How do you ensure that your SEO firm has designed a winning strategy? Do you just take their word for it (after all you did hire them to assist you) or do you inject yourself into the campaign and help your agency succeed? If you said the latter, then congratulations. Your input is crucial to your agency’s success, and ultimately your online success. Here’s how to help your SEO firm explode your online visibility. The key to success is to define your goals at the outset of the campaign and match goal-centered metrics to each campaign milestone so you will be able to track your progress. It’s your job to ensure that your SEO firm has the correct goal in mind and has set up campaign milestones that act as steps along the path to your final destination – your goal. Let’s start with goal setting as many people have trouble with it, and there’s one big reason for this:

A Goal Must Be Specific!

The best SEO services are always goal-oriented. Here are some examples of specific goals: Sell 500 pairs of shoes by July 1. Get 300 people to download my podcast by April 15. Grow my email list by 1,000 new subscribers by October 10. Are you seeing a pattern here? Each goal is comprised of two parts:

1) The end result tied to a specific number.

2) A date by which the end result must be achieved.

It’s up to you to create the goal. Then work with your agency to break that goal down into manageable steps. Each week and month there need to be steps taken to the next milestone, on the way to achieving your goal. For example, key phrase research is a milestone. Setting a benchmark for your key phrase rankings on Google is a milestone. Some milestones, like setting the key phrase ranking benchmark, relate to creating metrics with which you measure your progress. More on that in a moment.

–> Metrics measure goal progress. Those four words mean a lot, but only if you set metrics that relate directly to your goal. So if your goal is to get 300 people to download your podcast by April 15, then you need to set up metrics that help you measure your movement closer to that goal. How do you know what to measure and what kind of metrics should you set up? Using our podcast hypothetical, try these:

1) Create a social media campaign to encourage downloads.

2) Create a newsletter campaign to entice people to download.

3) Run a contest drawing and give away a prize to someone who correctly provides you with a fact presented in your podcast (they would have to download and listen to your podcast to get that info, so they could enter the drawing).

These are all good ideas that can get people to download your podcast. They also create data that can be collected. In the first instance, say you create a Twitter ad campaign to get people to download. You then measure how many people clicked on the ads and then proceeded through to download the podcast.

The second idea is incredibly easy to measure as most email software comes with fairly robust reporting telling you who clicked on links in your newsletter. You can specially code those links and follow the visitor’s path on your website via Google Analytics to see if they downloaded your podcast.

Contests such as the one we describe above are another relatively easy way to move towards a goal and measure progress. People will have to listen to your podcast to get the nugget of information that answers the question you ask. They then can enter the contest and hope to be picked in the drawing. Make the question you ask easy, but only available to someone who has actually downloaded and listened to the podcast. Count up your number of correct answers and that is how many people downloaded your show.

You may think up even better ways to get people to buy, contact, or transact with you. The point is that every strategy is a kind of mini-campaign that needs to have a goal and an end date. So ensure that these strategies are present in your SEO company’s game plan for your marketing campaign. Because you told them upfront, your SEO firm should know what your ultimate goal is. It’s up to them to work out strategies to get you there; they must treat all of the strategies like mini-goals, which need dates attached to them and ways to measure the progress (metrics).

What If Roadblocks Or Delays Happen?

Actually you should be asking yourself, WHEN roadblocks or delays happen, not if. Delays and issues always crop up during marketing campaigns. Sometimes you can anticipate these; such as when you plan on redesigning your website (that process is usually fraught with delays). Sometimes you can’t know what might happen (you may suddenly get an opportunity to buy a company that would merge well with yours and your goals may change). When this occurs it’s important to keep the lines of communication open with your SEO firm. Make it easy for them to understand what you’re dealing with so they can help you adjust your marketing, if necessary. Let their experts guide you. Remember to provide them with the insider knowledge you have about your business.