BatmanTaking in new clients shows that your company is growing, and businesses are starting to recognize your name as a trusted SEO provider. However, not all companies looking to hire you may be a good match at once. Today, I want to share examples of telltale signs of trouble you should note when talking to your prospects. Here are five phrases you should never hear from your client when you are discussing working with each other.

“I’ve had SEO done before, I don’t need it again.”

You will hear this most commonly from prospects who want their website redesigned, but other companies unfamiliar with SEO will also say this. They think that SEO is a one-time effort, and once they reach the first page of the SERPs, they can stop, make changes to the design, and not do any follow-up optimization. The truth is, when you change indices without the help of an SEO professional, you will lose most, if not all, of the optimization you’ve done in the past. The truth is, once you’ve reached the top of the SERPs, you need to keep the attention around you fresh and active to stay on top.

Tell them that search engine optimization doesn’t stop after you reach the first page of the SERPs, and enumerate what will happen if they don’t maintain their search marketing effort. If they still insist that they don’t need SEO, but they want you to revise their site without affecting their rankings, don’t be afraid to let them go – there will be other clients.

“Just do on-page SEO – it’s enough to improve my rankings.”

Clients who will say this are ones who know very little about SEO. They might have read blogs and other resources, but they only know parts of the mechanism that makes SEO work. On-page optimization may be enough to get your site indexed, but it’s not enough to get you on the first page of the SERPs. Search engines measure hundreds of factors, like your link profile, content relevance, social presence, local presence to name a few. If they want you to do on-page SEO exclusively, help them set realistic expectations by educating them in the basics of optimization.

“I only want to target one keyword.”

Targeting only one keyword has two negative effects, both of them major:

  • Your clients will miss out on an entire audience that seeks their services but uses variations of the term they want; and
  • Search engines may penalize their websites because of keyword stuffing.

Get the client to understand Google’s guidelines and explain how their most recent updates specifically target keyword stuffing and spamming. You can start by presenting your keyword research and showing them just how much traffic and potential new leads they will miss if they only focus on one keyword. Give them examples of sites you know that have been penalized because of keyword stuffing.

“Can we buy links?”

link-buyingDon’t walk away so soon if you hear this – your prospect simply may not know what practices are acceptable and what practices are not for search engines. Google frowns upon this practice, and penalizes websites proven to use this technique for ranking on the SERPs. Let them know that the rankings boost they will get from this method is only temporary. Assure them that you can get them a rich and diverse link profile without buying links. Tell them about J.C. Penney and how the major brand was banned from Google last year because of buying backlinks. If they insist on buying links after you explain these, politely decline and explain that you do not engage in practices not approved by Google and other search engines. It’s important that you keep your integrity as an SEO company.

“Guarantee that I will rank on the first page of the SERPs, and I’ll buy it.”

Anchorman-Phone-PrankGoogle warns against ranking guarantees provided by some SEO companies. In one of my previous blog entries, I mentioned that you should not lead your clients to believe they will get first-page rankings – and get it instantly – if they can’t. As the SEO professional, it is your job to set realistic expectations for each campaign. Don’t let your prospects dictate the terms of your agreement.

Show them your process and include them in your entire process, from selecting keywords to developing their marketing strategy to monitoring the execution and ROI. Make their expectations realistic by starting with a three- or six-month goal. Keep communication lines open both ways, and they will see the value in your work.

Know how to answer these types of statements, and know when to let go. More clients will seek your professional help and buy your services if you maintain your integrity. Talk to your account manager today for more tips, and log into your dashboard to view our full range of solutions.

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