It's amazing how much can get accomplished when you've got a good client and a good SEO working together. Unlike many other forms of advertising and marketing, the success of an SEO campaign can often depend on the client, and their involvement/interaction with the SEO. Good SEO clients know what is needed to help the SEO succeed but don't stand in the way of that success.

Having a successful business and/or marketing campaign doesn't happen passively. It happens with deliberation and intent. The client cannot completely pass off responsibility for her success onto the SEO, but must take actions to ensure the SEO can be successful for her.

Here are seven things good SEO clients do:

  1. Trust the SEO

    Unless you hired the first SEO you stabbed your finger at in the yellow pages, you've likely done a bit of research before selecting one. During this selection process SEO clients should have taken the time to get a feel for the SEO ensuring that the SEOs offerings are in line with their needs. Ultimately, clients need to know they will be able to build a strong, long-term working relationship with the SEO. By signing on the dotted line the SEO client puts themselves into a relationship that now requires trust.

    If you can't trust someone, why hire them to begin with? Good SEO clients trust that their SEO knows what they are doing and steps back allowing them to do what they were hired for.

  2. Ask for advice

    Before doing anything to the website SEO clients should talk to the SEO first. Too often a client plows ahead with site changes without first asking the SEO the best way to proceed. Even minor changes can totally wipe out much of the work an SEO has done leaving the SEO to pick up the pieces on their dime. Instead, clients should work with the SEO to find the best way to proceed with any changes before they are made. Clients must be certain that changes they are making won't have a long-lasting negative impact on their search engine exposure.

    SEOs are there to help you succeed. Good SEO clients seek their SEO's advice before moving forward on site changes to ensure the SEOs work remains intact.

  3. Question recommendations

    There is nothing wrong with asking questions, and a good client is willing to take the time to understand what the SEO is doing or requesting and why. SEO recommendations can often be one-sided or requested without a full and complete understanding of what is best for the client (after all, the client knows their business better than the SEO does.) When a client seeks to learn more about the goal behind any recommendations, changes are often warranted so exposure and site performance will not be at odds.

    Not every recommendation made is a good one. Good SEO clients ask the SEO questions so they can understand and provide input of their own.

  4. Implement recommendations

    After questioning and understanding recommendations provided by the SEO it is the client's job to make sure the recommendations get implemented. Its understandable that not all recommendations are immediately implementable; some require programming, time and money. But the goal should be to move forward as quickly as possible on any and all legitimate recommendations.Clients that leave long lists of unimplemented recommendations have no business complaining about the performance of the SEO campaign.

    The SEO was hired for their advice. Good SEO clients heed that advice and seek to implement the recommendations provided by the SEO. They communicate when recommendations they cannot implement and discuss alternate solutions.

  5. Pay on time

    This is pretty self-explanatory. We all run businesses here. You want your customers to pay on time and you should do the same. The SEO is there to help you succeed. They can't do that if they are not being paid on time.

    Good SEO clients pay their SEO bill on time because they realize their SEO is working hard to make their client's business grow.

  6. Measure results, not rankings

    The measure of a successful campaign is not the number of rankings achieved, or even the specific keywords that have gotten ranked in #1 positions. Those are good metrics to consider, but the real success of a campaign is whether it is bringing in targeted visitors and getting conversions. The SEOs number one job is to help you grow their client's business. If the rankings are not achieving that goal then a change needs to be made in the SEO campaign.

    All the rankings in the world have little value if there are no conversions to go with. Good SEO clients measure conversions instead of rankings and report their successes back to the SEO

  7. Get involved

    Clients must to be involved in the SEO campaign. Not only in implementing recommendation, but in working with the SEO to develop long-term strategies for success. Keyword research requires the client to help sort through irrelevant terms, link building requires the client to write linkable content or working established contacts, social media requires the client to develop campaigns that make sense.

    The uninvolved client is nothing more than a paycheck to the SEO. Good SEO clients work with their SEO, getting involved in the planning, research and implementation of their SEO campaign.

No client wants their SEO campaign to be a failure. But often SEO clients can get in the way of their own success. It's important that clients follow the seven best practices listed here. Their reward will be their own success.

October 8, 2009

Stoney deGeyter is the President of Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. Stoney is a frequent speaker at website marketing conferences and has published hundreds of helpful SEO, SEM and small business articles.

If you'd like Stoney deGeyter to speak at your conference, seminar, workshop or provide in-house training to your team, contact him via his site or by phone at 866-685-3374.

Stoney pioneered the concept of Destination Search Engine Marketing which is the driving philosophy of how Pole Position Marketing helps clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Stoney is Associate Editor at Search Engine Guide and has written several SEO and SEM e-books including E-Marketing Performance; The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!; Keyword Research and Selection, Destination Search Engine Marketing, and more.

Stoney has five wonderful children and spends his free time reviewing restaurants and other things to do in Canton, Ohio.


Yep, another good on-topic posting Stoney: particularly relate to No. 4 (client) Implement Recommendations ... happens all the time. We've got a client half-way through the 2nd year of a SEO contract, still hasn't implemented the site 'improvements' we gave after meeting No. 1 (too busy). We've succeeded, up to a point, with Top 3/4 listings, but the mother-load resides in simple 'on-site' changes. Frustration level is enormous for us because we'd like to try to improve further (for the client's business - as well as our own ego) but hey ho, there you go: go figure!

I love posts like this - as these human/ego/beurocratic problems represent a far greater challenge to success than technical issues in the SEM community. After one particularly bad client engagement, I created this post about difficult SEO consulting engagements - a post that almost became a manifesto (and embarassingly long :-P). I hope there is a nugget in there which will help someone in their project. Keep talking, clients may listen!

I think you're right about rankings. They don't matter if it doesn't produce results. It's really more about the KEI of a specific keyword or phrase. The less competition there is for that keyword the better results there will be.

the only problem is that some clients don't really understand what is seo and why they should pay a good amount of many for that service. they still prefer to use google adwords to rank first.. big mistake.

Agreed. I find that it's really useful to ask people how much they pay for marketing. It's critical to explain to people that people are now searching for stuff online. SEO isn't some sort of weird thing. In 3-5 years, most of your marketing budget (not just online marketing budget) should involve getting your website into the top page of search engines.

Once people understand that SEO is marketing, then I find that their wallets start to open up.

Yes, the main problem is that customer does not want to pay a good amount of money, 'cause they don't understand how SEO is important...
Is the same situation for the security perpective, till the end moment arrive....(stolen credit cards, or informations) no company wants to invest in their security!
A big mistake

@andrea bocelli vivo per lei

This is totally true, a lot of people just think that SEO is another stuff ti waste money without understanding how much is it important this metodology

Really is quite strange why, customers that have a site does not intend how is important the SEO methodology...
In my case i understand that BEFORE do a site that wanna rank the positions, customer have to be aware, that seo is important.
So before handle a site of one my customer, i always tell them, that one job is a site, and one job is SEO,...
This approach seems valuable, 'cause in my results, they are understanding... and doing... ))


Comments closed after 30 days to combat spam.

Search Engine Guide > Stoney deGeyter > 7 Best Things (Good) SEO Clients Do