Rankings Rollercoaster and Client Expectations
“Oh, it has its ups and downs.” – Reuben the Elevator Operator, Mr Deeds
Do these scenarios seem familiar? A call from a frantic and worried client when they drop a few spots? An angry client who has just moved from the first page to the third page of Google’s results for their keyword? If you are in the SEO business, you probably know exactly what I’m talking about. Dealing with a client who is addicted to tracking their rankings can be an exercise in frustration and futility.
In the beginning of any relationship, especially a business relationship, you try to set expectations. When I married my wife I set the expectation that I would probably forget to put the seat down. And after 20 years of marriage I’m still reminded that the toilet seat should be down. Hey, I warned her. And speaking of ups and downs…
The rankings roller coaster is something all site owners will inevitably take a ride on. The dizzying highs of a number 1 ranking in the search engines are something to be cherished, especially after starting from nowhere. And while the climb to the top of Google is a slow one, it is very gratifying once you get there. The problem is you often don’t stay there all the time. You may drop to number 2 or 5 or, God forbid, 23 – this is the nature of the SEO “game”. The best way to play and make sure nobody gets hurt is to set expectations with the client early on and then keep reminding them.
At Big Oak SEO we make setting expectations part of our sales process. We let the client know what our best guess is in terms of when they will arrive on the first page of the Google results. Usually, that is many months away and they accept this…early on. When month 3 or 4 rolls around, it is often forgotten. It can also be forgotten when a prized keyword is ranking highly and then, for some reason out of our control, the keyword’s high rankings drop. There is NO guarantee you’ll get high rankings and there is no guarantee you’ll stay there if you do get there. As SEO consultants we must be sure the client understands this.
And it is also in everyone’s best interest if the client is prepared for ranking fluctuations. Tell them not to check their rankings daily or hourly, as some of our clients have. I’m sure many SEO companies have a client who calls more than once in the same day to report on their rankings, usually when they drop or disappear, if only for a few hours, as can happen. Time spent by the client watching ranking results could be better spent working on sales or marketing efforts.
As a friend of mine once said, SEO is a marathon, not a sprint. Both the client and the SEO company should keep this in mind while running a calm and steady race.
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