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SEO Client Expectations


by Jill Whalen

The other day a new client of mine wrote to say how busy they were, and although they wanted to proceed with an SEO campaign, they weren't sure how much time they could personally invest in it. They asked me to spell out what we'd be expecting from them and how much time it might take. This client knew that a professional SEO campaign is a team effort and wanted to be sure that they would be able to do their part.

It was really a great question to ask.

Many clients never think about that aspect until the campaign has already been kicked off and we start nagging them for things we'll need to get started. For instance, there's some essential information that needs to be provided by the company before any SEO work can get off the ground. This includes target audience information, keyword phrase ideas, recent statistics and reports, and info regarding the overall goals of the campaign. It also helps to be provided with an overview of any SEO work that may have been previously been done to the site.

Once the campaign gets underway, there is some additional client involvement needed. For example, during the keyword research phase, the client will need to review the keyword lists and remove irrelevant phrases, then order the relevant ones in terms of importance to their business. It's critical to have the client involved in this phase, because as much as we know the SEO side of things, the client will always know their business better than we could.

We'd also need to run any copyediting and/or copywriting by the client for their approval. Once these are approved, and HTML tags are created, we'd need someone to create the HTML files or templates, and then upload them to the client's server. This normally falls under their Webmaster's jurisdiction, as many clients don't like to provide full server access to anyone outside of their company.

The bottom line is that in the end, it is the client's site, and therefore it's imperative to keep the lines of communication open at all times -- especially where changes are being made to the visible content on the site. At the beginning of any project, there will generally be more client involvement necessary than later on in the game. Once things kick into high gear, the approval process should be much easier and less time-consuming.

In addition, we've found that clients appreciate it when we provide them with our info in manageable chunks, instead of a ton of stuff to approve at once. It also helps to have one point of contact and a smart Webmaster on the client's side who can quickly and easily make the recommended changes.

This info should help both SEOs and potential SEO clients understand what might be expected of them during the SEO process. Getting it out in the open before a contract is signed, and in fact, adding it to all proposals, should avoid many problems and lag time once the campaign begins.

About the Author:
Jill Whalen of High Rankings® is an internationally recognized search engine optimization consultant and host of the free weekly High Rankings® Advisor search engine marketing newsletter. Jill's handbook, "The Nitty-gritty of Writing for the Search Engines" teaches business owners how and where to place relevant keyword phrases on their Web sites so that they make sense to users and gain high rankings in the major search engines.

Jill specializes in search engine optimization, SEO consultations, site analysis reports, SEM seminars and is the co-founder of the new search marketing and website design company, Search Creative, LLC.