SEO is one of the best digital marketing channels which enables you to increase website traffic and improve your rankings on search engines – organically. It’s interesting, fun, and exciting especially for specialists who love contests and challenges. To be honest, usually, SEOs keep this excitement unrevealed, which can elicit insecurity to your customers.
Most of the time, SEOs use a technical approach. To avoid having a skeptic client that doubts your capabilities, you should use some tactics to get them involved in the SEO journey and share your enthusiasm. At the end of the day, both parties should know that this is a joint venture!
Yes – that’s not easy, especially when your client knows nothing about the world of SEO – or the opposite – when the client knows “everything” about SEO’s best practices. Nevertheless, there is nothing unachievable if you build your business relationship upon an open communication. They need to know that you’re their partner, and together you have a search engine top position to conquer.
Here you can find some tips that will help you create a strategy and build a level of trust with the client. Experience has taught us to create a “what to focus on when offering SEO” plan and we do our best to follow all the steps mentioned below.
Steps to Follow for a Successful SEO Partnership
Set a Clear and Consistent Communication
Transparency is the key to any successful partnership. This is particularly true with SEO, where not too many people understand what the process of achieving their target end result consists.
Often, SEOs are not very attentive to second nature things such as giving hints to their clients of what and how they’re having things done, in order for the clients to not see the search engine optimization process like a mysterious thing.
Explain to them how ranking high on search engines takes time and that their expectations should be based on a realistic approach. Alongside this value adding to your services, this is a great tactic to get them onboard and excited about the practices that are being used to help their business grow.
This way you’ll avoid client frustration, and even make them provide you with more information that will likely help you do something more proactive rather than just follow an SEO checklist (e.g. putting some keywords on their web, and maybe some links).
Outline a Process that Aligns with Business Goals
Optimizing a website for search engines and humans requires a lot of research and analysis in order to determine the practices you’re going to use. You need to be able to answer some core questions when you get your results.
- Does the client need On-Page SEO, Off-Page SEO services, or maybe both?
- How long should the campaign last?
- When will you/client start seeing results?
- What other marketing channels could support your SEO campaign?
- And many other questions on the way…
It’s understandable that almost all clients are result & revenue-focused. So, one of the first things you need to do is define client’s end goals, and draft your “best practices plan” in alignment with those goals.
There are many cases when the client needs a deeper understanding of how SEO can help them. For instance, if someone comes to you and requires more traffic on their website, you should explain to them that heavy traffic won’t translate in profits.
They need visitors that are qualified leads ready to convert and complete the buyer journey. Sometimes, SEOs focus in describing how things are technically done, but forget the most important part, explaining the “so what” (exactly what the client is eager to hear).
Educate your client in order to avoid future misunderstandings, and after coming into a point that every detail is clear and they completely understand the different functions/purposes of various website sections – go ahead and outline a personalized SEO process!
Show them Reports of SEO Audit and Competitor Assessment
Reporting is great. Clients need to know about their situation, and how strong are they compared to their competition. After analyzing their website performance and identifying strategies needed to improve it, share it with your client. It makes your clients feel important and informed about the progress of their SEO campaign.
Tell them about the changes you’ve done so that they know that their improved performance is a result of your great job. Show them the metrics and interpret them in a meaningful way. This way they’ll know that your SEO solutions are being effective and are making a difference for their business.
Combine their Ideas with Best Practices
Ideas are great and expensive, but not always! Sometimes the client comes to you with a list of “to do things” that are not in line with best practices. This is when customer service and SEO strategies come into conflict. However, it’s very important that you acknowledge their ideas, especially if they can be handy for your campaign. In other instances, you can politely explain them with arguments that it would be better if you come with something more powerful that can help both of you achieve wanted results.
You’re the SEO expert; however, you shouldn’t just shut them down by saying that their ideas won’t work. Take your time to explain the “why” behind the “no”, and do it kindly by giving a better alternative. This way you’ll offer great customer service, demonstrate your client that you acknowledge their efforts, and let them know that all you think about is the success of the campaign and you’re doing the best to achieve it.
A well informed and excited client is likely to become your partner and help you achieve wanted results. SEO is one of the best digital marketing strategies and the most effective at the same time. But not every client wants the same, and of course, not everyone needs the same strategies, techniques, or processes. Each case will be unique, and so should be your approach. A supportive client is an added value to your strategy and will help you develop your SEO techniques in a more effective way.
Keep in mind that being an excellent SEO won’t be enough if you don’t show them that your efforts are bringing to fruition. Tell them that you are their partner and you’re united for the ultimate purpose: making their business a leader on all the top search engines!
The article was inspired by Kameron Jenkins’ Whiteboard Friday “Spectator to Partner: Turn Your Clients into SEO Allies“, SEO Wordsmith at Moz. Whiteboard Friday is a Blog Section of Moz, where you can find amazing videos on the last SEO trends every Friday.