by Benjamin Pfeiffer
Dear Unwanted SEO Client,
As I see it, you have two options. One you can run yelling and kicking to the next SEO company complaining that the last one didn't like your website and you need them to sign you up at a low low rate because you don't have an SEO budget or you think you don't need one. You can survive for a time on free SEO Handouts. Eventually you may realize this probably isn't the best option.
Your second option is to realize that while you may have a website that no one wants to work with (really, its possible), you may have no money, you have ambitious dreams that not even you can justify, and that for once you might just have to do this SEO work yourself. You will have to create and find value in this SEO work or else it will pass your by and any hopes of ranking highly in the search engines.
In the last couple weeks I have been petitioned by a couple of "pseudo SEO clients" that insist on calling me for information on what to do with their website. Now I am a nice guy and I always give new clients a free 30 minutes of my time. Sometimes more if I know they need it. I have to pay the bills like everyone else and there becomes a point when "free advice" needs to become "paid advice". If you don't want to pay for "paid advice" then move on. So the client moves on...
At that particular point the SEO client nobody wants moves on to the next SEO company. He might go talk to Jim Boykin and Jim will tell him that they "need links" and that they can't help then right now they are too busy. Next Jim will refer him to Rand Fishkin, Rand will spend an hour talking with them about all the things they need to do to clean up there website and really succeed in Google. Rand will refer them to Cre8asite, SEW, Seroundtable Forums, or another forum and for to his "Recommended SEO's" page. Which by the way, many people are using these days. That client may then go and talk to Barry Schwartz, and Barry who really isn't an SEO, but knows just about everything SEO will refer him to my SEO firm, Chris Boggs's, Jim or another friend. At that point I will talk to the client and setup an appointment. I will spend 30 minutes going over everything Jim, Rand, Barry, Chris, Jill, Debra, Bob, John, Bill, Lee, said previously and some business related stuff. I can be very upfront if I know from the second I visit the site that it will not work out. I will then tell the client I can't help them. To their dismay I will refer them to Derek Chew, who guess what? He had already talked to this guy 2 MONTHS AGO!! before anyone else and said "I can't help you!" Derek will hang up the phone on the guy and go grab some Taco Bell and chuckle to himself quietly. "Damn newbies" he will say. That client will now realize that SEO companies suck! and will find another company to address his problem. He might call back a month or two later arriving as damaged but well informed goods at which point he will be transformed enough in order to start a campaign with. What a rough adventure for a new SEO client.
Many of these clients end up in a circular chain of SEO companies that work together closely as colleagues. Personally I think its great. How awesome is it that you are getting advice from a group of expert SEO's, rather than just one. A typical strong willed SEO client will work with not one SEO company, but multiple SEO companies to get the job done. In this industry we are very helpful people, almost too much sometimes. The client I talk about in this article is a true example of one that takes advantage of all the free advice and kind nature of all the qualified SEO's in this industry. Sometimes these people take advantage of us, other times they are just looking for the right home.
Now I told this guy all the same information that the last 100 people told him. I was amazed that after all the FREE advice, none of it stuck, none of it was appreciated or applied. I then realized that he was one of the "SEO Homeless". A client not even the lowest of the low dark blackhat SEO's would want to touch. They remained "homeless" as they did not have an SEO to call home. No one wanted to take them in, but they also didn't want a home either. So they essentially where stranded in a netherland of SEO waste.
So you ask, what makes a client so untouchable, so homeless that not a single SEO company will work with them? It is very hard to become one of these clients. I mean you have to try to be bad at everything to get to that point. Most clients are well rounded good business people that while are all different can all be worked with successfully.
15 Reasons Why Nobody Wants You As An SEO Client
1. You have a subject matter your SEO is not comfortable with. This could include porn, casino, pills, illegal, gay themes, religions, hate sites, products you know will offend someone. Be aware of any content on your site that might offend someone, even if it doesn't offend you or your friends.
2. You have a NEW website.
3. Unrealistic expectations for rankings in the search engines. This one is a big one, and one SEO's hate the most. Re-evaluate your expectations.
4. You don't want to do anything yourself. SEO's don't hold your hand. Realize that you may need to do the SEO work yourself, starting with link building.
5. Re-adjust your budget. You don't need the $10,000 min that most SEO's require, but you do need a least a moderate budget to start such as ($2000-$5000). This figure could be per month too.
6. Don't give up. If not one wants you as a client, figure out why!!! Call back one of the SEO's and ask "Why does my site suck?" They will give you a candid answer, I promise.
7. Don't lie. This is the worst thing you can do and helps no one. Don't lie about that hidden text and pretend you didn't know it wasn't there. Don't lie that you didn't write a word of the content on your website.
8. Your website design sucks! Did you design it yourself? This is very common. You may not realize it, but if you design sucks, so does your website. If thats the case it will make it hard for an SEO to do this job as the technology is rudimentary. Hire a professional web designer/usability consultant to give it a more professional look.
9. Don't complain or tell your sob story to an SEO. This will not help you rank higher or get an SEO to work with you.
10. DON'T CALL ME PAST BUSINESS HOURS! Typical business hours are M-F, 9-5pm.
11. Ask your SEO to become your business partner. Won't work, sorry. Not unless the offer is really good.
12. All your sites are affiliate websites. Affiliate websites are not great to work with. There I said it. While they can be great websites, often a NEW affiliate website is the worse kind of client. Realize if you fit in this category.
13. Your SEO has to report to more than 3 people all at the same time. While this isn't a bad thing and I have done it successfully, some SEO's don't like working where they have to answer to a group of people. Others prefer it. It is more work, realize that and know a good SEO will charge more for this. Ask your company if its necessary to have so many ears and eyes present when the SEO speaks.
14. You want something in a writing about a refund and a guarantee. Nope, no one will sign or work with you if you require that. Rankings can not/will not/should not be guaranteed as no one can promise you placement in a search engine.
15. You have no idea what you are doing. This can be common condition too. Ask yourself if you have a plan at all? If you don't then, develop a RFP (request for proposal), a spec sheet on what you want to do and accomplish, and put it in your email and send to your SEO. They will appreciate it.
Now those 15 things can all easily be fixed. You have to first realize if you have a problem, and identify it and make yourself the best candidate possible so you will get picked up by an expert SEO. I find it very disturbing sometimes how business owners purposely waste the time of others who all tell them the same thing, but they refuse to listen. Remember we are here to help you grow your business, educate you, watch your flourish, and accomplish your ranking goals. Sometimes it's possible that no one will help you and you will have to bootstrap the operation, learn the skills of an SEO and do the work yourself. Ultimately that is how many SEO's got started in the first place. Realize the path to greatness whether it be in the search engine rankings or in business in general is not an easy road to follow sometimes.
For a list of recommended SEO's I would refer you to Rand's Recommended SEO, Web Development & Support Firms list. I'm listed, so I am available for hire. Be sure to ask for a reference as well if someone can't help you.