Imagine creating an SEO strategy so well-tailored to your clients’ needs that it catapults their website ranking, ensures more traffic, and drives remarkable business growth. That’s the power of a comprehensive SEO client questionnaire.
It’s the secret ingredient to understanding your new clients’ businesses, goals, and target audiences. And it helps you craft a customized plan to achieve their objectives.
Plus, the client questionnaire helps ensure the onboarding process goes smoothly, eliminating obstacles later in the process.
Here is a comprehensive set of questions to ask your new SEO clients to vet them before you start working with them.
Key elements of an SEO questionnaire template
Working with a new client and getting them onboarded can be a challenge.
An SEO questionnaire template makes it easy to get all the important information and keep it in one place.
It also builds your professional arsenal and communicates the value you bring to the table.
Having different sections in your SEO questionnaire template makes it easier for reference purposes.
It ensures you are asking the right questions to create your new client’s SEO strategy.
In the template, you need to ask questions that fit into these categories:
- How you’ll gain access to their existing platforms and relevant documents
- Their business, including their niche or industry, target market, and current SEO strategy
- Their digital marketing goals so you can create key performance indicators, evaluate progress, and achieve success
- Their website, any other domains they own, and if they are planning to redesign or migrate soon
- Previous marketing efforts so you know what’s worked in the past, what didn’t work, and if they did digital PR and other types of marketing
- Their link building strategy is to understand what’s been done before and if they have another agency or freelancers working on a link-building campaign
Questions about access to client assets
You can’t create a successful SEO strategy without having access to the client’s existing data. This also makes managing your client a lot easier.
Access to your client’s assets helps you look at the historical data, make a whole site assessment, and set up SEO reports.
Ask for access to platforms your client uses, such as Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and Google Ads.
If your client has worked with another SEO agency or freelancer, you need to know.
This will let you know what SEO strategies have been implemented and how successful they were once you see these documents.
Ask for keyword research reports, audit reports, and more to help you avoid duplicating work.
There’s also benefit in having access to your new SEO client’s content calendar, an SEO platform, and other relevant documents.
If you are taking over their entire SEO strategy, you can stay on top of implementing what they have planned.
And it ensures that you and your client don't continue working on content and other optimization strategies that are in conflict with each other.
Add these questions to your SEO questionnaire template on a Google Form or the tool of your choice:
- Do you have Google Analytics set up on your website properties? If so, please share the login details.
- Do you have Google Ads set up on your website(s)? If so, please share the login details.
- Do you have Google Search Console on your website? If so, please share the login details.
- Please share the login details for your website's content management system.
- Can we get access to your content calendar?
- Do you have other SEO tools that you use? What are they, and please share access?
- Do you keep relevant SEO projects and information in a Google Drive or similar cloud storage tool? Please share access.
- If you’ve worked with previous SEO agencies, may we get access to the keyword research reports?
- Can you please share reports, audits, and other documents the previous agency shared with you?
Questions about your client’s goals
Understanding your client’s business and their short and long-term goals helps you understand and manage their expectations.
These aspects also inform the SEO strategy you’ll create and implement.
You need to develop comprehensive insights into your client’s business, website, and positioning on the search engine results pages (SERPs).
There are also deliverables and key performance indicators (KPIs) to consider, and whether these align with the company’s overall goals.
Ask if the client has a seasonal business.
This can help you anticipate expected highs and lows in website traffic, which will ensure you plan any future campaigns more effectively.
Find out if your client has a brand-new business that wants to get to the top of the SERPs, which are currently dominated by industry leaders.
Ask them if they expect their traffic to skyrocket from zero to one million in three months (realistic vs unrealistic expectations).
Information about your SEO client’s current traffic numbers, conversions, revenue, and rankings gives you a better idea of what they aim to achieve.
Plus, it gives you a clear understanding of what they consider to be the measure of success (KPIs) when it comes to SEO strategy and goal attainment.
Once you understand their goals, you can help ensure they are realistic and attainable given the company’s budget, timeframe, and the developmental stage of their business.
Include these questions in your SEO client onboarding questionnaire:
- How would you describe your business to someone who doesn’t know what you do?
- What’s your brand's mission?
- What are the primary words, phrases, or taglines that your business uses or that are associated with your company?
- Please share your brand guidelines with us.
- What business SEO or digital marketing goals do you have planned?
- What difficulties have you experienced in achieving these goals? Or if it is a brand-new company, what challenges do you expect to run into?
- Are there any specific goals or metrics you want your business to achieve through its content and SEO efforts?
- What kinds of conversions do you want?
- Do you have a seasonal business? What are your best and worst-performing months?
- What are your key performance indicators (KPIs)?
- What are your unique selling points (USP)?
- What is your top acquisition channel?
- What increase in organic traffic (in percentage or numbers) would you like to achieve in the next 6 to 12 months?
- How many conversions are you aiming for in the next 6 to 12 months?
Questions about the client’s strategy
This section of your SEO client questionnaire will help you learn about your client’s website and overall marketing strategy.
There are several aspects of your client’s strategy you need to know about.
One of the main aspects is keyword optimization.
If your client has conducted keyword research, they should share their documents and findings with you.
But it's also important to understand what keywords the client wants to rank for so you can conduct your own keyword research and align the overall SEO strategy to meet those objectives.
You should understand your client’s processes so your approach can fit in with them. Also, learn about your client’s competitors, business initiatives, target market, and ideal audience.
This will help ensure the goals, SEO campaigns, and content marketing plans align with your client’s vision and what you can deliver.
Ask your potential SEO clients these questions:
- What is the current state of your website?
- When was the last time you updated or redesigned your site?
- What countries, states, cities, or communities are you targeting?
- Who is your client's target audience or ideal customer?
- What are the top 5 traits or attributes your ideal customer has psychographically?
- What percentage of your customers are repeat customers?
- Who are your main competitors, and why?
- Are there any specific industry leaders or competitors you’d like to benchmark or track against?
- What specific keyword phrases would you like your website to rank for on the search engines?
- What did you like about previous keyword reports, if you or an agency compiled any for you?
- What goals or metrics did you measure in the past?
- Are you currently running any paid advertising campaigns?
- Are you planning on launching new business initiatives in the next month or three?
- What website domains (or other websites) do you own?
- Are you planning to migrate your websites to a new host or content management system in the next 3 to 6 months?
- Are you planning a website redesign in the next 3 to 6 months?
Questions about your client’s challenges
It’s essential to get insight into your new SEO client’s biggest challenges.
- Maybe they aren’t ranking for the keywords they’d like to?
- Maybe their content optimization needs improvement.
- Are you filling a gap that their current marketing team doesn’t meet?
- Or do you need to step in and do it all?
Or, perhaps the challenges relate more to communication and bad past experiences with previous SEO agencies or even an in-house team.
When you understand these challenges, you can streamline your process.
You can also further refine and improve the SEO strategy.
Your client will feel that you are invested in their business and success when you care about their challenges.
If there have been communication issues, send your client regular updates and relevant reports to build trust and transparency.
Cover the following questions in your seo client questionnaires:
- What difficulties are your business currently experiencing?
- What are your three biggest challenges?
- Please elaborate on each of these with as much detail as possible.
- Are there any areas specifically related to SEO that you believe are underperforming? Why?
- What challenges are you experiencing with your website?
- Are there any specific issues with page speed, bounce rate, mobile-friendliness, image optimization, or content quality?
- How well are your most important web pages or landing pages performing? Are there any notable issues here?
- What information do we need to better understand your challenges and business context?
- Have there been any recent developments in your industry or niche that have resulted in challenges for your company?
- Why do you believe your website isn’t performing as it should?
- Has your website been penalized by Google?
- What is your monthly SEO budget?
Questioning SEO clients about their challenges can uncover insights that you may not have covered. While you are the expert on optimizing their website, the customer is going to know more than you about their industry.
Often you may find that questioning their challenges will help you understand their past campaigns and why they failed.
Questions about their marketing
When you are onboarding a new SEO client, ask questions about their previous marketing efforts.
Who have they worked with? What kind of work was done?
SEO projects like on-page optimization or off-page optimization? Content marketing?
If they haven’t worked with an outside agency, learn about their in-house marketing team.
What are the roles and responsibilities of each member of the client’s team?
This will help you determine gaps, where you can lead the team, and what tasks you must take over.
Try to get information about what worked, what didn’t, and why.
Also ask to see previous standard operating procedures (SOPs).
The more information you gather about your client and previous marketing plans, the better you can strategize about the soon-to-be-implemented SEO marketing plans.
You can ensure that these plans will work for you and your client.
As you work closely with them, you can avoid making the same mistakes previous freelancers or agencies made.
This will help ensure that you keep on delivering and that they keep you on their books.
It’s extremely important to establish communication methods and how frequently you communicate with your potential SEO client.
- Do they prefer short phone calls with updates every week?
- A longer email with reports?
- Or how about monthly updates with significant results?
The choice of communication method ultimately depends on the preferences and needs of your potential SEO client.
This helps set realistic expectations for your client's SEO project. And it can help avoid unnecessary misunderstandings.
Use the following questions in your SEO onboarding questionnaire:
- Do you have a content marketing plan? If so, who is responsible for that?
- What successes and challenges have you faced with your content plan?
- What SEO services, agencies, or freelancers have you worked with in the past?
- What processes or SOPs were in place with the previous agency that you’d like us to continue with?
- What about the previous processes or SOPs would you like to change?
- If you have an in-house SEO or marketing team, what roles and responsibilities do each team member have?
- What are your expectations regarding communication and updates?
- In what ways have you received SEO reports in the past? (in-person, conference call, Slack, Teams, email, automated)
- What did and didn’t you like about that experience?
- Who will be our main point of contact?
Marketing related questions should include other lead generation channels, besides SEO. Diving into social media campaigns and paid advertising strategies can provide information on target users and their preferences.
Questions about past link building campaigns
Inquiring about your client’s past efforts is a must.
This kind of information gives you a crucial understanding of their SEO history. It also helps identify potential areas for improvement, so you can develop a more effective strategy to capitalize on past and present successes.
Include these questions in your questionnaire:
- Is there anyone on your team, a freelancer, or an agency working on acquiring links?
- What tactics have you used to acquire links?
- What tools do you use to help you secure links?
- How does your team find link opportunities?
- Has your team worked on a cluster page strategy to build internal and external links?
- Is guest posting part of your link acquisition strategy?
- How do you evaluate the potential of linking sites?
- Have you ever bought any paid links or been a part of a link scheme? If yes, please share the details.
- If you’d like us to acquire links for you, do you have a list of websites as a starting point?
- Have your websites ever experienced issues with link penalties?
You can also use SEO tools and access Google Search Console for related information. Asking your customer about links will help quicken the SEO work you have to do.
You will also have to explain that link building is a time consuming process, and the results will take a couple of weeks or more to show up.
- When you are onboarding new SEO clients, create a client questionnaire template. This will allow you to gather client information about their company, digital marketing goals, and challenges in one easy-to-access document.
- One of the main sections of the SEO client questionnaire should be about gaining access to key client platforms, SEO tools, and documents. Ask for access to their Google Analytics, Google Ads, Google Search Console, and website CMS, among others.
- Questions about your client's SEO and business strategy, their competitors, business initiatives, and the keywords they aim to rank for ensure you align their vision with the SEO deliverables.
- Gaining insight into their past and current challenges gives you an advantage. You can make sure that you meet your client's expectations without repeating the same past mistakes.
A comprehensive SEO client questionnaire is key to unlocking insights for an effective SEO strategy.
Ask the right questions and foster open communication and collaboration. You don't need a dedicated tool; you can use Google Docs or a similar tool to capture your clients responses.
What's important is that you have all this essential information in one place with easy access.
From there, you can set the stage for a successful SEO campaign that delivers maximum value for your client’s investment.