Has anyone experienced a client ranks on the first page because you worked so hard to get him onto these positions and at last they ask you we want to know what have you been doing and choose the stop the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) campaign because you are not showing them everything you do?
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No not something personally I have seen but having worked with clients and something I have said before.
It's not enough to just deliver a result and expect them to pay, the client has to believe the service you offer is value for money, otherwise however good you are at Search Engine Optimization (SEO) they won't keep paying.
Ok that's interesting! In the beginning they just want the results but then later they start digging on what are you doing? So what will be your approach? Tell me every step you do in Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
You need to set the expectations right from the beginning. My contracts say that due to my IP we do not share link reports or account for every minute of our time. We do send out rankings and analytics data each month however. They stay if they are getting results and sometimes (because they are f*ckwits) they go when they are getting results because they think they don't need you any more…
That's completely right and that's what I've sent them all the time. Analytics report with the keywords ranking sheet.
Dubey » Jamie
What I'm doing is to show them the number of tasks I done with backlinks sheet, progress reports from Google analytics and search Console. If they still digging more depth, you can ask them to stop questions otherwise choose other companies because no one going to give you secrets of process. Thanks
A real skill in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) consulting is learning not to take this stuff personally. If you do SEO consulting for long enough you will be fired for every imaginable reason! Its not easy to educate clients, no matter what people tell you. If you do, it's not easy to get the clients to remember any of it. A client's perception of what you are doing and what you are actually doing have very little relationship to each other. The same with the value you provide. For example, a few years ago I was fired because I did not do the work from the client office – even though they knew that I worked from home! Rankings had improved a lot, but they just didn't trust it was anything to do with me because I didn't go in… I had one client fire me on the way home from the meeting where we agreed terms! They agreed to everything face to face and then refused it all by email 30 mins later! I have been fired twice by clients when I got them to number 1 because "we don't need you now". On and on. These days I do very little consulting and am very cynical when I do. I don't trust any of them. If my job is to improve rankings, I specifically use Private Blog Network (PBN), so that if they f*ck me over I can take it all down – and I tell them so and write it down in the agreement, but I have still had clients try and f*ck me so that I do the work but they refuse payment etc (they seem to think that knowing zero about Google or SEO, I am so dumb that they can screw me and I won't have seen it before…). In my experience, providing SEO services to small businesses is a great way to lose your faith in human nature 🙁
Gregor » Stuart
Well said. Unfortunately a lot of businesses want to hack or fame the system. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the long game but once your there you need to maintain it. I would rather be fired by a client than reveal how to do what I do. I do however give them an overview of the weekly tasks that are undertake. Never will I provide them intricate details on how I do it.
On and off I have done SEO for small businesses since 2008. Over time, very little surprises me now. What I will say is that many small business owners aren't very smart and the complexity of Google is far beyond what they can comprehend so they just seem to not believe its possible.
Corina » Stuart
OK… Unpopular opinion here, but if its happened to you that many times, you're picking the wrong clients or you're doing something very wrong. The bit where you say you use Private Blog Network (PBN) so you can f*ck them over later makes me very angry. I've had about 4 "bad" clients in 5 years of trading (200+ clients). You should be taking it personally and using the experience to change and grow.
I did! I was sick of crappy clients ripping me off. So I am now head of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for an igaming firm. I get proper budgets, not arguing about whether they can afford an extra 50 euros for something, I get all the tools I need instead of me paying for them, I get to compete in big markets with good SEO users instead of just doing real estate or law firms again and again and – big bonus – I get paid on time every time without having to use legal letters to get invoices paid. Its great!!
Taylor » Stuart
Man, if those aren't some great business lessons there. What a journey.
It was. These days, my philosophy for helping local businesses is very odd. I only help friends. I help them for free using my existing network and the minimum time I can in improving their site. If at some point, they want to pay me, that is great. If not, no biggie. I am happy to help. Then, for the few bigger clients that come my way from time to time, they really have to pay. My rates aren't low. What is odd, is that I still get the same kind of strange issues with clients paying much more. For example, last year I had a client that I really could have helped well. I have an affiliate site of my own in the same vertical so I know exactly what it takes to rank well. Virtually everything I suggested, they wanted a short report as to why, how, what it would look like, but ultimately they refused almost everything. After 3 months I think I had built 4 links and changed 1 title tag for 9k euros! My time costs the same, even if you waste it by asking for written proposals to every change and then rejecting all my suggestions! They were so paranoid about making sure that everything was perfect that we were stuck in analysis and took almost no action. What can you do…? And even though they were a legit company, backed by an actual billionaire, they couldn't settle my invoices on time either…
If they want to know what you are doing that's fine.
If they want to know how you are doing it then I'd be concerned about their motivations.
Agreed to a point – if I ask for link acquisition but explicitly state no Private Blog Network (PBN) (because as already stated by someone else – they can be removed, and/or can get out of hand etc) I will ask for a link report for the links acquired. When an agency won't provide a simple link list and only offers a BS excuse = Fired
Daniel » Peter
I still think that counts as what someone is doing personally. I can see how that might get confused though.
It's not uncommon for some clients to get to where they want to be and decide they don't want to pay for your services anymore.
When this happens they might just let you go, but a small percentage will try to extract Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)s and other information so they can pay someone to do 'maintenance' for much less.
Whether or not people like it, that's a reality and something agency owners need to be careful of.
Paying for services doesn't give people the right to extract your processes ever.
I haven't done client work in a few years now, but I doubt it's changed and there are now zero people out there trying to do this to people.
Peter » Daniel
I certainly get the whole "cheaper to maintain it inhouse once I figure out what you're doing" aspect which is a fair point. In the situation I mentioned in the previous comment, I was not looking for details into actually how they built links (everyone has their own approach), more concerned they won't show the links they have built. As with all things SEO – it's about balance
Bottom line is they are ranking and don't want to pay you anymore. From their perspective they are number 1 and the job is done. If they want to stop paying you remove your links.
This group is amazing and full of amazing knowledgeable people.
I agree 100%. I know many people think this is unethical, but why do I have to spend money to benefit your business without payment? That seems pretty unethical to me too. So protect yourself as best you can.
Grace » Stuart
I always go into a deal with $x per month until ranking and $x per month for maintenance after. I then get the question as to why.. and I explain the first 2 pages in any niche are all jockeying for #1, if we don't do monthly maintenance then your position will drop as competition also wanting #1 will overtake the position.
I agree that sometimes the client is just looking for a way to do the work without keeping your contract. Sometimes they don't see all the work, and they think they have someone in-house that can do Search Engine Optimization (SEO), or just do enough to maintain the rankings. Another perspective is that sometimes they have someone on staff or on the board that could be saying "They must be using black-hat." or "They have to be using dirty backlinks." So sometimes it is just a question that they don't know about and they are just making sure your methods are solid.
I think you can reveal your strategy without giving all the specifics. If they want specifics or they want you to show someone else how to do it, then you will have to look at that as a separate contract.
It's so hard as we have been writing and posting and building links all the time and at last it's seen like zero
Jamie. I know it can feel like that. If you are afraid they are going to cancel the contract, Document everything you can for a case study later on while you still have access. Going through that process will help you focus on the results you have, and not on how the client is responding.
If isn't for zero if you learn and can prove you can do it again.
Jamie » Seeman
Thank you so much
You sell results buddy not tutorials. If he so badly wants to know how the magic works, tell him to spend years learning like everybody else.
Sell your wares not your secrets. The only report I'd be sending to a client is a graph showing an upward trend.
I'd also remind him that pole position is only the first step. Maintaining that position is their call.
Jamie no worries bro. If he's persistent and you don't want to lose the revenue just show him some analytics data that means nothing and tell him to download hotfrog.
It should be enough to keep him racking his brains for a bit then just taking your word for it.
The result is the Key Performance Indicator (KPI), not the tasks or work you did. Don't position yourself as an employee to a client.
We don't show the client links unless they are fancy editorial links.
Sounds like your client is ranking and wondering why they're still you. So they want you to justify your work. These things happen and we just have to deal with them.
Thank you Adam
When I was doing Digital Marketing (SEO) for clients I did notice this – it is one of the reasons I got out of the field after 20 years and became a Massage Therapist that focuses on my own projects instead of client-side projects. It is so much more rewarding. For my massage practice
https://gracefultouch.org I simply have to build it once and know I won't be fired because of it. Sorry for your experience.
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Yeah, we had a client like that. We were doing link building for their site for a good 3 months until they ranked on the first page. We were completely transparent with them, which was the problem. They thought they could get a cheaper agency to do the work for them instead. All I can say is, their not ranked on the first page anymore. lol
They're paying for "what" (you do) not "how" (you do it). If they would rather siphon your knowledge and then let you go, reverse it and leave them with an empty siphon…not that you have to be that direct with them. Just explain that your methods are proprietary, you don't have the time to teach everything you know anyway, and let them react as they will. Recommend some good sources if they want to learn, so you're not being a total brick wall.