While I normally try to avoid work that is strictly SEO, it sure does seem like it is on client’s minds a lot lately. We have received a number of calls requesting proposals for SEO work, and the behavior seems to be consistent with a neighboring agency. Normally proposals like this would come our way every once now and again, but it seems like they have been pretty steady lately. After talking with these clients, what I have realized is that in all of the cases I could achieve what the client wanted however the results would never meet the expectations.
PLAYING THE EXPECTATION BALANCING GAME
As designers we manage expectations all the time. We do this in order to stay on budget, set requirements, and maintain good working relationship. However the main problem with SEO focused clients I have seen is that they are normally seeking a quick fix. The solution to their business objective is rarely search engine optimization, yet they are actively seeking it, and dead set on doing it. I refuse to take on jobs like these, because the expectations are way too high, and the results will almost never match them.
These potential clients are looking for the “hidden tricks” that once completed, bring in a 25% increase in sales. Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way, at least not long term. Try explaining that though, most times it is in one ear and out the other. While we have been able to successfully consult clients into a proper plan of action in the past, the recession has stretched a lot of companies thin. When discussions start about blogging, earning incoming links, and content development strategy, suddenly everyone is too busy to take on the extra responsibility.
THE QUESTION OF ETHICS
Now that I have framed the situation I have been witnessing, what would you do? My response in the past has always been to try and consult these clients on appropriate strategies based on business goals. However, lately I have been passing on these potential clients because they seem unwilling to accept the fact that there is no quick fix to search engine optimization, and I just don’t feel comfortable doing work where the result is nowhere near what the client is hoping for.
Is there a solution, or are the clients just doomed to engage a bunch of firms until they find someone looking for some quick cash or who doesn’t care about developing long-term relationships? If you have any tips that could be of help to me or other designers who find themselves in a similar situation, please share them in the comments.