The Path To Harmony With Your Agency or Client


The agency-client relationship is a fragile thing. Like any relationship, the best is brought out when both parties understand what they can do to bring out the best in the other party. With that in mind, here are some tips that will help search engine optimization (SEO) agencies and their clients have more harmonious relationships.


  1. Listen to your agency, and follow their expertise. Ask questions, but, when in doubt, trust. If you can't trust them, you shouldn't pay them.
  2. Get involved. Most clients wouldn't tell a traditional agency "We want a television campaign. Do what you want to make it good. Run it wherever you want, and spend however much you want to get it done." The same goes for SEO. Just like many other forms of marketing, SEO campaigns require that the client is engaged in the process from start to finish.
  3. Focus on the objectives. The goal of SEO isn't to rank for certain terms, or even to drive traffic. The goal is to make companies more successful through improved visibility. For most clients that means an increase in sales, but for many it may mean something different such as brand awareness or thought leadership. If you don't define success before you start, losing sight of the real goal is all too easy.


  1. Communicate. Your clients will trust you more and give you better feedback. Better communication is also the only way to rid SEO of the cloud of mystery that many clients perceive to hang over it .
  2. Respect your client. Whether you disagree about certain objectives and tactics, or if you are just having a hard time communicating, remember that they are the ones paying you. Remember the dentist who lectured you on oral hygiene or the insurance agent on safe driving? Haven't you ever thought, wait, I'm paying you. There's a place for educating the client, just remember to do it in a way that makes them glad to hear from you.
  3. Do your research. If you don't understand your client inside and out, how can you be successful? You may be able to make technical recommendations without understanding their industry, but when you start getting creative with content and off-the-page strategies, you'll be lost in the dark.

These are just a few of the things that agencies and their clients can do to help each other. I've written them specifically with SEO in mind, but many of them can be adjusted to fit a variety of services that agencies provide. What do you think? What are some of the best ways clients and agencies can have more harmonious and effective relationships?

picture courtesy of Danny Hammontree

Written by Chris Allison on October 13, 2009


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Written by
Chris Allison