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Metrics You Can Use to Hold Your Agency Accountable

An agency should be held accountable to the same KPIs you use internally. Here's how to keep your agency accountable with some simple, measurable KPIs and goals.

Editor’s note: “Ask an SEO” is a weekly column by technical SEO expert Jenny Halasz. Come up with your hardest SEO question and fill out our form. You might see your answer in the next #AskanSEO post! 

This week’s Ask an SEO question is about metrics:

As an in-house SEO Manager, I lead our SEO Agency in the work for our Enterprise.

My question is straight forward: what metric(s), or goal, can I hold them accountable to? Part of the challenge we face though is that we manage many websites within enterprise that have different KPIs. Some KPIs are engagement related, and others are more direct response related (i.e., bought a product). We’ve used organic traffic in the past, but I’m curious what other, more strategic metrics, other Enterprises have used that have many website properties in their portfolio? Things that we have control over (or as much as we can).

When working with an agency, it’s important to track each website in your portfolio separately, and with its own unique set of metrics. They’re likely charging you separately for each site, so they should be reporting on each site separately.

That being said, the agency should be held accountable to the same KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) you use internally; setting up a different set of KPIs for the agency is a recipe for disaster. They won’t be working toward the same goals you are internally, and will be left blindsided when you fire them for failing to meet objectives.

Your agency should fully understand what your corporate goals are, and should be responsible for determining what KPIs are most appropriate.

Don’t try to get too fancy or “strategic” with your metrics.

You need simple, measurable KPIs and goals so that you can clearly say one of the following:

  • Yes, they achieved.
  • No they didn’t.

One thing to keep in mind, though (having been on the agency side myself), is that if your company puts up roadblocks, you need to re-evaluate the goals you’ve set for the agency.

If the agency goal is to increase traffic by 20 percent by the end of the year, but your IT team is unable to implement any of their recommendations, you can’t hold them accountable to that original goal.

When I work with clients, we often have revenue and traffic related goals in addition to what I call “effectiveness” goals.

The effectiveness goals are things like that I:

  • Respond to all emails within one business day.
  • Provide all deliverables on time.
  • Shepherd a certain number of JIRA tickets to completion per quarter.

These are all things they’d measure a full-time employee on as well.

Have a question about SEO for Jenny? Fill out this form or use #AskAnSEO on social media.

Jenny Halasz President at JLH Marketing

Jenny Halasz is President and Founder of JLH Marketing, a marketing consultation firm focused on highly technical implementations, specific projects, ...

Metrics You Can Use to Hold Your Agency Accountable

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