How to Talk to Clients about Their Websites
May 30, 2018 | Contributed by: Kelly Shelton
Imagine you have an appointment with a potential new client who is looking for small business marketing services. A week or two before you are supposed to meet in person, you decide to take a look at what the client already has going on, including the website. You lean back in your chair to relax as you get ready to get to work. But as the website loads, you suddenly sit straight upright.
A poorly designed layout, no images anywhere, one solid paragraph of content — as a marketing expert, it’s almost more than you can bear. Thank goodness these people called you.
You need to help your client understand the importance of their website in the grand scheme of things. Without getting into all the details, you’ll want to highlight the main characteristics of a well-ranking website regarding on-site and off-site optimization.
Let’s take a look at some of the basics of website setup that you should introduce to your client.
When it comes to on-site factors (the ranking signals that are inherent on a webpage), there are a few key matters to discuss.
Explain the importance of having a combination internal and external links. Also point out that not all links are created equal and that it’s important the links your client does choose lead to relevant, credible sources.
Keywords and Tags
Appropriate keywords and tags are crucial for SEO. Confirm that your client is only using keywords that will drive the qualified traffic. Also ensure that there is no keyword stuffing going on but that keywords are distributed naturally throughout content.
Next check subpages. These should contain hyphens, as hyphens help Google separate keywords in subpages that otherwise would otherwise be overlooked. Header tags also help Google know what the most important keywords on the pages are.
There are so many factors to highlight when it comes to content. Start by assessing reading level and uniqueness of content throughout the website. Also look at the variety of content — your client should have videos, images, slideshows, infographics, ebooks, and other forms of multimedia in addition to blog posts. Make sure everything is optimized with keywords in the tags.
Stress to your client the importance of publishing new content on a regular basis. Point out that this will ensure that their website remains relevant to searchers and that it will improve SEO.
Obviously, the most important factors when it comes to content are quality and relevance. Talk about what leads need at different stages in the buyer’s journey and discuss whether current content is actually enhancing the user experience.
Examine the appearance and navigation of the website. Explain to your client how such elements influence important metrics like bounce rate and time on site. Also make sure that the site has all the key pages Google looks for, like “About us” and “Contact.”
Try out the website on both a desktop and mobile device to assess navigation and look for broken elements. Make sure that your client understands the importance of having a responsive design.
In addition to the above, you’ll want to talk about off-site optimization with your client. Explain how you’ll help with the following.
Your client needs backlinks from authoritative websites, but these are hard to obtain alone. Explain how you will be able to use your contacts to increase the number of backlinks leading to your client’s website.
Explain how reviews from sites like Yelp both are crucial for SEO and for gaining new customers. This is also another element that is out of the client’s control. Talk about your strategy for bringing the client great, authentic reviews — and about the risks of writing fake reviews to boost rankings.
Google rewards businesses that are active on social media with higher rankings for their websites. Make sure that your client understands that active doesn’t mean spending a lot of time on social media but building a large following and generating engagement. Talk about how your social media strategy for the client will be linked to the SEO strategy.
Discussing these website factors will show your client how much work goes into setting up a website properly and maintaining it. Be sure to also point out some specific changes you will make and the implications this will have for the business.
Comment below if there are any other aspects of website design you like to discuss with potential clients!