If you're an SEO reseller, you probably know that proving the value of digital marketing services can be tough. And convincing unwilling clients to take a leap of faith can be even tougher. You can open the door to SEO success… but will your clients walk right in, or will they try to slam the door shut?

We bet you've probably encountered the unique challenges of SEO while running your agency. Clients often cite SEO problems that they’ve experienced first-hand or heard about through the grapevine. But while these common SEO pitfalls can be difficult to overcome at first, there’s a way to counter every argument. You just need the right talking points to challenge your clients' preconceived notions.

As you're learning how to sell SEO effectively, you'll want to keep the following objections in mind. Once you know how to address them properly, you can put your clients' minds at ease – and start growing your agency's SEO business.

common client complaints about SEO

Why Clients Sometimes Oppose SEO (And What To Say When They Do)

Digital marketing is a fairly simple concept to grasp. But when you start getting into the nitty gritty of search engine optimization, things become a bit less tangible. When you're learning how to resell SEO, you should expect that clients will have questions and even concerns about how it all works.

To that end, we've compiled a list of some of the most common instances of pushback that end clients will give our SEO resellers below. By the end of this post, you should be better equipped to address these client challenges.

"I tried SEO before with another provider and didn't see results."

There are a couple of immediate takeaways that an SEO reseller should have when they hear a sentiment like this:

  1. "I need to get this client to trust me" and
  2. "I need to set realistic expectations with them"

It's not uncommon to hear that a relationship with a previous SEO vendor ended in an unsatisfactory way. Unfortunately, not all SEO agencies are able to deliver on their promises (especially if those promises are outlandish ones!).

It's certainly possible that the client previously hired an SEO agency that over-promised and under-delivered. But there's also a chance that the SEO agency was making decent progress and lost the client anyway. If they failed to set proper expectations from the onset, the client might not have had the patience or the knowledge they needed to stay the course.

One of the most common SEO pitfalls is that results aren't immediate. In the SEO vs. PPC debate, we know that PPC dominates in the realm of speed. Unlike with paid ads, it typically takes several months for keywords to rank and traffic to increase.

When you're finding out how to sell SEO to clients, you'll also need to sell the idea of “slow and steady wins the race.” If your client's prior SEO provider didn't explain how arduous the Google algorithm can be, you'll want to take the time to help them understand that there’s no such thing as overnight success. When you can frame the SEO timeline as a positive, you'll encourage their emotional buy-in.

Educating your clients will help set realistic expectations, but it'll also go a long way in building trust. Whether they were burned by a bad provider in the past or they're simply a little gun shy about SEO because they didn't stick with it for long enough, you'll need to overcome their distrust. Showing that you're knowledgeable in this area (and reassuring them that you wouldn't even recommend SEO if it didn't work) can break down barriers and boost their confidence in your skills.

While you should never make guarantees about rankings, showing your clients what they can expect at the 30-, 60-, 90-, and 120-day mark can put their minds at ease and eliminate any tendencies to micromanage their SEO progress.

backlinks are crucial for SEO rankings success

"My last vendor just kept building spammy backlinks."

Spammy backlinks are among the top SEO problems agency owners face. Some unscrupulous SEO providers may base their entire strategy on building hundreds of low-quality backlinks; while this might seem impressive in the beginning, it’s not likely to pay off in the long term.

It’s not just spammy backlinks that can be a problem. Paying for backlinks can also create a quandary. While it’s not always clear whether you should buy backlinks for SEO purposes, you can’t have a good SEO strategy without link-building. If a client thinks that any attempt to build links for SEO is inherently spammy, you’ll need to do your part to educate them on why this practice matters.

Ahrefs, one of the most trusted resources in the industry, tells us that the more backlinks a site has, the more traffic it generally receives. And since your clients undoubtedly want more website traffic, you’ll want them to be on-board with link-building.

Ultimately, you’ll need to teach and build trust to overcome their objections. Knowing what makes a good backlink and being able to explain this to a client can help determine whether their last SEO vendor was acting in their best interests. It could be that the vendor was engaging in shady practices. Alternatively, the client might not understand that Google might perceive a referring domain a bit differently than they do! Showing them how Google evaluates the value of a site and of an individual link can fill in their knowledge gaps and ensure you’re on the same page.

Additionally, you might consider providing them with some digestible data on backlink building. When you work with a white label SEO partner like Semify, you can use case studies or other comparisons that illustrate the power of link-building. You could also offer reliable industry resources for their consideration. For example Search Engine Land reports that links are one of the top 2 factors for Google’s ranking algorithm. Compelling statistics like these can convince your clients that backlink building – when done correctly – is crucial for SEO success.

"I don’t trust someone else to write content for my business."

As you find out how to sell SEO to clients, you’ll probably learn that the number one obstacle involves trust. Many business owners find that it’s difficult to relinquish control to others. The business is their baby, so relying on someone else to handle an important task often represents a big risk.

Even seasoned agency owners know that one of the most common SEO challenges is creating quality content consistently. And when a client is especially picky or works in a niche industry, you may even have some doubts about your ability to craft content that’s up to their standards.

Our SEO resellers often find that they don’t have (or want to acquire) the resources to handle content creation in-house. In fact, Neil Patel reports that 64% of B2B marketers outsource their writing. While they could technically write and optimize the content themselves, that’s a huge undertaking that would cannibalize their time. When you’re trying to grow your agency, you need to use every minute wisely.

That means you may want to rethink your reliance on contractors. Working with freelancers requires a lot more oversight than most agency owners realize. When you join our white label SEO reseller program, however, you’ll instantly gain access to our U.S.-based team of writers and editors – and you won’t have to waste your time managing them. Our team members have ample experience in writing for all kinds of businesses, from the most accessible to the most technical. We even offer three different tiers of writing quality to ensure the needs of your most finicky clients are met.

If you’re just figuring out how to resell SEO, you may need to prove that your agency is up to the task. Our team can often provide you with sample content to show your clients who have concerns about writing quality. Additionally, we may be able to swap out certain deliverables from your SEO plan to give your client an awesome blog post right off the bat. When an SEO reseller goes above and beyond, the client will truly know how valued they are.

64% of b2b marketers outsource their writing

"I’m not convinced that I’ll get a positive return on my investment."

With a paid advertising campaign, it’s pretty easy to tell how far your budget goes. But one of the most common pitfalls of SEO is that it’s notoriously tricky to illustrate ROI.

That doesn’t mean that SEO has no clear returns, however! Those returns just take longer to materialize and aren’t as easy to track. With an ad, you can see how much you pay per click and how many conversions are associated with those clicks. But measuring SEO’s direct impact is a bit murkier.

To successfully know how to sell SEO to clients, you’ll need to connect the dots between the website audits you perform, the pages you optimize, the keyword rankings you achieve, the increases in traffic you get, and the subsequent customers that come out of those efforts. You’ll then want to compare the amount the client has invested in SEO (which is typically a whole lot less than in other areas of marketing) versus how much they’ve made as a result of your SEO work.

While every campaign is different and there are no guarantees, an affordable, long-term strategy like SEO usually pays off. But how can you prove it? Semify case studies can also come in handy here, as can example spreadsheets that compare the costs and profits a client could see over time.

The ROI of SEO can be influenced by many factors, but reminding your clients that they’ll actually see a better return on their investment by outsourcing SEO (rather than tackling it in-house) can go a long way. By offering a fixed monthly cost, on-time deliverables, and real-time reporting tools, SEO resellers can offer cost savings and better results. All told, that equals a more impressive ROI.

“I just don’t think any of it makes a difference (especially link-building)!”

Unfortunately, one of the most common SEO problems is that it’s a bit elusive. We don’t know everything that goes on at Google, nor do we fully comprehend how websites are ranked. There’s a lot of conjecture about best practices and whether certain tactics still work. And not only is it complex, but it can be unpredictable (especially when Google updates its algorithm).

It’s easy to understand, then, why business owners might be inclined just to forget the whole thing – especially when they don’t grasp the importance of certain SEO techniques.

But as a marketing expert, you know just how crucial SEO is in today’s world. We like to think of SEO as the rising tide that lifts all boats – and that tide continues to get higher each year. With time, it becomes harder and harder to increase your visibility online (a.k.a. keep your head above water). Optimizing a website for search engines is a lifelong effort that will pay off more than running an ad or posting an image on social media.

Convincing your client that SEO matters can be tough when there’s a knowledge gap, though. It’s possible that your client doesn’t even realize what goes into a Google search or why certain websites appear more prominently in results than others. You’ll want to address the educational part of the equation first. They don’t need to know everything there is to know about SEO (that’s why they’ve hired you!), but your retention rates will probably improve if you can help them grasp the basics.

A lot of this comes down to your own familiarity with the services you’re selling and why they matter for marketing success. If you’re not clear on the value of SEO yourself, you’re going to have a tough time mastering how to sell SEO to clients. You can always rely on your white label SEO partner to fill in the blanks and demonstrate how the work they’re doing behind the scenes impacts your client’s ultimate goals.

Once you’re up to speed on the value of SEO, you can pass on what you’ve learned to your clients. Whether they have a general distaste for link-building or they aren’t convinced that keyword research will have an impact, you’ll be able to specifically address those misconceptions and prove how SEO can make a major difference for their business.

Address SEO Problems Head-On

We know it can be frustrating when a client doesn’t see eye-to-eye on the power of SEO. But just because it’s easy for you to see doesn’t mean it’s obvious to those outside our industry. Part of learning how to sell SEO is hearing a client’s concerns and helping them see the light. If you can use empathy to bring them along for the journey, they’ll more than likely jump right on board.

Whether you’ve already joined our white label SEO reseller program or you’re looking to expand your knowledge before expanding your business, we’re invested in your agency’s growth. To learn more about becoming an SEO reseller with Semify and how we can support you in addressing client challenges, get in touch with us today.