Whether you're an SEO doing work for a client, or a business owner who has hired an SEO company to improve your traffic, you need to communicate. You can't just assume the other side knows what you're talking about. Here's why.
We'll start by taking this from the perspective of the SEO company, as Mike Fleming does for Search Engine Guide. There's a tendency to not put a lot of time and effort into communicating with the client, because you're busy devising strategy and making recommendations. That's what the client is paying you for, right? And you need to use that time well, to show your client that they spent their money wisely.
But that's only part of the story. The SEO company may be the one making the recommendations, but often the client is deeply involved in implementing them. A business owner may not understand the importance of an SEO's recommendations, or the effect of implementing (or failing to implement) them. In such a case, they may not take your recommendations seriously, even though they paid you for them!
This is why SEOs need to allow some time to communicate with the client beyond just making their recommendations. Clients need to understand not only WHAT they should do, but WHY they should do it. As Fleming noted, “they don't take the implementation quite as seriously as when you talk to them about it and stress why it should be done and the consequences of not doing it (especially if you can communicate in dollars lost).”
Fleming observed that allowing extra time to communicate these things to his clients has led to better results in his SEO campaigns, much of which can be traced to more client buy-in and involvement. While he was initially concerned about taking time away from analysis, strategy, and recommendations in favor of communicating more with the client, the approach delivered quite effective results. “Our recent experiences have communicated to me that communication is almost – if not just as – important as analyzing, formulating and implementing strategy for results,” he explained.
The need for communication and understanding goes both ways, however. Business owners need to remember that the SEO company they hired is not on site every day, so they don't know what's happening at your place of business. They may even be formulating ads or strategy based on erroneous information or assumptions.
Fleming mentioned a case where he was starting a new ad test for a client. The major selling point was going to be how fast the customer could receive the product. He didn't hear back from the client, but a week after starting the ad test, “it comes to my attention through a co-worker that they were out of the product!” The bad part? Fleming notes that his SEO company initiated the conversation with the client. “If we wouldn't have, we likely would not have known about the situation...Needless to say, customers weren't exactly going to get the product fast.”
If you're using an SEO, you need to respond to queries from them quickly, before an entire campaign can be built around mistaken assumptions. That kind of situation leads to wasted money, and possibly even a negative reputation with customers who expect one experience and get something quite different. As Fleming concludes, “Don't think of communication as an inconvenience that slows things down, but rather as an investment in getting good results.”
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