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Client/Agency Relations: Communication is Key

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Last week we had a client contact one of our specialists, angry that their site was not showing up for a certain keyword.  The irony of this anecdote is that, internally, we were celebrating the fact that the specialist on this account had managed to get the site ranked on some fairly competitive geo keywords in a very short amount of time.  The call was a good reminder about one of the aspects of agency SEO that is sometimes overlooked: client management.

 
It's easy for some SEOs to get caught up in the data and implementation and forget that they're dealing with real people.  They forget that they're performing a service for someone i.e., their clients.  As SEOs, it's our responsibility to not only perform the service, but to enlighten our clients as well.

Education

Not all clients are technically savvy.  No offense to the clients, but there are some that simply "don't get" SEO.  They know that it can help their website, but they don't know how it works.  They could also be misinformed about what SEO is.  To combat this, be open, honest, and ready to teach.  By using reports and meetings as teaching opportunities, the client will be happier (making your job easier).
 
Educate your clients by:
  • Explaining things in layman's terms.  Don't use jargon or fluff in your reports, just tell it like it is.
  • Being transparent.  If something happens, either positive or negative, let your client know, but explain it as well.  By giving a valid explanation, it educates the client and could prevent future misunderstandings.
  • Communicating often.  Again, I stress that you're offering a service for someone.  A person.  The more you talk to them, the more trust they'll have in you.  The more they trust you, the easier your job will be.

Training

One of the things that we strive to do at Fuel Interactive is to empower our clients.  We approach SEO programs as a partnership.  The more a client is willing to put into the campaign, the more successful we'll be.  Realistically, the client has access to something that the SEO deosn't, which is industry expertise and their network.  We encourage and empower our clients to develop content, monitor industry trends, lend their expertise to our campaigns, and look through their network for link opportunities.
 
Some ways that you can get your clients involved in SEO include:
  • Give them a list of topics to blog about.  SEOs are always concerned with content.  Let the experts (clients) do the work by providing them topics and target keywords.
  • Identify guest blogging opportunities for them.  One of the best ways to leverage expertise for links is via guest blogging.  If your client is willing to write, find them an outlet beyond their own site.
  • Encourage them to provide a list of potential link opportunities.  Although the client may not be in a position to effectively follow through on a link request, at least they can provide a list of high quality link opportunities for you to engage.

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