SEO Kwentuhan

In this episode of SEO Kwentuhan, Gelo and Sir Gab share their experiences and advice on recognizing troublesome SEO clients. They discuss real-life examples of clients who ignore professional advice, demand immediate results, or suggest unethical practices. The conversation highlights the importance of mutual respect, realistic expectations, and effective communication.

Whether you're a freelancer or part of an agency, this episode provides valuable tips on managing client relationships and maintaining your professional integrity. Tune in for practical insights and learn how to navigate the challenges of working with various clients.


Key Takeaways

Clients who insist on dictating SEO strategies and tactics instead of trusting your expertise.

Clients who demand immediate results, especially with minimal existing content or brand awareness.

Clients who consistently delay payments or try to underpay for services.

Clients who are slow to communicate, hindering collaboration and progress.

Clients who are not interested in learning basic SEO principles lead to misaligned expectations.

Clients who push for unethical SEO practices that can harm their website in the long run.

A history of switching SEO providers may indicate the client is difficult to work with.

Clients who can't articulate their SEO objectives make it difficult to develop a targeted strategy.

Extremely low-budget offers may not cover the costs of necessary tools and expertise.

Clients who ask you to misrepresent your experience or engage in other unethical behavior.

Red Flags on SEO Clients During Initial Interactions:

Discovery Call Issues:

Lack of SEO Understanding: Client demonstrates little grasp of SEO basics or has unrealistic timeline expectations.

Unclear Goals: Client struggles to define clear, measurable SEO objectives.

Lowball Offers/Budget Mismatch: Client's budget doesn't align with the scope of work or your pricing.

Black Hat Requests: Client pushes for unethical practices.

Unresponsiveness/Communication Issues: Client is slow to reply or exhibits poor communication.

Client History:

Frequent Provider Changes: Client has a track record of switching SEO agencies/freelancers.

Dishonest Practices: Client asks you to misrepresent your experience or engage in other unethical behavior.

Red Flags During Ongoing Work for SEO Clients

Management Style:

Micromanagement: Client excessively controls your work and doesn't trust your expertise.

Unrealistic Expectations: Client demands results that are not feasible within the given timeframe or resources.

Financial and Communication:

Non-Payment: Client consistently delays or avoids paying for services.

Unresponsiveness: Client fails to communicate promptly, hindering collaboration and progress.

Additional Tips:

Document Everything: Keep thorough records of agreements, communications, and work to protect yourself.

Educate Clients: Proactively explain SEO principles and set realistic expectations.

Strategic Exit: If red flags persist and cannot be resolved, have a plan for terminating the contract gracefully, especially if your reputation is at risk (e.g., on Upwork).

Focus on Data: Use case studies, data, and industry benchmarks to educate clients and counter unrealistic expectations.

Maintain Professionalism: Remain calm and professional, even when dealing with difficult clients.

Quotable Quotes

On Red Flags:

"A client becomes difficult when they refuse to listen to your expert recommendations." - Gab

"Sometimes, you can spot a problematic client right from the discovery call. It's like a flashing red flag." - Gelo

"If a client immediately dismisses your suggestions and insists on their own way, it's a sign that collaboration will be challenging." - Gab

"Clients who try to significantly underpay for SEO services are usually a red flag, as they may not value the expertise involved." - Gelo

On Unrealistic Expectations:

"Some clients expect instant results even before you've laid the groundwork for SEO. They want rankings and traffic without proper content or optimization." - Gab

"I had an agency approach me to handle over 50 clients single-handedly. It's an unrealistic expectation and a recipe for burnout. We're SEO specialists, not miracle workers." - Gelo

On Dealing with Red Flag Clients:

"When dealing with difficult clients, it's important to remain calm and professional. Avoid getting into arguments or power struggles." - Gab

"Even with red flag clients, do your job well. Your work ethic and results will speak for themselves, and you'll build a reputation for quality." - Gelo

"Always back up your suggestions with data and case studies. It's harder for clients to dismiss your recommendations when you have concrete evidence." - Gab

On the Importance of Education:

"When a client is open to learning, it's much easier to guide them through the SEO process and build a strong partnership." - Gelo

"Continuously educate yourself about SEO. If you lack knowledge, you'll struggle to confidently guide your clients and make informed decisions." - Gelo

What's Next

As we journey through the unpredictable landscape of SEO client relationships, it's clear that proactive screening and education can save you from headaches down the line.

Tune in to our next episode of the SEO Kwentuhan Podcast, where we'll reveal proven strategies for setting healthy boundaries, managing client expectations, and turning red-flag clients into successful partnerships.

Join us every other Saturday of the month as we continue to unravel the secrets of the SEO world!

Transcript Summary

00:00 - 03:48

- Gelo and Sir Gab introduce themselves and the topic of the episode, focusing on red flags when dealing with SEO clients.

- They discuss the importance of recognizing signals indicating whether a client will be good or bad to work with.

- Sir Gab shares his experience with bad clients who don't listen to suggestions, emphasizing the importance of collaboration and mutual respect.

- Gelo shares his experience of not getting paid by a client for a month's work, highlighting the frustration it caused.

- They note that red flags for bad clients are rarely discussed in resources targeted at SEO agencies, focusing more on business owner perspectives rather than freelancers'.

03:48 - 07:24

- Sir Gab discusses red flags like clients lacking responsiveness, not understanding SEO, or pushing for immediate results without understanding the process.

- Gelo adds insights, mentioning red flags such as clients immediately suggesting black hat techniques, lacking clear goals, or low-balling prices.

- They emphasize the importance of clients understanding the SEO process and respecting the expertise of freelancers.

07:24 - 11:42

- Sir Gab mentions signs of good clients, such as giving freelancers the authority to make decisions and respecting their expertise.

- Gelo agrees and adds that good clients are willing to collaborate, have clear goals, and understand the value of the services provided.

11:43 - 12:22

- Gelo expresses appreciation for the benefits provided by clients.

- Gab emphasizes the importance of client trust and allowing freedom while working on projects.

12:23 - 13:30

- Gab discusses the value of clients providing access to tools and resources, such as courses, which can be expensive.

- Gelo agrees and highlights the benefits of clients offering tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush.

13:35 - 14:52

- Gelo stresses the importance of collaboration for successful campaigns and how it fosters a closer relationship with clients.

- Gab adds that while good pay is important, it's crucial to avoid toxic work cultures and align with clients' core values.

15:20 - 17:17

- Gab discusses the significance of clients having realistic expectations and being open to education.

- He highlights the importance of clients understanding updates or changes in campaigns and being receptive to learning.

17:38 - 19:08

- Gab emphasizes the importance of strong communication and clear goals between clients and service providers.

- He discusses the need for prompt responses and a healthy back-and-forth exchange to ensure smooth collaboration.

19:37 - 20:59

- Gelo advises patience and careful handling of difficult clients, especially those from platforms like Upwork.

- He suggests giving clients a chance and attempting to resolve issues before considering termination.

21:00 - 21:52

- Gelo and Gab discuss their experiences with freelance platforms.

- Gelo shares his experience of consistently receiving positive ratings but encountering challenges with certain clients.

- They emphasize the importance of setting boundaries and standing up for oneself against unreasonable client demands.

21:53 - 23:17

- Gelo shares an experience where a client demanded tasks outside of his expertise, causing frustration.

- Gab highlights the need to communicate boundaries clearly, even if it means terminating the client relationship.

- They discuss instances where clients disregard boundaries and how to handle such situations.

23:18 - 25:47

- Gab discusses how to identify when a client's business practices don't align with your own ethics.

- They mention instances where clients dictate strategies instead of collaborating, leading to ineffective outcomes.

- Gelo shares experiences with agencies pushing unethical practices and the importance of maintaining integrity.

25:54 - 29:16

- Gab and Gelo delve into the nuances of black hat and white hat SEO practices.

- They emphasize the importance of aligning with clients who share similar ethical standards.

- Gab explains the benefits of adhering to white hat practices for long-term client relationships and reputation.

29:50 - 30:18

- Gelo recounts an offer from a client to artificially boost his ratings on freelance platforms.

- They discuss the ethical implications of such offers and the importance of rejecting them to maintain integrity.

30:18 - 33:25

- Gelo discusses clients who want quick results without understanding the process.

- Clients often want immediate improvement in rankings and traffic without proper groundwork.

- Unrealistic expectations include wanting significant traffic increases without sufficient search volume or neglecting essential elements like Google Business profiles.

- Gab mentions encountering clients who want immediate doubling of leads without considering the website's current status or potential.

33:26 - 36:04

- Gab shares a story about an agency with unrealistic client expectations, highlighting the need for realistic planning.

- Gelo emphasizes the importance of setting realistic expectations and filtering potential clients during the initial call.

- Both speakers discuss strategies for managing unrealistic expectations, such as providing case studies and presentations to educate clients.

36:05 - 40:41

- The conversation shifts to the proper way of terminating contracts when there's a disagreement.

- Gab emphasizes the importance of maintaining professionalism and avoiding conflicts, especially on platforms like Upwork.

- Gelo suggests a strategic exit plan, including a 30-day notice period and providing endorsements and recommendations for the client's future projects.

- They discuss the significance of payment schedules and maintaining composure, even when ending the professional relationship.

40:43 - 41:55

- The speakers address the red flag of clients lacking understanding or willingness to learn basic SEO principles.

- Gab emphasizes the importance of backing up suggestions with data and case studies to convince clients.

- They discuss scenarios where clients may not grasp the potential of SEO, such as local businesses not understanding the value of Google Maps visibility.

41:55 - 42:48

- Gab emphasizes the importance of backing up suggestions with data and case studies, especially when clients lack understanding of SEO principles.

- Gelo adds that educating clients through case studies and simplified explanations can be effective in gaining their trust and cooperation.

42:48 - 44:37  

- Gelo and Gab discuss the importance of educating not only clients but also stakeholders within the client's company about SEO principles and practices.

- They suggest using simplified language and providing monthly reports with relevant data and updates to help clients understand the value of SEO efforts.

44:37 - 46:46  

- Gelo and Gab share strategies for handling clients who are resistant to learning about SEO or making necessary changes to their websites.

- They emphasize the importance of patience and education in turning potential red flags into positive client relationships.

49:50 - 52:08

- Gelo and Gab discuss various red flags in clients' SEO history, such as frequent agency changes and disproportionate backlink profiles. They emphasize the importance of remaining calm, providing data-driven suggestions, and building rapport with clients. 

- Gelo shares a personal anecdote about handling a challenging client and turning the situation into a positive recommendation.

52:09 - 53:34

- Gab stresses the significance of maintaining professionalism and doing one's job diligently despite encountering red flag clients. He encourages listeners to focus on delivering quality work, as it can lead to future opportunities and recommendations. 

- Gelo shares his experience of handling a difficult client and ultimately receiving a recommendation from them for another client.

53:49 - 55:59 

Gelo and Gab wrap up the podcast episode by reiterating the importance of professionalism and good work ethics in dealing with challenging clients. They express gratitude to the listeners and bid farewell until the next episode.