It seems like everyone has an idea of what ‘SEO’ means these days. Whether it’s correct or not it does impact the seo client relationship.
With the myriad Internet marketing blogs, websites and affordable SEO tools out there, it seems like most business leaders now can grasp just enough information to understand the basic principles of SEO.
But while most of us wouldn’t read a bit of a law blog and then approach someone to defend them in court, some clients think nothing of approaching an agency with their idea of SEO already firmly in mind. This can lead to preconceptions as to what an agency’s SEO work should involve and what the outcome ought to be.
So how do you correct the misconceptions, win the work and build a great seo client relationship? Lets start with one way to create a smoother SEO client relationship. I have been approached on more than one occasion by a potential client who thought that SEO was something you do once and then ‘ta-da’ you were top of Google. (That’s almost a quote from an e-mail I received recently).
SEO agencies therefore have a challenge when it comes to client education and managing expectations. Clients need to know what we mean by ‘SEO’ work. This means we must carefully explain the SEO process to most new clients, including:
Keyword research: How we go about choosing keywords, finding potential market niches and how we weigh the options against the competition for those keywords to find those that are achievable in the medium-long term.
On-page optimization: The importance of priming a page for chosen keywords, but in a way that isn’t spammy and won’t fall foul of Google’s Panda updates (such as the one in December).
Website auditing: For larger sites, we may look at the whole website structure in terms of its accessibility for search engines, internal linking structures, accidental duplicate content and other factors that could limit their search market reach.
Competitor analysis: The work we undertake to understand the sites that already rank for the chosen keywords and how that affects the SEO strategy.
Link building: Link building in particular has taken a reputational hit since the Google Penguin updates began, with sites still struggling to recover. So it’s important to explain the process in terms of quality, not quantity – and why that will require good, solid content generation through the campaign.
This sets the foundation for the understanding both of the workload for a proper SEO campaign, but also why that work also comes with the price tag that we as agencies need to charge.
The start of a client-consultant relationship is a bit like courtship. Both parties are rightly sizing each other up, trying to determine whether they’re a good match. Trust-building starts right from the first contact (or doesn’t). Questions have to be asked on both sides, such as: Do they listen? Do they understand me? Can we communicate well? Can they meet my needs?
The more both parties express their needs, listen to each other, and share honestly about their strengths and weaknesses, the better chance they have for starting their relationship off right.
Consultants need to qualify a prospective new client, too. Not all clients are right for your business. Choose clients you can really make succeed, and you’ll have happy customers who grow your business with their referrals. If something seems fishy about a prospect, consider passing. You might save yourself from future reputation hassles or bad debt from a client who can’t be satisfied or can’t pay their bills.
“Don’t be afraid of saying no.” – Tony Dimmock