We’ve all worked with a skittish SEO client before—the one that has been burned by a black hat firm in the past or doesn’t really believe in the value of SEO—and they are often the most challenging client an SEO provider can work with. How do you prove your value to someone who doesn’t really understand why you were hired in the first place (other than a manager telling them to do it)? How do you get a client to trust you when they have so little faith in our industry as a whole?
I once worked with a client who suffered from both of those issues. They claimed to have suffered at the hands of a black hat SEO firm, so they were wary to begin with, and the only reason they had hired that firm in the first place was because they were “supposed” to. I knew I was in for a bit of an uphill battle to earn their trust, but I was confident that my company could deliver on their SEO strategy and campaign, and I’d have a very happy client on my hands in the end.
Before getting too deep into the strategy, I was reviewing my client’s analytics, trying to get a feel for their website, pinpoint any major issues and identify positive trends. After just a few short minutes I was dumbfounded. My client had made hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue from just organic search alone the previous year. Google, Bing and Yahoo were all consistently driving thousands of visitors and producing massive amounts of revenue for the company. I would be doing jumping jacks of joy around my office if my company was pulling in numbers like that, and they didn’t think SEO was working for them?
A little more digging and no red flags were immediately apparent, so I couldn’t figure out where their previous SEO company had “burned” them. It looked like everything they had done was consistently white hat and was still producing great results.
That got me thinking about the relationship between SEO providers and our clients. How many companies out there think they got “burned” by their former SEO provider because they didn’t see the results they were expecting, even if that SEO provider did a great job? One thing I constantly stress with my clients is that SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. If they need to see results right away they will be sorely disappointed. While I understand how frustrating it can be, patience is definitely a virtue in the world of SEO. How many clients have you had that pulled the plug on their SEO campaigns too soon because they couldn’t/wouldn’t wait and declared that SEO wasn’t working for them.
I know that the SEO industry is plagued by black hat practitioners and spammers that are looking to take advantage of unsuspecting business owners, but maybe, just maybe, it’s not as bad as it looks. Could some bad reviews for SEO companies actually be from clients that didn’t know a good thing when they had it?
I’d be really interested to hear from other SEO consultants/providers. Have you ever worked with an SEO client that was never satisfied, no matter what you did for their website?