A well-written SEO brief lays the groundwork for ensuring that your new external digital marketing team (the SEO agency) is on the same page when it comes to executing the SEO strategy for your business.
However, writing the perfect SEO brief for an SEO agency is not as simple as it may appear.
You need to describe what your goals are; but even in the best of times, formulating your thoughts and ideas can get tricky. Things become even more complicated when you try to incorporate technical concepts that you may not be entirely unfamiliar with.
Afterall, there’s a reason why you are outsourcing your SEO requirements to a highly-specialised SEO agency.
If you're not clear on what you need, your campaign may fall flat, leaving your target audience out in the cold. However, if you learn how to write an effective SEO brief, your chosen SEO agency will be better positioned to create a campaign or make a proposal that hits the mark and achieves the desired results.
If you're not familiar with what an effective SEO brief for your SEO agency should contain, you've come to the right place. We've put together this mini-guide to help you get a head start on writing the perfect SEO brief for your business.
Marketix Digital are a team of SEO professionals and experts dedicated to assisting Australian businesses improve their SEO rankings, conversions, and growing their businesses.
The Benefits of Writing a Great SEO Brief
To write an effective SEO brief, you’ll need a comprehensive and realistic understanding of your goals from the SEO campaign. Figuring out how to write the document in a way that accurately communicates your SEO requirements is no small task.
It's no surprise that many business owners don't even bother trying to create this document.
After all, a seasoned SEO agency should know how to get your company's website to the first page of Google, right?
Of course, that’s a very short-sighted view of what a professional SEO agency does. The reality is that no agency has a one-size-fits-all solution ready to go for their next client. And if they say they have one for you, you're better off politely declining and moving on.
A strong SEO brief will clearly outline your main marketing goals. It should be able to explain what it is you are hoping to achieve with your strategy. Will there be multiple objectives, or do you wish to concentrate on one or a few? Other key points to consider are detailed below.
The Essentials of Writing the Perfect SEO Brief
You'll need to address a few key points if you want to produce a strong SEO brief that will help an agency get off to a good start and be able to accurately scope the required effort.
While these are beneficial to the agency that is being onboarded, emphasising these points can help your business down the line.
Let's take a closer look at each of these.
Your Company, Business & Brand
It's important to emphasise your company's unique market position – Who you are, what you do and whom you serve.
Include this critical information in your brief because it will set the foundations for the rest of the brief.
To accomplish this, you can clearly state your differentiators on what you do better than your competitors. This can include pricing, quality, service level, or a one-of-a-kind offering.
Whatever your USP is, make sure it jumps out and helps your agency understand exactly who you are, what you do and whom you serve.
Concentrate on what your brand does so well today and how it will only grow in importance in the future.
Your Business & SEO Goals
An SEO agency needs to understand what you are trying to achieve with SEO, are there specific products, services, or service lines that you want to dominate the industry with?
How does this tie into your businesses strategic top-line goals with the strategy that your board has defined?
Have you got specific goals in mind? Market share penetration? Increase traffic? Drive more conversions? Keywords that you might want to target?
What are your current conversion rates and goals across your website? How does this compare to your industry benchmark?
Define your target market for SEO
Writing a successful SEO brief requires a clearly defined target market and audience, as this will define the set of specific keywords that you target.
Is the product/service appealing to specific types of business professionals? Or are you looking for fashion-conscious women between the ages of 25 and 34? Or are you a value-based national telecommunications provider?
Clearly defining your target demography allows your SEO agency to target them more precisely and develop the appropriate strategy for your set of keywords and intrinsic links between your content clusters and commercial pages.
This audience information will provide data that can be used to fuel your digital marketing strategy. With this information, your agency will be able to target specific demographics, interests, and purchase intent with keyword research and selection.
A professional marketing agency will look at both your present Google analytics, Google Search Console and map your specific business keywords out using multiple tools such as SEMrush and Ahrefs.
This will help create a campaign which incorporates targeted audiences that will deliver traffic that are both relevant to your keywords and marketing goals.
Your budget for SEO
After you've determined your marketing objectives, the following step is to assess your budget allocation for SEO.
In general, your budget should be reasonable and consistent with your company's digital marketing objectives and gross annual sales.
You should not be afraid to share this information with your marketing agency. After all, if you expect a real estate agent to help you find the right property, you wouldn't approach them without at least revealing a reasonably accurate budget.
Businesses that invest more into SEO are more likely to develop momentum and expand their market share. SMB firms should be looking to invest at least 10% of their total top line revenue as an effective budget based on their size. Larger and more established businesses can invest a minimum of 5%.
Remember, the objective of SEO is to dominate your industry keywords and capture the largest amount of commercial intent traffic.
This article assumes that you are speaking to legitimate SEO agencies in Australia and not fly-by-wire operators.
As a guideline for SEO pricing in Australia, local campaigns can start from $3,000 per month; citywide campaigns from $5,000 per month, national campaigns from $10,000 per month and enterprise campaigns can start from $25,000 per month.
It is important to be realistic with your budget and expectations; ensure that you have board approval or a pathway to getting approval for your SEO campaign, even pending on further SEO data for internal justifications (if this is necessary for board approval, be transparent with your agency).
To recap and expand, you should be open and honest about your financial allocation and priority, you are building a partnership with a reputable SEO agency. You can also specify your budget as a range if that helps your agency come up with options within scope of your SEO project, or even with a reduced scope to fit your budget and help you achieve some of your marketing goals.
It's also a good idea to state whether you anticipate this budget increasing or decreasing over time. Is this something that the board has approved and funded? Otherwise, why are you approaching an SEO company to pull in their resources and put together an SEO strategy for you? Justify your viewpoint and position.
A legitimate and serious SEO agency is not going to drop everything and provide a free SEO roadmap and strategy if you are not taking demonstrable steps to make your campaign happen or provide a level of transparency in your approach for this partnership to be successful.
Lastly, if you are looking for the cheapest option, you should be clear in your goals; as many legitimate SEO agencies will not engage on a cheapest option basis - there are far too many shady operators willing to let a client website get penalised by Google by low quality cheap work which is offloaded overseas, by which point the damage is too far gone and too late to rectify.
Your Competition in SEO
To improve your search visibility, you must understand who your competitors are and how to beat them. Especially those who are currently ranking higher than you. There are two types of competition in SEO:
Competitors in business: These are your direct competitors, who are selling similar products or services to the same target consumers like you.
Competitors in search: Companies compete for keywords against you, even if they sell something different or target different consumers.
These are the companies you will need to stay ahead of, as well as the ones you want to catch up with or pass. Separate it into product or service lines and provide the top 2 or 3 competitors that you want to beat.
By providing competitors and mapping product/service lines clearly, your agency will be able to conduct detailed analysis on your competitors against the target keywords, technical SEO architecture, gap analysis, and off-page analysis; these will form critical data points for the SEO strategy going forward.
Your Historical SEO Data
Your SEO brief should incorporate your full search marketing history.
What has been done to date? Have you worked with another agency? Did you have internal staff “doing SEO”? If so, to what depth and what did they do? Is it documented?
Above all, any previous history of Google search penalties or cautions must be known to your SEO agency, as this changes the opportunity ahead and may even prevent an agency from working with you.
If you've previously worked with other agencies, you should consider everything they did when developing your revamped strategy. Most of this information can be gleaned from SEO audits, but the more information you can supply to your agency ahead of time, the better.
Working with a Digital Marketing Agency Has Its Benefits
Staying competitive in today's market requires having a strong digital presence. However, digital marketing has a lot of moving pieces, and the business is always changing. The strategies and tips that worked a few months ago may no longer be as relevant today.
Hiring a digital marketing agency is the most effective way to meet all of your digital marketing requirements. They have years of technical training and experience and use advanced marketing tools to provide professional-grade services in the following areas:
● Google Ads
● Social Media Marketing
● Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
● Web Design
Here are a few reasons why businesses might consider hiring an agency to bolster their in-house marketing team.
They have a more diverse and relevant skillset: The majority of businesses do not have enough work to justify hiring full-time web developers, SEO experts, or social media account managers.
However, these services can provide strong benefits for most businesses. When you work with Marketix Digital, we bring those skills and more to the table at no extra cost to you.
Significant cost-savings: For any business, the price of having an internal or external marketing team can add up quickly. For the same cost as one or two full-time salaries, you gain access to a full team of marketing experts in a variety of specialties.
Increased productivity: Working with an agency like Marketix Digital means that 100% of your hard-earned money goes toward the production of deliverables. You're not paying for training, office space, payroll tax, leave, or even additional equipment.
Furthermore, agencies frequently work with multiple clients at the same time. This means they've built procedures that allow them to deliver high-quality work, remain ahead of market trends, using advanced techniques, whilst staying within budget and meeting deadlines.
An effective SEO brief is the way to go if you want to increase sales or lead generation on your website. As a Google Partner and SEO agency in Sydney, we have lots of experience running highly successful SEO marketing campaigns and developing digital strategies.
If you want to maximise the long-term effectiveness of your marketing strategy, you must first create a solid foundation, a sound SEO brief is crucial.
The Bottom Line
If you want to get ahead of the competition with a well-written SEO brief, working with a Google Partner agency like Marketix can yield the best results. After you've created and delivered your document and everyone is on the same page, let your agency do its thing.
If you'd want to work with Marketix Digital for your SEO campaign, we'd be happy to talk about your company's needs. Get in touch today!