Without a doubt, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) plays a crucial role in helping businesses succeed in this digital era.
But while many business owners and CEOs know they need it to thrive, only a few fully understand what it is, why it’s important, and the potential value it could bring to their companies.
And we can’t blame them. If we’re all being honest here, SEO is a complex and ever-changing marketing process. What strategies work today may no longer work tomorrow.
As agencies, however, it’s our job to educate our clients about SEO, communicate results, keep them updated with industry changes and best practices, and the great time commitment it takes to start seeing results.
Explaining these things to those who have little SEO knowledge may be a daunting task, but it’s a challenge we need to overcome to create happy and satisfied clients.
Effective communication is also the key to helping them understand the value your agency brings to the table.
So, how do you go about explaining your SEO work to your clients and make sure both of you are on the same page after your presentation?
Here are six strategies you can use to help you effectively communicate everything you need your clients to know about your SEO work.
Whether you’re an SEO specialist, a digital agency, or a marketer, effective communication plays a major role in keeping your clients at ease and confident in the work you do.
We’ve been in the digital marketing industry for seven years and having just earned our 2nd consecutive ranking on Inc. 5000’s regional list is the 51st fastest growing company in Florida, we’d like to share the strategies that helped us effectively communicate our SEO work to our growing number of clients.
Below are six strategies you can use to help you better communicate your SEO work with your clients this 2021!
Terms like a spider, crawling, canonical, SERPs, etc., are industry jargon your clients don’t understand. These words may sound like natural terms to you, but for them, they’re completely alien!
As much as possible avoid using industry jargon or technical terms when explaining your SEO work to them, so they can better understand what you’re talking about. Instead, replace these terms with simpler words.
It’s also important that you take your time to educate your clients about the meaning of these terms and break things down for them, especially when it comes to how they work in a practical sense.
Here are some examples of simpler words you can use to replace technical terms:
XML Sitemap = Your Website’s Guidebook
Just like a guidebook, an XML sitemap tells Google about the pages of your website, what they’re about, and where to quickly find them.
XML sitemaps are necessary, especially for websites with large archives, those that use rich media content, and new websites with only a few external links pointing to them.
Without a guidebook to your website, Google will have a hard time knowing what each page is about and whether or not it should be indexed for a certain query.
So, instead of using the XML sitemap, you can use the term guidebook instead.
Link Building = Relationships
When talking about link building with your clients, you want to use the term relationships instead. You want your clients to think of it as creating a network of professional relationships with other websites.
In business, the more connections you have or the bigger your professional network is the more prominent you become. The same applies to link building.
The more websites linking to you, the more search engines consider you as a source of quality information.
SEO = Getting Found
SEO is very complicated. It consists of several processes and best practices that aim to increase the quantity and quality of website traffic to a website or page.
But essentially, it’s all about making sure that searchers find you whenever they’re looking for information that is relevant to your business, products, or services.
As technical and as complex as SEO may get, at the end of the day, it’s all about serving humans better – not bots.
The point of all the link building, keyword research, responsive web design, featured snippets, algorithms, etc., is to make sure that search engines can provide the best answers for queries and create the best experience for their users.
The same goes for businesses or companies. By adopting SEO strategies, they can improve the performance of their websites, quality of their content, promptness of their customer service, and above all, meet the expectations of their customers.
This in turn creates a positive experience for their prospects and customers, which can build a positive image for their brand, boost customer satisfaction, and increase their value.
Let your client know that SEO is more than just about getting found on the Internet, it’s about making sure that their customers and prospects are getting the best customer experience they deserve,
To make your SEO work more tangible to your clients, provide a concise explanation about industry best practices and why you need to follow them.
The following are SEO best practices for 2021:
You want to explain what these are to your clients and why you need to follow them. For example, if your first plan of action is to optimize their on-page SEO, then you want to explain to them what it is and the different elements it consists of.
You also want to talk about how you’re going to optimize these different elements and what they can do to improve their visibility online.
It’s also important that you explain what Google penalties are and what they mean.
Oftentimes, clients assume that you can get their website to rank no.1 on search engine results pages for 1000 industry keywords overnight. But as much as we’d love for this to happen, it just isn’t the reality.
We both know that SEO takes a lot of work and it may take a while before your clients start seeing results.
We also know that there’s a possibility that a client’s site will not rank no. 1 for certain keywords because of many factors beyond our control. So, to avoid unnecessary disappointments set clear expectations from the very beginning.
Failing to set your client’s expectations properly will only result in angry clients, complaints, and a bad reputation.
To make sure that you and your clients are on the same page with regards to your SEO work, here are some tips when it comes to setting expectations in SEO:
Let them Know What’s Attainable and What’s not Attainable
It’s important to be very honest with your client on what’s attainable and what’s not attainable for their case. But make sure you say it to them professionally and nicely.
But how do you say, “You can’t rank no. 1 for a certain keyword” without getting a violent reaction?
Well, let the evidence speak for itself and show them the search results and your research findings.
Avoid phrasing it in a way that makes it sound like an opinion. What you should do is explain to your client the tactics their competitors are using and why they were able to achieve such a ranking.
If you think they can’t rank no. 1 for the same keyword, offer an alternative solution. You can suggest that they can rank for long-tail keywords instead. Or focus on improving the quality of their content to establish their authority in the industry, which can eventually drive traffic and get them more leads.
Let Them Know that It’s Not Always About Ranking No. 1
Your clients might think that the goal behind why they’re investing so much in SEO is to boost their ranking in SERPs so they can get more customers and make more money. Well, they’re right.
But it isn’t the only path to achieve those objectives. Let your clients know that there are many ways they can earn more revenue without having to rank for no.1 for 1000 industry keywords.
You can increase their traffic by doubling their click-through rate, get more leads by using the right headlines to attract clicks, and you can optimize their web page for conversions- all of which can contribute to achieving their business goals.
Be Honest about How Long It May Take
When it comes to SEO, results don’t happen right away. Let your clients know that it may take months before they start seeing an improvement in traffic, boost in conversions, and more leads.
But guarantee them that there will be results and they will be worth the wait.
Let Them Know that Google is in Control
In the world of SEO, Google is in control. They decide what the current ranking factors are, and they dictate what strategies work today and what doesn’t work tomorrow. So, they get to decide if a website succeeds or not.
It’s important to let your clients know about this in case Google decides to change its algorithm or releases a new update suddenly.
If this does happen, be transparent about it and let your client know, even if their site isn’t directly affected by the changes.
Be Realistic and Overdeliver
Before you make any promises to your client, make sure to do your homework first.
Understand their current standing by studying their analytics and checking their conversion reports. Having the right information will allow you to make an informed decision as well as gauge the results your clients should expect from you.
You want to assure your clients that although SEO is unpredictable, as long as you’re following industry practices, they will be seeing results.
Effective communication also means transparency. So, as much as possible, you want to keep your clients informed and updated about the following SEO metrics:
When providing monthly SEO reports about these metrics, you want to present them in a way that’s easy for them to understand. If you must walk them through your report until they’re familiar with how you present information. Make sure to use graphs, illustrations, charts, and other forms of visuals to help them digest information.
As you can see in the image above, information is presented in a very clean and straightforward manner. It has labels, icons, and uses the right amount of color which makes the report visually appealing.
Your reports should also include the following:
State in your report the SEO goal your client has set to achieve and how it will impact their business overall.
You want to clearly state in your how you plan to achieve your client’s business goals or your plan of action.
Progress You’ve Achieved
Clients want to know that their investments are paying off, so it’s important to state the progress you’ve achieved so far.
Whether it’s positive or negative, you want to be transparent and let your clients know what’s truly happening in your SEO work. So, if there are any metrics or strategies that aren’t working or showing any improvements, make sure to include them in your report. However, you want to state how you plan to address these issues.
If there’s anything you can’t explain at the moment, be honest about it. But let your client know that you’re doing your best to make sense of the issue and will rectify it right away once you do.
Also, you want to present as much documentation to your client as possible. You can create a shared spreadsheet that updates your clients regularly on what you’re currently working on. You can also create a document where you can keep any noteworthy research findings.
This is not only useful for your client but you can also use it for future reference.
To effectively get your message across it’s important to consider the type of person your client is and their job position.
If they’re someone in marketing, then they’ll likely be interested in how you can generate more leads for them through SEO. If your client is an executive or a decision-maker, then they’re probably more inclined about how investing in SEO will bring in more revenue or impact their company’s bottom line.
In other words, personalization is key!
Before you present to your clients, do your research and figure out what matters most to them. By focusing on what’s important to them and using the right terms can make your client feel like you’re both on the same page.
For example, if you’re presenting to a small business owner, you want to focus on the following:
Whether you’re reporting results or explaining your plans to your clients, effective communication is key to earning their trust and making them feel at ease.
It’s also the best way to making them understand the value you bring to the table.
Use the six strategies we’ve shared above so you can start communicating SEO work with your clients effectively this 2021!
At Digital Resource, we can work with you to get the most out of your SEO efforts! Contact us today!
Think you've got what it takes to hang with the pros at Digital Resource? Check out our Careers page to browse current job openings!