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SEO Consulting: What NOT to Do

Many search engine optimization (SEO) consultants fall victim to recycling proposals, strategies and promises. This is a huge mistake because just like people, every website is different and unique, so why are they treated the same? If you are using the same promise and the same strategy in each SEO proposal you write, or during each kick-off meeting you have with new clients, you are setting yourself up for failure.

According to MOZ SEO, these are SEO “Don’ts” to stay away from, at all costs:

Avoid Empty Promises

"When we are done, you will rank on the first page of Google SERPs (Search Engine Result Page)." SEO greatness is difficult to accomplish, mainly because the SEO trends and algorithms that determine success are ever changing, but the goal remains the same. This complicated aspect of digital marketing lends itself to blanket promises. Warning: using blanket promises is a quick way to please a client today and lose that client next month.

Everyone wants to be ranked first on a SERP, but with changes like voice search, the way people search and evolving SEO best practices, why would you ever guarantee this result to each one of your clients? Even if you could escalate a client’s site to rank in the top three of a SERP, if that is not maintained, or a shift in search algorithm occurs and your client falls from the top three to the bottom of the page, they will be left feeling unhappy.

Instead of promising your clients or potential clients ranking on the first page of Google or Bing search result pages, tailor a goal for them. With each client there are different SEO challenges. A new, small company will have much different challenges than a mid-sized company with a 20-year-old domain, so don't promise them the same outcome. The small company should be more worried about creating information architecture that will build a foundation for their content creation in the future. This foundation and the way content is linked to each other throughout the site will inherently improve their SEO. On the other hand, the older mid-sized company, may be suffering from outdated SEO practices. In which case, a deep look into their content, how it is organized, the keywords being used, and links should be examined before a goal is even created.

This brings us to our next point, stop using the same proposal.

Stop Using the Same Proposal / Strategy

If you want to shave a stroke off your golf handicap, and your friend wants to cut their 5k time by 2 minutes, would you train together? If you did, one of you may never reach your goal. The same concept applies to SEO practices and how you tell potential clients you will create a strategy for them in your proposal.

Each client is different and therefore deserves a custom strategy that aligns with their specific goals. If your client wants to climb SERPs, but does not have a team that can crank new content out daily, or weekly, do not propose that the only way to reach this goal is by creating more content. Take a more technical approach, consider the website; is it new or old, can cross linking be improved, what about referral URLs, do any exist?

There is more than one way to reach your clients’ goals, so if they are resistant to your first approach, rethink your strategy.

It Is Not Your Way or the Highway

Just because you are the consultant, this is still a customer service driven business, and if the customer is not happy there may not be a customer and no one wants that. Don't force your "tried and true" methods upon clients that are openly expressing they do not agree with those methods. Instead, ask questions and listen to what your clients are trying to accomplish. Find out what problems and pain points they have. Find out their goals and/or benchmarks and craft a new solution that will work for them.

Resisting a client when they are adamant that what you propose will not work for them will leave each party dissatisfied. Just because you are the consultant does not necessarily mean that your client does not know what they are talking about. Clients often lack man power which is why they are calling upon you. This may mean that you are being hired to help instead of imposing a new strategy or concept that your client does not feel comfortable with.

Related Content:

Search Engine Optimization Shifts in 2018

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Read: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Shifts in 2018

Written August 7, 2018 by

Frank "Pickle" Pickel

Marketing Maestro with a hint of savvy syntax. Five-year plan: Mick and I are going to wing on over to London and jam with the Stones!

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