4 SEO Experts Dissect the Relationship Between SEO & Clients

SEO is complicated, especially when trying to explain it’s importance to a client. SEO specialists can diagnose issues and needs much easier than business owners and help avoid future penalties and ranking issues. With so many components to a creating a successful SEO campaign, all of which are usually constantly changing, the process of improving a website’s ranking can be both overwhelming and confusing to business owners. That’s why I asked four different SEO experts to share their experience working with clients for SEO.

Question #1: What is one of the biggest SEO-related complaints you receive from clients?
Question #2: What are some of the most common SEO needs your clients have?

Read on to see some of the most common issues client’s have with their SEO and how agencies are creating solutions.

Steve Wiideman is President of Wiideman Consulting Group, specializing in SEO Consulting, Training, Strategy & Procurement. Formerly known as “SEO Steve”, Wiideman offers SEO consulting to an array of businesses and entrepreneurs. Follow Steve at @SEOsteve.

Client Complaints About SEO

The biggest complaints we hear from clients are a lack of transparency regarding what is being worked on, who is working on it, and quantifiable reasoning the tasks even exist. Second to transparency is the lack of a well-defined strategy for addressing technical, contextual and visibility disciplines. Just “doing SEO” can create a greater risk than doing nothing at all, especially if activities create irregular patterns of behavior that search engines may scrutinize.”

#1 Need For SEO

Therefore, the biggest need for any client is a strategy, a roadmap that creates transparency, and ultimately culminates with improved search engine visibility from increased accountability and buy-in to the big picture.

Steve brings up a great point about transparency with clients. Often times clients don’t have a full understanding of everything involved in SEO-type tasks. Clearly explaining what work is being done, why, and what kind of results should be expected is an important step to help balance a client relationship.


Marcus Miller is the SEO & Digital Marketing Strategist at Bowler Hat, an SEO, PPC, and digital marketing agency in the UK. Follow him on Twitter for the latest in SEO news @marcusbowlerhat.

Client Complaints About SEO

There are many problems with SEO from a client’s perspective. Whether that is a lack of understanding of what is being done or a lack of anything seemingly tangible. It’s not sexy or exciting working on meta descriptions and page titles for a 50,000 product e-commerce site, but sometimes that is what needs to be done. It’s so important to clearly explain the issues and educate the client as to the benefits of a given piece of work. Where possible this has to be tied to business objectives with KPIs so we can clearly detail the benefits. Ultimately, our job is not only to improve rankings, but to improving the interface between search engine users and our clients websites.

#1 Need For SEO

The biggest problem in SEO at the moment is the lack of strategy. The search landscape is changing. Paid results dominate the page and brands are highly visible in organic results. Organic results are also leaning ever more towards informational results. If a client comes to us with commercial keywords with four text ads, shopping ads and results from big brands dominating the front page we have to review the strategy to acquire customers from search. How do we compete with the titans? Often, by being the authority on a given topic we can still displace big general stores like Amazon but we have to know we are picking fights we can win and have a clear strategy to do so.

The search landscape is changing. Having a large advertising budget can certainly help a business appear above it’s competition, but so can providing real information and having a solid SEO strategy.


Amel Mehenaoui is a Digital Marketing Consultant and the founder of MobiWebMedia, a digital marketing agency in Montreal, Canada. Amel also teaches SEO & Web Analytics, and offers tailored private training sessions to entrepreneurs, and in-house SEO and digital marketing specialists. Follow Amel at @amelm.

Client Complaints About SEO

From my 10 years experience with SEO and running my Web Marketing Agency for the past 8 years, the most common biggest complaints with SEO from most clients are the facts that first of all, it may takes time to rank high on the search engines for their competitive keywords (and they don’t want to wait). Second of all, to be effective you have to regularly publish a lot of high quality content (but it cost to hire a content specialist). So, I always say to my clients and SEO students to think of themselves as a content publisher where you’d use SEO as a powerful catalyst to boost your traffic thus conversion and revenue.

#1 Need For SEO

Clients’ biggest challenge with SEO is making sense of how it really works. What I mean by that, is that most of the time clients think that SEO is a black box made of tricks and hacks that can manipulate the search engines rankings and magically place them in the first rank of the first page of Google. So it’s our responsibility to educate them from the start that SEO is not just Search Engines optimization but it also include search engagement and experience optimization.

Trying to rank on “Page One” takes a lot of time, and effort. Amel isn’t the only one who’s had frustrated clients due to the amount of time it takes to show results with SEO. Patience and consistency is key. Just keep swimming!

3046774Rob Laporte is the Founder and Managing Partner of DISC, Inc. The company is made of search marketing and conversion rate optimization experts who strive to make websites money.

Client Complaints About SEO

My 19 years experience helps me to educate clients on what SEO is and is not, and to set realistic expectations. The biggest concern, though not really a complaint, is that SEO done right has gotten very complicated and, relative to their hopes, too expensive. I’m up front about this complexity and cost, and I often advise that clients and prospects explore non-digital marketing more (or again), as those costs have come down over the last several years. Among prospects who are not yet clients, the #1 complaint is that the search marketing field seems lousy with hucksters and incompetents.

#1 Need For SEO

Beyond the obvious wish for a lot more business coming from search engines, clients’ #1 wish is to learn how to prioritize by ROI all that can be done in SEO, so that they invest in the most cost-effective tasks first. A close second place is the wish to learn enough to do some SEO in-house, although usually clients discover they don’t really have enough time and resources to do much in-house.

It’s become more and more common for agencies and start-ups to try and offer a one-stop-shop for digital marketing, whether or not they require all of the skills needed. The alternative to bringing SEO in-house usually results in time lost and sometimes penalties from faulty work. It’s best to do thorough research on a website and it’s past performance prior to starting a new SEO campaign, as well as use tools like AuthorityLab’s keyword and ranking tools to help enhance efforts using minimal time.

How have you seen SEO affect your clients? What are some of their greatest concerns?
Comment below with your thoughts!

About Ashley Ward

Ashley Ward is a Corporate Speaker for SEMrush, an EPIC all-in-one tool designed to make life simpler for digital marketers. Ashley is passionate about helping businesses and individuals gain longterm ROI through teaching content marketing and social media tactics. With over 6 years in the digital marketing industry, Ashley brings first hand experience and case studies to inspire marketers around the world to better their strategies using the SEMrush platform and unique marketing tactics. She regularly speaks at workshops and conferences like Pubcon, RetailGlobal, SMS, and more. Ashley is also a contributing writer to industry blogs such as Search Engine Journal and AuthorityLabs.

Filed under: Strategy


Steve Wiideman

Rob makes a great point of setting expectations. We have multiple “I understand” initial boxes on our program with very short and clear sentences and always provide a timeline of events before we even start working together. I would vote on this attribute as possibly being the most important.

Amel is right about the sprint vs marathon paradigm. That is so important to get client buy-in around that very true and proven fact of organic search.

I love how Marcus pointed out pointed out the value in building the interface between the searcher and the webpage. We don’t build pages for search engines, we build them for future customers to find the most relevant page to the query they searched.

Thanks for including me on this topic. It’s been fun. 🙂

Ashley Ward

We sure don’t build pages for search engines, Steve! But, it does help to obey the cyber gods while writing for REAL people. It’s finding the synergy of providing both to help appear in relevant search results.

Thanks for contributing your experience!


I find expectations to be the biggest problem. Most clients want to see results quickly and don’t want to spend the right budget long enough to build up a solid campaign. Add to that the fact that with transparency comes scrutiny and if the client isn’t paying enough for those high quality backlinks etc you either say no or take the business and take the risks…

Ashley Ward

Expectations can be a huge problem. That’s why communication, before and during a new SEO campaign is vital. The client needs to know upfront what is to be expected and what will be done to meet those expectations.

Comments are closed.