When working with a client, an SEO needs to show them what’s been accomplished. In the early stages this is easy, since there are normally a number of dramatic on-page optimizations. The client can see the results of your work through optimized HTML coding/copy/titles/descriptions etc. This is very easy to report on: a list of what was done and a short description of why it was done and perhaps what is expected as a result. If you are just doing a one time consulting SEO project, this is no problem. Reporting becomes more challenging when you have a client with a monthly retainer and you have gone through the biggest on-page tactics (the “low-hanging fruit”, in consultant-speak). Now you’re into the link building, fine-tuning and maintenance phase. Reporting on link building, fine tuning and maintenance is problematic because it’s not usually sufficient from the client’s perspective to simply list new links that you have garnered or the plethora of small tweaks you have made for your client. You have to show them what all these links and tweaks are accomplishing. Since most clients do not understand SEO, you have to show them that you are valuable. This is where accountability metrics come in – proving your value through various ROI calculations and improvements in SEO KPIs. You have to remember with all clients it comes down to one thing: How is giving you (the SEO consultant) $X per month helping them? To show this, you need to be able to answer the one question they have: “Are we making more money because of you?” If you are unable to explain – in terms they can understand – that what you are doing is valuable, you’re going to lose the client.
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