“Customer is always king”, “Customer is always right” – yeah that’s what the world will tell you. Well in SEO, your clients have to know a thing or two about what they’re getting into. Otherwise, it would make things harder for you and it wouldn’t produce the desired results of your client either.
It’s quite tough to educate and convince clients here in the Philippines about SEO and internet marketing. Perhaps that is because we are running behind other countries in terms of technology – but that is not true in regards to the internet usage of our countrymen. Even so, companies I’ve negotiated with are cynical with SEO and internet marketing. They just don’t know how it works – meaning, they have no idea what they need to do to help you make it work.
And in SEO, you need the client’s help (a heck lot of it) to make it work.
There are seven things I tell my clients for me to make sure that they know I’m on their side – and that I’m going to need them to make it work.
“Don’t hide anything from me.”
Some clients don’t really tell you about previous ‘incidents’ that happened to their site. For example, they might have already been penalized – then how the heck are you going to make that rank if you still haven’t tried to fix the reason why the site got penalized? Remember, it’s almost impossible to lift a penalty/ban even if you try to appeal to Google itself.
Sometimes the client doesn’t know that a detail is vital for the SEO – simply because they do not know the nature of the work. You have to be the one to tell them. And they have to be honest and transparent in the website’s history and happenings.
“Don’t ask stupid questions.”
SEO is all about time and effort. If your client doesn’t know about SEO, take the initiative to teach them. Some clients tend to ask stupid questions because they have no idea how SEO works. Questions like:
“When is the soonest our keywords can be on first page?”
“By how much can you improve our sales?” – yes, I’ve had a client ask me this.
“By how many percent can you increase our traffic?”
SEO is an art. It just cannot be pre-measured.
“SEO takes time – a heck lot of it.”
Most companies want it fast. They want results here and now. They want their money’s worth ASAP. Well, it just doesn’t work that way. Unless you’re working with a black hat SEO with ninja skills.
The problem with many companies is that they realize they’re getting behind the search game and so now they want to make things happen fast. In consequence, they pressure and push the SEO specialist to give instant results. They think that the timeline for this kind of work can well be two weeks. I say to see real results, you’re gonna need at least 6 months.
“Don’t take my time.”
There are some things that you as an SEO specialist needs from the client. And without these things, they will not be able to move as best as they should. Meaning, if the you need an article or two from the client, the client should provide it. Otherwise they shouldn’t expect you to move your ass.
It is vital to let the client to know his or her deliverables at the start of a project in order for it to go smoothly between you and the client.
“I can only guarantee so much.”
Guarantees can be a double-edged sword at times. Guarantees are dangerous because you just don’t know if your competitors are doing the same thing or if the search engines are gonna change ranking factors, or if the world will end at 2012.
There are some clients who want to make a contract out of performance – meaning they want the contract to be based on a guarantee of keywords that you can rank for them, or perhaps on how fast you’re accelerating in rank based on a specific set of keywords. An SEO project just doesn’t work that way. It can’t be contracted based on performance – because it takes a heck lot of time to accomplish.
You need to let your client know that there are just no guarantees when it comes to SEO. There are several factors and reasons behind that – some of which I’ve already stated above.
“You need to help me if you want to win.”
Yes you have to teach your client to educate him/her about SEO. Likewise you have to ask him/her to teach you about the business too! You need to learn the market, their strategy, their processes, their status with customers, etcetera.
You need your client’s help if you want to win – so you need to ask the client for it.
Some clients think that they pay you and you work and that’s it. No, that’s not it. If you want to give out the best quality service that you can possibly give, you need to learn about the client. You need the client’s help if you want to win.
“Can we be friends?”
Providing SEO services means having a good relationship with your client. Yes, client is king – but it doesn’t mean he has to be such an ass. It means you will always want to give the client the best you can give. And that can only happen when you have a good relationship with the client.
Most clients aren’t so hard to talk with. In fact if they do not know much about SEO, educate them. For that, they will respect you and you’ll find it that they’re not so hard to get along with.
Tips for Keeps: Communicate with your client. Tell them what’s wrong, what you need, what questions they should and shouldn’t ask and you’ll make your life as an SEO specialist a lot easier.