Ensuring quality in your SEO services: A checklist


As an agency, consultant or in-house provider, delivering quality is a top priority.

But what exactly defines a “quality” SEO service?

Is it solely about achieving results? Or are there other important factors to consider?

This checklist outlines key elements to assess and improve the quality of your SEO services. 

Does price impact your service quality?

No, price is not part of how customers would view the quality of your service. However, it can impact their expectations and their perception of the service value. 

Did you know that popular methods for measuring service quality, like SERVQUAL, don’t factor in the price? This means the cost of a service isn’t seen as part of its quality.

So, changing your price won’t necessarily make customers think your service is better. They might see the “value” differently, but that’s a separate topic.

How to deliver quality services to your SEO clients from day one

There’s no one way to define quality. It also gets complicated when we’re discussing a service like SEO vs. a physical product.

It’s easy to spot a quality shirt or shoes, but what does that look like when discussing SEO services?

That’s why I think it’s important to have a checklist that you can adapt to your needs and vision. If you’re part of an agency, you can use it to discuss internally with your team or you can measure how you perform against it if you’re working as a freelancer or a consultant.

The SEO service quality checklist

Score yourself on a scale of 1-10 on each of the following items and see how your total measures up out of 50.

1. Tangibles

In a remote-first world, your documented SEO deliverables are your tangibles.

Pay close attention to details and avoid spelling errors. It’s crucial to maintain proper branding and ensure each deliverable is clear and easy to understand.

If your clients frequently ask for clarifications, then maybe the format you’re using isn’t working.

This also applies if you work in-house. If you put effort into your deliverables, people can see that and appreciate it more. 

A small thing I like to use is tooltips. In Google Sheets, right-click on the cell title and add a description of what the data in this column means. Anyone who hovers with their mouse over the cell can see this additional information and better understand how to use/read the doc.

Insert note in Google SheetsInsert note in Google Sheets

2. Assurance

Assurance is about how knowledgeable your team is and if they can communicate that to the clients. In other words, do your clients trust your expertise? Working with you gives the clients assurance that they will achieve the desired results. 

Assurance is a feeling based on your and your team’s knowledge and the soft skills needed to communicate and build trust in your expertise and capabilities as a service provider.

So, first and foremost, hire smart people, always upskill and keep learning. SEO is always changing and you should always set time aside for your team to develop. Consider blocking an hour per week for the team to pick up on the latest industry news or SEO tactics.

The second part of assurance is soft skills. You must have good communication skills, patience and tact when communicating with your clients. Learn to explain complex SEO concepts in simple words. 

If people don’t understand your work, they will not appreciate it. They can work with someone with less knowledge and expertise, but because they understand their work, they will perceive the quality of the service as much higher.

Assurance is also important since “business moves at the speed of trust.”

Ask yourself: How much do your clients trust you? And how can you improve that?

Another thing to keep in mind is that providing regular updates and reports and having transparent communication about SEO performance can also enhance assurance and trust.

Many people cannot interpret data reports, so make sure your reports are easy to understand. Use the “Keep-It-Simple-Stupid” concept when designing a report for your clients. 

Once, a client was puzzled by the “rankings change” data. If rankings improve, such as moving from 10th to third place, the rankings change would be “-7.”

However, a negative number is associated with a drop in performance, which is quite the opposite of what the report is about. So make sure your reporting is easy to understand and walk your clients through them and answer any questions.

Dig deeper: How to build and maintain client trust in your agency

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3. Reliability

Reliability comes in three parts:

  • Meeting agreed-upon deadlines: No one likes to work with a freelancer or an agency that doesn’t deliver on time. That’s one of the biggest concerns, especially when discussing freelancers. This will impact the perceived quality of your service. It still surprises me that some people don’t use project management tools. Make sure you use one that helps you keep everything in one place and track progress and deadlines.
  • Delivering on promises made to your clients: For instance, if you tell the client, “Let me check and circle back to you on this,” you must follow through. 
  • Implementing SEO strategies and tactics that bring results: I cannot really simplify this here but it’s basically everything you’ve learned in SEO so far.

4. Responsiveness

Replying back to questions and emails in a timely manner is important. I think this may be challenging to balance since some clients are more demanding than others, so you need some tactics to handle this. 

I usually start my day by checking emails, checking it again once or twice during the day and one last time before I wrap up. If something is just a quick reply, I do it right away. Otherwise, I will reply and give the client an estimate of when this will be ready. For such situations, I say things like:

  • “Thank you for your email. I will need to check with the team and circle back to you by end-of-day tomorrow.”
  • I will add this request to our plan, it should be ready by early next week, please let me know if you’d like to prioritize this request on the current work-in-progress tasks” [and you can also list the current tasks in-progress].
  • I sometimes ask ChatGPT to help with those emails. Here’s one suggestion:
    • “I’ve noted your request and will prioritize it accordingly in our plan. You can expect completion by early next week.” Then, include an update on the progress of current tasks.

Dig deeper: How to build a values-based agency that drives results

5. Empathy

While this may sound weird to include in a checklist for assessing your service quality, I think it’s a great point. In most instances, you may not necessarily work directly with the business owner.

You’re probably working with their internal marketing team, developers and copywriters; those people are usually very busy and have plenty on their plates. Having empathy in this situation means trying to find ways to support them in executing and making their lives easier by adjusting your deliverables to whatever format makes them comfortable.

I found this to be important if you’re working in-house as well. It’s important to take care of the people you are working with. 

When working on the agency side, I would try to help the client’s team with whatever they needed help with. For example, I can request access to their WordPress and update title tags and alt tags myself. 

Another thing I do is try to be resourceful. Try to find low-effort opportunities for them to execute on.

Recently, I wanted to launch a bottom-of-funnel page, but to avoid making requests to the content team, I duplicated the existing PPC page, updated the title tags and pushed it live. This helps with two things:

  • Collecting initial data to see if this page is worth investing more effort into and optimizing further or if we should create more of the same type.
  • Testing things fast while saving internal resources.

Also, give them ample floor time to speak during meetings. Listen to their concerns and try to resolve anything blocking them.

Your job is not to send recommendations and make requests but to partner with different stakeholders to build trust and long-term business relations.

Assessing and enhancing your SEO service standards

Delivering quality SEO services is essential for building trust, retaining clients and driving sustainable results. This checklist can help you systematically assess and enhance the quality of your SEO offerings.

Remember, quality goes beyond just the end outcomes – it’s about the entire client experience, from tangible deliverables to responsive communication and empathetic partnership. Continuously evaluating your performance against these key criteria will help you stay ahead of the competition and cement your reputation as a provider of exceptional SEO services.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.


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