Deadlines in SEO – No Real Crisis?

April 18, 2008

Certain professions – even certain segments of marketing – necessitate fast turn-around, instant response, and an on-call expectancy.

SEO doesn’t. At least it shouldn’t.

PR – yes, most definitely. If you have a crisis on your hands the media will determine just how big or small a story it becomes within 24-48 hours. By 72 hours its too late. Most any crisis management expert will tell you that you need to do three things to make the best of the situation.

  1. (over) fix the problem
  2. (over) apologize, sincerely
  3. do it immediately, yesterday even

Note number three. If you are in a PR role you should get used to this. The same may be true if you combine SEO with PR, in what is apparently termed SEO PR.

But what if you are into SEO for Lead Generation? This is basically what my firm does – utilizes SEO, PPC and other online marketing activities to generate leads for service firms. Day in, day out. Month in, month out. Its a long-term strategy, not an emergency-driven or crisis-mode type of game.

Let’s not make arbitrary deadlines in lead-generation SEO. Further, let’s not get worried about one day early or one day late. 10 days, fine. 1 day, silly. Organic SEO for lead generation is a long term strategy.

So the impetus of this post was this… A contractor I work with was doing some copywriting for a project we have. She completed 90% of it on time (early by my count) and a few days went by and I had not seen the other 10%. I sent her an email, and she replied basically saying “hey sorry I got sidetracked, I’ll have this to you later today”. I told her to take her time and she got it to me the next day, making a note to thank me for my flexibility:

Give these a try–let me know if there are any changes you need me to make.

Thanks again for your flexibility!

Simple note, but it got me to thinking. Why is everyone on such a deadline mode? Maybe its just my vantage point, but I think we’re all too stressed out and too focused on later today and tomorrow that we miss the big picture. Sacrifice long term success for short term gains? Silly.

My reply:

Thanks! And no problem. I try not to be one of those “the sky is falling and we’ll all die if we don’t have this page tomorrow” types of people. SEO takes so damn long to show results anyhow that one day either way seems rather trivial.

I’d rather have you not think of me as a thorn in your side so that the one time I actually do need something quickly I don’t look like I’m crying wolf!

I think its important to have your contractors like working with you. Sure you pay them money. Some people view this as a license to be demanding and push around their contractors. I think that is short-sighted. You have to remember that your contractors typically work with several other firms besides just yours. This means they have choice. Especially with SEO – its in such demand. Its better to be their favorite partner than their least, because then they are more likely to help you out and go the extra mile when you really need it.

How to get your contractors to love you
These are a few things I try to do:

  • Send a small gift card to them every once in a while
  • Don’t always try to negotiate down their price
  • Every once in a while tell them to add 10% to their price b/c you want to make sure they are getting taken care of
  • Pay their invoices within a day or two of receiving them

That last one is easy… unless you are talking about a ridiculous cash-flow issue, I think its something simple you can do. Still the same cost, but it helps make their lives easier. People like getting paid quickly. Instant gratification.

I’m not just being soft here, if your contractors think of you as their best client, than you’ll find that they quote you better prices (b/c you are less of a pain in the ass factor). They’ll do your work first b/c they know they’ll get paid more quickly. In general, a better all-around relationship and it really doesn’t cost you anything more monetarily.

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