The surprising answer to what makes a client happy is communication. This ranks higher than getting actual results – let me say that again: communication is more important to the client than improvement in rank.
It is probably safe to say improvement in rank is actually the most important factor to the client, but it’s not their #1 answer because they assume this is what their SEO agency is working towards. It’s sort of like bringing your car to the repair shop to have the starter replaced – if you asked the customer to measure their level of satisfaction after the repair was completed, nobody is going to compliment the shop on how well they installed the new starter, they are going to speak to the level of customer service they received. They will say how friendly the staff was (or was not) or how quickly the job was completed. SEO is no different.
One of their biggest fears is simply being ripped off. SEO is a mystery to them; they know they need SEO in order to compete, but unlike any other service they pay for, exactly what the agency is doing with their money is unknown. Communication helps dispel their fears. Don’t simply send off a rank report each week with a vague single-line invoice labeled “SEO Package,” instead bathe them in information. Put the details of everything you did as line items in the invoice, add them to an email sent out weekly or monthly like their own personal newsletter. Email them simple questions once a week asking what’s new or what specials or promos they are running. Pick up the phone and talk to them. It doesn’t matter if they have no idea what open graph or a NAP citation is, tell them about it! Give them the comfort of at least knowing you are doing something with their money!
Email them simple questions once a week asking what’s new or what specials or promos they are running.
All SEO professionals have the talk with their client about taking anywhere from 3 – 6 months to see results from their efforts. This is the reality of SEO. The more competitive the category, and the lower the client’s authority in the space, the longer it will take. 3 - 6 months is a long time for your client to be cutting checks on nothing more than a promise of good things to come. But if you SEO is good enough, your day to shine will come - getting that first keyword on page one is reason to celebrate and breathe a sigh of relief.
If you want to keep your client, continue with rigorous communication. What those of us in the SEO seat don’t see if the constant barrage our clients get from other SEO agencies trying to peel them away. Constant calls, emails and letters trying to convince them they can do it better, faster and cheaper. Your only line of defense from getting under your client’s skin in communication. The moment your client thinks rank improvements have gone stale or you’ve put their account on autopilot, they will begin to take calls from your competitors. Don’t think just because you’ve gotten them the rank improvements they asked for, they are in any way loyal to you. This is not a negative reflection of the client or their ethics, they are simply trying to make the best decision with their money - the moment they no longer see you as a good decision, you are out.
What those of us in the SEO seat don’t see if the constant barrage our clients get from other SEO agencies trying to peel them away.
Communication should be baked into your SEO strategy on equal footing with backlinks and all the other things we do. It needs to be thorough and consistent. The more technical the better, speak to them as if they were another SEO professional (I have found today’s business owners and marketing managers to be way more SEO savvy than we assume). If nothing else, this will create an archive of emails detailing everything you’ve done for them since the beginning, something especially important for marketing managers who periodically have to justify your existence. From this point forward, you need to think of communication as equally important as getting rank results for your client.