Note: This is a guest post by John Packham. The author’s views are entirely his own and may not reflect the views of Deepanshu Gahlaut’s Blog.
Helping clients build great websites and create powerful content is a great way to build a business and rapport with the business community.
When you help clients build a message that changes lives, convey a brand that means something, and provide the platform for their customers to have a stellar experience online, you are really making a notable contribution.
But behind all the glitz and glam of that website, those branded images, and that carefully created content lies the bread and butter of the internet: SEO.
So whether you run a freelance marketing agency or you are a one-man-business working to improve small businesses around the world, you need to be able to explain the concepts, importance, and impact of SEO.
Here’s how you can do that.
Start with What People See
The problem with trying to explain SEO to a client is that they rarely see what goes on behind the scenes. If you work in web development, content creation, or branding, you know that 99% of your clients just want this stuff to look good, and “be found on the web.”
But getting found on the web goes beyond a great looking brand and logo. Despite what’s under the hood, it’s important to talk to your clients from the perspective of what they can see and then relate it to what they can’t.
For example, if you are figuring out how to build a coworking community and you want your members to be able to decide instantly if your space is right for them before they even see it, you need to have professional photos of your space littered all over your website. That’s step one.
Step two is to ensure that the information that is attached to those photos is aligned with current search engine guidelines and that your images are relevant and recent enough to matter: that’s SEO.
Ensuring things like proper descriptions for images, titles, alt tag, captions, meta titles, and meta descriptions all need to be updated properly so search engines can crawl the images and make them visible to your audience.
Drill it Down
After using an image to make the comparison between what audiences see and how search engines pick up on what is seen, you’ll find that clients who had little to no knowledge of how SEO works suddenly find themselves with more interest in the topic.
While it feels unapproachable to a lot of people, as a professional, it’s your job to ensure that SEO feels easy to your clients. That’s not so that they can do the job themselves and not hire you; in fact, quite the opposite will happen: they’ll trust that you can share that kind of information with them and that you are someone who cares enough to break it down for them.
There’s no need to keep this stuff close to your chest to use it as a move like in a game of chess. That’s not how business is done anymore. Clarity and transparency go a long way in helping to win and keep clients in the marketing, branding and content world.
SEO is a big part of all of that and you need to work with your clients to ensure that the information you convey is aligned with their vision, even if they can’t see the results of your efforts for some time.
Show your Clients the Results
While it’s true that you can’t show your clients any immediate results of the efforts you set forth in conducting proper SEO for their sites, content, and branding, that shouldn’t stop you from working to provide them with some examples of what is possible.
No need to embellish these results to save your hide – instead, be frank about the long game of how SEO helps you build recognition and authority online.
Backlinking, quality content, and authority are more important than ever to solidify a website online and keep it there. That doesn’t mean your client will rank number one on a search engine – and it’s important that you explain that to them – but it does mean that people looking for what they have will be able to find them.
If you’ve done this even once before, even with your own website because you are just starting out, show them how it works. You’re not hiding secrets from your client: this stuff is searchable on the web.
So don’t try to be a hero about it. Be honest and bold about what is possible but be frank about the time it takes to see those kinds of results.
Don’t Brush Things Under the Rug
Whatever you do, don’t treat your client like they are less than you or not smart enough to understand.
What you are talking about is code and protocol and if you are a true professional, you won’t feel like the rug is being swept out from underneath you if you share some trade secrets; which, again, are not really trade secrets. You are providing a service.
If you want to stand out and continue to provide that service, make sure you keep things focused on how you can help and explain things to your client every step of the way. And don’t let them throw their hands in the air and ignore what you are doing – they need to know this stuff.