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I’ve seen it a hundred times, literally. A customer calls, interested in improving their search engine rankings. They’ve shopped around and they have a good idea of what they need. They may have even tried a few things on their own, with little or no luck. Many of these customers are ready to drop thousands of dollars on SEO services without really knowing what they actually need.

They may know a lot about what they need (such as higher rankings, more website traffic, etc.), but the truth is, they are guessing about some of the most important parts of the equation. It’s almost always a case of firing before they aim.

Part of the problem is that the customer is not the only one guessing.

We see quotes and proposals from customers by professional SEO firms, Web development companies, and other Internet marketing firms, and it’s not surprising to find that they are guessing, too. Don’t get me wrong, some of the proposals are jam packed with information, but most of it is sales fluff. In my experience, the more guessing they do, the more pages they put into the proposal.

Hey, I can understand why they do it. I’m in sales, and I know I should be the first to help these customers spend their money. However, I believe that we do a disservice to our customers when we enter into a business relationship based on guesses.

Before you spend any money on SEO, you need to make sure that your SEO plan includes zero guesses. So, here’s a unique idea that actually drives our competition crazy:

We suggest that you map out a clear plan before you make any moves. What? A sales guy actually telling their prospective customers to hold off on their spending plans? Yep, you heard me right.

Putting together a clear plan is really not difficult. But like anything, it’s important that you know your stuff. Quite frankly, most Internet marketing firms don’t have the know-how to put together a clear plan that targets the most important things. Instead, they put together an expensive, guess-work, big boiler-plate proposal as a solution for a whole bunch of problems.

We should all agree to stop the guessing – even if it means spending a little money up-front to put a clear SEO plan together. Personally, I would rather spend a little bit of money up-front to make sure I completely understand the issues, before I spend lot of money on what I guess are the issues. This will help you choose the right SEO company, and will help the SEO company you choose deliver the desired results.