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10 Types of Client Behavior That Drive Every SEO Professional Insane



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.

Both win when working together.

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:

  • Outdated.
  • 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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Google Search Console image search reporting bug June 5-7



Google posted a notice that between the dates of June 5 through June 7, it was unable to capture data around image search traffic. This is just a reporting bug and did not impact actual search traffic, but the Search Console performance report may show drops in image search traffic in that date range.

The notice. The notice read, “June 5-7: Some image search statistics were not captured during this period due to an internal issue. Because of this, you may see a drop in your image search statistics during this period. The change did not affect user Search results, only the data reporting.”

How do I see this? If you login to Google Search Console, click into your performance report and then filter by clicking on the “search type” filter. You can then select image from the filters.

Here is a screen shot of this filter:

How To Filter By Image Traffic in Google Search Console

Why we should care. If your site gets a lot of Google Image search traffic, you may notice a dip in your traffic reporting within Google Search Console. You may have not noticed a similar dip in your other analytics tools. That being said, Google said this is only a reporting glitch within Google Search Console and did not impact your actual traffic to your web site.

About The Author

Barry Schwartz is Search Engine Land’s News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on SEM topics.

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Facebook Changes Reach of Comments in News Feed



Facebook announced a change to it’s algorithms that will affect the reach of comments on a post. Comments that have specific quality signals will  be highly ranked. Low quality comment practices may result in less reach.

Comment Ranking in News Feeds

Facebook noted that not only are posts ranked in news feeds but comments are also ranked as well.

Posts with comments that have positive quality signals will be seen by more people. Posts with low quality signals will have their news feed reach reduced.

Facebook Comment-Quality Signals

Facebook noted that their updated comment algorithm has four features:

  1. Integrity signals
  2. User indicated preferences
  3. User interaction signals
  4. Moderation signals

Integrity Signals

Integrity Signals are a measure of authenticity. Comments that violate community standards or fall into engagement-bait are negative signals. Violations of community standards are said to be removed.

Engagement Bait

Facebook engagement bait is a practice that has four features:

1. React Baiting

Encouraging users to react to your post

2. Follow and Share Baiting

This is described as telling visitors to like, share or subscribe.

3. Comment Baiting

Encouraging users to comment with a letter or number are given as examples.

. Monetization Baiting

This is described as asking for “stars” in exchange for something else, which could include something trivial like “doing push ups.”

User Indicated Preferences

This is a reference to user polls that Facebook conducts in order to understand what users say they wish to see in comments.

User Interaction Signals

These are signals related to whether users interact with a post.

Moderation Signals

This is a reference to how users hide or delete comments made in their posts.

Here is how Facebook describes it:

“People can moderate the comments on their post by hiding, deleting, or engaging with comments.

Ranking is on by default for Pages and people with a a lot of followers, but Pages and people with a lot of followers can choose to turn off comment ranking.

People who don’t have as many followers will not have comment ranking turned on automatically since there are less comments overall, but any person can decide to enable comment ranking by going to their settings. (See more details here.) “

Facebook Targeting Low Quality Comments

One of the stated goals of this update is to hide low quality posts from people’s Facebook feeds and to promote high quality posts by people you might know.

This is how Facebook described it:

“To improve relevance and quality, we’ll start showing comments on public posts more prominently when:

  • The comments have interactions from the Page or person who originally posted; or
  • The comments or reactions are from friends of the person who posted.”

Read Facebook’s announcement here: Making Public Comments More Meaningful

Images by Shutterstock, Modified by Author


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Build your PPC campaigns with this mini campaign builder script for Google Ads



Need to quickly build a campaign or add keywords to an existing one? This script will do the work for you!

All you need to do is input a few keywords and headlines in a spreadsheet and BAM! You’ve got yourself the beginnings of a great campaign.

I’m a firm believer in Single Keyword per Ad Group (SKAG) structure – it increases ad/keyword relevance and therefore improves quality score, makes CPCs cheaper, gets you a higher ad rank and a better CTR.

Sadly, building out SKAG structures is a pretty time-consuming endeavor. You can’t implement millions of keywords and ads without PPC tech powering your builds.

But if a client just needs a couple of new keywords after updating their site with new content, this script is a quick and easy solution.

And that’s exactly what I love about PPC. There’s a special place in my heart for simple scripts anyone can use to achieve tasks that are otherwise repetitive or near-impossible.

What does the script do?

This tool will save a lot of time with small-scale builds where you know exactly which keywords and ad copy you need, for example when you’re adding a few keywords to an existing campaign.

You input your campaign name, keywords, headlines, descriptions, paths and final URL, and it will output three tabs for you: one with keyword combinations, one with negatives, and ads to upload to Google Ads Editor.

It creates one exact and one broad match modifier campaign and creates a list of keywords as exact negatives in the broad campaign to make sure that search terms that match exactly will go through the exact keyword.

I’m sure you’re dying to give it a whirl, so let’s get cracking!

How do you use it?

Make a copy of this spreadsheet (note: you’ll need to authorize the script to run). You’ll find all the instructions there as a future reminder.

Once you’ve got the spreadsheet ready, input the following:

  • The campaign name
  • The campaign name delimiter to distinguish between broad and exact campaigns
  • Headline 1 (if this cell is not specified, then it will be the same as the keyword)
  • Headline 2
  • Optionally, headline 3
  • Description 1
  • Optionally, description 2
  • Optionally, path 1 and path 2
  • The final URL
  • The keywords (you can keep going outside of the box with these!)

You’ll see a handy character counter which will go red if you exceed the character limit. Bear in mind that this tool will assume that you’re using it correctly and so you’ll need to make sure that you’re staying within the limit!

You can also optionally create a second ad variant by choosing the part of your text you want to vary (e.g., headline 2 or description 2) and inputting the copy. Otherwise, just select “None” from the dropdown menu.

Once you’re done, click the gigantic “Go!” Button, and wait for the magic to happen.

It will generate three tabs labelled “Keywords,” “Negatives” and “Ads.” If you want to run the script again with different keywords, make sure you save these tabs elsewhere or rename them to prevent the script from overriding them.

Finally, you can paste these tabs into Editor and update all the relevant settings and adjustments. Job done!

DOWNLOAD: You’ll need to authorize the script to run after you make a copy of this spreadsheet.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.

About The Author

Daniel Gilbert is the CEO at Brainlabs, the best paid media agency in the world (self-declared). He has started and invested in a number of big data and technology startups since leaving Google in 2010.

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