1. Not implementing full non-disclosure for every client regardless of budget and size.
Specifically as regards SEO this might entail sharing keyword research data among same industry clients. For example, while many ‘life insurance companies’ may share many of the same terms, there are numerous issues to take into account that require specific client focused research including:
- specific brand or product name,
- geographic targeting,
- market demographics in terms of age, gender and size,
- different online and offline competitors.
This seems obvious, but many firms who under charge due to client budget constraints can be tempted to simply apply previous or generic research to clients within the same industry.
2. Dealing in extreme terms
Specifically as regards SEO this is a two-sided issue. One side of the dichotomy occurs where an SEO firm simply agrees with everything the client says and does not offer due diligence in pushing back on key requirements for deliverable performance. An example we can refer to from a previous post on search query language vs search query intent considered a scenario where a used car salesman restricted all keyword use to the terms ‘pre-owned’ and ‘automobile’ and refused to include any reference to the words ‘used’ or ‘car’ on his site.
The other extreme is where an SEO agency is so set in their project processes and procedures that they will not allow for any form of compromise and require clients to conform to their way of thinking, or no way at all.
3. Failing to consider the ramifications of code change
SEO agencies need to ensure that the client has been made fully aware of what the recommended code changes will mean to the site as a whole prior to implementation. If they do not, the client may not be able to offer insights on other concurrent campaigns. This may result in the SEO agency inadvertently corrupting code pertaining to the maintenance and performance of different specific online marketing campaigns or deliverables.
4. Providing inadequate expectation management and education
An uneducated client may very well assume that SEOing their site will result in a No.1 spot. The client’s expectations need to be determined and dealt with during the initial stages of project scoping. Many prospective clients are still unaware of what SEO is, what it can achieve, potential long term and short term commitments and objectives, and what reporting and performance data they can expect.
They may also assume that as SEO is new to them it must be relatively new to the rest of their industry, and therefore it will be a shoo-in for them to quickly get the Google position 1 for their core key term ‘unique blue baby shoes’.
I’m not saying that getting position 1 for this term is not possible, I’m saying that the client needs to be educated as to how much work it will take and why, how the algorithms work in general, why the SEO phases are important, why the entire project should be completed from research to link-building, and that they should probably not expect to get number 1 by EOD Friday.
5. Outsourcing without client knowledge
As you might imagine this becomes especially sticky if NDAs are involved. It also becomes an issue when the client calls you for progress reports and your outsource company is unavailable, or has not reported back to you in a timely manner. Despite an outsourcing SEO agency’s most diligent efforts, the agency to which they have outsourced the work may simply not get back to them within 24 hours.
Regardless of how well established the relationship, if the agency of choice does not have once daily data at least on project progression, the chances are they will get caught short by the client at one time or another.
It is usually better to explain at the outset that:
- there may be a need to outsource, and
- that the agency of choice will in fact be effectively project managing any affected phases of the project on the clients behalf, but may not always have the most recent information on the current project status.
It is also important to get in writing that the outsourcing is legally viable as far as the client is concerned.
There are numerous other ‘deadly’ SEO agency sins but many of them are more generic to agencies as a whole. Ten Most Expensive Mistakes in Consulting by Khalid Hajsaleh deals with many of those issues superbly.
Contact: laura at semcanada dot org; tweet at …/lauracallow