BrightHaus Digital Marketing Agency

Expectation Management – An SEO Company’s Guide to Avoid Client Disappointment

June 7, 2013

Manage Yo' Expectations!

Manage Yo’ Expectations!

One of the more challenging parts of our job as account managers at an SEO company is to constantly manage and realign client expectations. It’s a huge challenge and here is why. A travel client comes to you and says, “I want to be on Google Page 1 for the keyword, ‘leisure’”. The first question I ask is this, “What is your expectation of the performance of this keyword?”

When I type this term into Google the top 3 listings are, as follows:‎

Other contenders include:

The top 3 listings represent the definition of, “leisure”. The bottom 3 URLs represent leisure websites and, for the sake of argument, contain the keyword in their URL . Let’s ignore the fact that the keyword, “leisure” is extremely broad and highly competitive, and talk about Google for a minute. This is one of those funny situations where Google really doesn’t know how to handle this term. It requires Google to be intuitive to determine what people might be seeking when they type, “leisure” into their search engine. Are they looking for leisure website where they can find leisure opportunities and experiences, or are they looking for the spelling and/or definition of this word? On a side note, this is a great opportunity for bounce rate to be analyzed. Judging by the current contenders in the top positions, it seems as though people are looking for more information about the term and not for information about expensive golf trips in Myrtle Beach.

Back to the client, I of course, begin to explain the level of competitiveness of this term, and then ask, “so, why is this one so important to you?”. After a little while, the truth is revealed that it would be extremely beneficial to obtain advertising opportunities on his site if he could say, “We are on Page 1 of Google for the keyword, ‘leisure’”. A ha! It is an interesting case where a client’s measure of success may be different that the measures we have all come to know and love…traffic increases! So the next questions I have to ask myself are, “How long has the client been around? What is the age of their site?”, “How many backlinks have they already established?”, “What kind of presence are we seeing for variations of this keyword, ‘leisure travel’, for example?”, “What about ‘leisure travel in the Caribbean?’”. This is an unusual case because the website is very well established, has many pages, tons of content and, the part that I didn’t tell you, had been ranking on Page 1 for this keyword previously. That changes things a bit, now doesn’t it!? It doesn’t seem like such an elusive carrot to be chasing anymore, now does it?

The main thing that I would like to point to is, communication. If you are keeping your client in the loop and letting them know that, for example, a Page 1, Position 1 ranking for the keyword, “shoes” is likely impossible, they won’t be disappointed when you don’t get them to Page 1 for the keyword, “shoes”. It seems simple, but it will definitely save you from some uncomfortable conversation in the long run.

Jori Stevian is an Account Manager at SEOhaus. If you would like to stay up-to-date on all of the latest SEO industry news and tips, you can subscribe to our blog here. Thanks for reading the SEOhaus blog!