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Trond Lyngbø

The Secret To Landing Big SEO Clients – And Keeping Them Happy

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Trond Lyngbø
The Secret To Landing Big SEO Clients – And Keeping Them Happy

Today's post is somewhat unique because it is about every SEO consultant's biggest fantasy...

Working with multi-billion dollar clients.

Maybe you have gained extensive experience with several aspects of search marketing and search engine optimization, and have served your clients well by getting their websites ranked high on search engines and brought revenue boosts to their business.

Now you are ready to take things to the next level - by signing a contract with a major client who can pay you the big bucks. Well, you are about to learn the secret system to find and impress these clients. When you master this approach, it is easy to get them to:

  • Hire you to handle their SEO.
  • Delight them with your results.
  • Practically force them to keep you as their preferred consultant and strategist.
  • And, pay whatever you demand in fees.

Because they will know you are worth it!

How Would I Know This Secret?

A couple of years ago, I left a cushy position at one of Norway's leading search marketing firms to build Search Planet, from scratch, all by myself, with no funding and relying only on what experience I had gained in 15 years of SEO consulting.

I set about it in exactly the way I will explain in this article. Today, 95% of my clients are multi-billion dollar companies. Over the two years, I have worked with them, I have not lost a single client. In fact, truth be told, I have a waiting list of similar firms who want to work with me!

In the very first year of operations, I booked a 7-digit profit (NOK). I talk directly to top leadership in my clients' organizations. I am intimately involved in business-critical projects about which I am often informed even before their own internal staff! And I'm frequently called to share my insights and assist with business development on a strategic level.

So I know what I am talking about when it comes to recruiting 'big fish' SEO clients and serving them well.

What is interesting is that the nitty-gritty details are well within the scope of most hardworking and experienced SEO specialists. The only constraint that keeps them from doing this is the lack of 'insider knowledge' about the process to acquire and retain such clients.

Hopefully, this short guide will help you get over this speed bump and race ahead to higher success in your SEO endeavors.

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Going Right To The Top

A key element of working on SEO with large organizations is getting SEO projects anchored at the top of the organization.

Why is this important? What comes out of it?

Well, it all boils down to humans. Partly, it is about optimizing websites for humans. But the bigger goal goes beyond humans/customers, technology or marketing.

The ultimate goal is money.

Money is the universal language that anyone understands. It doesn't matter that I am a Norwegian SEO expert speaking to a Chinese CEO of a large organization. I can get his attention and support if the numbers are right - and have the symbol of a local currency behind it!

But just spouting figures wildly won't get you anywhere. Your prospective clients must believe in them and trust you.

Once they do, they will support you, cover your back, and facilitate a nearly frictionless implementation of your instructions and strategies across their organization. And they will willingly sign an ongoing SEO retainer contract.

You will no longer be viewed by their staff and team members as that annoying "keyword and SEO guy" who shows up once a year to tell them what to do and ask for more money.

In fact, everyone will be instructed by leadership to follow your instructions and communicate with you - because they understand that SEO is a critical element for the business, with a serious potential impact on the company's financial results.

How To Establish Trust

The simplest method is to showcase your expertise as an SEO consultant and business specialist.

For example, you could:

  • Perform keyword research and analysis, breaking it down by category and subcategory for a webshop.
  • Combine it with the organization’s prior historical sales data and conversion rates to identify areas that can be exploited profitably.
  • Forecast a realistic and trustworthy revenue growth potential, and communicate this effectively by demonstrating how much money is on the table, waiting to be sucked up through an intelligent SEO strategy.
  • Showcase where (which categories and subcategories) the profit growth will come from, and how to prioritize actions correctly to make sure the money is extracted quickly and most effectively.
  • Reveal the revenue potential inherent in one product category after another, and show how this can be tapped when SEO bubbles each sector to the top of search rankings.
  • Explain how problems and limitations with their technical SEO will be solved at the root with better information architecture, website structure, and URL structure, along with an optimized internal link architecture.
  • Outline ways in which better database organization and an improved database structure, or even simple tweaks such as the way categories are named in the database, can impact search ranking and website traffic.
  • Share customer journey insights gleaned from the search data, through deep and broad analysis of your keyword research, and connect the dots by showing how they can solve many pressing problems before they even arise.
  • Lay the foundation for a highly effective and scalable solution that will continue to attract qualified prospective customers well into the future.
  • Teach them ways to delight visitors by giving them exactly what they are searching for (information, guidance, or advice) that translates into a great user experience, and eventually results in a boost in sales and revenue.

Time Well Spent

Sometimes, my preliminary SEO analysis report for a new client will involve over 100 hours of research and data collection, which I look upon as an investment into gaining new business which will extend far into the future.

There is certainly some risk involved in taking such an approach, but there is no shortcut to gaining trust with a business leader who doesn't know you well.

Also, there is a huge upside benefit. When you land a high-value client through this approach, you won't get stuck in internal politics or have to fight meaningless battles with people inside the organization who have different motivations and agendas. In large companies that operate multiple offline local businesses and divisions together with online sales in a webshop, this is critical.

As an SEO consultant, you need to be focusing on how Google works in 2018 and beyond, not be caught up in how it used to work in the past (and no longer does!)

This involves elements and people, knowledge and expertise, investments in many more resources, and realistic budgets that let you bring various facets of your expertise and knowledge to bear on the problems that need to be solved.

You want to be involved early on, whenever important and relevant things happen either internally at your client company or with external agencies they hire. As a trusted 'go to' guy or gal, you will always be asked to be involved early, maybe even before they start planning specifics.

And as a trusted advisor, you don’t risk losing clients. In fact, clients don’t even ask what your hourly fees are... which is nice because most SEO consultants live in constant fear of losing clients to someone with a lower fee who claims they can rank a website better.

Keep one thing firmly in mind. When you speak to multi-million dollar clients about SEO, speaking the right language is critical. You need to use the language of leadership.

Keyword-focused, SEO-siloed pitches won't work. You must focus on what really matters. Money, revenue, and profit. Not clicks, visits and search ranks.

This is what CEOs care about.

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Trond Lyngbø
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Asks great questions and provides brilliant answers.

Trond Lyngbø is the founder of Search Planet and a senior SEO Consultant. He has over 15 years of experience in SEO, e-commerce, content strategy and digital analysis. His clients include multinational Fortune 500 corporations and major Norwegian companies. Trond has helped grow businesses through more effective search marketing and SEO strategies. He is most passionate about working with e-commerce companies and web shops to develop and expand their omni-channel marketing initiatives. Trond is a columnist at Search Engine Land and Marketing Land and co-author of Google It: Total Information Awareness (2016).
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