As an SEO professional, you probably have a catalog of horror stories you could tell.
Each business is unique, and every client that comes through your door is different than the one before.
Most of the time, these clients have a genuine interest in learning how the right approach to SEO can help their brand grow.
Still, there are certain things that clients do or say that can make your job a little more challenging.
You’ve probably encountered all of them, but here are 10 client behaviors that are guaranteed to make any SEO professional a little crazy.
1. Having An Unnatural Obsession with Position 1
There’s just enough vague information about SEO floating around the internet that it makes perfect sense that so many businesses think it’s all about earning a ranking in one of the top three spots (which can be especially volatile as of late).
Sure, rank is important, but the main goals of SEO should be increasing visibility, building a reputation, and driving growth in the number of quality visitors landing on their site.
Position 1 isn’t the only way of accomplishing this.
You can help your SEO clients refocus by pointing out all the ways that effective SEO brings traffic to their door.
For example, leveraging local SEO tactics might land a business in the local 3-pack, rather than Position 1.
For a local business, the 3-pack is exponentially more effective than any other position on Page 1.
2. Believing That SEO Replaces PPC 100 Percent
Effective PPC ads are an investment and one that many businesses are hesitant to make – especially if they’re working with a limited marketing budget.
Even though it’s estimated that 41 percent of clicks go to the top 3 paid ads on page one, businesses will turn to SEO in hopes of generating the exact same type of fast, super targeted traffic.
Unfortunately, with these expectations, they will almost always end up disappointed.
It isn’t that SEO isn’t effective or that it comes in second place to PPC. It’s just that it’s different, and this is what’s difficult for some clients to understand.
PPC is like throwing a dart and hitting the target on the first try, where SEO is about nurturing and brand building for the long term.
3. Thinking That It’s All Just a Numbers Game
There are few things in life where quantity wins out over quality, and traffic from a well-built SEO strategy isn’t one of them.
It’s incredibly frustrating when a client comes to you wanting to see nothing more than a boost in numbers.
Yes, directing more traffic to their website is a big part of the picture, but it’s the quality of the traffic that lands there that matters more than the sheer number of visitors.
These are the types of clients that want to see immediate results, and a bump in traffic is a tangible way to measure the benefit of paying for SEO services.
However, it’s important to reinforce what SEO means for the long-term to this client.
Show them how devoting energy to bringing in quality leads is more important for their ROI, even if overall traffic numbers aren’t what they were hoping to see.
4. Wanting Everything Now
Occasionally, a client will come to you in a flurry of desperation.
By using questionable tactics in the past they may have experienced a penalty.
Or, they’ve failed at their own attempts at SEO and they feel like the rug is being pulled out from under them.
They need to grow their brand, and they need to do it fast before they lose so much momentum that they’re unable to recover.
They want your help with SEO and they want results yesterday.
It’s important that this client understand that SEO can help to pull their business up out of the quicksand, but search engine optimization takes time to build and it rarely provides instant gratification.
Clients in this position should not only look at elevating their approach to SEO, but also think about other strategies like PPC, or maybe look at other areas of their business operations that could be sinking the ship.
5. Having a Ridiculously Low Budget & Over the Top Expectations
Honestly, you can’t blame someone for wanting to maximize every dollar of their marketing budget, especially if they’re working with limited funds.
They made a smart move by contacting an SEO professional to help them with this, the only problem is that their expectations of what a baseline, budget level SEO service can do are a bit unrealistic.
It’s important to sit down and have a serious consultation with this client so that they’re aware of exactly what is included and what isn’t in your services.
Likewise, it’s smart to put down on paper a few realistic SEO goals and expectations so that their disappointment doesn’t end up costing you your reputation.
6. Expecting Miracles with an Outdated Website
This one is tough.
Many business owners feel protective of their website design, especially if they had any part in creating it, and unfortunately, they’re usually not too keen on hearing that their beloved web design poses a major threat to the health of their SEO.
Today’s SEO is more complex and takes into consideration more factors than it did just a few years ago, and the quality of web design’s UX has an impact on SEO.
Usability and user experience are crucial to effective SEO, which can mean a complete web design overhaul for sites that are:
- Slow loading.
- Not optimized for mobile users.
- Generally fail to meet the modern consumer’s demands.
7. Refusing to Change
This is the client that wants results but doesn’t want to make the changes that will bring them about.
It could be anything from optimizing their content strategy to taking an active role in reputation management or rethinking their approach link building – whatever it is, they don’t necessarily think what they’re doing is wrong and they don’t see a reason to change.
Instead, they expect you to create miracles in some other way.
Working with this client takes a special approach that involves showing them how others have built success and how easy implementing these new strategies can be.
8. Not Understanding That SEO Is About Consistency
You might be familiar with the hit-and-run client.
It could be that they’re frugal or they simply don’t have the resources to enlist an SEO professional long term.
Their solution is to work with an agency just long enough to gain some insights, get started on the right track, and begin to see results.
Then they disappear and you’re unlikely to hear from them again until they find themselves sinking in the digital abyss.
This is one of the most frustrating scenarios because both you and the client are genuinely invested in their success, but what they fail to realize is that SEO is about consistency for the long run.
It requires a dedicated approach that’s continually adapting to changes in the industry, search engine algorithms, and consumer behaviors.
The hit-and-run approach might generate some results, but it isn’t going to help the brand reach their potential.
9. Being Clueless About Goals
Sometimes a client appears on your doorstep because they’ve heard that they should be focusing on SEO, but don’t have a solid idea of what that means or what they’re hoping to accomplish.
This isn’t the worst thing that a client can do, because most of the time they’re willing to learn, but it can put extra weight on your shoulders as the SEO professional they’re counting on to lead the way.
The key to making this relationship a successful one is keeping the client engaged. Help them understand what the small goals are and how they play into the big ones.
Use every opportunity to educate them so that they’re better prepared to navigate the digital landscape for their business.
10. Having a Very Hands-Off Approach
Here is the client that feels that they’re paying you for a service, so they expect you to handle every aspect of it – to the point that the only thing they’re concerned about is the results that you occasionally report back to them.
This client means no harm, it just that they have their hands so full with other business operations that hiring someone to take care of this for them has been a huge relief.
The best approach here is to make clear what your role is and then move forward, keeping them informed every step of the way. Once the information is in their hands, it’s entirely up to them what they do with it.
How to Handle Difficult SEO Clients
As an SEO professional, you will encounter a range of clients every day.
Some are easy to work with, while others pose some unique challenges.
Either way, handling yourself professionally and communicating the value and proof positive results of professional SEO services will help your agency grow and build a reputation of trust with the businesses you work with today, and the new ones you’ll meet tomorrow.
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Speed and performance of Web dev, SEO, and marketing agencies websites
- The research shows most agencies failed when it comes to the performance of their website.
- Search engine ranking is a multi-factor game, and performance, while it matters for many reasons, is just one piece in this puzzle.
- Nebojsa Radakovic shares insights.
Ever since Google announced that page speed would be a ranking factor in its mobile-first index in 2018, the need for speed became one of the most important aspects of web dev trait. A lot of businesses jumped onto the speed train.
Sure enough, one year later, Google reported that sites are faster, and abandonment rates are down since making page speed a ranking factor.
With performance being one of the top-selling points of a modern-day web dev architecture Jamstack that we are so into, it was only natural to take a deep dive into the industries that tackle website performance and see how we stand against our peers.
TL;DR: Key findings
Don’t have the time to read through the research? Here are the key findings:
- 27% of websites from our 20K sample still run on HTTP
- 65.7% of the websites are built with WordPress
- Only 2.7% of websites have good performance scores
- 2.9% of websites provide good user experience to their users, ie Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) occurs within 2.5 seconds of when the page first starts loading
What data was I interested in, and why?
Lighthouse performance metrics. There are a couple of popular speed testing tools, but most people use Lighthouse. While it may not be perfect because it provides a mix of both lab and field data about a page, I’ve used Pagespeed Insights API as described in James McNulty UpBuild post here, although updated to show core web vitals.
CMS. WordPress or not. 37% of all websites are powered by WordPress. Being the most popular web dev solution, it would be interesting to see and compare different solutions in terms of speed and performance.
Where did I get my URLs from?
Gathering URLs is a time-consuming work. But I managed to get 20k URLs (20397 URLs to be exact). I’ve cross-referenced results I got from scraping the first-page organic results of a set of keywords (like SEO agency, web dev agency, etc.), results I got by using tools such as Phantombuster to scrap review websites, and results I got from hiring virtual assistants on Upwork and Fiver.
There are a couple of issues I had to take care of first. Amazingly 27% of websites from my 20K sample still run on HTTP. That’s not good at all. On top of that, I had a bunch of URLs coming up with NET::ERR_CERT_DATE_INVALID error message in Chrome. Once those were taken care of, I ended up having results 13945 URLs instead of 20K.
Of course, the most popular CMS is WordPress, with 65.7% of websites from my sample using it. For 18.8%, I was not able to detect any CMS. 2.58% run on Squarespace, 1.6% are built with Drupal, 1.41% are on Wix, and so on.
The results should not come as a surprise given that WordPress powers 37% of all the websites on the Internet or 63.6% of all the websites with known CMS.
Performance scores – How scores are color-coded by Google
The metrics scores and the perf score are colored according to these ranges:
- 0 to 49 (Red): Poor
- 50 to 89 (Orange): Needs Improvement
- 90 to 100 (Green): Good
You can read more about it here.
As far as the performance scores for all websites are concerned, 77.1% of the websites are in the poor range, which means there is a lot of room for improvement.
Pretty much the same story when we check only WordPress websites, 83.9% are in the poor performance range.
Core Web Vitals
By now, you probably are well aware of Core Web Vitals. Their importance is twofold:
- Google considers them essential in a webpage’s overall user experience, and understanding them can help you improve the quality of experience you are delivering to your users,
- Google plans to make a page experience an official Google ranking factor with Core Web Vitals being an essential part of it.
The current set for Core Web Vitals focuses on three aspects of the user experience: loading (described with Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) metric), interactivity (described with First Input Delay (FID) metric), and visual stability (described with Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) metric).
For this research, numbers follow the performance scores. For example, check out the Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) results.
Being that I’ve tested only 20k URLs (actually 13945), let’s not generalize conclusions. However, the general ‘feel’ is that the ones required to think of speed and performance failed the test.
Performance, while it matters for many reasons, is not and should not be the end goal. It depends not only on the tech used but also ‘features’ you’ll have on a website, which pretty much depends on the industry/theme your website is in. And balancing performance and functionality successfully depends on the value a feature brings to your business versus the reduction in speed that results.
The thing is, whatever tech you use, you can end up with good scores (some easier than others). The real question is, how important are the scores for your client, their business, and their audience?
Nebojsa Radakovic is an SEO wiz with 20 years of experience. He is also an extreme sports enthusiast. He can be found on Twitter @CookieDuster_N.
Top 10 Tools to facilitate web development
- Web development is very essential for guiding you past the traditional methods of website development and approaching to other more unique and efficient prospects in the IT field.
- Building an app or website is real but sometimes can be better facilitated through the testing and implementation phases of web tools.
- Entering the new age of the digital world is just impossible without proper deployment, scaling, and database management. And this where the best web development weapons are on standby.
Web development tools are necessary to adapt and integrate in the development environments since they help you create a webpage, gather metrics, discover layouts and designs. Web development is all about evolving and stepping up the game you are currently very proficient in. Along with that it doesn’t demand much money, require enormous sources or expect big money. The only thing development tools are incorporating is your boosted ultimate website performance. What is simply left is finding the right assistant on this journey. Here are the top 10 we have picked for you:
1. Chrome DevTool
If you are searching for a web assistant that would ensure your safety and optimize development, Chrome DevTool is sincerely recommended in this case. Taking into account that this is the most popular cross-platform browser of all, you should be certain that such a Chromium-based development technology will allow you to inspect, debug, and guide you through the browser.
While varied development tools are primarily focused on setting up websites, creating online stores, and launching blogs, Chrome DevTool is highly helpful in inspecting and tweaking. Although it is a bit hard to navigate through so many tabs and functions, Chrome DevTool offers you numerous panels for boosting productivity, analyzing load performance, and enhancing better user-friendly experience:
- Elements panel
- Console panel
- Sources panel
- Network panel
- Performance panel
- Memory panel
- Application panel
- Security panel
Such a division gives you a more fixed structure on elements and commands that you can apply depending on the existing page you are willing to diagnose. In order to access Chrome DevTools, you won’t even need to pay for anything, as it is built into the browser itself. Here is how you can open it.
Good software development company’s support can facilitate your user experience with its comprehensive and all-inclusive approach even more. VironIT offers you a list of the new age web development tools and services to create a highly adaptable website or attractive web application.
If you wonder what kind of development tools are combined in one software, it might actually vary from AR&VR development (augmented and virtual reality) to IoT Software development (data visualization and analysis). Such a useful package of cross-platform tools in one place makes it easier for you to write, maintain and promote better development and react to possible vulnerabilities. In addition, it guarantees you rapid functionality of apps, programs, websites and its well-organized software designs.
There is nothing more efficient than a versatile service providing the fast and most secure web frameworks. You share the main goal.
3. React JS
- It is also error-free since all technical mistakes can be spotted during compilation.
- It is easier to write templates, especially when you are familiar with HTML.
You have no clue what the new age of web development means if you don’t try out GitHub. This web platform enables you not only to manage the web applications by coordinating the tools and its usability, but also to deploy regular teams and campaigns to the completion of these same applications or projects. GitHub accesses you a lightweight, branch-based workflow that helps you experiment with taking over new tasks and managing the existing workflow.
- It helps you make changes, reviews without affecting other involved branches.
- It offers a smooth documentation process that often complements the quality coding process.
- It can modify pages’ content and style remotely via the web or locally on your computer
Why GitHub? The suggested privileges of breaking down barriers within a team when the project is implemented and keeping everyone focused on having the best performance. In the same way, it can let your business flow run smoothly and consistently at any point in time.
5. Novi Builder
You can’t even imagine what excellent sophisticated features you have been holding back when you were not a member of the Novi Builder community. This easy-to-use development tool offers you facilities for HTML drag and drop builder, access to all existing and future templates including free of charge themes. Also, it provides you with 20 must-have plugins and elements, such as Social Plugins, Contact form, Sliders, Countdown, Google Maps, and more.
The functionality and designs are exactly built for beginners developers who want to evolve and rise up on their IT working ladder. It is a great chance for deepening your understanding of website creation and ensuring solid knowledge of application development.
Along with the above-mentioned features, here is what else Novi Builder has to offer:
- It offers advanced code editor support.
- It supercharges your projects just from scratch
- It can install an app and make it live in several hours at low cost
- It empowers and modifies your existing HTML website with additional application integration facilities
Unlike the rest of the feedback tools, this one doesn’t misuse or distort gathered information. It does exactly the opposite by testing development phases and saving your existing project from bugs. If you are quite hesitant it takes too long to collect BugMuncher feedback, you should remember that it is not about your colleague’s professional suggestion, a customer as a prime source of feedback. They can deliver you the most constructive criticism that would help you hone your business’ website or app development.
Moreover, ready-made blocks of code and flexible layouts needed for HTML, CSS can be easily customized and used in accordance with your project’s requirements. The greatest Bootstrap’s features of all are:
- Extensive list of components
- Solid guarantee of the project’s responsiveness
- Useful icon library
Notepad++ is your great assistant in text editing, syntax highlighting, plugin maintaining and this list of handy features can actually go on. Although it is available on Windows only, it can still be supported by GitHub, a primary distribution party.
Additionally, Notepad++ supports 27 programming languages. If you go to the Binary Translations page you can easily choose the language you need. Alternatively, you can open User Language Define System to help you define the definition of keywords or regular expressions. Moreover, if you are advanced at coding in languages like C++, Batch, and HTML, Notepad++ is just an ideal service for you. Imagine that:
- You can find every instance of a word and perform actions on it.
- You can access the replace function and get a change reference for each word.
- You can also save time by typing the keyboard shortcut and skipping the appeared code next time or previous time.
Doesn’t it sound amazing to apply a word-search and text-editor tool like this with just a quick installation and some default language setting? You should definitely try it out.
9. Source tree
We wouldn’t bet on the wrong horse if we said that most of you are intermediate or even advanced developers who’d rather focus on coding than interacting with the Git repositories. SourceTree is a free web development tool available for Mac and Windows and perfect for database visualization and management. However, Source tree equally claims to serve both powerful experts, as well as absolute beginners. Yet, understanding the interface specs is easier than you can even think:
- Bookmark windows represent database you are aligned with
- Toolbar lets you take action without any command line
- The sidebar is where you access the information about your current project
- Repository history and code diffs share control to monitor previous changes
From now any coding changes will be demonstrated in real-time and with the aggregated view on all of your work.
10. Lambda Test
Now, you are completely forearmed to successfully lead the war of web development. Getting an application done or an advanced code supported has never been easier. Try these top tools out and you will not regret it.
Why behavior analysis is important online business
- A typical consumer now owns an average of 3.6 devices which means a person’s journey may start from a laptop and end on a mobile or a tablet.
- In the ecommerce business, the cart abandonment rate is the thing that haunts most of the business owners.
- Developing analytical skills can help you better manage these obstacles.
- MD of SEO Discovery shares a guide to help you understand Cohort Analysis and Behavior Analysis to eliminate roadblocks and improve engagement.
In today’s digital age, the customer journey is getting complex day by day and if you are doing online business then it’s vital to understand your customer journey. A typical consumer now owns an average of 3.6 devices which means a person’s journey may start from a laptop and end on a mobile or a tablet.
In the ecommerce business, the cart abandonment rate is the thing that haunts most of the business owners. According to Statista, 88.05 percent of online shopping orders were abandoned in March 2020 worldwide, which means over 88% of people added selected products into the cart and left without buying for various reasons. This is a massive business opportunity loss for ecommerce players.
Developing analytical skills can help you better manage these obstacles. Without adequate knowledge of analytics, your marketing won’t work because you won’t know what worked and what didn’t work. All the marketing suits come with analytics tools to help perceive the behavior, engagement metrics, and demographics of the visitors coming to a website. The most common web analytics tools are Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, Kiss Metrics, and Mixpanel. They generally come with the following features and capabilities:
- Real-time analytics
- Mobile analytics
- Attribution modeling
- Ecommerce tracking
- Funnel analysis
- Cohort analysis
- Cross-device tracking
- In-page analytics (Session recording, click tracking, heatmaps)
- Goal conversion tracking
- Event tracking
- A/B testing
Every feature has its own data sets which can be compared to help you make informed decisions. Today we are going to understand Cohort Analysis and Behavior Analysis to eliminate roadblocks and improve engagement.
What is a Cohort Analysis and why is it important?
Cohort analysis is a subset of users grouped by shared characteristics. It simply allows you to compare the behavior and metrics of different cohorts over time.
Cohort Analysis Example – Finding Engagement Drop
Let’s suppose you have an online food ordering website/app and using acquisition date (when users started their first sessions) cohorts you can find out when in the customer lifecycle your users tend to drop off.
The best way for visualizing this data is to chart out the retention curve, portraying retention over time.
This retention curve clearly reflects the most important insight – around 75% of the users stop using the website after the first day. We can see a downfall in the engagement. Hence, it’s evident to improve the overall experience and abet customers through daily offers/coupons to boosting retention.
Cohort Analysis Comparison – Organic vs Direct
The below cohort analysis indicates that organic traffic has a better retention rate than direct.
Visitor behavior analysis and its importance
It’s a process of tracking user behavior on a website and there are some great tools in the market that give accurate information. Tools like Hotjar, MouseFlow, Crazy Egg record visitor sessions to see how visitors are navigating on the website. They also offer click tracking and heatmaps to analyze the most engaging and ignored (skipped) elements on a page.
If you look at the above heatmap, you would notice that no one bothered to click on “PORTFOLIO” in the top menu, which means people aren’t interested in see the portfolio. Maybe we have to replace it with something more interesting (like Case Studies, Achievements, and more) which grabs a visitor’s attention. These kinds of insights help you add/remove elements to improve page engagement.
Using filters, you can further segment your audience to dig deep and pull out actionable insights, see those filter below:
In Google Analytics, behavior flow gives you a visual presentation of how people are navigating on your website. You can apply segments to get a deeper view of their behavior and it also enables you to apply different dimensions on top of these segments to get actionable insights.
The power of these analytical tools lies in the fact that it allows you to view which customers leave and what’s making them leave your website/app – so that you can fix it. You can also hire a professional digital marketing agency that can help you find these hurdles and remove them to enhance your overall engagement.
Mandeep Singh is the MD of SEO Discovery. He’s mission is to provide affordable digital marketing services to startups and SMEs. He’s an official member of Forbes Agency Council. You can find him on LinkedIn.
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