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SERP drops! The client is leaving.
What shall I do
RoyalChina




msg:3032503
 5:43 am on Aug 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hello, guys & gals. I have a seo client. All the client's keywords are in top 20. Their website is targeting a very competitive niche where they have to compete with many embassy and consulate websites as well as branded services and networked websites. In some keywords they tries to rank in top 10, there are 8 listings from embassy and consulate websites. In the previous updates, embassy and consulates websites took more top 10 listings. As a result, some of the keywords falls out of top 10, but still in top 20. Now the client threats to dump my service. Do you think their expectation is too high? What do you think I should do? Thanks very much for your help.

 

SEOcritique




msg:3033717
 1:38 am on Aug 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hello Royal China,

Has their website traffic increased as a result of your efforts on their behalf? Do traffic levels continue to grow? If so I suggest realigning the conversation toward traffic levels and away from rankings.

The reason our clients want high rankings is because they really want increased levels of qualified traffic and ultimately increased sales or conversions. Perhaps you can show them that your efforts are achieving their real goals even if SERPs are fluctuating.

Another possibility is that they want to separate from your services for reasons that have nothing to do with your efforts or your business. If you can identify whether or not this is a reality you may be able to save yourself anguish, time, and money.

You may want to insert something like this into your conversation:

    As you know, search engine optimization cannot guarantee top ten rankings. Our services give you the strength and authority to compete for high rankings. It is also unfortunate that a change in the mathematical algorithms that the search engines use can result in sudden and dramatic changes. No company is immune to these ups and downs.

    Since I became committed to your efforts 3 years ago you have experienced steady growth in traffic and increased revenues. There is no reason to believe this will not continue and, as always, I am deeply committed to you and your business.

    I understand that a temporary setback like this can be distressing. That is why I am here to explain the situation, answer all of your questions and work hard to reverse this temporary course.

    Is there anything else influencing your concern that I should know about?


rbacal




msg:3033747
 2:33 am on Aug 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

Has their website traffic increased as a result of your efforts on their behalf? Do traffic levels continue to grow? If so I suggest realigning the conversation toward traffic levels and away from rankings.

I was going to say almost exactly the same thing. I actually wrote a book on consulting a few years back, and seo stuff is really a consultant role.

It really works well to help the client clarify his business objectives and how they link up with your services. Consulting is often not just about doing what the client thinks is needed, but also educating the client so they understand what they really should look at.

Results, not rankings is a much more important "business" imperative.

PS. I don't even check my own rankings, or any of the other stuff like incoming links, etc. All I care about is whether my traffic is going up or down, and whether I'm getting business results from the traffic.

yummybanas




msg:3033762
 2:52 am on Aug 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

Yes but higher traffic is often a result of higher ranking, isn't it? I don't think it's too unreasonable for a client to expect reoccuring SE traffic, if that's what they're going for.

decaff




msg:3033778
 3:16 am on Aug 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

Yes but higher traffic is often a result of higher ranking, isn't it? I don't think it's too unreasonable for a client to expect reoccuring SE traffic, if that's what they're going for.

Not necessarily true...
You have what are called the "money phrases" *vertical*(whether this is an ecommerce B2C, B2B or a site looking to convert traffic to leads, memberships, subscriptions...etc..)..
AND you really should know exactly what your "money phrases" are at all times...and make sure you site convert well for these at any level of traffic..

THEN you have more of your horizontal phrases...and your 3, 4, 5..etc. word searches ... which tend to get more narrow and refined for the people searching...AND... will tend to convert well if your site dialogues well with your target audience...

AND... you must educate your client that one of their biggest obstacles (and this is true for all competitive sectors ... high dollar)...is that the engines themselves are also competing for revenue from these very same sectors...and this will always have an affect on your listings...

BEST POLICY...think long term...always focus on your target market BEFORE you focus on the SERPs..and develop other traffic strategies that will help you to weather the ups and downs of the search engine bouncing ball....

SEOcritique




msg:3034899
 11:36 pm on Aug 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

Rusty Brick picked-up on this conversation and posted it at Search Engine Roundtable. (Thank you Rusty.)

I posted a comment to his post and I think it is worthwhile repeating it here:

    Just to clarify, I think this is one of those times when a personal visit is best and if you cannot do that pick-up the telephone. I find that as careful as I am with wording my messages, email simply cannot express the genuine concern and empathy that I want to convey.

RoyalChina, I hope you are finding this thread helpful.

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