More threads by autoholic1

Jun 10, 2015
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Let's get a good discussion going here.
When I first got started in SEO, I thought i would be able to just read a couple books, and I'd be good to go. What I realized is that SEO will take years to master.

With that being said, I have two questions about your experience with SEO.

1. Are you a DIY seo'er (business owner, blogger,etc.) or are you someone who gets paid to do it for others?

2. What is the biggest problem you deal with when it comes to SEO or your business doing it for others?
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Getting clients to understand that it is marathon and not a sprint. Things don't happen overnight and you need to keep plugging away at it.

A close second for me personally is getting clients to help me help them. We can't do it all alone without a little help from the businesses themselves.
That's something i've heard several times before. Clients go into the deal with unrealistic expectations

Scott said it perfectly.

Also, many clients get hung up on daunting one-time activities: fixing a data-aggregator listing, creating a page for each specific service, etc. Half of local SEO consists of those one-off steps. To the client, they seem like a flood of work.

So one challenge is to make your client understand which activities are one-time vs. ongoing.
The biggest issue I have been running into lately is clients wanting to rank outside of their city for areas that don't make sense to the user. Don't get me wrong, I want to get clients the most visibility possible but I don't think ranking outside your area is always best for users and it in turn can hurt your online presence. Explaining this to clients is not always easy and it seems that this is becoming a more prevalent request from business owners.
Welcome autoholic1 and thanks for kicking off what is turning into a great discussion.

3 years ago when I still worked with Dentists my biggest problem was dealing with dupes. If I was still dealing with Dentists today that would still be a biggie, but I'm not sure it would be THE biggest.

I think the biggest for me now would be just the complexity of ranking and how there are so many moving pieces that all need to be tackled. Gone are the days of being able to just optimize the Place page and do some smart on-site SEO.

So if I had a full service agency and a team, I think it would really be managing and tracking all the various tasks that need to be done to ensure we were covering all the bases for clients.
I just shared this post at the Pro Community too, so hopefully a discussion will be starting there too.

IN ADDITION to sharing your biggest problem...

Please weigh in with any solutions you may have to the problems other are facing as well.

(Share here or there OR BOTH, wherever you are most comfortable. Because we have different readers at each place.)
And I think that's one of the things that clients don't know. Since I just got started, I don't really know how it used to be. One thing i've come to realize is that SEO has TONS of moving parts, which is difficult for the solo consultant to handle and even harder to get clients to understand
Getting content from SMBs is like pulling teeth...

You're never going to be able to get a single client to send you content. At best you'll need to have a sit down with the client and tell them the keywords and marketing concepts you are attacking and get the content written by your writer and allow them to "skim" over the end content after it's up IF at all. If you wait for approval they'll take till the last second to approve it. And god-forbid you get the client that thinks they know grammar better than you and doesn't understand what an Oxford comma is and looks over your shoulder with every piece of content.

I personally would walk through all content for my own brand, but that's because I've got a specialized service - so convincing me to give you content makes me think "why am I paying you if I have to do the writing?" even though I want to look over the content that goes out on behalf of my brand.

Easiest way to deal with this is to take over content creation and explain to each client the strategy you are going after and that you will be posting on behalf of their brand. You send them weekly reports and links to the different pieces of content that has been posted, social media posts, and other material - and after 3-4 weeks of this they'll trust you based on your judgement. ALWAYS ask for criticism and explain that it's critical so you can pass it to your writers and designers.

Also allow the client to send you blog posts and other things they wrote at anytime they want - that you then simple edit and post up. That's the "from the heart" scenarios that's great to mix in with your "SEO friendly" content. I'm not even a big believer in "SEO content" I'm more for educating the client's customer more so, but I dunno these SEO guys concentrate on keywords a bit too much and not the "heart" of the idea I guess.

Your marketing campaigns' budgets must include you creating content on behalf of your client - no way a client is going to mandatory write 2-3 articles a week, leave them the option to blog post once in a while, but you MUST take control of the messaging since after all you are the "MARKETER". Approach the content as a marketing message and not a "SEO" perspective and explain the marketing strategy to them, allow them to add their input and adjust, but you should NEVER wait for a client or ANYONE which will hold up your marketing - cause 3-4 months from now they'll simply tell you "it's not working out" since they aren't seeing movement EVEN though they will admit it's their fault.

I already know - specialized niches, bla, bla, bla - realistically if people are visiting your client's website they are most likely newbies and don't understand all the words and nuances - so you are in a perfect position to create content (or rather your writers are) as you get educated, they can created educational pieces of content that relate to newbies that turn into customers for your clients. This relates to the "talking over your client" discussion we had - since your client writing content from an expert perspective would be talking over their customers too.

That's one reason I go in with a "marketing control" versus "SEO help". I can control the overall messaging across multiple online mediums which they can't do, hence why they are even hiring me in the first place. So it's a bit backwards asking them for content when you think about why they hired you.
Even getting company history is a chore. I certainly don't expect them to be writing content on the website, but even getting them to provide a basis for that content is difficult at scale.
I think because they don't know how to do it and they don't want to do it, which was the reason they hired you in the first place.

I think the previous suggestion of asking them to review content you've written is probably the best. They may spot inaccuracies in your descriptions that stand out to them but that's as far as some people want to go.
Yes agree with David and everyone else's comments about getting content.

Plus SMBs are just so busy running their business. Many do not even "get" online marketing at all. AND like David said don't really even want to know. They just want you to magically do it.

We've had a couple posts with great QUESTIONs, sort of a survey you can send clients to pull basic facts out of them, that you can create content around. I can't find the main one I was thinking about. But here is one that Don Campbell shared on our Local Content InsideLocal Webinar.

Customer Discovery Interview Questions

7. What makes your business different from others that provide similar products or services?

8. What special things do you do for your customers?

9. Tell me about one of your favorite customers.

10. Ideally, where do you see your business in 3 years?

These questions tend to get a really nice discussion going with the business owner, allowing you to get some good content for the USP and Content Plan.

USP = Universal Selling Proposition, which is just another way of saying what is their point of differentiation.

It's a Google doc and Don was generous enough to share and said you guys could use it. It's generic enough you could use for any business, but then I would add specific questions for each client.

For instance, for a Dentist you could ask:
Why did you want to become a Dentist?
What's your favorite procedure?
What type of Dental service(s) do you wish you could be more well known for providing?
What are some of the most common questions patients always ask.
What type of community projects or charities are you involved in?

That type of thing...

But there was another post that was really awesome on this topic.
Just can't find it right now. (Too many posts, too little time! :p)
In the scenarios with the questionnaires I strongly suggest sitting down with the customer and filling it out together - actually you filling it out. The reason is - it makes them feel like they are not doing homework but answering to a person what they distinguish being great about their company that can be written.

They'll be able to express things to you face to face that they can't convey on paper or just don't have the time to write out completely. The answers you jot down should be bullet-points off of things they state, and you commit to memory so you can re-convey that to your writers or staff. It gives it that "close" feeling that you came down face to face and talk to them since you are genuinely interested.

Now I know this is not possible from long distance clients but a phone call or even video conference puts a face behind the words on a computer. It's easier to relate.

Face to faces are extremely important for humans - one reason I hated my agency cause I knew the importance of it and why I specifically should be there, but it hindered other work which caused me to burn the midnight oil to catch up. I'm not good with humans so I'm not great with face-to-faces, so it wasn't my strong point so I was a complete mis-match for running my agency - hence why I was miserable and left.
Super good points Carter!

You can get them to talk a lot and say things they would never take time to write out.

As importantly - it would be a great relationship builder! You can use consulting and fact finding skills in a really caring way that would not only help pull the information you need, but also create a stronger bond with the client.
Since the topic of pulling content from clients is like pulling teeth, came up as one of the toughest challenges Local Search Consultants face. I created an in-depth new thread. I wanted to be sure to break out the important parts of this thread, to get all of this info into our dedicated "Local Content" forum.

<a href="">Getting Local Content from Clients is Like PULLING TEETH! Tips, Tricks & Tools</a>

I quoted some of you and now we have all this important content, also categorized in the right place.

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