Who's the real expert?

One of the things we go over with clients when getting them involved in the SEO process is that they know their business better than we do. The argument can be made that as soon as they become clients we need to learn as much as possible about their industry to market it properly. But no matter what, they hired the experts in SEO and that takes enough time as it is.

And this is why clients need to be actively involved. Keyword research is our domain, we weed out the junk, and help organize them into strongly optimized groups. But we still need the client’s help with what fits and what won’t.

It would be foolish to barrel through an SEO campaign without seeking the client’s guidance along the way. We have to rely pretty heavily on the client’s expertise in many of the marketing tasks before us. Are these keywords targeted? Is this content correct? These are all common questions we pose to the clients before moving on to the next task.

Sometimes, we find that the client isn’t always the expert they think they are. So often we provide them keyword research and they just barrel through it and say, “yup, these look good.” So we run with it only to have them remove those very same keywords from the text we had developed. Or we send content for them to approve and they say, “looks good,” only to come back months later remarking that don’t like how it’s written. Fair enough, it deserves to be right, but couldn’t they have mentioned that earlier?

These things happen and it does no good to get bent out of shape about it. Everybody makes mistakes, gets things wrong or is caught not paying close enough attention. But sometimes clients think they know more than they really do.

Is the client always right? Well, yes. Ultimately the client always gets what they want, even if it works against their best interests. You can only make your point so many times before you just have to say, “Okay, we’ll do it just how you want it.” Even with knowing full well that they won’t like the results and will likely come back and blame you for it. Thank god for paper trails! After a few more rounds of trying to share knowledge of online marketing, “I really think we just have to focus on technical stuff. I don’t need help with marketing.”

Ok, but will they believe when the technical stuff isn’t enough to get their site ranked for their keywords? Or if by the off chance we are able to get their keywords ranked without any on-page optimization and they don’t see any improvement in conversions? Just as SEM (Search Engine Marketing) relys heavily on client guidance of industry specific knowledge, clients must also rely on their SEOs expertise.