Two Clients Have the Same Type of Business and Live in the Same City. How to Manage Them?

I just got another two clients in London. The city where I live. Both of the clients are in the same type of business and they are within a mile of each other. Any tips on how to manage that? Especially in making my Search Engine Optimization (SEO) service custom and not doing the same content for both.
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Simple. You pick one of them to work with and tell the other one that unfortunately due to a conflict of interest you will not be able to work with them at this time.

I'm not sure how much of a conflict it really is. Since there are 20 shops like that there.
Mike » Gary
It doesn't matter how many other shops are in the area. You can't rank them both #1.
Dylan » Mike
Mike is entirely right, it is both unethical and frankly almost fraudulent.
You should continue the relationship with one and not the other. If any found out they would have a good legal case against you, even in the UK which is generally anti lawsuit
This dilemma always comes up regularly. And it really isn't a dilemma.
Are you going to be using the same keywords for both of them? Yes? Are you in the business of selling #2 search results? No?
Then take whoever offers to pay you more. You'll probably end up driving your price to make most of it back anyway, and they'll respect you for it.

You want to maintain two girl friends at the same time?
Either pick one or tell them both that you are working with the other. It's tough if you are doing everything including the content. I'd be more apt to farm the content out so it's different for each. Also, I'd limit the number of businesses in the same industry/city to no more than 2. Let them know that their execution is what will make a lot of the difference. Who attracts the most positive reviews, who has the best photos, etc. You can help both rank as well as they deserve, but they still have to be a better business to outrank the other.
Bea RG
Give the client to an agency or an SEO you know and ask for a %.
Or talk to both clients, be straight forward and make sure this is mentioned and they are ok with it in a contract.
You can tell both that they might be disputing top2, most wouldn't mind (as you say they would be multimillionaires anyway). You can add a clause that when they are top3 things are revised.
If you manage to work with both and they agree to it you are double as safe if one of the two stops working with you, you might not have a problem after all.
Here is a question for you, are you going to tell them both that you are working with a competitor and let them know which one?

Bea RG » Mike
I wouldn't let them know which one. They only need to know they might only get to top2.
Mike » Bea RG
Then they are never going to trust you and always wonder if you are doing better work for the competitor or if the competitor is paying the same amount. Or if you are just using them to help finance more marketing for the competitor.
No company in their right mind is going to want to hire an agency knowing they are also working for a direct competitor.
Bea RG » Mike
That's what I mentioned above in another comment. If you go straight to them and say there is 1 competitor (out of the other 100) you will be working with, regardless of whether you are doing your best for the other company and your second best for themselves it might be enough for them.
I know it would be for me. If someone comes to me and tells me I might "only" get to top2 I'd be 100% ok with it.
I mentioned above that the contract can have a clause to revise said agreement once the client reaches top3 let's say.
The "help finance more marketing for the competitor" is something that would happen even if your competitor is in the other side of the continent, so that is an invalid argument.
We would be going against one of the biggest companies in the UK so top 5 in the areas for both would be amazing even.
Mike » Gary
So tell them both that you will also be working with their direct competitor. Be open and honest about it. If they are okay with it and still want to work with you, then go for it.

Are you selling them top1? If so, your problem is not in the conflict of interest field.
If you sell them something like "scope of activities to improve overall organic visibility" – I don't see why it should cause any conflict of interest.

Bea RG » Anton Potolkov
Exactly! Sell top3 even and problem solved.

Sounds like a conflict of interest. My rule for conflict of interest is if they would feel weird or things would be awkward if you used their competitors service instead of theirs then it is a conflict and you will be making decisions based on some form of favoritism.
If they would encourage you to visit the other business then it isn't a conflict. Ex: Restaurants, escape rooms, 501c3, museums, zoos, etc no conflict because you either visit these one time only or go to so many you wouldn't ever reasonably stick to one. One doing well doesn't hurt the other, and sometimes one doing well actually helps the other. Salons, spas, lawyers, dentists, doctors, mechanics with overlapping services – conflict of interest because one business getting a customer means the other doesn't. If I am ever not sure then I ask the existing client before taking on the new client.
Personally, I would choose, but if not create two different strategies for each client otherwise one is always going to be disappointed and b1tching at you. If their business models are very similar and there is very little to differentiate, then pick the best value client, and tell the other one you're already working with their competitor. If they still want to work with you at that point, well, you've done the right thing by them and at the end of the day it's their choice.
I'd handle it two ways.
First I'd just run with the first guy I worked with because that's what you should do.
Second option is let them both know and say you'll only be working with one of them and decide which one it is moving forward.
I wouldn't be riding two horses in the same race.
Outsource client 2 to me and we'll do a SEO battle off. You still earn from both clients but you'll have a fresh perspective for client 2.
Drop one of them. By definition you can't give both of them your best work because there can only be one #1.
If I found out a company I hired did this I would not only fire them, I'd call my competitor and tell them what that company was doing. It's not ethical.


This may satisfy you: To Build a Relationship With a Client on SEO

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