$2,000 monthly SEO retainer
Solo criminal defense lawyer in small/medium sized town in Texas.
Mockingbird started a monthly SEO retainer for a small firm right around 2 years ago. 7 months in we launched a new site. The client was completely understanding and patient when the conversation came up around when we might start to see a big improvement in traffic and leads. Even after a year of little to no increase in traffic, client expectations were that results would come, but that checking every day (like a retirement fund) doesn’t do anyone any favors. Reviewing our work logs around the time of the traffic increase there wasn’t any one dramatic item we did that would have majorly affected traffic, telling us the increase was the result of months of optimizations, adding content, local SEO, and bringing the site and online presence up to best practices.
This case lends more substance to the reality that patience is crucial in SEO. In this particular case there are still plenty of opportunities to pursue, but if we were to pull out of SEO right now, this level of traffic and leads would continue on without further work, and might continue to grow on its own. This reminds us of the importance of crystal clear expectation setting before beginning on SEO. For our business as well as the client’s; if the client isn’t aware of the potential for a long delay before they see ROI on an SEO spend, they are likely to get frustrated and stop investing after a few months. This is bad for them, because they’re missing out increased traffic and leads down the road, and it’s bad for us because our engagement is cut short. A huge part of this comes down to honesty during sales calls. At Mockingbird we don’t promise the world in a month when we’re pitching SEO to a potential client. Rather, we paint a realistic, albeit less romantic, picture of the expected timeframe to results.
A conversation that comes up a lot in the SEO world is the one around patience. An occasional conversation with a new client may sound like this:
Client: “We’ve been paying you for SEO for six months and we aren’t seeing an improvement in traffic or leads, we’re ready to pull the plug.”
Mockingbird: “SEO is a long play, we shouldn’t have started if we weren’t willing to invest for a long time without seeing results. The nature of search engines, although frustrating, is that it takes time for them to find and identify new content, understand the value of that content based on user metrics, and begin to show that content to more and more people if those who have seen it seem to like it.”
Client: “How do we know that we’ll see results after all this waiting?”
Mockingbird: “To tell you the truth, we don’t. But we do know that each month we’re getting your website and online presence closer and closer to best practices, and that if you see no results after a year of work you’d be in an infinitesimal minority.”
Client: “What is the meaning of life?”
Mockingbird: “We don’t know.”
Client: “But my last SEO company gave a very firm, clearcut answer and delivered it with confidence.”
Mockingbird: “That would be easy for us to do as well, but if we aren’t sure about something, we won’t act like we are. Our MO is to come back with an informed answer when possible.”
Client: “Oh. I guess I should hold tight with this SEO thing for a bit longer then huh.”
Mockingbird: “You better believe it.”