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Hiring An SEO Consultant

By Stoney deGeyter

One of the hardest thing for an SEO to manage is expectations. For many SEO consultants and firms, part of closing the deal is to get the client to believe that the work they provide is going to get them "results," however that is defined. But in doing so, many of those charged with getting the client to sign on the dotted line can easily make things sound better than they really are. That's a product of sales.

Just look at any commercial for a new health or diet product. At the bottom of the screen you read something like "these results are atypical, your results may vary." That's almost the exact disclaimer that could benefit many SEOs as they push through their sales cycles.

A good SEO can undersell and overperform. The problem is getting the sale. That's not always an easy task when underselling, especially when you're going after businesses with limited budgets but want sometimes unrealistic achievement for the money they are willing to pay.

Once signed, keeping the client's expectations is no longer the job of the salesman but instead becomes the job of the project manager and/or SEO. And it has to be done throughout the life of the optimization campaign. No matter how many times an SEO tries to keep the client's expectation in order there are always clients that want and expect more than they are currently getting.

That's not necessarily a bad thing from the client end, but the SEO needs to always guard against it or they'll be finding themselves with disappointed clients. Or one less client today than yesterday.

What can the client expect from their SEO?

The first answer to that question really depends on what is written in the contract. The client must read the contract thoroughly in order to understand what the goals are that the SEO is trying to achieve. Is it rankings, ROI, conversions, traffic, or any combination of these?

In some cases the contract may not even specifically define the expected results and instead focus on the type of work being performed. This protects the SEO as they are performing a certain function rather than work based on certain results. Many creative ad campaigns work the same way. They don't usually make promises as to the reception their ads will get. Similarly, SEOs cannot neccessarily control the result of their marketing campaigns, they just control the work that goes into it.

That's not to give the SEO a pass. If the work that goes into the campaign isn't performing then the client should move on and find an SEO that can produce the kind of results they are looking for (contract permitting, of course).

Continue reading this article.

About the Author:
Stoney deGeyter is president of Pole Position Marketing (, a search engine optimization / marketing firm providing SEO and website marketing services since 1998. Stoney is also a part-time instructor at Truckee Meadows Community College, as well as a moderator in the Small Business Ideas Forum. He is the author of his E-Marketing Performance eBook and contributes daily to the E-Marketing Performance ( marketing blog.

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