Potential SEO Client Do Not’s

This is a little rant type venting post for fellow SEO professionals. I recently wrote a blog post at the Search Engine Journal about my favorite worst SEO leads, this is an expansion on this topic a bit.

The following is a list of recommendations for people looking for an SEO firm of things NOT to do:

Don’t go looking for free advice.
Would you ever go to a new doctor and have your first question be, “Do you think I need surgery?” How is your doctor supposed to answer that without first reviewing your medical history, conducting a physical and running various tests? Even though it may be phrased as a yes-or-no question, it is actually much more involved than that.

The same is true for SEO. Plenty of potential SEO clients will start asking me in-depth questions about their site and SEO campaign before we’ve actually established our business relationship and then are angry when I can’t answer their questions.

First off, I cannot make an educated recommendation without in-depth knowledge of your site and your industry. Unless you are prepared to give me access to your analytics account don’t expect me to tell you what keywords I think you should be targeting during our first phone call.

Some potential SEO clients will tell me that my competitors have already offered them SEO advice and my first thought is usually it’s a salesperson’s job to sign up new clients, not offer SEO advice. Some will say anything to get a client! If you want to know more about the Brick Marketing SEO process I am more than happy to walk you through it, but don’t expect me to hand out in-depth SEO advice before you become a client.

Don’t expect me to drop everything to call you back.
Brick Marketing is a small SEO firm. I don’t have a team of salespeople manning the phone lines and although I usually get back to everyone who calls or emails the company within 24 hours sometimes that isn’t fast enough for some potential SEO clients. I take pride in my company’s customer service but as a small business owner I don’t have the time to spend an hour on the phone everyday with every lead that comes through.

That is why I try to schedule a time to talk to prospective SEO clients. I want to be able to give you my full, undivided attention and not be trying to squeeze you in between other client meetings and projects. In a perfect world I would be able to email/call back everyone within minutes of them contacting the company, but that just isn’t possible right now.

I’ve had prospective SEO clients call three or four times a day (no exaggeration), yet they won’t leave a message or voicemail with their contact info so I can get back to them. No one likes playing phone tag so if you want to make sure I get back to you please leave the information needed to do so! I personally respond to everyone that contacts the company as soon as I can, but don’t expect me to rearrange my entire day to call you back.

Don’t second guess your instinct.
I understand that choosing an SEO vendor isn’t an easy decision. You need to make sure that they are a good fit for your company (just like I need to make sure a potential SEO client is a good fit for us) and building that trust can take a little while. But don’t draw out the process any longer than it needs to be.

If you got a good vibe during your meeting with the second SEO firm you talked to, don’t waste your time (and theirs!) shopping around with five other companies. If you spend 4 months interviewing more SEO companies as opposed to going with your gut and choosing that first one that felt right you’ve lost 4 months of SEO work that could have been completed in your site’s favor. Since SEO is such a long term process, getting started sooner rather than later can make a big difference.

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