In the agency world, all of our clients are smart businesspeople, right? So when it comes to SEO, why do some of them act so dumb?
OK, that was harsh. But can you blame me? Bridging the gap of SEO strategy and explaining that strategy to clients is one of the most frustrating undertakings in our profession.
Now, we can all complain about clients who simply can’t wrap their heads around what we’re doing for them, but in my opinion, my fellow SEO professionals and I are the ones who need to take step back. I mean, if we can’t explain our job to our own families, how can we expect anyone else to get it?
Let’s face it; the SEO learning curve is steep. Clients often walk into our doors expecting immediate results without fully grasping what we do, how we do it and a realistic timeframe for results. How can we possibly expect them to spend their hard-earned money on this mysterious service? Client education is invaluable in terms of sales success, but it also moves the industry forward in terms of an understanding and appreciation for what it is we do.
So in the interest of a peaceful and productive client-SEO relationship, let’s take some frequently asked SEO questions and look at a way to answer them that translates into relatable tactics that make sense in the mind of a client.
Remember, the goal here is not to teach our clients how to implement these strategies (that’s what we’re here for). Client education works best with an “inform with logic” objective, which adds value to the services we provide. Once that value is realized, a working relationship will be achieved and the possibilities for success are endless.
Q: “Why do I need SEO?”
A: SEO is all about making your website “Google-friendly.” What does that mean? Well, search engines take into account an enormous list of features within every website. All of these characteristics center on making the user experience as good as it can possibly be. After Google analyzes these factors (more specifically, after its complex algorithm analyzes these factors), a Page Rank is determined. Generally speaking, this Page Rank will establish where your website falls on a search engine results page.
As the client, you know your value proposition, target market and most unique offerings. As an SEO company, it’s our job to make your site function at its peak and create content that reflects everything great about your company – in other words, to showcase whatever it is that makes you money.
Q: “How does link building work?”
A: Once we’ve made your site the best it can be, like-minded websites (and users) will begin to recognize the value it provides. As they find the information on your site useful, they are likely to link to this content in the form of a blog post, a share on social media, an email to a friend, even on a page within their own website.
All of these links hold a certain level of “electricity”. Websites with a higher Page Rank send a higher level of this electricity to Google. This creates a surge of voltage telling Google that your site is really useful, informative, valuable, helpful, etc. This link electricity is powerful. The hard work involved in attaining these links is where we step in.
Q: “How will I know it’s working?”
A: Fortunately, Google Analytics provides us with a very clear platform for proving results. You’ll be seeing lots of metrics that we’ll benchmark and go over frequently with plenty of time for your questions. But it’s really important to remember that changes made on a website today might not get results right away, and link building the right way, through creating relationships, takes time. A good SEO campaign requires patience and a willingness to keep your expectation in line with what’s possible. (Express this to your clients in the beginning! Sorry for yelling, but the truth is that many clients just don’t get this, and they need to. Remind them that they hired an entire company of professionals and we know what we’re doing.)
Q: “What comes next?”
A: As in any business, nothing stays the same forever. And in the business of SEO, things seldom stay the same for even a month. While we want you to understand the principles behind how Google works, it’s more even more important to know that you hired a team of people who do. We spend hours scanning the online space for new tactics and best practices. We wait patiently for the next zoo critter to peek its head out of Google’s cage (Pandas, Penguins, what’s next?). We’re on top of it so you don’t have to be, and that’s what makes us valuable.
Clients will never see value in something that they don’t understand. Finding a happy medium between SEO basics and information overload is they key to creating a relationship with your clients that prospers today and in the future.
What are your toughest client questions, and what’s your strategy for dealing with them? Let me know in the comments below!
Photo courtesy Michael 1952 on Flickr