We do SEO despite clients

Unless you are hired not only as consultant but the guy to implement absolutely everything in a SEO project, quite unusual, most of its success relies on customer side. Pretty simple, obvious, sometimes frustrating and this is what this post is about.

You might find really stupid if a company spends quite a lot of time and resources, money in sum, in consultancy and then not implement a single advice, right? I've seen this happening more times I would like to.

I'm not talking about completely unknown brands with poor business culture and lack of scope about what traditional and online marketing and means, it could be some of the cases, but some of them were world wide brands everybody knows unless you have been living in the deep Amazon forest all your life.

The ones making unsuccessful your SEO project

Guy at the top

The first one and most critical for me is the person in charge for online marketing at the client company pretending to know more than you but he/she does not. Why do you ask for external consultancy? Why don't you do your magic and claim for the triumph and glory instead wasting company's money?

It is not I'm afraid to support all my advices with logic, facts and figures, something every consultant should certainly do, by the way, it is that he/she will question all your advices becoming your worst nightmare just because he read some nonsense blog post about.

I consider this guy the most critical because is the one taking decisions and no workarounds are possible, see the disaster coming.

Suspicious minds

Wary ones at internal departments involved at client's company or outsourced third party providers. People thinking you have come only to reveal their lack of knowledge or incompetence although you have been very friendly to them from the first meeting explaining that a nice collaboration from their side will improve their professional skills.

This kind of people will give quite a lot of non invoiceable extra work avoiding their sabotage attempts and yes, in some aspects you are there to show them how bad they did their job. Watch out, is uncomfortable to sleep with a fork stuck in the back.

CC the one they report to in all your emails from the very beginning. If anything is discussed by phone or meetings send resumes by email. Words are immaterial and easy to deny if no written somewhere. It won't make them change their mind about you but you are sheltered.

Subcategory of those are the lazy ones delegating their tasks, for example marketing people passing their copy writing work to the girl at the front desk.

Sometimes the ones at the top realize about what is going on at the backstage and react in time. Don' expect such miracle but if this happens thank them a lot.


Departments at client side and/or national/international branches of same company fighting each other to death for obscure reasons you don't have to care at all.

They will turn your experience as consultant in the more surrealistic nightmare. You are caught in the middle without relieve.

Is there any SEO paradise?

The answer is afirmative, no need to despair, I've worked with very nice and professional clients collaborating to get the best of it all and I work my ass off to drive tons of quality organic traffic to their site.

But sometimes simply nothing works to solve these kind of problems. Iron hand in velvet glove or the invisible man strategy? No magic wand unfortunately.

Work becomes 10% of consultancy and 90% of project managing under these circumstances. Be ready for that, try to guess as much as possible before calculating budgets what kind of ugly problems will rear.

It is very frustrating when a SEO project ends up this bad, achieving poor results but it is part of business. Don't let it get you down.

Work your consultancy with the neatness and elegance of a real gentleman to keep the respect you deserve as professional high but be particularly clear telling why things did not worked, cash and go.

The origin of the title of this post is something I'll always remember clearly. During one of those days when all the clients, same time, seemed to plot to ruin our lives at the agency, my mate Gonzalo looked at me over his laptop and, circumstances faced, said: We do SEO despite clients.

By the way, if you are looking for the best SEO content strategist in three languages English, Spanish and French, Gonzalo Arrabal is the one and only all over Europe. You bet!

Any particular bad experience you want to share?

Jan 09, 2010
Written by:
Filed under: Online

Jan 11, 2010

After proposing six months of updates, with their accompanying invoices and subsequent not implemented changes, the client fired me because they had not improved at all (I state they only hired SEO-in-site)

Jan 11, 2010
Posted by:
Alex #2

Great post, Ani!
But you forgot to include IT departments and programmers on client's side. They DO NOT communicate.

Usually it takes weeks to implement any five-minutes update you desperately need. When it's finally done nobody informs you.

Then accidentally you find it out. Surprise - the update you wanted is live, but somehow they made it in a way to mess with other things. Do you need one 301 redirect? No problem, it's done. Ooops, you realize that all pages on the website are changed from .html to .php . Is it a problem? Really? You wanted that 301 redirect and don't blame us...

Jan 11, 2010
Posted by:
Ani Lopez #3

Hi Alex & Fernando, thanks for come and comment.

I did not mentioned any specific department talking in a more general way but you are right Alex, IT is a classic one and a whole book could be written about what goes on between SEO consultants and IT guys.

The funny thing in cases where they do completely wrong and consequences in traffic are badly obvious, the chances you have from the responsible at client's company to recognize it was their fault are close to zero. It is always your fault!

Jan 11, 2010
Posted by:
Fernando #4

It is a pleasure always read your posts, dude! :D I like to open my presentations or conferences in this way: Designers, programmers, SEOs are your friends :D
Hope you have good time there in Vancouver!

Jan 11, 2010
Posted by:
Ani Lopez #5

jajajaj, I guess I should do the same here overseas :D

Mar 18, 2010
Posted by:
DM #6

You can't even imagine how true is what you described here, Ani! I usually get along well with most of the people around, especially with web developers (I used to be one of them), IT, sales and marketing, but had some bad experience with those "guys at the top".

Usually those people don't have enough knowledge and experience in online marketing to understand why it should be done this way and not another, but they have power to shut you up, make sure your opinion is ignored and make you look bad.

Unfortunately, this situation is difficult to change, especially if you work for big company or have one as your client. Too many levels of decision making, too many people involved.

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