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Friday, March 08, 2013

Dark Clients in a Vicious Circle of Denigrated SEO Industry

Friday, March 08, 2013
Image Courtesy: Dreamhaus Communications 
Many of us face a tough situation when a client ditches our agency for doing a poor SEO/SEM job. This situation can be averted, quite possible, but not with all clients, and never with dark and impatient clients.  

Types of Clients: Tough, Soft, Silent, Impatient, Dark, and Knowledgeable  

In our industry, we always see different types of SEO clients. A few clients are impatient, and want to see ranking quickly. Some of them are silent, and reply occasionally. A few of them are very active, and do have knowledge about SEO while a few of them are dark clients who always criticize the SEO work of an agency, and expect to be on the top for each and every keywords. Such dark clients genuinely feel that optimizing a web site for search engines is a mysterious game duping search engines. 

Image Courtesy: Seek Media Group 
There are ways to deal with different types of SEO clients differently. It’s relatively easy to deal with knowledgeable and silent clients, while its pain to deal with impatient and dark clients. Now, imagine a situation if you get a client who is both dark, and impatient. OMG! J

The author at SEOMoz has identified different warning signals of tough clients. Slightly different but yes, signals are more or less same, as per our experience.
  1. They like to see results on each and every keyword because they see their competitor on the top. Too demanding, and too challenging.
  2. They insist on web design gimmicks that detract from the user experience, share their inputs and reluctantly agree with SEO firm on suggestions they offer. 
  3. They demand results on an unrealistic time table.
  4. They never feel happy and always disgrace the work by citing a website on no#1 result on Google, and expect the SEO agency to replace their website with the existing organic competitor.
  5. They argue for any single change you make within the website.

Mythectation of Dark Clients

They adhere to a myth that once their website ranks on Google, they get tons of traffic, volume of ready and hot leads, and so on. Ironically, this is exactly how our SEO industry thinks as well, and sets such myth to go air, and many of our clients live with it. Unfortunately, this is not true all the time.

Such dark and impatient clients always disgrace the work of an SEO agency if their mythectation (myth +expectation) so set is not met despite EVERYTHING done for them.  

Such client always looks for options to see if another SEO agency lands them on the moon at the earliest without checking their patience. Such client changes SEO firm ditching their provider before its work sees any major results, and hence moving on to the next SEO agency.

Greedy SEO Agencies: A Danger Warning - Go Slow!

Image Courtesy: Microsite Masters.
Historic background, data, business level understanding, etc. play an important role for any SEO agency to deliver what they promise. Unfortunately, our SEO industry is stooping so low that they take up any such clients’ projects, and promise them the moon. Hence, the primary cause as why the whole SEO industry is defamed, and sarcastically looked down upon.     

In an attempt to move on, and on, such clients leave ethical long partner SEO firm who have historic data, know the client expectation, and put all efforts what they can do. Leaving such an SEO agency to try another always results in failure. Only a knowledgeable client knows if the SEO firm has not done a good job or a bad job, and they take rational decision to hire a genuine SEO agency while this is not true with dark clients who ditch an agency to be trapped by another. This is very dangerous!

Advice to Clients –Knowledge is Power

Think twice before moving on to another SEO firm if you don’t have good knowledge about this channel, get your website audited by an independent consultant. Otherwise, you put your business on a toss with a probability of 50:50.  

Advice to SEO Agencies: Honesty Pays Long Term Reward

Never rush in a hurry to take SEO project from such client. Instead, you spend some time with them, evaluate their business, understand their expectations, check the background work thoroughly, and so on. Be fair, and see if the previous SEO firm has done a good job. Honesty always pays you long term reward.

Unfortunately, SEO is the most denigrated industry now, sprawling rapidly to grab the neck of such clients with its jaw to cause serious injury! 


  1. This is so true! One point I would like to add here, as why some clients get so frustrated because they don't have technical knowledge, and blame SEO for not being able to pull up their websites high on Google. SEO is not only the job of any marketing department in an organization. It must be considered from a web site's development and design phase, and throughout its lifetime by a web site developer. Unfortunately, SEO team becomes a scapegoat for the mess created by the so called developers for sheer lack of knowledge. There is a "knowledge gap" in this industry!


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