Across the board, businesses are increasingly aware of basic SEO strategies. But like the health food industry, so much of the free information available has either been written by amateurs or is vastly outdated. Since much of what clients think they know about SEO is usually outpaced by Google’s constant algorithm changes, it’s essential to demonstrate that you are at the forefront of SEO strategy. Without a competitive edge, you’ll not only be less successful, but you’ll also have a hard time holding onto your clients.
Here are three quick tips that can help you retain your clients:
1. Keep Your Clients in the Strategic Loop
Though your SEO tactics might be trade secrets, you should be open with your clients when it comes to strategy. Always begin client engagements with a customized document that outlines your overall SEO strategy. Your SEO strategy should vary from client-to-client in order to line up with their individual goals. (And by the way, if you deliver one-size-fits all strategy templates for your clients, or you can’t tailor specific strategies to their individual business models, you probably shouldn’t be selling SEO services.)
Since your clients are paying money (often lots of it) for your services, it’s important that they feel like they’re in the loop. Are there goals being met? Is the strategy paying off? You should refer to the initial strategy documents in order to show them that your services are yielding their desired results.
If part of your strategy isn’t working out, don’t be afraid to change direction mid-engagement. If you do redefine your strategy, be sure to let your client know. They will likely appreciate the fact that you’re able to think on your feet, and they’ll value having open lines of communication.
2. Demonstrate That You Understand the Impact of Industry Trends
Google is getting better and better about punishing domains that don’t comply with their guidelines. Your clients should know that you aren’t using black-hat SEO tactics that could tarnish their brand.
Google’s Panda Update continually seeks to reward domains that delivered engaging, original content, while punishing those that employ black hat SEO tactics. Following each update, lists of “winners” and “losers” circulate around the internet. You can use industry news like this as an excuse to reassure your clients that your methodologies would put their domain on the winners list.
When SEO scandals make the news—see the J.C. Penney Scandal—you can use it as an opportunity to reassure your clients that you are different than black hat firms. Black hat tactics might work initially, but the potential punishment is never worth the risk. Let your clients know that you wouldn’t gamble with their brand’s integrity in order to deliver some fast results.
3. Report Based on Revenue
It helps to be able to approach executives with evidence of keywords’ revenue potential. If they are engaged in an SEM campaign, often the same keywords that generate clicks will drive organic search traffic. You can present these keywords to clients as possible revenue producers.
If your clients are using a customer relationship management (CRM) tool like Salesforce.com, you can go beyond speculation to actually tie organic search to revenue. Though your clients care about strategy, ultimately they are most concerned with whether their SEO budget is good for their bottom line. CRM integration allows you to show each keyword’s impact on your client’s ROI.
If you can go beyond giving actionable recommendations to your clients and actually prove ROI, your clients will keep coming back for more.