What Do You Do When Your SEO Client Doesn't Listen?

Nov 10, 2008 • 9:23 am | comments (3) by twitter | Filed Under SEO - Search Engine Optimization

Scott Hendison has a dilemma: one of his clients won't take any of his advice. I'm sure many SEOs have run into the same sort of scenario in their lifetimes, where the SEO gives good strategies -- and many of them at that -- and the actual client does nothing about it month after month. How do you handle this kind of client?

Some find that it is important to set expectations before the agreement is signed. The SEO should communicate to his client that the client will need to make changes to her site.

It's up to us to create expectations up front when we create an engagement and to continue to do so quarterly. Getting sign off on a search marketing plan as you go and achieving goals gives everyone something to aspire to and helps us to provide and reach quantifiable results.

On the other hand, if expectations aren't set, it will probably be a matter of time before the client and the SEO break up -- and the client will fault it to the SEO.

Other suggestions include dropping the client (who wants that kind of client anyway?) and picking up the phone and articulating these concerns to them in person rather than over email.

How do you handle clients who aren't responsive to your advice?

Forum discussion continues at Sphinn.

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Trevor Walter

11/10/2008 09:03 pm

This is a problem that happens all-to-often with clients. Over the years, I have experienced similar problems with clients and honestly, there is nothing that we can do. The problem that arises from this is of course that the client blames you for the lack of results achieved with their marketing program. I have found it very helpful to put together a few whitepapers that I send to new or potential clients that outlines all of the problems we have when they don't do what is needed. Most people respond well and at the very least, there is documented evidence that was presented to them, which gives us the ability to combat their desire to blame us for the problems. Thanks for this article! Trevor Walter


11/10/2008 10:44 pm

I've had a few of these "dormant" clients in my time and have found the best way to engage them with the campaign is to meet them face to face and convey your enthusiasim about the magnitude of the opportunity they have control over. It's a good feeling hearing them say "I'm excited" ... you know now that if they do nothing you've at least tried everything to help them and it's time to move on to a more receptive client.

Simone Icough

11/11/2008 02:36 pm

I too have had many of these clients over the years and when this happens I meet with them face to face, ask them where they would like to be in a search engine and then ask how they propose we get them there without them listening to my advice? I also ask them if they would go to swimming pool shop to have their hair cut? They always look at me and say "of course not, don't be silly" which I then reply and say "well why are you employing me as your SEO professional and arguing with me about what I do and how?". In some cases I have had these discussions and then just let them get on with it, my lasdt client like this just would not take my advice on site wide linking strategies and thought he was a bit of a guru so ignored everything I said, we have now parted company and they have slowly dropped from the SERPs, they didn't pay so I can't say I am sad!

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