If you’re in the marketing business, you’ve probably encountered this scenario: you assume that a client you’re working with is knowledgeable about SEO and excited to put all of your brilliant recommendations into action, only to find that your suggestions don’t end up being incorporated into their marketing strategy.

Unfortunately, this is the plight of many marketers.  

In order to avoid wasting time on strategies that won’t get used, there are several ways you can assess your client’s knowledge and interest level when it comes to SEO so you know what they truly want and need. We’ll tell you more about how to do it below.

Assessing SEO

The first step in assessing your client is to look at what they’re doing to make their SEO more successful.

Here are some things to look for:

  • Consider how well stakeholders collaborate between themselves and with service providers to do the best work possible.
  • Look at whether the brand is mobile-friendly and mobile-optimized.
  • Consider whether the client consistently implements technical best practices. You can also look at the client’s content to discover how well they integrate organic search into their digital content marketing strategy.
  • Notice whether they have optimized on-page content as well as off-page content like link-building, social profiles, and local listings.
  • Ask yourself: Does the client desire the adoption of new technology? Do they rely on analytics and data, and if so, to what extent?

Evaluating a Client’s SEO Capabilities

To get a sense of the client’s current SEO knowledge and investment level overall, you can implement a simple five-point rating system for each of the categories above.

If the client is using counterproductive SEO strategies that are hurting them, give them a zero.

If they don’t have a strategy or tactic, give them a one.

If they are doing basic best practices and meet industry minimums but with little structure or foresight, give them a two.

If they’re putting effort and resources into their SEO strategy and staying current while using it consistently and being strategic, give them a three.

If they take it a step further and include SEO strategies guided by past successful initiatives for most of their marketing practices, and are also trying out new techniques to improve their online search visibility, give them a four.

And if they have solid processes and resources in place, are always striving to learn more, and are committed to optimizing and looking for cutting-edge SEO strategies to try out, give them a five.

Determining How to Work With a Client

Now that you’ve done an overall assessment of your client’s relationship to SEO, you can make a solid plan for determining their needs as well as what they’ll be open to.

For clients whose SEO strategies and investment levels are at the lower end of the spectrum, start with the basics. Small improvements like making sure their site is secure, fixing meta descriptions and title tags, and other low-level fixes will provide you with opportunities to educate the client about SEO while showing how you can improve their results.

On the flipside, if a client is already operating at a high level in terms of SEO, recommending basic strategies won’t do them any good. In this case, you should look for cutting-edge strategies that they may not yet be aware of.

To decide where to start, look at the client’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as areas that are doing okay, but where improvement can happen with a bit of work. Then discuss these areas with the client to get an understanding of the changes they and their organization are open to. By having this conversation first, you’ll make your client feel like they’re part of the team, which will encourage them to try new strategies. You’ll also avoid the extra work of strategizing in arenas the client won’t take advantage of.

And of course, remember that great change never happens overnight. Trial and error, testing, and learning together are all important parts of helping your client’s SEO strategy evolve. Try to make sure the client is gradually moving forward step by step, educate them throughout the process, and watch their SEO knowledge and investment skyrocket.

To find out other best practices for working with your clients, contact Blueprint Internet Marketing at 1.888.533.4886 or [email protected].