For those offering SEO to clients..Does the future uncertainty & unpredictability of SEO worry you?

14 replies
Hi, guys,

Id really be interested on getting your thoughts on the scenario below.

So imagine this scenario. You have a client who you rank on page 1 for X, Y, Z keywords. You rank them successfully within 5 months and they are happy as they are achieving a lot more traffic from their site and generating more sales. They have paid you a monthly fee for doing the work up to this point, and will carry on paying you a maintenance fee.

Heres the thing though, SEO is unpredictable, and the algorithm changes to date may very well be extremeley light in terms of whats to come. So say in a year and a half from now, Google decides a more vigorous or intense algo change which results in your clients site dropping to page 3 for the keywords X,Y,Z.

All of a sudden you have an angry client on the phone, wondering why his site has just dropped from 2,000 visitors a day to 1,000 and that he is no making half the sales he/she normally does.

My main point here is, can you really build your business on something as volatile and as unpredictable as SEO?, and can you charge a monthly fee when you dont know how sustainable your efforts will be...

No matter how white hat or ethical your SEO work will be, Google is changing things at an intense pace, improving the machine learning algorithm, looking more closely at social signals ect ect and who knows what the SEO landscape is going to look like in a year and a half...

Id really be interested to hear your thoughts about this, because I really do want to get into providing SEO services as there is a strong demand for it, and with good reason, but the thought of having all the work I do now with a client being undone by a Google change or shift in the future is worrying.

This is one thing that does not apply to PPC, as with PPC as long as you have the money to spend things remain relatively constant..SEO seems both highly lucrative, but also unpredictable as a service offering to clients....

Look forward to your thoughts on this,....
#clientsdoes #future #offering #seo #uncertainty #unpredictability #worry
  • Profile picture of the author abhibh
    This is 2013 and if Google Algo changes are permanently affecting your rankings then you are not realizing the power of Social Media.

    I have a few small clients who have been ranking very good for their keywords since 2011 end. The reason is simple we don't build a lot of links. They have good reviews on review sites plus G+ Reviews and are very active on Facebook. They all have a small blog where they post twice a month and post it across their social media networks. Their Google maps Google review itself gets them traffic even if they are not no.1 for the keyword.

    I am not saying they are number 1 for their all their keywords but they are always in top 10 if not top 5. Every time Google updates they see a drop from page 1 to page 2 or page 4-5 but they bounce back once the update has finished. Sometimes not all the keywords bounce back to page 1 and its not because we over optimized or did some black hat seo, its just that we have to improve on those keywords.

    Considering I have been working with them for past 3 years they know how SEO works, I don't have to deal with Angry ones. But whenever I get any new client and have a maintenance contract with them I simple tell them that they will bounce back, because I as an SEO slave know I have not used anything blackhat on their websites. I clear it up front that they are paying me to make their website rank higher and not always number one and if it drops I will take care of it as that's what they are paying for monthly. I also have clients who are stuck on page 2 and it does get hard at times but then I know patience is the key.

    I know the above will not work for all types of sites rather its success for Local ones. But I think its pretty simple to know that all you have to do is:

    1. Don't over optimize pages
    2. Don't build too many links
    3. Use social media for clients
    4. Build links via Article / Guest Blogging once or twice a month if they launch a new service or product.
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  • Profile picture of the author trader909
    Banned
    ^^^and next year?

    Best to abandon it.

    PPC has changed a lot as well though. Prices have gone through the roof.
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    • Profile picture of the author .
      Originally Posted by trader909 View Post

      ^^^and next year?

      Best to abandon it.

      PPC has changed a lot as well though. Prices have gone through the roof.
      Yes. abandon SEO... the more of you that abandon the more profit for us that stick with it.
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    • Profile picture of the author DABK
      Don't sell SEO. Sell them leads from the internet. How you get the leads is not relevant.

      You're a business owner. What do YOU want? To be #1 in Google or to have people interested in what you sell call you to buy from you? (No, don't tell me you want to be #1 in Google because you sell SEO and that's proof. I know that. But you need the proof to get clients.)

      If you could get SEO clients by another method, you'd get them by that other method and you wouldn't think 'OMG, I'm getting clients by another method.' You'd be thinking, "He, he, he. I got me 5 new ones this month. And it only cost me $x. Wonder if I spend two times x next month, will I get 10?'

      So, when Google changes the algo, you adapt. And if Google's algos are responsible only for 10% or less of the results you give, you don't lose... Easy to ramp something else up while you figure out how to adjust your SEO.
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    • Profile picture of the author abhibh
      Originally Posted by trader909 View Post

      ^^^and next year?

      Best to abandon it.

      PPC has changed a lot as well though. Prices have gone through the roof.
      Next year rinse and repeat with improvements and changes. Looks like you didn't read my post throughly.

      Googles updates > Ranking drops > Some keywords get back to page one after update > dont panic work on the remaining keywords.

      I am not saying it will work all the time all I am saying is, its just like any other business there are ups and downs and maintenance work takes time. If you have a building and after a year of abuse you have to paint it it will take time to paint ti back to original shape and it will take work and manual labor.

      If you are afraid of manual labor go ahead quit. But even if you do PPC, PPI etc etc etc you will have to work and even then you will have to deal with angry clients and have to adapt to changes in ppc industry.
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  • Profile picture of the author Aaron Doud
    Let's see..... Google's "customers" are the end users...... Google remains dominate as long as they produce the best search results.... Thus Google is always trying to change their algorithm to find the best results..... So if you create the best results for the end user Google will want your site found.....

    Seems like getting found on goole doesn't change. Gaming the system however does. So if your SEO focuses on this trick or that trick vs focusing on creating the best content and getting people to notice you will always be effected by Google changes. But every time there is a change we see people come here yelling "the sky is falling". And there will always be a bunch of people who reply saying they haven't noticed any change.

    Tip: There is a reason those people are not noticing a change.

    If your SEO is based on cheap outsourcing and loopholes you will always lose in the long run. There is a reason why companies will pay top dollar for true SEO experts.
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  • Profile picture of the author Sonny Am
    Some interesting points coming out here,

    It was mentioned by a few people above, that when google changes their algorithm, there are those sites that are unaffected, but that does not mean they will be unnaffected in the future?. If there is some bigger shift like the even more pronounced reduction in the importance of back links for example

    What I am getting at is, is the continual readjustment and chasing Google by changing things continually to please them, and to keep you clients on top, a workable long term strategy..?
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    • Profile picture of the author Aaron Doud
      Originally Posted by Sonny Am View Post

      Some interesting points coming out here,

      It was mentioned by a few people above, that when Google changes their algorithm, there are those sites that are unaffected, but that does not mean they will be unaffected in the future?. If there is some bigger shift like the even more pronounced reduction in the importance of back links for example

      What I am getting at is, is the continual readjustment and chasing Google by changing things continually to please them, and to keep you clients on top, a workable long term strategy..?

      Is the site you are trying to get to the top of Google the best choice for the keyword that person is searching for? That is all Google cares about.

      All SEO is at it's core is giving Google signals so they know it's true. Much of those signals are out of your direct control. But you can indirectly control it by creating content where the bounce rate is low. By getting people to naturally share the content. etc etc

      The problem is many people go about SEO with the wrong thinking. The focus on what the current Google algorithm wants. So when links become important they blast links. When keyword percentage becomes important they focus on keywords. When social becomes important they focus on Google+. Etc, etc.

      They focus on the loopholes in the system. The focus on the machine vs. the user. And while that works well for short term gains every time it happens Google adds more code. Hell they have made negative SEO a thing now because perhaps the code has gone too far.

      But certain sites and SEO experts see little effect on their rankings no matter what Google changes. That is what you need to understand. They are thinking beyond the machine. Now they are aware of the machine and the true SEO experts know what the loopholes are. But they don't focus on the loopholes. They look at the total picture.

      We can make it complicated as we want to. But it really is simple. Google wants the best results for their users. You would think that the average webmaster would want the same. Best results mean more targeted users means more sales.

      Google will change the algorithm over time to close the loopholes and even to punish the abusers. But if your SEO is natural (or at least looks natural) you will likely survive. None of us knows what is in the algorithm. What we do know is what it is designed to do. And that ultimate function doesn't change.

      So stop thinking about what it looks for and start thinking about why it looks for those things. I bet you will think of other things (likely in the algorithm) that never get mentioned because they were never weighted in a way to be abused.

      Not sure what I mean? Well if you have been on the internet for any amount of time think about what you do when you find a site you like.

      Do you visit often? If it is updated enough you do. If not I bet you still come back to it multiple times.
      How much time do you spend on the site?
      How many pages per visit do you go to?
      Is their a pattern to your average visit?
      Do you share it? Of course you do.
      How do you share it?
      How do you share it now vs before?
      What do you share? Really think about this.
      How did you find the site?
      Ever found out someone in real life loves the site too?
      How did they find it?
      etc
      etc

      All Google is trying to do is create a machine that can answer those questions better than you can. But if you think in this fashion, which is the fashion the programers at Google much be using, your site should always do well no matter what they change. In fact some of the changes may help you while hurting countless others.
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  • Profile picture of the author Fernando Veloso
    SEO died years. Haven't you get the memo?

    :p

    Seriously, two things come to mind about this:

    Positioning and Google algo.

    For positioning it's quite simple - Unless you can rebrand yourself and your services, you'll have a hard time selling seo services. Potential (good) customers do know the difference between a seo provider and a IM professional (which also provides seo, it's a discipline of IM).

    Now Google algo... Well, machines will work better and better, but in the end customers will always need some sort of services that allow them to rank better, convert better and bring more sales - and a good IM professional can, and will bring those disciplines to the table.

    One brilliant thing you can do is to follow big brands in the IM industry and watch how they are changing and adapting. Some of these brands have great friends in high places, and move/change/adapt months BEFORE the rest of the community.

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  • Profile picture of the author fasteasysuccess
    I've been doing seo for clients for years and google changes haven't affected ranking at all. Google changes and adjusts their algorithm every week if not every day, so trying to "beat them" only gets short term results.

    Haven't changed my style and still do offsite and onsite seo, but focus more on the offsite considering tags aren't effective as they once were. By combining social media with google, you have the winning combo when done right.

    The "seo guys" who just use software and think they're an expert are people that are always chasing the rankings. If done right the first time and continue to do correctly, google gives you love which means results and money for myself and clients.

    No offense to anyone that hangs out in the seo forum, but that's why years ago I stopped going in there because there's a lot of wrong info and what's funny...

    Some of those "seo gurus" in there who say they can get anything done and sell people their seo courses and coaching, have hired me for them and their clients cause their "super seo methods" weren't working or really don't work that well at all.
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  • Profile picture of the author CageyVet
    So are you worried about doing Search Engine Optimization for your clients or are you worried about doing GAO...Google's Algorithm Optimization? If you are like too many other people in this industry, you are too focused on Google and not enough on the world around you. This is a common error for people who do not think past their own noses and do not understand that SEO is a component of Internet Marketing, which is a component of Marketing in general. If you understand that, then you easily understand that gaming the system, finding loopholes, cheap tricks, shortcuts, etc do not work in the world of Marketing. Also Marketing in general is changing all of the time both at a slow and fast pace.

    Marketing or SEO is not about continually chasing Google. Anyone that continually chases Google is going at things completely backwards and are still thinking in terms of GAO. Stop thinking about being #1 for a particular keyword and instead start thinking about how to drive targeted traffic to the website.

    Too many people can not do this because they can not think past the tutorial that they are following that shows them how to run an automated back link program or that list of great fiverr gigs to buy. These people are the people that fit into the category that you are describing in your "What I am getting at is, is the continual readjustment and chasing Google by changing things continually to please them, and to keep you clients on top, a workable long term strategy..?".

    The people who help instruct their clients on how to make useful and resourceful Internet Properties, how to use natural marketing methods to drive traffic and gain exposure for those properties and utilize the multitude of things on and off the Internet (video, images, social media, podcasting, flyers, QR codes etc etc)....These people will have no problem having a sustainable marketing business for many many many years to come.

    Oh btw, print, radio, TV etc all have changed in many ways over the years(you might not be old enough to know about how these things worked before Smartphones) and marketing companies have adapted and continued to profit during all of these changes. The Internet and marketing in the internet is no different....Google does not make a lick of difference in the grand scheme of things in terms of good marketing practices.
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  • Profile picture of the author trader909
    Banned
    but you really mean your "clients"?

    Yes. abandon SEO... the more of you that abandon the more profit for us that stick with it.
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  • Profile picture of the author trader909
    Banned
    that's actually not s.e.o. though is it? More like branding.

    If your SEO is based on cheap outsourcing and loopholes you will always lose in the long run. There is a reason why companies will pay top dollar for true SEO experts.
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  • Profile picture of the author massiveray
    haha you guys are cray! people new to SEO worry about silly things like this.

    The basics still work and always have, most likely always will and a backlink will always be a backlink.

    I have never had a single client lose rankings due to an update, you wanna know my secret? shhhhh don't tell anyone....... here it is.......
    1. Don't be lazy, quick links are shit links
    2. Find sites that talk about your client industry
    3. Think of an angle
    4. Ask them to link to your resource as it will add value to their visitors lives
    5. Find something that has a lot of links and is out of date or crap, make a better/ up to date one, then contact all of the people who link to the old/ crap one and t=show them yours.
    6. Find guest post opportunites that will send traffic, fix broken links, fix people site problems for them
    7. Do it again next week with a new angle
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