There are 5 client misconceptions I see on a weekly basis and all of them we have tracked back to misinformation due to ignorance by their “SEO” or flat out bull by “SEO Experts”.

The real SEO community needs to keep these in mind and educate potential and current clients. You will receive both trust and client retention. A win-win for you.

1). “The Keywords in Your Analytics Are the Only Keywords to Focus On”- I have heard this from 5 large companies this year already. They believe that the only keywords they should focus on are the words that are in their analytics.

Clients often send us their list of keywords (the ones they feel are crucial) and when we ask where they got them they often say their analytics. We have also heard that they have based their PPC campaigns off of these words. When we explain that perhaps there are other word/phrases that they could also focus on that are not in their analytics we see a combination of shock, anger and then the “light bulb” over their head.

Seems simple to you and me, but not them.

2.) “Social Media Marketing is Having a Fan Page on Facebook” – Well, no.

Any reputable SEO, Internet Marketing or Social Media firm knows that this is not true, but it doesn’t matter what we know. What matters is what potential clients have been sold and how we undo that damage.

I believe educating them is the key. My company makes sure they understand what is happening and why we are doing what we are doing. We retain long-term clients this way and so can you. Tracking and measuring Social Media success and failure is important. They need to understand why.

3). “Our Website Looks Fancy and That is All We Need” – I am surprised that this belief still holds true, but it does.

People are told that their Flash or huge jpg instead of text sites are fantastic and they believe it. Just because we know doesn’t mean the general public knows. Again education as well as patience and understanding are important. People hate to pay twice.

4). “Search Results Are the Same for Everyone” – We start off all new client conversations with the different kinds of search results. We bring it up in every class we teach. We try to get the word out there because, sadly, these personalized results are making business owners believe they are #1 for everything.

When we show them how to search and get real results they are typically not happy. Often the SEO reports they receive saying they are #1 for “X” amount of keywords could be a flat our lie or ignorance on their SEO’s part. If you are trying to land SEO jobs and people tell you they are doing great in the search engines, keep this in mind.

5). “There Are SEO/Social Media/Internet Marketing Experts Everywhere!”  – Hey, I know how you feel after reading that. We all hear it and we all know it is false, but reputable companies have to find a way to overcome this . I have to admit that it makes me feel quite irritated when a new site pops up in my area with “SEO Expert” all over and they are offering search engine submissions for $40 a month.

So, how do we, as a REAL SEO community, overcome this?

I think we all know who knows and who doesn’t know, but I feel that often many SEO related blogs forget to target their own markets. They are writing for people like you and me, but forgetting potential clients. It is great to have a national reputation, but it is also important to be known locally or statewide (there is a lot of money there). You need to let your potential clients know that you are the best choice.

I am a big believer in educating my local market because they need it and I like to help them avoid hiring the wrong people. It is still a rough economy and for many businesses there web advertising budget is precious. Educating creates trust (and they may not be able to afford you, but their best friend might). I truly appreciate all the educating I get from the SEO community, but I need to pay it forward.  More importantly, many business owners don’t really deserve the bull they are fed by “SEO Experts”.

Melissa Fach owns SEOAware.com, based in Sarasota, FL

Melissa Fach

Melissa Fach is the owner of SEO Aware and the managing editor of Search Engine Journal. You can find her on Twitter @SEOAware.

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13 Responses to “Top 5 Client Misconceptions – Bull They Were Fed by "SEO Experts"”

  1. [...] See Our Guest Post About Client Misconceptions Top 5 Client Misconceptions – Bull They Were Fed by “SEO Experts” [...]

  2. Chris Love says:

    “Our Website Looks Fancy and That is All We Need” – I am always surprised how bad some web sites are.

    It all goes back to the best thing I learned in college: KISS – Keep it simple stupid!

  3. George says:

    Thanks for this wonderful post. The misconceptions by SEO clients are a real head ache and most of the SEOs are finding it hard to deal with such clients. I already have posted some SEO client issues in my blog at http://www.georgescifo.com/2009/07/seo-client-issues-and-solutions/ .

    The main thing that we need to get rid of this situation is to properly educate the clients about this..

  4. [...] are real estate agents, not search engine experts, so perhaps they can be cut a little slack. The second article was more insidious. It presented information that had been "sold" to SEO clients that [...]

  5. Wynne says:

    Good points. I've never heard the first one though. You can't blame your clients for being uneducated about this stuff since that's our job and that's why we get paid the dollars.

    In terms of targeting content at our client vs content for other seos – that's why I am creating another blog specifically aiming terms at potential clients and talking in their language and on their level.

    There's no way that they know the difference between someone who will generate 1000 backlinks for $50, and the legitimate one who charges them substantially more to get them real profitable results that they can bank, until they have worked with a few people.

    In the end I think it comes down to networking. The best way to find leads is not through ppc or seo or other online methods. In my opinion it is through networking with business clients that you've met in person.

  6. Chris, I agree.

    George, I agree with you as well.

    Wynne, I listed #1 as a client misconception, because they have been fed this info before. I am not blaming the client, but stating that these are misconceptions because they have been wrongly informed. I also mentioned educating the clients for this reason.

  7. laaki says:

    My pet peeve is no. 5. It is ridiculous how some guys spend 3 – 4 months in an SEO company then leave and declare themselves as 'experts'. The sad thing is people still fall for such 'experts'. Maybe we need to run awareness campaigns more often to educate our clients.

  8. [...] are real estate agents, not search engine experts, so perhaps they can be cut a little slack. The second article was more insidious. It presented information that had been “sold” to SEO clients that is [...]

  9. George says:

    I totally agree with @laaki . A lot of guys claim to be so…

  10. Zack says:

    Ha, I've seen a few of these. Crazy what people believe is true. I see the search engine submission one everywhere!

  11. Tom says:

    "The Keywords in Your Analytics Are the Only Keywords to Focus On"

    omg! this is what some established companies say? this cannot be true.
    and what do they recommend to those who get no traffic at all? concentrate on the
    keyword "nothing to be seen on analytics"?

    I think the adwords keyword tool could help out here although I often faced the problem
    that the numbers for impressions are often wrong. anyone else noticed this issue?

  12. Jason says:

    This is very true.For my site it took forever to find a seo consultant who actually knew what they were talking about.Most them just say get a higher PR, but a high PR doesnt mean anything when it comes to SERPS.Its a shame you see these seo "gurus" saying for $400 a month we can get you ranked #1 for any term.Ok i want to rank #1 for "money"

  13. Barry says:

    Hey Melissa, I think you've got a pretty solid list going here. I like #5 and it really bugs me when these "SEO experts" promise top rankings too. How can somebody promise something that is out of their immediate control?