In the good old days, if you called your family doctor or GP after office hours, you’d get the nice homily… “Take 2 aspirin and call me in the morning!”

That approach works well in general practice because most common ailments can be cured by rest and sleep alone. If only SEO problems can be solved just as easily, everyone would want to become an SEO consultant! The truth is, effective SEO needs a CT Scan, not just a Band-aid.

Unfortunately, many clients come to SEO specialists like myself for more complex problems.

  • Their websites don’t rank well on Google
  • They don’t get a steady stream of qualified prospects to visit their sites
  • Their offers are not appealing to the right audience
  • The conversion rate on their sales website is low

And, they are looking to SEO as the answer to their ardent prayers that things will improve.

Diagnosis Before Prescription

In modern medicine, a doctor who prescribes a medicine before running suitable tests to identify the underlying disease would be sued for malpractice. Sadly, when it comes to SEO services, we don’t stick to a similar standard of care.

SEO in Business Development

Image via Crestock.com under license

Unless an SEO consultant can dig deep into your business realities, get to the heart of your business and identify areas of weakness or potential opportunity to be exploited, your SEO efforts will underperform their potential. The ship that is your business will run adrift on the high seas, get further and further away from safe harbors and lose direction, only to wander around aimlessly.

It is critically important for you, in consultation with your SEO advisor, to be able to get inside your prospect’s mind.

  • Find out what they are looking for
  • Recognize the needs and desires that fuel their search for your services and products
  • Identify the keywords and phrases they type into search engines, and the intent behind those searches

Only then will you be able to tailor your response to match their requirements.

How To Buy SEO Services

As an SEO provider, selling SEO services is very different from other kinds of selling. Landing a new contract isn’t the ultimate goal. And, desperately lowering prices to appeal to first-time clients may be the wrong strategic choice. What is more important is to attract the most suitable clients whom you will be able to help significantly through optimizing their SEO.

Education marketing is highly effective, and co-opetition makes it easier by informing prospective clients about the benefits and advantages of SEO in their business. Still, there are multiple factors at play. Synergies exist between different elements. The ‘butterfly effect’ leads to unintended consequences for every item that you tweak or modify. And, each client has unique challenges, both internal and external.

Without knowing what the internal and external challenges are, a consultant or agency will not be able to say for sure if:

  • you will benefit from SEO at all
  • how much you will pay for SEO services
  • what kind of impact you can expect

An Ounce Of Analysis Is Worth A Pound Of Repair

When SEO consultants invest a few hours to examine your business, learn about your business’ financial and strategic goals, and understand the ecosystem in which your business operates; then they will be able to offer a more accurate prediction of how SEO services will help — and make you a better, more realistic offer.

There is no “one size fits all” package when it comes to SEO. Every case is unique and different. Trying to speed up the process and rushing to provide quick-fixes add little value, while you risk losing focus and direction. First, take the time to diagnose what’s wrong — and only then begin your SEO treatment!

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: All Things SEO Column | Channel: SEO

Sponsored


About The Author: is Head Of SEO at MediaCom Norway. He has over 10 years of experience specializing in digital strategy, e-commerce and SEO. Trond is the author of the books "Importance of SEO for Your Online Business" and "Power Social Media Marketing". He can be found on Twitter @TrondLyngbo.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn



SearchCap:

Get all the top search stories emailed daily!  

Share

Other ways to share:

Read before commenting! We welcome constructive comments and allow any that meet our common sense criteria. This means being respectful and polite to others. It means providing helpful information that contributes to a story or discussion. It means leaving links only that substantially add further to a discussion. Comments using foul language, being disrespectful to others or otherwise violating what we believe are common sense standards of discussion will be deleted. Comments may also be removed if they are posted from anonymous accounts. You can read more about our comments policy here.
  • http://www.facebook.com/praveen.sharmaa Praveen Sharma

    That’s right Trond. Diagnosis of a problem is as important as its treatment. But situation gets worst when you are dealing with someone having no patience and needs result within few (2-3) months. They don’t want to go as per your plan, as they believe its waste of time sometimes. In the end, you have to lose your that client.

  • http://twitter.com/thiruseo Thirumalai

    Great Article, Even after diagnosis, some patients are not willing to take the medicine which doctor prescribed. Likewise some clients not co-operate with us in main aspect suggested by SEO expert, like changing site structure, adding quality content and so on. What the hell we can do with such clients?

  • http://twitter.com/rogerweavers Roger Weavers

    It surprises me that there are so many companies offering “off the shelf” SEO packages. How does the client know which package to choose? They simply buy on price hoping it is enough to improve their rankings. I agree that a lot of research and analysis to be put in before providing an SEO, every site is different.

  • Claaarky

    The majority of SEO’s lack the in depth knowledge and experience to really significantly help their clients and rely on client churn for a living.

    Every SEO I have hired believed they could help me significantly, they produced copious amounts of reports to illustrate the problem and then told me how they would address those problems within 6-12 months and what it would cost. But all failed.

    They all had the same approach to diagnosis and naturally they all came to similar conclusions. All assumed that, because they could see lots of issues, those must be THE issues with my site and didn’t dig any deeper until, 12 months later, their solution hadn’t worked. By that point it was clear they didn’t know what my problem really was, so we parted company.

    Some SEO’s will happily take a client’s monthly payment even when they can see the client is struggling to hold up their end of the bargain due to lack of resources, skill or other priorities. A good SEO would wade in to fill that gap and keep the project on course, but most know deep down inside they won’t get any results and it’s a nice get-out if you can blame the client.

    Realistically, the sort of SEO every client wants and deserves is very rare. The time required to do the job properly would push costs way out of the range of most clients, but if every SEO was honest about the costs they’d have no clients, so they offer a watered down version that inevitably fails to produce results.

  • Rick

    Excellent post Trond. The problem is that the majority of “SEO”s don’t care or have the knowledge to take an in depth look at their clients businesses. If throwing a bunch of worthless backlinks towards the clients site doesn’t do the trick, then they’re out of luck as well as the client. Each client is different as are their needs. If more SEO’s took a consultative selling approach towards their clients, entire industry would be better off.

    The other main problem is that everyone from web hosts to the yellow pages now offers SEO services for some token fee, so the clients expectations are that for some nominal fee that all their SEO problems will be solved with a ‘one shoe fits all solution’. I refuse to take on a new client without spending a lot of time getting to know their business as well as their industry. It’s what it takes to get it right.

 

Get Our News, Everywhere!

Daily Email:

Follow Search Engine Land on Twitter @sengineland Like Search Engine Land on Facebook Follow Search Engine Land on Google+ Get the Search Engine Land Feed Connect with Search Engine Land on LinkedIn Check out our Tumblr! See us on Pinterest

 
 

Click to watch SMX conference video

Join us at one of our SMX or MarTech events:

United States

Europe

Australia & China

Learn more about: SMX | MarTech


Free Daily Search News Recap!

SearchCap is a once-per-day newsletter update - sign up below and get the news delivered to you!

 


 

Search Engine Land Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors

Get Your Copy
Read The Full SEO Guide