You know that attracting new SEO clients is essential to your digital marketing business, whether you are an SEO agency or contractor. But one thing is equally essential – retaining your SEO clients and building long-lasting partnerships with them.
Good SEO client retention is a testament to your business’s customer service and SEO competence. But how do you actually improve SEO client retention? Here are the most effective strategies for retaining your SEO clients.
1. Personalize SEO strategies
Many SEO professionals use templated SEO strategies. The advantage there is that they can scale their SEO businesses easier because they are able to accommodate more SEO clients and campaigns. But the disadvantage is that not all clients are the same. Clients will have different needs and wants. And your SEO strategies should be personalized for each client for the strategies to be effective. And if your strategies are effective, your clients are more likely to be satisfied, and you will be able to retain them. Here are some tips:
- Understand each client’s goals and objectives. Each client is looking for SEO professionals because of different reasons. For instance, a mega-corporation may want a more competitive approach and global SEO, but a mom-and-pop store may just want a more simple approach and local SEO. Make sure to align your strategies with their goals and objectives. Deal with business needs and pain points that are unique to each client.
- Customize reports. Communication is an important aspect of SEO client retention – more on this later. You should provide regular updates to your clients, so they can see the slow but consistent growth in their SEO. Of course, you should also customize your reports. Your key performance indicators should align with your client’s goals and objectives, not just some random metrics you have compiled together.
- Offer flexible and scalable solutions. As your client’s business grows, their SEO goals and objectives may change. Maybe they want to be more aggressive in their SEO campaigns. Maybe they want to be more conservative once they have built up their online presence to a certain level. Whatever it is, you should be able to adapt.
2. Set realistic expectations
It’s important to give your clients a great SEO sales pitch, but this can result in unrealistic expectations. Sure, you can get clients by overselling yourself. But you can also be setting yourself up for failure and losing clients as a result. It’s better to set realistic expectations right from the very beginning. Deliver results based on these expectations to keep your SEO clients satisfied. Here are more points:
- Be transparent during onboarding. During an SEO client’s onboarding, explain what they can expect from you, especially when it comes to SEO campaigns. Give them timelines, milestones to look forward to, and potential challenges that may hinder those milestones. Be particularly honest about timelines and results. After all, SEO is a long-term game, and results may vary because of uncontrollable and unpredictable factors.
- Educate clients about SEO. Sometimes, the SEO professionals are not the ones feeding their clients unrealistic expectations. Sometimes, the clients themselves have unrealistic expectations, thinking that they will get to the first page of Google Search Results Pages just because they have hired SEO professionals. Control their expectations. Tell them that SEO is a long-term game that requires patience and perseverance.
- Give regular updates. When you tell your clients that you have a more grounded approach, they have the tendency to distrust you. After all, there are other SEO agencies and contractors that give them incredible promises. One method to assure them of your competence is to give them regular updates. Show them the positive impact of your SEO efforts, with the proper key performance indicators included.
3. Communicate regularly
Improve SEO client retention by fostering a strong and collaborative relationship with your clients. They need to feel your competence in digital marketing and your willingness to accommodate their goals and objectives. They need to see the value you provide for their business. This can boost their confidence in you, and this can even result in referrals, potentially giving you more SEO clients. Here are additional points:
- Establish communication channels. There are many communication channels out there, such as emails, phone calls, video calls, and even project management tools like Asana and Trello. Different clients will have different preferences. Their preferences can vary depending on their business, goals, and even personality. Make sure to establish the appropriate channel for each client. They really need to know how to reach you.
- Provide regular progress reports. Your SEO clients don’t want to be left in the dark. They want to know the progress of their SEO. After all, they are paying you, so they want to see their money’s worth. Provide regular updates. The schedule of these updates can vary depending on each client’s preference and their campaign’s scope. However, there are some instances where you need to break the schedule and become more proactive. For example, if you have some bad news to share, don’t wait for the scheduled report. Report the news immediately.
- Address concerns. Your SEO clients will have concerns, questions, and feedback. Address these issues as soon as you can. Actively listen to their points, show empathy and understand their perspective, and show your dedication to fixing them as promptly as you can.
4. Provide reports
You retain your SEO clients by giving them all the necessary information they need. With your detailed reports, they can make more informed decisions, see their SEO’s situation, and understand your value as an SEO agency or contractor. Reports are important for accountability, transparency, client engagement, and value demonstration. Here are some tips to make your reports better:
- Agree on a regular reporting schedule. Involve your clients as much as you can, so they feel that they are part of the SEO campaigns. Make sure to talk to them and come up with a schedule for delivering reports. Consistent reports keep clients engaged in the SEO process and help establish a sense of stability. Reports can be submitted weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly, or whatever else you and your clients decide on.
- Focus on relevant metrics. Again, this highlights the importance of knowing each client’s goals, objectives, and personalized SEO strategies. On your reports, make sure you are tracking metrics that actually align with these things. Here are common metrics SEO professionals track for their clients: click-through rate, keyword ranking, organic traffic, conversion rate, and bounce rate.
- Provide actionable insights. Use the data in your reports to come up with professional insights that are actionable. Show your clients how you can improve key metrics and capitalize on new opportunities. If your clients are well-informed, they are more likely to see the value you bring to their company, giving them a higher chance to continue employing your SEO services.
5. Deliver results
Some SEO clients have unrealistic expectations that are just impossible to deliver. But if you successfully control their expectations, delivering results can become easier too. Results are crucial for SEO client retention simply because they directly address client expectations. If expectations are met, your clients are more likely to stay. Here are some tips on controlling client expectations and delivering much-needed results:
- Set achievable goals. Set goals that you can actually achieve, based on your client’s goals, objectives, and current SEO situation. Their current SEO situation can be a big factor here, as this can involve not just their current online presence and performance, but also the competition landscape and their market’s trends. Come up with a timeline, complete with milestones, so your SEO clients know what to expect.
- Use data-driven SEO strategies. Before anything else, make sure to audit your SEO clients first. This will give you an idea of their current SEO situation and their industry’s competitive landscape. Base your SEO goals on your insights. Come up with key performance indicators that you can actively track. And make sure to highlight these metrics in your reports.
- Highlight progress in your reports. You don’t have to completely achieve your SEO goals right from the get-go, especially if you can showcase your progress. After all, SEO can be a long-term game, and goals can take a while to achieve. This is why it’s important to use data-driven SEO strategies and track key metrics. With the use of data, you can prove to your SEO clients that you are making progress and not just wasting their money.
6. Give additional value
Go beyond what is expected of you by providing additional benefits to your SEO clients. This will show your commitment to their business success. It also positions you as a long-term partner with long-term objectives. By offering additional value, you are also improving SEO client retention. Clients will stay with SEO professionals who are going to give them the best bang for their buck. Here are some tips for providing additional value:
- Analyze competitors and capitalize on findings. Your SEO clients are not in a digital vacuum. They are online together with their competitors. It helps to regularly conduct a competitor analysis. This way, you can find data and form insights on what competitors are doing right, and then you can capitalize on those. For example, if you see some strong backlink sources in your SEO client’s competitor, you can try building the same links or stealing the links from them.
- Provide educational resources. Providing educational content to your SEO clients doesn’t just boost your credibility, but it also helps your clients make more informed decisions. It boosts your credibility because it shows your expertise in SEO. And it helps clients because, when they understand SEO, they can contribute more to SEO strategies and campaigns and feel more involved.
- Try to upsell or cross-sell your other SEO products and services. You may have been hired for very specific purposes. For example, an SEO client may have hired you only for content creation and optimization. But SEO is much more complex than that. While auditing, you may find gaps, such as in their backlink profile, so you can offer your other SEO products and services, like link building.
7. Stay updated with SEO trends
How are you going to deliver results and provide additional value to your SEO clients if you are not updated with SEO? The digital landscape is constantly evolving, and if you are not in for the ride, you will be left behind by your competitors – competitors who can snatch your clients from you and ruin your SEO client retention. By staying updated, you are positioning yourself as a competitive SEO agency or contractor, capable of delivering results and more for your clients. Here are some tips to keep this competitive edge:
- Continuously learn with your SEO team. Be in a continuous SEO training program with your team. Get into conferences, webinars, and workshops to keep up with the latest in SEO. This can get costly. But learning doesn’t always have to be. You can simply sit down and talk with your SEO team and learn from each other regularly.
- Network with other SEO professionals. Be an active participant in the SEO community. Join communities and forums and engage in networking events. By talking and collaborating with other SEO professionals, you gain more insights and perspectives on the latest SEO developments. It also provides you an opportunity to learn from others’ experiences – both successes and challenges.
- Follow industry news and influencers. Look for the most significant industry news providers, follow them, and even subscribe to their newsletter. This is a good way to know more about SEO, hear about updates, and see emerging trends. You can also follow SEO influencers on social media platforms.
8. Improve internal processes
Your internal processes play a key role in SEO client retention. If you have issues with your internal processes, such as poor communication and unorganized workflow, the quality of your SEO outputs may suffer. And of course, this can turn some SEO clients away. Make sure that your agency is operating seamlessly. Many times, the effectiveness of your internal processes reflects on your SEO results. Here are three big tips for improving internal processes:
- Optimize your workflow. Look at your agency’s workflow and identify bottlenecks, inefficiencies, and redundancies. Usually, you can find these issues in account management, client relations, and communication. Use technologies and tools to optimize your workflow. For example, you can use project management tools like Asana and Trello to avoid bottlenecks, rely on effective communication channels like Slack, and invest in dashboards and reporting systems on your website to improve client relations.
- Invest in recruiting and training top talent. Even if your workflow is completely optimized, results are not guaranteed if your SEO team is not prepared. Make sure they have the necessary skills to deliver great SEO results. They should also know how to properly use the technologies and tools you use to streamline your internal processes.
- Hire a white label SEO agency. Some SEO agencies and contractors outsource their SEO work to white label SEO companies like Marketer’s Center. Outsourcing is great because they don’t have to optimize their workflow and invest in in-house talent anymore. They can let the white label SEO company do the SEO work for them, and then simply rebrand the output and sell it as if it’s their own. Hiring a white label SEO provider is the perfect choice for those who don’t want to deal with internal issues.
Retain SEO clients with high-quality SEO services and communication
Your SEO clients are the life and blood of your digital marketing business. You should know how to retain them, so you can keep doing business, improve your portfolio, and build your credibility in the industry.
There are two main keys to SEO client retention – high-quality SEO services and proper communication. If you can nail these two things, your SEO clients will see the value you provide for their company and are more likely to stick around.