Before a web marketing company can provide an effective SEO service, it must fully understand the status of a client’s site, its actual and prospective content, business plan, and the industry in which it operates. This can be a tall order, and it generally calls for close collaboration between clients and SEO service providers. But if those collaborators have a good rapport, they can almost certainly create a comprehensive plan out of the information that each of them brings to the table.

It helps, of course, if the SEO service provider knows how to organize that information and turn it into an actionable web marketing plan. There are a number of different ways of doing this, and a number of different ways of presenting that plan and its rationale to a client. But we will focus on one for now, which was helpfully covered by Search Engine Land in a recent article.

SWOT Analysis

That article calls attention to the concept of a SWOT analysis, which is used across various fields after relevant qualitative data has been collected. Whether you are a site owner or an SEO service provider, an understanding of this type of analysis may be helpful to you in the first stages of developing a web marketing campaign. It should help you to consider what elements of your existing business you should look for, as well as what kinds of factors might influence your SEO outcomes from the outside.

SWOT stands for “strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats,” and by organizing your understanding of a given site along these lines you can understand which aspects of existing SEO practice need to be maintained and which need to be improved upon, as well as which need to be safeguarded against emerging problems and which will be able to take advantage of new opportunities. The tight organization of this analysis should also help site owners and SEO service providers to more effectively communicate expectations and actions plans, based on information that has been made clear to both parties.

Look Beyond the Obvious                                 

Of course, knowing where to look for all this information is at least half the battle, and it’s not as easy as it might sound. We would even argue that the Search Engine Land article makes a mistake in its sample analysis, confusing strengths and weaknesses for goals and worries. It is not sufficient to simply notice in what ways a given SEO service is and isn’t working. Your SWOT analysis should already point you in the direction of precisely how you can make elements of your plan work.

Whether you are providing an SEO service or receiving one, look for as much data as you can and think carefully about it before formulating a plan. Ask what’s being done right and wrong, but also ask more far-reaching questions like whether SEO algorithms have changed recently, whether there are new entrants to your field of competition, or whether there are new technological or human resources to bring to bear on your web marketing strategy.

And if you are on the receiving end of an SEO service, be sure to demand this sort of far-reaching research from your web marketing company before charging ahead with any given plan. The information may not be presented to you in a SWOT analysis, but however it is presented, you should be able to clearly understand the connection between what’s going on in your industry and what you can accomplish with your site.