10 things every client should understand about SEO

Working regularly with SEO focused clients often provides our fair share of unrealistic demands. However, while this is the case, each situation is unique. This is because each business and client served is different from all the others.

In most cases, clients will have a real interest in being taught how the proper use of SEO can help ensure their brand grows. The fact is, though, there are still some things that a client says, or even does, that can make the job a bit more challenging. Here’s an overview of certain behaviors of clients that can make virtually any SEO professional a bit crazy.

1. Having an Unnatural and Unhealthy Obsession with Being Ranked Number 1

Because there is so much vague information out there about SEO, it makes sense that many businesses believe that its sole purpose is to rank in one of the top three spots – which is something that’s extremely volatile at best. Yes, rank is important, but the main goals of any SEO efforts should be to increase visibility, build a reputation and to drive growth regarding the total number of actual, interested visitors that are landing on their website.

Reaching the number one spot is not always going to be the best way to accomplish this. In fact, we find it beneficial to help our clients refocus by pointing out the different ways that an effective SEO plan is going to bring more traffic to their site.

One example of this is that leveraging the local SEO tactics may help them land a coveted spot in the three-pack local results, instead of the number one position on the page. For any local business that is trying to attract traffic locally, the three-pack is much more important and more effective than any of the other positions on page one of search engine results.

2. Thinking that SEO can Replace PPC Completely

An effective and well thought out PPC ad is a smart investment. It is also one that many business owners are not very excited about making. This is especially the case if they happen to be working with a somewhat limited budget for marketing.

While it is estimated that about 41% of all clicks go to the initial three paid ads on the first page of search results, most businesses automatically turn to SEO efforts in hopes they can generate that type of interest fast, with traffic that’s super-targeted. The bad news is that with all of these types of unrealistic expectations, clients are going to virtually always wind up being completely disappointed. This doesn’t mean that SEO is not going to be effective, or that it is playing second-fiddle to PPC efforts. The point is that it is different, which is sometimes difficult for a number of clients to really understand.

With PPC, you are essentially throwing a dart, and able to hit the target on the very first try. However, with SEO, it’s all about brand building and nurturing over the long term. You can win by using both of these methods together.

3. Believing that it is Just a Numbers Game

There are not many things in life today where quantity is going to surpass quality. This is also the case with traffic that’s generated from a properly built SEO strategy. It can be very frustrating come to us and all they want to see is an increase in their numbers.

While being able to direct more traffic to their website is a huge part of the picture, it is the traffic’s quality that really matters than just the total number of visitors. The fact is, these are the types of clients that are ready to see results right away, and an increase in traffic is one of the tangible ways to measure the benefits offered by actually paying for the SEO services. However, it is very important to us to make sure we reinforce what SEO actually means in the long term to this particular client.

At this point, we need to show the client how putting energy into bringing about quality leads is something that is more important for their overall ROI, even if the traffic numbers are not exactly what they want to see.

4. Wanting to See Results Right Now

From time to time, we will get a client who comes to us in a full-on desperate state. Because they used questionable tactics before, they may have been issued some type of penalty. They may have even failed at their own SEO attempts and feel as though they don’t know what to do next. It is likely they are at a point where they need to grow their brand, and to do it quickly before they lose too much momentum and they can’t recover.

At this point, they come to us for help, and they want to see the results from our SEO efforts yesterday. It is crucial that we help our clients fully understand how SEO can help to pull their business out of the hole they are in, but it’s also important to stress that it also takes time to build a brand and that instant gratification is typically not part of this process.

Also, any client in this position does not just need to improve their SEO process, but also think about complementing things, such as PPC, or see where their business operations may be sinking their ship.

5. High Expectations and Low Budget

While we can’t really blame a business owner for wanting to maximize every single dollar of their marketing budget, sometimes things can get a bit unrealistic. While contacting an SEO pro is a smart move, if their expectations and budget are not in line, they may be a bit disappointed with the results achieved.

At this point, it’s important for us to sit down and have a serious discussion with the client so they know what’s included and what is not included in the services provided. Also, we find it beneficial to put down on paper what a few realistic SEO goals are so that the client is not disappointed in the end.

6. Having an Outdated Website but Expecting Miracles

This can be tough, as there are many business owners who feel extremely protective of the website design they have in place – especially if they had a hand in creating it. In most cases, they will not be thrilled to learn that their web design is actually a pretty big threat to the overall health of their SEO.

Today, SEO is much more complex, and clients need to take into consideration a number of factors that were not important just a few years back, and one of these is the user experience (UX) of the website. User experience and usability are extremely important when it comes to an effective SEO plan. This means that a total overhaul for the web design is needed for any site that is unable to meet the demands of modern consumers, is not optimized for use on mobile devices, loads slowly, or is outdated.

7. Not Being Willing to Change

With this type of client, they want to achieve results, but they don’t want to make any changes that are going to make this possible. This could be anything and everything from optimizing the existing content strategy to taking a more active role in the business’ reputation management, or even rethinking the overall approach to link building. Regardless of what it may be, this is the client who won’t think that what they have done, or are doing, is wrong, and as such, they won’t be willing to change.

If this is the case, they are still going to expect a miracle out of us. To work with this type of client we need to take a unique approach that involves showing them the way that others have successfully built their business by using the strategies that we’ve suggested.

8. Not Getting that Consistency is a Must for SEO Success

This is another familiar type of client. This may be due to the client being frugal, or that they don’t have the resources to use the service of an SEO pro on a regular basis. The solution for this client is to typically work with the pro to gain some insights, start off on the right track and see a few results. However, then they disappear, and their site begins to sink into a digital abyss.

This is frustrating and to overcome this client we have to ensure they understand how important consistency is to SEO. While this stop and go approach may help to generate some results, it is not going to help the business reach its full potential.

9. Being Completely Clueless when it Comes to Goals

In some cases, a client will contact us because they know they need to focus on SEO, but don’t know what the end goal is. While most clients are willing to learn, this just makes more work for us. If we want to make this type of relationship successful, we need to ensure our client remains engaged. For example, we want to be sure they understand what the smaller goals are and how they will lead to the bigger ones.

10. The Hands-Off Approach

With this client, they feel like we are being paid for a service, and that we should handle all aspects of this service. In this case, they only expect us to let them know what is going on from time to time. This type of client does not mean any harm. They are just focused on other parts of their business. The approach we use in this situation is to make sure they are consistently informed, and then leave it in their hands. We provide our client full access to our proprietary Control Tower dashboard, where they can keep track of all aspects of their campaign including website analytics, search engine ranking reports, day to day tasks being completed by our staff, and much more!

The Bottom Line

Handling difficult SEO clients is something that comes with the territory. However, we have worked with many of these different types of clients and take a personal approach with each to help them fully understand the extent of what an SEO campaign entails and provide realistic goals and outcomes to meet their unique needs. If your business needs help with search engine optimization, give Search Control a call at 480-378-0246. We’d love to discuss your goals and provide a free consultation and review of your site and web presence. Only good things can come from a conversation!