“We want to be first page in Google…”
This is undoubtedly, one of the most annoying things to hear as an SEO professional when speaking with a new client.
Clients like this usually have a very misconstrued understanding of what SEO is and how it works, and will typically get on the phone and say –
- “Can you guarantee us first page?
- “We don’t care about the blog, just make us rank in Google”
- “Just build links, don’t worry about all this other stuff”
- “How long till we’re first page?”
Whenever I hear comments like this I cringe, and in most cases, I turn the client away, because I know I wont be able to help them.
Not because I wouldn’t be able to, but moreso because clients like this are far too busy getting in their own way to achieve any level of success. These are the ones that “question everything” and end up switching from one service provider to the next every few months at $99 a month.
It’s unfortunate, but I see it all the time.
So for those of you chasing “quick wins” and expecting over night success, let me now share with you, the top 10 reasons why you don’t deserve to be first page in Google.
1. You wont fix your website
Every now and then I’ll be approached by a small business owner that’s either built their own website, or had their nephew build one for them in Front Page for $50 and a high five. Guess what? It doesn’t matter how much glitter you sprinkle on a turd, it’s always going to be a turd.
I tell prospects ….“You can’t do a 10 second quarter mile in a 87 Datsun Stanza”
It’s amazing just how many small business owners are totally reluctant to at least fix their websites, yet happy to throw money at it for SEO.
- “But we think it’s fine”
- “Our website is the best, just look at it. My nephew built this”
- “It took me 6 months to figure out how to build this website, I’m not changing it now”
- “We paid $900 for this website, we’re not spending any more money on it”
- “Can’t you just rank us first page with the site we have?”
I had a client once that was so stubborn, I told him to stop paying me until he fixed his site. It was converting at 0.05%, which meant they had to get 900 people to the damn thing before anyone even submitted an enquiry.
The site was a total dogs breakfast. Links everywhere, flashing banners, dancing chickens. Navigation and pages all over the place. It was quite possibly one of the worst sites I’d ever seen.
Honestly, you’d have a better chance running safely to the other side of an active mine field blind folded dressed as Ronald McDonald than you would have trying to figure this mess out.
Here’s the thing – If your site is a mess, FIX IT. Listen to the advice of your SEO consultant.
If they’re telling you to fix your website, THAT’S A GOOD THING. It means they actually give a shit.
Sleazy SEO agencies won’t care less. They’ll take your money and keep sending you meaningless reports full of squiggly lines and colourful bar charts every month.
2. You don’t give a shit about content
Here’s the most frustrating one of all.
Clients that couldn’t give a rats arse about content.
- “We’re not interested in paying you to blog for us”
- “No one is going to read it, so don’t waste any time with that”
- “Blogging isn’t going to bring us any business”
Here’s a reality check for you.
If you’re not publishing content, and your competitors are – and their content is getting engagement, social shares and links – then you don’t stand a chance.
You may as well just take your website down and sell rusty hubcaps at weekend swap meets.
Forget about it.
Running an online business and not publishing content is like running a photography business and not wanting to take photos.
3. You want to pay someone else to exercise for you
I use this analogy often.
SEO is a LOT like going to the gym.
It takes effort, a lot of hard work and a good understanding of diet and exercise.
However, you’re not going to get into shape if you’re paying someone else to exercise for you.
What does that mean?
It means, every now and then I’ll work with someone that says “Look I don’t want to know what you’re doing, just do it.”
That’s all well and good, but it’s much like sending someone else to the gym for you and saying “You go exercise for me, I’ll be home on the couch”
There needs to be a level of engagement and interaction at least to some degree by the business owner.
Because if they’re just throwing money at an SEO professional, then all of that’s going to come to a grinding halt when they stop working together.
I always provide, at the very least, some form of basic training during my campaigns so that business owners know –
- What’s being done
- Why it’s being done
- How they can continue to implement themselves once the campaigns over
If you’re just throwing money at someone and expecting to rank first page in Google “like magic”, then expect the whole thing to go nowhere once you stop.
4. You just want to build links
I remember sitting with a prospect once during a meeting and was walking him through my process and after a 20 minute presentation he paused, looked at me and said “John, how much just to build say, 10 links a month, and not do any of this other stuff”
Needless to say, we never worked together.
Clients that are obsessed with link building, are the ones that read a few Moz articles, add Rand Fishkin as a friend on Facebook, then think they’re a “qualified expert”.
They’re also the ones that muck around with tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs in their spare time, and feel as though they have to monitor and micro manage every aspect of your campaign.
- “What are these links?”
- “You need to build more links, faster!”
- “Those links are poor quality”
- “Disavow these links, no wait, re-avow them!”
- “What are your thoughts on Fiverr?”
Page 1 in Google? I don’t think so. Kiss the Penguin.
5. You think you should be first page in 30 hours or less
I have prospects that call me, and during the first phone call they’ll say “If we don’t see results in 3 months then we’re going to cancel”
Anyone that passes comments like this won’t be working with me.
Because I’m not interested in lying to someone in order to sell them false hope. It’s that simple.
Here’s something to think about.
Many site owners LOVE to use the whole “You’ve been at this now for 3 months, and we’re not seeing any results!”
Whoa whoa whoa…..slow down turbo.
3 months sounds like a long time, but in actuality it’s only been 30 HOURS.
That is, of course if the client is paying for 10 hours per month.
SEO is often a serviced offered as “per month”, but the truth of the matter is, it’s actually allocated HOURS per month.
Some clients love to throw around the whole “month” thing, and to be honest, it does sound like a long time.
But what clients need to remember is that 10 hours can be knocked over in 2 days.
That means you’ve got 28 days of the month (roughly) where nothing is happening.
I always say to clients, “If you want faster results, then buy more time. I can do 10 hours a month or 50. It’s up to you”.
I’m good but I’m not a magician. I can’t turn anyone’s site in a first page ranking machine within a matter of a few hours.
And I especially can’t do that if they come to me with a mess of a website, which is often the case.
6. You buy a dog, then bark yourself
Here’s the biggest annoyance.
Clients that buy a dog then bark themselves.
These are the ones that come to me for help, then TELL ME HOW TO DO MY JOB.
- “Yeah listen John, I don’t think that’s the best approach”
- “John, no I don’t want to do that, I think you’re wrong”
- “I want you to do it this way, because XYZ”
- “I changed it back because I didn’t like the way you did ABC”
- “My old SEO guy said …”
You know what I do with clients like this?
I fire them.
- You wouldn’t walk into a restaurant and tell the head chef how to cook
- You wouldn’t tell a mechanic how to fix your car, and
- You certainly wouldn’t tell Kermit the Frog how to sing “Rainbow Connection”
So please, don’t tell me how to do my job either.
7. You don’t want it bad enough
Its funny when I speak with a potential client and there’s this enormous sense of urgency.
- “We desperately need more customers”
- “We need to make more sales”
- “We’re not getting enough search traffic”
- “Please help us”
Then you start going over pricing and how the process works and they’ll respond with …
- “Okay we’ll call you next week” (they never call back)
- “We don’t see the value in spending that much on XYZ”
- “We’ve decided that we’re going to leave it til next year”
These are the types of clients that rush off and buy into $99 a month SEO because they “kind of want it”, but don’t really want to take it seriously. “We’ll just throw a few dollars at it and see what happens”.
BUT of course they want to be first page in Google.
8. You’re focused on rankings instead of what really matters
This is definitely the most common problem I see.
Clients that want to focus solely on rankings.
I remember once working with a client and I got them from page 4 for a target term to position 6 on the first page in Google. Not only did I do that, but I increased their monthly customer enquiries from 120 to 330 (per month).
Yet they would send me emails saying “We need to be higher up the page”
Its funny how customers become fixated on the metrics that don’t really matter.
I always cut through the nonsense when working with clients and ask “What are your goals and objectives?”, to which they usually always reply with –
- We want more customer enquiries
- We want to make more sales
So that’s exactly what I work towards as part of the campaign objective.
It’s funny how the metrics that really matter become a focal point when things aren’t going so well.
Customer : “We’re not getting any enquiries, you said by now we would have more customer enquiries”
SEO Guru : “Who cares. We got you first page for “Selfie sticks for Elephants”
When you focus on nonsense, that’s what you’ll get in return. Nonsense.
9. You want to micro manage everything
I’ve dealt with clients that are intent on sending up to a dozen emails a day, or worse, call every 3 hours and ask “Hows it going?”
These people do my head in, and I’m sure a lot of other SEO professionals can relate.
Needless to say they don’t last long.
The bottom line is this, as much as I’d like to be able to service clients at this level – I just can’t. It’s stupid.
I can spend a whole day dealing with just one client, going back and forth via email, which puts all of my other clients behind.
I always provide work summary sheets that itemise and outline all the work that’s been done for the month, as well as hold end of month strategy calls with all my clients, but for some, that’s still not enough.
They think they’re my only client, and that I have nothing better to do than answer their emails every 15 minutes.
10. You listen to everyone else except those that matter
These are clients that will take advice from just about anyone with an opinion on SEO.
- “Well I was speaking with my brother in law who works in IT, last week at a Wedding and he said …”
- “My mate Graham (the plumber) read SEO for Dummies, and he said…”
- “My wife ranked first page in Google using some guy in India, and she said…”
I’ve never understood why some clients want to take advice from people that have absolutely no idea, as opposed to those of us who have worked in the industry for decades. I mean, you don’t walk into your local butchers and say “Bill, my car is making a funny noise, it’s coming from the front end…what do you think it might be?”
Bills going to cut a rib eye fillet steak and slap you around the head with it.
Infact I had a discussion with someone just recently that said “A friend of mine said that 301 redirects can be dangerous, and Google will penalise you for using them”
Honestly, it’s ridiculous.
Listen to your SEO guy/girl. They’re the experts. That’s why you hired them in the first place.
Seriously, you can’t expect to be first page in Google if you’re going to be an asshole. If you’re not publishing anything of value to your website, or you’re sitting around making excuses or being lazy, then you deserve to be stuck back at page 12.
You’ve GOT to be proactive.
Think I was too harsh? Want to complain because I said “shit”? Go ahead, post your comments below and I’ll respond personally.
If you’re lucky I’ll send you some free cookies.
Also, if you’re interested in learning how to do SEO properly, then check out my SEO training course. You can learn how to kick arse with SEO and have your competitors crying themselves to sleep at night.