Hush Little Baby Don't Say A Word Daddy's Gonna Get You To The Top of the SERPs

March 2nd, 2009 by

Crying babyMy wife and I got in a bit of a tiff the other day, and strangely enough a blog post came of it. Not a blog post about the tiff itself, but from something we discussed. At the end of our discussion I got to thinking about some of the things she said and realized how much what she was saying about babies is similar to SEO clients.

As babies we are unable to truly communicate what it is we are feeling; instead we cry or fuss because we are unable to tell our parents if something hurts or if we’re uncomfortable. As parents we often forget this about our kids and instead feel overwhelmed and get frustrated with them. We don’t think about the fact that our babies don’t fully understand or comprehend what’s going on and have no real way of telling us exactly what they need or what it is that is bothering them. This inability to fully understand one another and quickly resolve the situation often leads to frustration or anger from us as parents, which in the end only makes the situation worse.

Much like babies, our SEO clients often don’t speak our language and know how to communicate their frustrations or what it is they are experiencing to us. They sign up for our services in hopes of better rankings, which in their eyes in most cases, means number one. We as SEO’s understand that good SEO and better rankings take time, but they feel for their money they should receive nearly instant gratification. Like the babies they often cry, and fuss, and throw tantrums and in the end as their SEO expert we feel overwhelmed or frustrated with them. Again like the babies our frustrations can make the situation worse and often anger or upset the client even more.

Most businesses we work for are like babies and new to this world; the world of SEO and the internet that is. They don’t understand it, it’s big and overwhelming and outside of their comfort zone. In addition to our services, which in most cases they still don’t fully understand, they have “SEO experts” calling them, e-mailing them, and even speaking to them in person tossing terms at them like SERPs, PageRank, meta tags or bounce rate and often telling them their current search marketing efforts are wrong or inadequate.

In most situations they don’t grasp much of what is said to them and are left feeling confused and uncomfortable about their investment with us as their SEO, and because of this have trouble coming back to us as their expert and properly communicating what they are feeling or what they need.

As search marketing professionals we sometimes need to take a step back and remember this about our clients. The next time a client calls you and is flustered because they don’t feel you are giving them the results they are paying for think of them as babies. Keep a level head and try your best to comfort them like a parent would a child. They’re confused, uncomfortable, and expect you to be the one to make sure they DON’T feel this way. After all, you are their expert. By keeping a level head and making sure they understand where you are at in your search marketing efforts you’ll continue to establish yourself as their expert and hopefully show them that you are in fact their to take care of their needs.

We’ve all had a client or two that is like this, who is constantly on the verge of breakdown because they just don’t get it. How do you deal with these kinds of clients and do you find your tactic betters your client relationship?

6 Responses to “Hush Little Baby Don't Say A Word Daddy's Gonna Get You To The Top of the SERPs”

  1. John Jones says:


    Working with me for about a year and a half or so directly you can pretty much guess that my strategy is to connect with my clients on a personal level and a business level. This doesn’t mean I give them my personal information but it means that when they are frustrated that they can talk to me no matter what and through that I can, with kids gloves, try to better explain things.

    Recently I’ve started creating videos at work and at home for my clients. They don’t always understand why it is I ask them to do something but they usually can understand how to do something if they can see it visually done.

    My strategy isn’t always the best strategy. I probably lose a fair amount of time in a year with semi useless chit chat with my customers. However it has proven to be the difference of a canceled customer and a customer that stays regardless how long or how much effort is put into improving rankings.

    • Mike Wilton says:

      @John Jones it’s true, you did an amazing job at building relationships with your clients, which is something I greatly respected about your work. I mean you could even tame the pitbulls in the bunch and when you left and I got them I still never got to a point where the relationship was as trusted and as solid as the one you had developed.

      The thing about businesses and clients is that in the end everyone wants to be treated as a person. Sometimes we have to look at our business relationships on a more personal level to succeed at what we do. You do an AMAZING job at that, and it’s a trait I think you should be commended for.

  2. I applaud your audacity in using this metaphor- It could be easily twisted, but I think it’s very appropriate to describe a common relationship with business owners. Of course, I would take it further, and that through your relationship your victories become their victories and their loses your loses. Very little is more rewarding than seeing your client growing into their website and learning how to use it intelligently.

  3. Lori says:

    Wow, everything you’ve said could apply to the parent/teacher relationship as well. It’s almost like being from separate countries or something.

    Funny how goals can be the same, but methods of expression be so different. Nice post!

    • Mike Wilton says:

      @Lori, the funny thing about this was that it applied to almost ANY specialized profession. I wasn’t going after your typical whiners who want something for nothing or just bitch to bitch, I was talking about the clients who really get upset about things and it all comes down to misunderstanding. Every industry has them and as professionals I think a lot of times we forget that we are being hired because they don’t understand or can’t handle what it is we do.

  4. I must say the title of your article is seriously eye catching. Nice blog..

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