Guest post by Farah Abidi
If you are an SEO professional, you must have faced a catch-22 situation at some point of your career.
At times, you have an idea that certain practices are spammy, outdated, or even worse, they are on the hit list of Google, but for some reasons, your boss or the client seems adamant to employ these tactics, mainly because some of their highly ranked competitors seem to be using those methods.
Even if you keep quiet and continue to employ those practices, Google will catch up sooner than later and the website will be penalized. Ironically, in that case the first expense these businesses will be looking to cut will be the SEO expense. You will either lose your job or client. It’s more like, damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
Problem is, you cannot simply tell the clients that patience is a virtue when it comes to Search Engine Optimization, and going slow but steady is a far better strategy than going berserk and falling flat, because they will consider it an excuse for the lack of results. To make a long story short, many SEO professionals continue to use spammy methods knowingly just because they aren’t able to convey their reservations to their clients without risking to loss the order.
Following are some tips to help you with this predicament …
Be Firm in Your Stance
To start with, don’t compromise on your work ethics just for the sake of roping in a client. It’s your duty to stop or at least warn them about a risky tactic, unless they are looking for short gains (i.e. someone looking to earn from affiliate sales and the likes) and not really looking for a long term business. It is actually the fear of upsetting your clients, manager, or boss that stops you from talking your heart out.
But frankly, you should better be communicating in clear words, what you think is the right thing to do and what’s not. Once you’ve shared the consequences of employing a particular strategy, it is up to your clients to decide, if they still want to take the risk, at least you can say “see I told you” later on.
At times, your client or boss wouldn’t be taking you seriously. However, if you can present some examples of websites getting penalized for using the same methods, it will really help your case. Internet is full of such horror stories, especially after the string of Google updates. There are sites that lost more than 70% of their rankings and traffic because they were involved in spammy tactics in one way or another. Getting it straight from the horse’s mouth will convince them that you are not getting paranoid for nothing.
Charge Less in the Beginning
If you are a freelancer or a small SEO agency, and you some fairly new business gets in touch with you for SE Optimization, you should try to charge less in the start and increase your rates gradually as the traffic and sales start coming in (you can have them sign a contract with these terms). Doing so will keep your clients from putting the pressure on you for results right from the word go. Once they start seeing some results, they will be more than happy to increase the fees.
Give Them the Alternatives
Instead of using black-hat techniques to rank high for competitive keywords and getting some traffic in next to no time, you can give them other options. For example you can use Google Adwords to get some quick results while gradually building your website to compete for organic rankings. Or you can convince them to go for long tail keywords, which will be easier and quicker to rank for.
That’s all I can think of right now, but there must be other tactics or approaches employed by different professionals. Please share exactly how do you convince your clients to have patience?
About the author:
Farah writes about client relationships and Internet marketing topics.Digital Third Coast is an SEO and Search Marketing company based in Chicago.