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How To Ensure Your SEO Recommendations Get Implemented
Uncooperative clients and vendors got you down? Columnist Winston Burton gives his advice on how to overcome organizational hurdles to SEO success.
One of the most common problems in the SEO industry is that clients often do not implement their agencies’ SEO recommendations — and then they complain when they don’t get the results they expect from their SEO campaign (i.e., increases in visibility, traffic and conversions).
There are several reasons clients do not implement SEO recommendations, including:
- Not having the appropriate resources or time to make the recommended changes.
- Internal politics and red tape.
- Lack of qualified developers.
- High cost associated with the changes.
- No internal champion.
- Limitations to the CMS.
The bottom line: If they don’t implement any SEO changes, your clients’ brands are set up to fail.
For your clients to embrace and fully implement your SEO recommendations, some processes and procedures should be put in place. Here are three common challenges you may run into, and how to handle each.
Challenge 1: Client Education
It is important to educate all the proper stakeholders and C-level executives on the importance of SEO. Clearly lay out the tactics and strategies you plan to use, explaining how each piece will impact the campaign and contribute to increased ROI.
Having case studies showing how your recommendations have increased traffic, visibility and conversions for other clients can help build trust and get client buy-in, especially if your client is new to SEO.
When the client understands how SEO can increase sales and generate revenue or leads, they will be more inclined to follow your lead, trust you and implement your recommendations promptly.
Pro tip: Find an internal champion at the client who really understands the value of SEO. He or she can help you fight to get things pushed through.
Challenge 2: Roles, Responsibilities, Resources & Limitations
When engaging with a new client, always make sure that you discuss the roles and responsibilities of each party, and find out if they have the resources to implement what you are recommending they do.
If they don’t have the resources or time for management and implementation, include this in your statement of work (SOW), and charge an implementation fee. Just make sure you have qualified developers who are familiar with implementing URL changes, on-page recommendations and so on across different platforms.
If your client only has a limited number of hours in the development retainer to make the technical changes, break the recommendations down by priority and business impact. Only focus on the items that will have a major impact on traffic, visibility and conversions. The nice-to-haves do not need to be done to impact organic performance.
Additionally, before the SOW is signed, make sure the client explains the specific problems and frustrations with their current technology. Discuss the items that you plan on changing, and see if there is a workaround available where limitations exist.
If there are some limitations that you just cannot fix, suggest new technology based on your previous experiences, and map out how long it will take to make the changes with it. Otherwise, you will need to recommend some other technical workaround.
Challenge 3: Internal Politics & Difficult Partners
When internal politics or regulatory constraints put a three-month or longer hold on gaining approval, make sure that you have a clause in your SOW. This should state that if your client does not implement the SEO recommendations, they will not see the results — and they will be 100 percent accountable.
Always have technical resources on hand in case you need to refer your client to them. When developers or external contractors tell the client that it will take five hours to add in one title tag, and they need $30,000 to change all the title tags on the site, don’t let them fall for it.
Always have a backup of trusted resources you can use when educating your client and showing them how easy it is to make the changes in their CMS.
Planning and putting the necessary steps and procedures in place before your engagement starts can help your recommendations get implemented faster, make your client happy and meet their key performance indicators year over year.
Sometimes, you have to pick and choose your battles and find a balance among SEO, design and usability. This will help you and your client (as well as other vendors) work together to get things implemented and reach the ultimate goal of success.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.