Horror! You are Getting Hired to Monitor or Audit the Older SEOer of Your Current Client. Are You Getting Monitored Too?

Scenario: client is locked into a contract with their current Search Engine Optimization (SEO) provider for a further 6 months.
They ask you to audit their current SEO providers work to ensure they are providing a reasonable service and provide questions / instructions that the client should put to the current provider for the next six months.
Would you agree to this arrangement? Have you faced this situation yourself? Any due diligence required?
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Sure, if they pay you too!
However, put a clause in your contract that says if the existing SEO firm shows any resistance to your suggestions / requests / or is unable to perform said tasks, the client must cut their contract short / pay them off to enable you to actually perform your due diligence / GOOD work. Why keep the poison in the well? They are leaving them for a reason…
If this audit/consultation is in an attempt to "win" their contract after the 6 months is over with the other guys – have some dignity and find another client.

Meakin » Edward
Yeah it's a paid gig and I'll be doing SEO for one of their other sites in the meantime.
Yeah, there's no way I'd do this for 6 months to try to win the client over!
Glad to hear! 😊

I've done hundreds. I've also been audited myself many times.
Pros – Having a qualified SEO audit a site in an effort to determine site performance, completed works etc can be a good thing, and one that has landed me quite a few clients over the years. In most cases you'll find that either a) very little has been done b) f*ck all has been done c) shit work has been done
However to perform an audit accurately you MUST have access to all necessary information. How long the engagement has been, works completed, what the client is paying, keywords tracked, focus points, revenue, sales data, enquiries etc – the lot. If they've flicked someone a login and said "Go for it" and that's all you have, then your efforts are pretty much pointless. In order to perform an audit you must have all of the necessary information – including campaign objectives of course.
Cons – Most SEO users use this as an opportunity to land clients. Audits are EASY to stack in your favour. Anyone with any amount of SEO knowledge can make another SEO look bad. I've seen it happen. Its happened to me. its dishonest and incredibly deceitful.
I recall years ago being questioned by a client, who said during an end of month strategy call "John I had your work audited by someone else, and they've noted here in their report, that we don't have green lights on Yoast. They've marked this down as needing immediate actioning. I'm a bit concerned here because I'm paying you quite a lot of money". I was quite shocked and responded with "You can have green lights in Yoast, or we can continue to make $150,000 a month, which would you prefer?"
I ended up firing that client, for the simple reason they felt it necessary to have someone audit my work. I was also incredibly angry that someone else in our industry would push this sort of bullshit.
I've performed audits where I've said –
"This is shit, you're wasting your money"
"This is dangerous, you're going to end up being penalized"
"This is great work, keep going"
"The following things could be improved, but overall the quality is decent"
My advice is always honest. I'm not interested in lying in order to secure clients. If you've been given this opportunity then I would say go for it. BUT, make sure you're auditing the right things. There's no point telling them that they don't have any keyword meta tags or duplicate H1 tags because they might be getting a $200,000 return on their SEO investment.
Again, make sure you get all of the required information.

Göral » John
Well said.
Meakin » John
Thanks for the great reply – I'll definitely keep those points in mind.
John » Geoff
Best of luck with it!

No context = pointless exercise.
How many times have we provided clients with prioritized recommendations to have it not actioned? Plenty!
From small to enterprise, the struggle is the same. It's relatively easy to find problems if you're looking for them. Getting things implemented with a limited budget or lack of dev time or internal buy-in is our biggest challenge.

Meakin » Cheung
Great point! What would be the main items you would need for context? The client has been very co-operative and seems to be an "open book" as far as I can tell. I could get the context needed if I ask the right questions.
Daniel » Cheung
Good answer because that's true right there man. A lot of clients don't understand what we do obviously. They expect miracles they expect results for next to nothing in terms of budget usually. And then they would go and do something like this and so there's no fair way to actually give this company what they're looking for because this company never gave that other agency of fair shot. This is most likely the case but I can't be sure maybe they are charlatans. I just know it's typical of clients when it comes to Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to lose patience really fast and or to point the finger somewhere else as to why success finally came. You mentioned due diligence. In light of you recognizing that I would say it'd be a good idea to contact the agency and let them know what's going on. Unless in your analysis you do believe they're charlatans or short changing their client. But if you don't see it yeah man I would let the agency know that they are being questioned by their client LOL.


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