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How do you explain the Google climate to your clients?

     
5:47 pm on Jul 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Hello WebmasterWorld friends,

I am interested to know how you are explaining the current Google climate to your clients.

We all know clients come in many different "shapes and sizes".. some have budget for ads, some have budget for quality content, some have budget for alternates to Google. And then there are those typical small businesses or startups with very limited or no budget for copywriting or ads.

Some clients have NO CLUE (with all due respect to them), and expect you to get them #1 organic results on page 1 even if their competition is massive in both terms to how many competitors they have, and their competitors high budgets for CPC volume.

One of my clients asked me this morning "why do I only see ads for my competition when I search my primary keywords on my smartphone?"

I am interested to know how you educate your clients, how you respond to their questions about why there are so many ads above organic, etc.
6:14 pm on July 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Clients often need to be informed that Google is not their friend and how internet marketing works. It is an easy conversation to have because it is easy to show them examples that show Google is first & foremost interested in their own profits and not your clients. I personally enjoy these conversations because I get to bill for them, the client gets their eyes opened and I look smart by regurgitating simple observations.

I really enjoy opening up their eyes to how marketing is interconnected. Like how Adwords can be great SEO keyword research or how sometimes Adwords is cheaper & faster than trying to outrank a super strong SEO competitor. Not to mention all the different ways of using universal serps to more efficiently drive converting traffic to their site.

Over time I've written up some good boilerplate emails. When I bring on a new client, I just dust off those emails and customize them to the client. Save me a bunch of time and helps to quickly bring the client up to speed. For me an informed client just makes my life so much easier and more profitable..

My main frustration is from prospective clients that waste their entire budget on stupid ideas before they come begging for free help. If they had just done a few minutes of basic research they would have realized that spending $4k on a writer to optimize the meta keyword tag was dumb.


Mods Note: Please remember that this is the Google SEO forum so please try to stay within or close to that area. Since online marketing often combines SEO, PPC, News feeds & other aspects it is ok to bring them up but let's not go too far off course. If you want to focus on Adwords please go to our Adwords forum. If you want to focus on Google business practice, please go to our business forum :)
7:49 pm on July 12, 2019 (gmt 0)

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One of my clients asked me this morning "why do I only see ads for my competition when I search my primary keywords on my smartphone?"


I am regulalry asked this by friends who have business sites and genuinely have no idea as to what "ads" are, even recently my own sister asked this exact question so I explained how the system works, she was shocked when I informed her even calling it "illegal".

This climate is one of the reasons that I do very little work for other people since they seem to expect miracles for next to nothing and have little concept of the www, even, I have to say, some of the younger ones.
4:41 am on July 13, 2019 (gmt 0)

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When asked this question I respond: what ads to you see when you watch tv ... and are those ads on all the channels, or just a few?
3:26 pm on July 13, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I am regulalry asked this by friends who have business sites and genuinely have no idea as to what "ads" are

And they're still in business?
3:39 pm on July 13, 2019 (gmt 0)

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And they're still in business?


There's no rule that says one has to be intelligent or knowledgable to remain in business nor make a lot of money, this is a fact of life!
5:00 am on July 15, 2019 (gmt 0)

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getting back to the original question, how do you explain this climate? iíve run out of explanations that are client acceptable.
7:03 am on July 15, 2019 (gmt 0)

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so I explained how the system works, she was shocked when I informed her even calling it "illegal".

The overall picture can be very complex but trying to explain how it works and the current trend, when simplifying it as much as possible, putting it into terms that they might understand, cannot sound like anything else except "illegal".

I no longer do anything on websites for other people because of that. Submitting to search engines was often new to them and then SEO was even more incomprehensible. Once upon a time ranking was dependable. But now when they don't see their website on the first page, how do you explain that without leaving them feeling that you have somehow hoodwinked them?
7:29 am on July 15, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I 'fired' my last client over a decade ago, however, despite all the web changes since then human behaviour hasn't changed.

First a slight detour:
When first meeting with a new client I always asked (albeit not so bluntly):
* what do you want/expect?
* in what time frame?
* for what budget?
Which eliminated well over half quickly and cheaply. Following which one could have serious conversations on a variety of issues including (1) what SEO really is (and isn't) and (2) how long it actually takes, given current niche competition, to see results.

While generally new clients can be educated once the topic becomes Google specific it is often more akin to cult deprogramming.
Note: I'm sure you've seen the pushback from webdevs here on WebmasterWorld at the same time as they claim no longer being properly appreciated. Clients have much less exposure to problems and changes so more likely to resist as contradictory to accepted narrative.

If I was speaking to clients currently I'd use privacy as the wedge. I'd speak to:
* Google as ad network using search as a means to sell advertising.

* I'd mention the change in advertising from based on query and page topic to personalised and retargeted based on previous behaviours.
* which segues into how that is accomplished with tracking, beacons, etc.
* from which follows render time and associated irritations, which client can likely appreciate.

* I'd then describe the revolt against impressions; how Google had been hustling advertisers for a deacgde and how little since has actually changed. Except that enterprise advertisers are wary around Google and many have gone elsewhere.
* which flows into the number of bots a site sees daily, many referred from Google; how bot networks can affect CTR and in turn force claw back on revenue.

If they are still listening (if not good bye I can't afford you) I'd turn to Google's morphing from SE to portal; the take over of up to the top 4-results positions by ads, local 3-packs, knowledge and answer boxes, carousels, etc. all designed to answer directly and/or retain visitor with referring outside Google enterprises a last choice increasingly a remnant of an older system ŗ la tonsils or appendix.

And lastly I'd mention web growth and accompanying competition. There are simply many more than last year and every year prior making business viability increasingly difficult. Depending on niche and available investment.

If still listening then I'd get into goodroi's points of the interconnectedness of online marketing, indeed of offline as well. I hate to waste time because it may include unrecoverable costs, smaller clients are less amenable to educational time being billable, so the sooner with the bad news hot buttons the better.

Of course much depends on the client, their niche, and their requirements; which are needs, which wants, which desires and how terribly they cling to each.

getting back to the original question, how do you explain this climate? iíve run out of explanations that are client acceptable.

You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em
Know when to walk away and know when to run
---The Gambler by Don Schlitz
8:06 am on July 15, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Back in the day any new client was met with:

"Are you freakin' nuts? You will fail! But I can help fail less miserably."

Got their attention.

One in ten paid attention to the caution. Of those, 1 in three managed to have a presence. All who played, under my terms, appreciated that I never lied, never promised, and did the very best that could be done.

If your client has no clue, you're screwed. Pure and simple. Make SURE they know there are no guarantees, that g can change the landscape anytime they like (often without visible reason) and go from there.

The average webmaster has no idea how this stuff works and, sadly, butt heads against the wall while the school of hard knocks is in progress.