One of the most difficult aspect of being an SEO is relating to clients. Optimising a website and getting visible results is doable only if…
- The website has good content or at least the potential have good content; and
- The client cooperates.
Website owners that have no real knowledge of SEO sometimes make the mistake of either dismissing SEO as bogus or thinking that SEO is all it takes to make their website successful. As we all know neither of the two assumptions are correct. SEO is very important to help a website gain visibility in terms of search but optimising for the search engine will not ensure a website’s success. As I pointed out earlier a website has to have good content to be successful. SEO goes only so far. To be successful the website has to capture the attention of its users and give them what they need (information, products, links, service, etc.).
I am pretty sure that many of you have faced the same problem of being approached by a potential client who simply wants their website to “be the best” or to “be number one” but doesn’t realise the work, time, and money it entails to get an excellent site, let alone beat the competition. Even more problematic are clients who have heard of just a few black hat methods and are decided that it is the best (simply meaning fastest) way of getting the amount of traffic they want. I had experience a client who insisted on spamming Digg with the use of bogus accounts and forcing us to use IP maskers to go undetected. They wanted me to get them on the front page of Digg by using multiple accounts to vote for their articles. I told them flat out it won’t work. Four people (with accounts that has no cred) can’t vote fast enough to get a link into the top pages. Besides the articles plus the information architecture of the web pages clearly didn’t appeal to Digg users. Let’s just say I agreed to one month to show them the folly and hopefully convince them that they should be open to other SEO methods. Needless to say after one month the results were dismal (it was around the time Digg revamped their algorithm..so good luck!) yet they wanted to continue and I gave the project up.
What I really want to say though is this. As SEOs it is our job to help clients get traffic to their site and part of that job is explaining to them what can be (and must be) done to get real results. This means telling them the truth that their website sucks (in a diplomatic manner of course) and that they need to make changes, whether in terms of content or a complete site redesign, if it is plain that the site has no potential of getting anywhere. It is easy to simply accept all projects that come our way and come up with figures to show some sort of results but a good SEO cares more than their firm’s bottom line. What sets the best apart is that they are able to pinpoint problematic areas and fix these (or at least refer their client to people who can fix it). One cannot call anything optimised if it is broken down in the first place. SEO involves not just technical knowledge but dealing with clients so as to be able to explain to them the strategy you plan on using and how and why it will benefit their site. It involves convincing them to agree taking steps that will make their site better. And it involves saying no to projects that we know will just end up littering the internet with junk. In the end the results will speak for itself and you will have a better track record.