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There's a lack of knowledge, ignorance really, that seems to foster an idea that they have to "game" the search engines, and it's so UN-SEXY when I tell them that the whole game consists of making their web site RELEVANT to the search engines.
Do YOU face the same thing?
How do you handle them?
Do you find yourself losing customers because you lack a sexy gimmick?
Most people/businesses..just don't know.
Statistics such as hits, page views, visitors, etc. are to much for them. And this is probably good, to a point. I would rather that I educate them, than for them to come to me with preconceived ideas.
To cite an example, one of my clients insisted on sending bulk emails to introduce his website. I always adviced him citing the risks involved in spamming and the fallouts. But he didn't listen to me. He hired a programmer to develop a custom program (he's never paid for the custom programming for his website, though) in coldfusion for sending emails to the email lists (of millions and millions of emails) he bought from someone else. He recruitted a guy just for the task of sending those emails. Within a couple of days his ISP cancelled his account and he received so much negative publicity and complaints, that he realized what I was saying all along was right. He called me up and asked me what to do next.
In this case, I had registered my serious reservations of the things he was contemplating when the client discussed it with me, left the client for sometime on his own and in the end he had to come back to me asking for legitimate promotional ways.
Regarding your question for SEO education, I feel it's part of our job to educate them. Do it gradually and match it with results and they'll be happy.
When they resist the advice, show them some facts, cite some examples and they should understand it. If they still insist on doing some spam, leave them by saying "I am willing to bet that what I am suggesting is a better way to do than you are suggesting. If you feel, that you'll not benefit from my efforts but rather those spammy ways, I suggest you to follow the path you are mentioning and get back to me after a couple of months or when you don't get the results you want."
Leave them on their own for a while and let them do what they want. After a couple of months, be sure to follow up and the client with burnt fingers will readily follow your advice now.
This is just one way of dealing though. I would love to hear what other members have to say.
And as it's said half knowledge is worse than ignorance :)
the client with burnt fingers will readily follow your advice now.
That is so true. The trick, however, is to make sure that they have a pen or mouse-pad with your logo and contact information lying around.