Succeeding In SEO Requires Change

As search engines change you should too!

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As you know full well, the search industry is constantly changing, and that means SEOs and businesses must adapt. This is always made abundantly clear at the change of each year as the previous year is reflected upon, and predictions about trends in the upcoming year are discussed. SEOs know that adaptation and ongoing education are crucial. The problem is that businesses don’t always understand just how much the search landscape actually does change. This can present a whole different set of challenges for both the small business and the professional SEO.

What are some SEO tactics you’ve had a hard time convincing clients to employ? Discuss here.

Searching for Profit founder Amanda Watlington recently discussed some arising trends in the search industry and how understanding the changing search landscape is of vital importance. One example of change is the possible inclusion of site speed as a ranking factor in Google. Matt Cutts dropped that bomb a couple months ago, and while many welcome it, a lot are dreading it.

For one, businesses and clients of SEOs simply may not be so eager to put forth the time and money required to make the necessary adjustments to their sites to optimize for speed, although it is clearly in the best interest of the customer’s experience anyway.

Another challenge, as Watlington mentions, is personalized search. Companies don’t always get that not everybody is necessarily going to see the same search results for any given query, and it can sometimes be difficult for SEOs to convince them that this is the case.

Although things appear to be looking up, budgets have been tight, and businesses are demanding better results for their bucks, but they are not always aware of the big picture, which is why it is up to the hired SEO professional to educate them as best they can, and for other businesses to educate themselves.

Luckily, there are plenty of industry resources freely available on the web. After all, you’ve probably read about the very tactics you have in mind there yourself. SEOs should find instances to back up their case to convince stubborn clients. Some of them are just hung up on outdated trends. Obviously this can make it hard to produce the results they are after.

"The evolution has been slow, and I don’t think we’ve helped it as much as we could," Watlington says of companies’ understanding of SEO trends.

If you are the client of an SEO or a business trying to get things done yourself, don’t stay hung up on old tactics that might be outdated. At this point, these are some of the things you should keep in mind:

- Site Speed (it’s going to matter, so don’t ignore it…here are some things to consider)

– Personalized Search (Not everyone is going to see the same Google results)

– Universal Search (Showing up here requires attention to different indexes)

– Real-Tme Search (look for more evolution in this area)

– Changes in Local (there are frequently tweaks made by Google here)

– Some things do stay the same (things like reputable links will always be in style)

– Most importantly, stay informed (just keep up with the latest in industry developments)

As Watlington notes in the interview, metrics are very important, and there has been a great deal of focus on them in the industry in recent years. New metrics come about, just as new tools do. Metrics can help illustrate the bigger picture, custom-fit to a particular organizations goals.

What are the biggest challenges you face when dealing with changing SEO strategies for your own companies or your clients?  Comment here.

Related Articles:

Google: Page Speed May Become a Ranking Factor in 2010

Google Ditches Local Listings for SEOs and Designers

Can You "Rank" in Google if Everyone Has Different Search Results?

What’s Better: PPC or SEO?

Things to Consider if Page Speed is to Become a Ranking Factor

Succeeding In SEO Requires Change
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  • http://www.lexolution.in/blog Maneet Puri

    I agree. This is perhaps the trickiest part of SEO Projects. Clients gather bits-n-pieces knowledge from the internet about SEO and develop some beliefs and myths in their minds. They however fail to see, what u said, the bigger picture at times.

    What they dont realize is SEO is not a one night stand that delivers instant results. Rather it takes times for any visible results!

    • Guest

      surely it’s upto the SEO to explain a realistic timescale to their clients. Of course most clients don/t realise nothing happens over night… why should they? If you’re an honest SEO, you ensure that your clients understand the timescales involved.

  • http://www.plant-food.net Joann

    clients never understand that SEO cant be done over night
    they dont have patience
    they want to rank in one week
    and want sale in very first month
    I dont think anyone can rank a site for a competetive keyword within 1 week

    • Frank

      I agree……Clients can be like very childlike with their SEO expectations. Not only do they need to be educated on whats good for their sites, but then they need to be convinced that the money and time will be well worth the required effort.

      Who is better off?…..A site owner with no SEO…. or an SEO expert with no site content?
      I believe that in the long run, if you study and practice quality SEO…. you should be able to find a good product or range of products… and make more money than if you where to service stupid ignorant customers who don’t understand and cant be bothered educating themselves about whats good for their business.

      • Guest

        As an SEO client, I can’t get enough of the people I pay money to calling me “stupid.” Gotta love it.
        Perhaps the issue is that you do not explain SEO well enough, or give the client a way to measure results and see the plans for the next few months.
        I paid $400/month for two months to an SEO guy who PROMISED results the first month. There were no results the first month, but lots of lies. The second month he stole my $400 pre-paid payment.
        And I, the client, am the one that’s “stupid.”

        I do SEO on my own now.

        • Guest

          Hmmmm…. Now you’re spending more than $400/month in the time it takes to learn and do seo. Business that slow huh? And how’s that working out for ya?

          Sounds to me like you’re the typical client. You wanted it cheap cause your business is failing, so, you used what little money you could scrounge up hoping to see results overnight and when that didn’t work you blamed the seo guy.

          Now remember, you said you couldn’t get enough of this….YOUR STUPID! Gotta love it! Hey, who calculated the CAPTCHA for ya? :)

          • Guest

            if a client is ‘promised’ results within a month by an ‘expert’, regardless of how much they spend and that ‘promise’ isn’t delivered, it’s not the fault of the client.

            Selling empty promises for any amount is paramount to theft in my book. There’s too many SEO’s out there who’s businesses seem to rely on ripping off clients for a couple of months, delivering no decent results and using the whole scam all over again on the next unsuspecting set of clients. Wow, they got $400 a month for doing feck all!

            Shame on them.

        • Guest

          I don’t even have the budget to consider getting help from a suppose “Expert” so I’ve learned on my own.

          Some things that get under my skin though about you Experts

          1. Pressure Sales total lack of respect to a potential Client. As mentioned I don’t have the budget tried to explain this once and the lady from W3 something or another flew off the handle saying I want my business to fail on and on , well that really pissed me off.

          2. Rcving calls from you SEO guys saying you can help my rankings. Once I asked the guy if he’d even visited my web site …… answer was no. So how could he help if he doesn’t even know what he’d be working on?

          3. related to #2 , and if you haven’t done “YOUR” research into my site then you don’t have a clue what my page rankings would even be.

          4. An Expert will maintain my SEO optimization, emmm first of all is that Expert an Expert or even have a clue of my niche target audience? I doubt it, so there’s money down the drain while you try to catch up. And it’s not like your 100% dedicated to “ME”, after all you’ve other clients that need attention too.

          5. All your fancy web tools, jeez give me a break. Go through a little presentation with a SEO Expert one day using their tools on my site , oh look at all the errors. After the call I run their tool on google …wow look at all the errors !

          For you other Clients out there, it’s really just time and patience doing it yourself or a couple grand to pay some Expert to do it part time.

          • Guest

            Before an Expert says they can help me I wanna know their site/page ranking and where it comes up on google.

  • http://spartanseo.com Seattle SEO

    There’s no question that change is the most constant element in the SEO industry. As for 2010, my crystal ball shows top quality content and speed of delivery to be two of the most important factors for high rankings this year. Cheers!

  • http://www.pioutsource.com PI Outsource

    You should pay $400 a month for a long term view, or $400 an hour for immediate results. There is no middle ground.

  • http://www.seofill.com SEO

    Sorry but site speed has been a consideration for years……..you guys should not get filled up on Google Propaganda!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://www.key2seo.com leena

    I agree all customers come to us asking for first page for more then 100 keywords that too in just one month.

    Even today SEO is known to fraction of people and to even those people want to see their own websites on first page as soon as possible :)


  • http://www.keywordperformance.com Jon Cook

    One of the main things to try to get across to customers is the huge amount of time and hard intelligent work that needs to be done in order to get them good quality keyword rankings. This is not the Yellow Pages. The landscape is constantly changing and you have to have SEO that is constantly evolving with it. Search Engine Optimization is not just adding meta tags and content, it is getting all the pieces of the puzzle to fit correctly so that the search engines rank you for key words that will bring you traffic that hopefully funnels into sales for you. SEO is not a magic trick, it is rolling your sleeves up, getting a good foundation in keyword research, and implementing them correctly on the site.

  • http://www.signature.gb.com Steve @ web design kent

    It’s hard enough convincing clients to stay the course of a SEM campaign. Now the marketplace is awash with SEO fakes that the client feels the need to squeeze our consultants whilst still expecting great results. Savvy client’s realise it’s unwise to pay too much, but it’s unwise to pay too little. When you pay too much you lose a little money, that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the service your SEM consultant is incapable of getting measurable results. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it’s as well to add something for the risk you run.

    And if you do that, you will have enough to pay for something better

  • http://www.mouse-mat.com mat

    I can’t help feeling that some SEO’s are in for a seriously rough time with their clients.

    Comments about educating clients (however valid it may be in some cases) i think also demonstrate that some SEO’s may need to understand the realities of the world of business a bit better too.

    Lets face it, the SEO’s clients are usually businesses and therefore will absolutely DEMAND results for their cash… For the client, investment in SEO has to equate to a return on that investment greater than the intial investment. They pay for results in SERP’s in order to retail products/services and if they are not making visable progress in that area then the SEO has a very unhappy customer on their hands.

    This all begs a couple of big questions that i think need answering or at least considering,

    1. Does every SEO have a very time limited future (career wise) given a) google is the dominant player in search and b) that personalised search is going to make it harder to provide hard ‘in ya face’ evidence to the client of progress being made and demonstrating a potential lack of return on investment lays maybe in another area?

    2. Would businesses be better served simply giving the ‘google route’ the digit, re-investing in a killer website design that could sell ice to eskimo’s regardless of whether google like it and rank it or not and ploughing the SEO budget into the online/offline Marketing budget?

  • http://www.jigsawseo.com Jigsaw SEO

    Surely educating clients is one of the main prerequisites to building an strong SEO business. A well structured competitive market analysis that clearly shows the prospective client who their competition is, what they rank for, how they have achieved it, what they need to do to compete at the same level etc etc.

    Any client serious about their business is happy to pay for concrete market analysis, and for those that can’t justify the cost of researching their own market….. well no matter your left with happy clients who know the costs and timescales… not empty promises

    Or is the problem that the majority of SEO over promise and under deliver?

  • http://www.pixel8ltd.com/ SEO Manchester

    It’s crucial to explain SEO to clients so they can understand both the SEO processes that will be implemented on and off ‘their’ website, and managing their expectations is vital.

  • http://brent.rangen.net BR Optimization

    @Guest (SEO Client) – Please realize that not all SEO firms are as unprofessional as what you experienced. the response following yours obviously does not have a leg to stand on or else they would have used a name. You are right, you were scammed. Maybe the person had good intentions but could “learn fast enough” or was just a poor excuse for a human being and monetized on your good will.

    In the future you should ask for past work examples, rankings, and testimonials.

    “Sounds to me like you’re the typical client. You wanted it cheap cause your business is failing, so, you used what little money you could scrounge up hoping to see results overnight and when that didn’t work you blamed the seo guy.”

    Kid: are you trying ruin the image of SEO? There is no doubt that you have some growing up to do.

    Client’s can make or break your success on a project. At times, you will have to adapt your campaigns to their wants & needs, target words that don’t pull in traffic, and sometimes you don’t get adequate access to everything. Even with local search, you can have competitors with thousands of pages, a bunch of links, keyword-rich URLs, and hefty PPC campaigns set up. When it is that competitive it is very difficult explaining your motivations to the client and can be very time consuming! & Good luck trying to get the majority to go after your link bait ideas =)

    On the other hand, I have had clients who are an absolute pleasure to work with and were very motivational.

  • http://www.duran-seo.co.il Duran seo

    everytime before we close a deal with a new customer we make sure that he fully understands that the process of SEO is slow and results take months to appear.

    the most terrible thing that can happen to you is getting stressed up and starting
    to over build links or do things that may cause damage to the customers, this will often lead to destroying your name and credibility on the market.

    make sure that the future customer understands the process, explain to him all the steps.
    what we do to help the customers calm down is bringing them to a seminar that we run for free.
    this seminar explains about the process of SEO, how it’s done, crawlers and page indexing, the timeline and effects of external links and more.

    once the customer understands the process he will be more calm and you will be able to focus on giving good service.

    remember one thing! it doesnt worth to take any one who is willing to pay for SEO services, if the future customer seems impatient, eager for results or hot tempered it is some times best to let the deal go and find a customer who is willing to understand the true process of SEO.

    in most cases these are also the customers who will truly evaluate the work that is made by their SEO company and stay for long term contracts.

  • http://dotcomreport.com SEO basics

    Evolve or get left behind.

  • http://www.seo4china.com China SEO

    Nice article. Definitely difficult to make the client understand the bigger picture concept, and that SEO should be done on a longer term. As SEO professionals we simply need to keep in touch with the latest changes in order to get the best results for our clients.

  • http://www.modavis.co.uk Bob

    SEO techniques need to change with the chameleon that is google.

  • http://www.yourlawtutor.co.uk Joe


  • aashish

    You are right, SEO is getting hard, we are facing problem to maintain same rankings. This is clear either, we would have to change according to Google or would be out of market.

    But Future going hard.

  • http://www.mesrianilaw.com/ Jacky

    yes, it takes time to get the results of optimization you’ve done for a website as it also takes time for search engines to crawl a website which still depends on how properly you’ve done your SEO.

  • http://www.mykeblack.com Myke Black

    I’ve read a lot of negative comments from clients regarding SEO companies and vice versa on this page. It strikes me that there is oftern a lack or understanding, or communication between the two. Sure, there are bad SEO companies out there, and there are unreasonable clients, but don’t let the bad apples spoil it for the rest. For the most part, I’ve found that clients have usually done a bit of research before approaching our company. They might have had quotes from other companies and done a bit of homework. What I’ve found is that the clients with the worst record for unrealistic expectations have more often than not received this from bad SEO sources – be it cold calling SEO hawkers, or spam emails offering page 1 results within 1 week.

    The problem with SEO today is that the market place is changing faster than ever before. No longer can you tweek a few metatags, fiddle with the H1 tags, then go out and force loads of links in forums, blogs, directories and css sites and end up at the top. You need to think about your target audience, your loci of control and your future growth strategy. I think with the way google personalised search and social search is going, SEO companies are going to find it more labour intensive that ever before to get good rankings on decent keywords.

    As the guy above says, evolve to die. We are undergoing a survival of the fittest competition now, and the companies that cannabalise thier own reputation in pursuit of a quick buck are soon going to die out, and those SEO companies that can innovate and respond to rapid change will be the ones that are still here in 5 years time.

  • http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3595541/restaurant_consultants Restaurant Consultant

    Juggling to please the major search engines is a chore, but challenging. If you’re marketing, then we all have to play their game to get in front of eye balls.

  • http://blog.directorymaximizer.com Calvin

    Be prepared to accept the changes, that is the best way to deal with the constantly changing SEO landscape. At that’s what I am doing now, posts like yours help, as does this other one I read recently http://blog.directorymaximizer.com/2010/01/12/why-does-google-hate-my-site/, to remain up-to-date and current.
    Thanks, Chris.

  • http://keywordsolutions.ca Don Udell

    Trying to pass on the concept of SEO to most business owners is like trying to explain a financial statement. Most just don’t get it and never will. The only thing we can hope for is that they recognize they can’t do it themselves. Only then will they give us a chance to do our thing.

  • http://homesteadwebsitebuilder.com/ Homestead Website SEO

    I give my website clients an outline for how I want the content to be written. Although I am very specific with my instructions, by the time they actually get all of the information together, they’ve forgotten to follow the outline. This usually results in them having to rewrite some of the content.

  • http://www.whitehatseoteam.com/ Lacy@seo services

    Changing of search engine activities is a continuous process. So providing SEO service to our client it’s important for get knowledge about this. If we learn more about the changing of SEO process it’s really help us for providing great service to our clients.

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