People all over the world are leaning more towards using search engines to get all the answers to their needs and wants, instead of traditional media or brick-and-mortar stores. Thus, businesses are learning that to thrive in this digital day and age, they need to employ the services of SEO specialists.
The increase in demand for SEO services is definitely a good thing for the industry. But the greater volume of clients comes with the inevitable problem of having to deal with difficult ones (see some on clientsfromhell.net)
Kinds of Difficult SEO Clients
There are many kinds of clients that bring all sorts of trouble to the work of SEO companies, but there is just no tackling each unique case. To make things more easily digestible, here are some of the general kinds of clients that bring many a headache to SEO companies:
Clients Who Can’t Wait
These kinds of clients do not understand the fundamental element of long-term planning of good SEO. They demand results within days of hiring consultants, and they get angry when they aren’t delivered. They come into the industry thinking that the process can be done overnight, and that they’ll see their website ranking highly on the first page of Google’s search results.
More often than not, they have been led to believe that SEO is an instant fix by unscrupulous agencies. They make ludicrous promises, such as instant number one rankings on all search engines for unbelievably cheap prices.
As an extension, there are SEO clients that fully embrace such questionable practices due to their impatience. They eschew legitimate link-building and content marketing campaigns for black hat SEO, such as engaging in link farms and making use of cloaking. To them, there is nothing else to SEO but unethical methods.
Another kind of “problem client” that stems from impatience is the kind that jumps from one SEO company to another. If they don’t like what they see just days or weeks after they get proper consultation and action, they move on to the next one. As a result, all the hard work the previous company does is rendered virtually useless when the current one applies a new strategy that the client demands. The process then repeats itself, pleasing no one and frustrating everyone.
Their penchant for changing SEO services is usually traced to mismanaged expectations brought on by the same baseless guarantees of immediate rankings from shady outfits.
Clients Who Are SEO “Experts”
On the flipside, there are clients that believe they know exactly how SEO campaigns should be handled. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having a client who is educated in the realm of SEO. In fact, it can be a great help when they can appreciate the time and effort specialists put into their work. They can contribute to the planning with their knowledge of their own target audience, their ability to use social media effectively, the content they believe is working well for them, etc.
The problem comes when they start to interfere with the work that the real experts are doing. Not all tips and tricks they’ve read online or heard from seminars apply to the specific needs of their own companies, but they misguidedly insert their opinions into the well-crafted strategies the professionals come up with.
Having to constantly inform such clients that their ideas are well and good but not appropriate to their overall online performance can be very stressful and time-consuming. It can be doubly so if they are being aggressive about it, thinking they know better since “it’s their own company.”
Clients Who Don’t Like SEO
Arguably the worst kind of client for SEO companies, these are the ones that only give SEO the time of day due to their superiors telling them to do so. They oppose every method no matter how ethical it might be, thinking that SEO is simply fooling search engines and nothing more.
They make major changes to their website with no regard for any of their current SEO consultancy’s advice or planning. Again, this kind of attitude is usually based on a misunderstanding of SEO and how well it actually works.
Dealing with Difficult Clients
SEO specialists need not suffer in silence. They can take the following tips to make their client relationships much smoother and more productive.
For Clients Who Can’t Wait
Informing them of the benefits of a long-term campaign and the drawbacks of black hat SEO is the end goal. But you can ease them into that by first providing a method that can deliver some good quick results, such as pay per click (PPC) advertising. You also have to know how much time they are willing to allot for your efforts, and be upfront about what you can give them within that time frame.
For Clients Who Are SEO “Experts”
Provide the framework for your entire strategy to these clients, and the resources that can easily explain these advanced methods. They mean well, so you do not want to dampen their spirits by completely cutting them off. Feed into their desire to know, and make them a welcome ally.
For Clients Who Don’t Like SEO
The best way to deal with such clients is to keep calm and act like the professional that you are. Antagonizing these people will do no good. To win them over, you can try by giving them positive testimonies from other clients and explaining exactly how you managed to do so. Cite other experts in the industry, as well as major businesses that have benefited from SEO.
As a general rule, you need to keep a level head and be polite to clients no matter the personality. You have to strike the right balance between being honest with the problems, while avoiding outright blaming people and getting into heated arguments. Lastly, you need to keep your line of communication open. Keeping silent by not responding to emails or text messages can be seen as a signal that you do not care.
Establishing a good relationship with every client is a tricky thing, and it is absolutely critical that you handle this with the utmost care. Always keep in mind that, no matter how difficult they can be, these clients are the very source of your business.