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One the largest hurdles in getting a website to rank well and make money for a client, can be the client themselves. It is hard to watch a well-meaning client get in their own way and not know it. For that reason I am writing this post to help them understand what they can do (and not do) to make sure that they get the most out of their money when they hire an SEO firm.

Choosing the right keywords

One of the most common mistakes that I see clients make when working with an SEO company, or doing their own search engine optimization, is picking the wrong keywords. It is easy to become blinded by massive projected traffic numbers instead of focusing on the real number that matters — sales.

I have seen this happen repeatedly. Let me set this up for you. Here is a mock phone conversation after the SEO company has done some keyword research and recommended the appropriate keywords to the client:

Client: “I would like to target keywords x,y,z.”
SEO Company: “While the research does show that those will bring traffic, I am not sure those are the right keywords to target for sales.”
Client: “I know my industry and those are the keywords I need to show up for.”
SEO Company: “Okay.”


…After months of hard work that has resulted in top rankings for the client’s given keywords:

Client: “I am not seeing a good enough return on my investment with you to justify continuing. My sales have not increased significantly and it certainly is not enough to cover my contract with you, let alone make money. You have been working on this for several months now and I am not seeing how search engine optimization has helped me at all.”
SEO Company: “Well, we have gotten the top rankings for the keywords you asked for and your traffic has increased, but perhaps we should look at now optimizing for the other keywords that we recommended.”
Client: “No, I don’t think that will help.”

The mistake clients make with keywords is demanding that the SEO marketing company target their efforts on broad keywords that will not translate into sales. A better strategy is to start with a list of longer tail keywords to target. These keywords are the ones that will have a much higher conversion rate and they almost always are easier to rank for. You are much more likely to see a positive ROI by using this strategy.

Not making the Recommended Changes To Their Site

There will always need to be changes made to a site for optimization purposes. One of the ways that a client gets in their own way is in their refusal or slow implementation of those changes. It is important that once some recommendations have been made, the changes are made as soon as possible. The longer it takes to make the changes the slower the rankings will come and the longer it will be to see a return on the investment.

Resist Adding Content

In order to get rankings for certain keywords it is necessary to have content that revolves around the keywords that you are trying to rank for. Often there will be recommendations to add or alter content to the site. If content is recommended as part of an SEO campaign, it is important to add it. if some alterations are recommended, then make those. If you are concerned with the recommendation, discuss it and come to some compromise that will work for you and the SEO firm, but do not resist the change all together.


Communicate, Communicate, Communicate! One of the most frustrating things for an Internet marketing company is to have a client’s campaign slowed or stopped due to a lack of response from a client. Understand that if you are not answering their emails and phone calls, then they are likely at a standstill on your SEO campaign.

On the other hand, some clients are a little too eager to communicate. As a client, you should feel comfortable to call or email them whenever you need to. But remember they only have a certain amount of time each day to do the work, and the more hours they spend on the phone with you or replying to your emails, the less time they will have to get the work done.


It is important to understand the strategy that your SEO company is using, but if you are a client that must approve every little move, then you are getting in the way. Remember that they are the experts and they have done this more than once.

By micromanaging you may cause delays because they are waiting for your approval. You have a business to run. Do your due diligence before hiring any Internet marketing company and then trust that the company you have hired knows what they are doing and can get you the results that you are seeking. Discuss with them what kinds of things you want to approve and then let them do their job.