you will find me everywhere. So you can connect with me on Twitter, you can email me and my website’s URL is: missivedigital.com. So you can look at my website, and you can search my name on Google, and you can connect with me.

Dixon: OK, missivedigital.com. People can’t see your name, so it’s Himani Kankaria. Thanks very much. Jake, how do they get hold of you and Reprise Digital?

Jake: I’m Jake Gauntley – search that on LinkedIn, on Twitter, you’ll find me on there. And reprisedigital.co.uk for Reprise.

Dixon: Sara, how about? How do they find you?

Sara: So I’m also on LinkedIn, Twitter and I think just on these two. My name is Sara Moccand-Sayegh, just search for Sara Moccand and it will come out Sara Moccand-Sayegh. You can find me on LinkedIn, on Twitter, and if you want to make your life super easy just go to Liip, which is the company that I work for. You search for people and you will find me.  

Dixon: Brilliant, thanks very much guys, I really appreciate you all coming on today. Thanks to Montse, to T Huts and to Gautam, who all sort of sending us comments in the live feed. If you do want to come on to live one next time, keep an eye out or sign up on the YouTube channel, and you’ll get a notification. Guys, thanks very much and see everybody in Wonderland.

Transcript edited on 17th August 2022.

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