5 Reasons Some Businesses HATE SEOs
I work in the SEO industry for an awesome agency that prides itself on results. No, this isn’t a pitch. Bear with me. My point is that I’m proud to work for Tecmark. I tell my friends and my family about my job, about where I work and what we achieve there.
But SEO has, in some corners, something of a shady reputation. Misinformed mainstream press does little to abate that, of course. But then there are some SEOs who, intentionally or otherwise, actually fuel that reputation of SEO being some sort of black art, a giant mystery of the kind that a mere ‘client’ would never understand.
When talking to clients and prospective clients, it’s common for the topic of other agencies or experiences to come up and a couple of years of talking to non-SEO savvy businesses has given me something of an insight as to why it is that some businesses simply do not trust the search engine optimisation industry.
1. Overpromising and Under Delivering
No, I’m not saying we all do it! But I bet most of know someone who does.
“We can get you number 1 for that in a few weeks. Sure! Brand new site? No problem!”
You know what, it’s easier to make the sale when you’re promising a return within the quarter. But what happens when the 3 months is up is and your client is still lingering miles off the mark and making no money out of your campaign?
They’re gone – either off to another SEO (where they’ll tell them all about how you stung them) or scared off from SEO for good.
The solution: Honesty. If you think it will take 6 months, tell them. If you think it will take a year, tell them. The investment will be more considered, of course, if a client thinks they’ll have a year’s investment to make before seeing any return, but you’ll be in a better position with realistic expectations set.
2. Misunderstanding Objectives
“Granted, you’ve made no money this month, but look… you’re number 3 for [insert any old random keyword here] and we got a link on [insert the name of a great blog you’re really excited to have got a link from here].”
That’s nice and everything, but if an SEO’s objective is to deliver 250 sales in a month and they’re not doing this by the time they said they would, then the client feels let down.
It’s so easy to get caught up chasing rankings and yes, search visibility will matter to achieving the goals. But ultimately it’s the client’s end goal that is going to matter. And if SEOs are failing to hit this and still waffling on about rankings and links, then the client will feel failed.
The Solution: Centre everything you plan around a key goal that fits completely with the key goal of your client. Centre your reporting around that objective as well so your client feels as though you’re on the same page as them.
I’ve actually spoken to people who have been told by SEO agencies that their methods are ‘top secret,’ or ‘entirely confidential.’
SEO is not a black art! It’s not a great big mystery. In refusing to give any information out whatsoever, how can you honestly expect someone to be able to make a reasonable decision about whether to invest in your services?
I’m not suggesting you hand out your supplier lists or information about the bloggers you’ve put time and resources into building relationships with. But telling your clients how you plan to achieve what you say you will achieve seems reasonable to me.
SEO is about, in its simplest form, a great site with awesome, unique and fresh content and then ‘off page signals’ like links and social mentions. We all know it yet there are still SEOs out there who won’t say it to clients and prefer to work behind this whole cloak of mystery.
Of course that would make a client feel nervous.
4. Dire Communication
Now, I’m not saying that all SEOs are bad communicators. I like to think I’m not!! But I completely get that when you have an intrinsic understanding of something and you’re working on it day in and day out, that it can be difficult to then explain it to someone who doesn’t get it.
I actually know some SEOs personally who are just not good at simplifying what they do and explaining it to people with literally no web marketing understanding at all. But all the ones I know are completely aware of it and there are talented account managers and similar there to step in and act as the bridge between the SEO team and the client.
Whoever is responsible for communicating with the client, whether it’s the SEO or an account manager, someone has to take responsibility for making regular contact and communicating clearly to someone who doesn’t really get it and is only focussed on the end goal – revenue!
I’ve spoken to so many people who felt a previous SEO communicated poorly. And you know what? Even if you’re getting great results, poor communication could cost you a contract.
5. Spam Calls and Emails
I’ve saved the worst for last.
Even at Tecmark, despite the fact we are an SEO agency, we still get spam emails from SEOs! What is with that? This automated system of firing out emails to just about any website in the world notifying them they’re only ranking in position whatever for some loosely related keyword and then offering a ‘free SEO health check’ is hideous. And I genuinely believe that’s the reason that ‘SEO’ is seen as synonymous with ‘scams’ and ‘poor quality’ in a number of corners.
It’s not always easy for us to look at our industry from an outside perspective. But when you look at some of the scams that are out there (thankfully I don’t know any SEOs personally who are operating a ‘scammy’ type of service) and the spam that’s out there, it’s understandable that some businesses are incredibly wary of SEO in general. It only takes one bad experience to taint the entire industry for someone, which is a shame. I see day in and day out both where I work and in speaking to close contacts in the industry at other agencies, that actually, most are just focussed on producing great websites for their clients, building clean links and social audiences and on making money for their clients.