How to Make Friends and Inspire Clients

An interesting question was raised on LED Digest that asked how SEOs can motivate their clients. It’s an important topic because very often SEOs and clients have a difficult time staying focused on the same goals. Often the SEO is so concerned with stopping the bleeding and the client is so focused on getting conversions that there can be conflict.

This is how we’ve typically seen the motivation cycle (er, and most marriages) progress:

The good-intentioned SEO and the friendly client sign a contract and immediately enter the love-struck honeymoon phase. This is where everyone is willing to help one another and spend their night at home washing the dishes. This lasts about as long as you’d expect (less than a month). Once this happy time ends, one party begins to micro-manage the other, forcing them to perform mundane tasks. This goes on for several months until both ultimately begin to resent one another. From here, we go to stage 3 – the all-out war stage (aka the trial separation). During this stage, parties threaten to cancel contracts, institute reactivation fees, suspend privileges, and make each other’s lives miserable. And from here, kids are where it all gets really ugly. Suddenly, it’s time to divvy up the assets and determine who gets which kid.

Nasty, right? It sure is, and we’d like to help you avoid it.

We’d never pretend to have a perfect relationship with all of our clients (obviously, we don’t). But over the past ten years, we have come across a few ways to help everyone get along just a little bit better. If you’re an overworked SEO looking for ways to reconnect with your clients, here’s some advice from the Bruce Clay, Inc. gang.


We say it a lot, but education is vital to a successful search engine optimization project. We don’t require clients to attend training because we like making them trek down to our Simi headquarters (really, that’s not why!). We’ve asked them to attend because we found the best way to motivate people is through education. By educating your clients, you make them a part of the process and show them that they are ultimately responsible for their own success.

We want our clients to know how we work. We want to teach them about keywords, page architecture, Meta tags, linking campaigns, etc. Really, at the end of the day we want them to understand why they’re paying us. We want them to know we’re on their side and that we’ll fight for them.

When clients understand why a certain element of a SEO project is important, they’re more willing to chip in. It’s like baseball. Once you know the rules, it’s a lot easier to get into the game.

Set Goals

Before a contract is signed or a checkbook alluded to, both SEO and client should have agreed upon the objectives of the SEO campaign. What are you both working towards? How will you get there? How often will you talk? Most importantly, who will bring the bagels and the caffeine for any early morning meetings? These things are very important (I like everything bagels, in case you were wondering.).

Setting attainable goals keeps everyone working toward the same target and allows everyone to share in the success. Which brings us to the next step…

Positive Feedback

Remember that your clients are busy people, too. Give them an incentive to be active in the SEO process by showing them the power of their own actions. Show them what happens when they start targeting the correct keywords, bid the spammy text farewell, and learn the power of linking out. Success is a powerful motivator. Once they start to see their rankings or conversions improve, even just a little, it will help keep them motivated and working toward common goals.

Maintain Regular Contact

This may be the most important step in any business relationship. It’s important that your clients see or hear from you on a regular basis. It reaffirms that you’re out there working for them, which will in turn make them feel more inclined to pitch in.

Constant contact ensures that everyone remains on the same page. You don’t want either party to get ahead of the other. It’s also important for giving clients a face to go along with a project. You want them to give them a point of contact that they can go to with questions at any time. This will help make clients feel more comfortable and it will allow you to address small problems before they become larger ones. Make sure your client knows how their point of contact is. If they forget about you, they’ll also forget about the project.

Educate A Year Later

Almost a full year (or more) has probably gone by, and it’s time to reeducate (and possibly resign contracts). What has changed since the initial contract was signed? What’s the search engine weather forecast looking like these days? The engines aren’t known for being stagnant, so update clients on what’s been going on to make sure they remain in the loop. If, for some reason, you’ve let more time go by, then you should, without talking, make amends. Education isn’t a one-time process. It’s continual and never-ending like weight loss. We believe that by educating clients and setting strong initial goals, SEOs can maintain a positive working relationship with the client and entire team.

Life as an SEO is busy, and sometimes we can all lose sight of common courtesies. Remember that your clients aren’t your kids. And unlike your kids, if you yell and order around your clients, they’ll leave you and find new parents, someone else to work with. You don’t want that, and neither do we.

Ready to revolutionize your SEO partnerships? Contact us.

FAQ: How can I motivate SEO clients to actively participate and achieve success in our SEO projects?

As an SEO expert, I understand how essential client engagement is for any successful SEO campaign. While getting clients involved may seem challenging at first, participation will yield far better results in the end. Let’s explore strategies and insights on how you can encourage client participation with SEO projects.

  1. Establish Clear Expectations:

Setting clear and realistic expectations from the outset is key to client motivation. Clearly define project goals, timelines, and the expected level of client involvement. Make sure they understand what to expect throughout the project.

  1. Educate Your Clients:

Invest time in educating your clients about the basics of SEO. Clients who are well informed are more likely to engage, so provide articles or videos to them to better explain the process.

  1. Personalize Your Approach:

Every client is unique. Tailor your approach to their specific needs and preferences. Some clients may prefer regular meetings, while others may want detailed reports. Understanding their preferences will help you engage them more effectively.

  1. Show Tangible Results:

Clients who are well informed are more likely to engage, so provide articles or videos to them to better explain the process.

  1. Collaborate and Communicate:

Maintain open and transparent communication channels with your clients. Encourage their input, ideas, and questions. Let them know that their feedback is valued and that you’re working together to achieve success.

  1. Provide Tools and Resources:

Equip your clients with the tools they need to actively participate. This could include access to keyword tracking software, content management systems, or analytics dashboards.

  1. Set Milestones:

Break down the project into manageable milestones. Celebrate achievements along the way, no matter how small. This can boost motivation and keep clients engaged.

  1. Offer Incentives:

Consider providing incentives for active client participation. Rewards, discounts, or exclusive insights can motivate clients to get involved in the SEO process.

  1. Address Concerns and Objections:

Listen to your clients’ concerns and objections. Be empathetic and provide solutions to their issues. Showing that you care about their challenges can increase their motivation.

  1. Continuous Learning:

Encourage your clients to stay updated with the latest SEO trends and best practices. Suggest industry webinars, conferences, or workshops they can attend to enhance their knowledge.

Motivating SEO clients to actively participate in projects is crucial for success. By establishing clear expectations, educating clients, personalizing your approach, showing results, fostering collaboration, providing tools, setting milestones, offering incentives, addressing concerns, and promoting continuous learning, you can create an environment where clients are more engaged and motivated to contribute to the success of SEO projects.

Incorporating these strategies will not only enhance client satisfaction but also lead to more successful SEO projects, ultimately benefiting both your clients and your agency.

Step-by-Step Procedure: How to Motivate SEO Clients for Active Participation and Success

  1. Set Clear Expectations: Clearly define project goals, timelines, and expected client involvement.
  2. Educate Your Clients: Provide resources and information to help clients understand SEO.
  3. Personalize Your Approach: Tailor your communication and engagement strategies to each client’s unique preferences.
  4. Show Tangible Results: Regularly report and visualize the progress of the SEO project.
  5. Collaborate and Communicate: Maintain open and transparent communication channels with clients, valuing their feedback.
  6. Provide Tools and Resources: Equip clients with the necessary tools for active participation.
  7. Set Milestones: Break the project into achievable milestones, celebrating achievements.
  8. Offer Incentives: Consider providing rewards or discounts to motivate client involvement.
  9. Address Concerns and Objections: Listen to and empathetically address client concerns and objections.
  10. Promote Continuous Learning: Encourage clients to stay updated with SEO trends and best practices through industry events and resources.

This article was updated on December 7, 2023. 

Lisa Barone is a writer, content marketer & VP of strategy at Overit Media. She's also a very active Twitterer, much to the dismay of the rest of the world.

See Lisa's author page for links to connect on social media.

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