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SEO Communication Tips to Ensure Happy Clients

Lori Calcott

Originally from Pittsburgh, Lori has been working in search engine marketing since 2001. Lori is the published author of The Definitive Guide to Google AdWords and is a leader in the paid search field. When not at work, Lori spends time with her family and can often be found hiking and skiing the Highland Bowl.

Effective SEO communication skills are essential if you want happy clients. But talking about SEO is often a large departure from any client’s comfort zone and in many cases, it feels like a “necessary evil.” Most clients don’t truly understand how it works but know that it’s needed for their business to thrive. This conundrum can make them feel vulnerable when it comes to talking SEO.

“Miscommunication is the number one cause of all problems; communication is your bridge to other people. Without it, there’s nothing.” — Earl Sweatshirt

So how do you put clients at ease and earn their trust in your SEO services? Good, open, and honest SEO communication.

5 Tips to Improve Your SEO Communications With Clients

Here are some of the most effective SEO communication strategies to use when talking with clients.

Avoid SEO Industry Jargon

While phrases like SERPs, 301s and domain authority are part of your everyday vocabulary as an SEO professional, these phrases mean nothing to your clients, or worse, end up confusing them. Go the extra mile to explain your tactics in basic terms that your clients can relate to. This means taking the time to educate your clients so that the work you are doing for them feels more accessible and understandable to them.

How can you break things down? Here are some practical examples:

XML Sitemap // A List of Pages You Want in Google 
Instead of telling a client that their website “lacks an XML sitemap,” explain that an XML sitemap acts like a shopping list that you get to give Google before it goes shopping for pages to rank on your website. By giving Google a shopping list instead of asking it to randomly pick pages on its own, you have more control over what pages Google ends up displaying in the search results.

Link Building // Relationships
When a client hears you talk about link building, they instantly recall how they feel when they receive spammy emails requesting link exchange favors. They may worry that this tactic is too aggressive or short-sighted and that they may get penalized by Google. Consider describing “link building” as creating a network of professional relationships that the search engines will quickly and easily understand. By link building, you’re putting up relationship signposts that search engines can read.

Featured Snippet // Above #1
Clients are often hyper-focused on their rankings. If you talk to them about “gaining a featured snippet result,” that language will leave them lost and they’ll disengage from the initiative. Instead, focus on what they really want: to rank #1 for a specific keyword they’ve chosen themselves. If you’re working with a client on a new piece of in-depth content (to help propel them to the top of the search results by demonstrating expertise), you can get the client’s buy-in if you say the content will help them get “above #1.”

SEO // Getting Found in Google 
Perhaps the most important (and mysterious) term of all is “SEO.” We all assume our prospects and clients understand what SEO stands for and why the practice is essential. But more often than not, the acronym alone can lead to confusion. Try substituting “getting found in Google” anytime you’re tempted to say “SEO,” and your client will connect to the goal instead of staying stumped by the term.

Set Expectations

We often describe SEO as the marathon of search marketing. While tactics like Google Ads provide fast results and act as a sprint, there are no magic buttons that can be pressed to instantly build your site’s exposure and reputation. SEO is a process — a marathon that takes careful preparation and, ultimately, time. If a client thinks they can go from the bottom of page 10 to the top of page 1 in the first month, they will inevitably be disappointed.

Also, keep in mind that setting expectations are as much about what you don’t say as what you do say. For example, not promising results when you can't be certain you will deliver. If you aren’t setting clear expectations with clients, you may be held to a standard that you could never live up to. When it comes to expectations, focus on taking ownership of all the things you can control like the work you will do, your commitment to clear communication, delivering reports every month, etc.

Understand Their Business & Goals

When you take the time to thoroughly understand your clients’ goals, you can better speak their language. The more you understand the ins and outs of their unique business, the more trust you’ll gain. What does their day-to-day world look like? What does success mean to them? What metrics matter most?

Once you’ve done your research, clearly communicate what you know about your client’s business operations and goals. This will allow them to know that you have their best interests in mind.

Send a Monthly Report

Every month, send each of your clients a report that includes measurable results, along with any updates on completed tasks. Make a direct connection between your actions and the results, and explain how these results relate to their ultimate goals. If the results are not positive, explain why. What will you do to move the needle in the right direction in the coming months? Your clients will want to know, so they can have faith in your combined and continued efforts.

Learn more about monthly SEO reporting.

Seek Feedback

Communication is a two-way street. Ask your customers what they feel you could be doing better. When clients feel comfortable sharing their opinions, the channels of communication can stay open.

Honing your overall communication skills means your business will run smoother and grow faster. As you communicate more openly with your clients, you’ll build trust — which leads to longer and more profitable client relationships.

We’re Here to Help You Communicate Better

Pathfinder SEO can help you toward improving your SEO client communications. We’ll ensure that the SEO strategy you deploy for your customers is current and holistic.

Our monthly reports are white-labeled and ready for delivery. And, we'll coach you through any tricky client communication scenarios that you fall into.

Schedule a demo to learn more.

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Lori Calcott

Originally from Pittsburgh, Lori has been working in search engine marketing since 2001. Lori is the published author of The Definitive Guide to Google AdWords and is a leader in the paid search field. When not at work, Lori spends time with her family and can often be found hiking and skiing the Highland Bowl.
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