It can be quite frustrating for the SEO professional to deal with the client who just doesn’t get what SEO is all about.
Clients seem to have a preconceived notion about what they feel some service or product is all about and don’t do the due diligence to find out until it’s time to go into action. They’ve read about this, or heard about that, or have a colleague or cousin or one of their kid’s who has an opinion about things. These situations can muddy the waters of your SEO pro efforts because clients try to act as though they know everything so as not to seem vulnerable.
There are, fortunately, ways around these situations, and it takes poise, a calm head, and your own expertise to make things go just right.
First of all is the assessment of the situation. Basically, knowing when your client is full of bull or not. If they are, you can guarantee they will foul things up along the way to the point of costing more money and and time and driving other people crazy. You need to nip this in the bud at first contact. Explain that you will assess their situation regarding their present state of SEO needs. That means they’re not allowed to interfere or change things on their end until you’re satisfied with the across the board diagnostic. This should establish, right from the start what you are as an authority and that you will not entertain the kinds of behavior that will cause the client time and money. Be courteous throughout this process as clients can be like big babies, but be firm as well.
Second is to look at just what shape their site or sites are in. Have they been SEO’d to within an inch of their life? Are there misspellings, wrong tags, horrible html or other coding languages? Is their contact information missing? Are their links out of date or spammy looking? These things one must take into account and address immediately. You need not explain every detail to your client, but keep in constant communication without interrupting their day nor they yours. Fixing what immediately needs to be done means less time down the road. Search engines can be jealous and unmerciful, and a site that doesn’t appear to be legit due to errors alone, will get buried deeper than crops in quicksand.
After assessing where your client’s sites stand, you need to get to the direction and goals of the company. Are they being realistic? Do they have the resources to back up their claims they want to make on their sites? If they offer super fast shipping and want you to SEO the site for that keyword or keyphrase, are their facilities able to do so? If not, they will end up with negative customer reviews that can damage them severely. Honesty is the best policy here and your client needs to be realistic. Look for particulars too like their local SEO advantages. This one thing can change things for the better in a major way.
Overall, it’s like being Scotty on the classic Star Trek series. You have to be able to troubleshoot