A Client doesn’t See Their Business in the First Position


It's been a week since you started working on our website. I don't see my business on the first position…

What's your client/upper-management horror story?


When I was working agency side our sales team were told in no uncertain terms to sell whatever packages they could. We had a £250 a month package which got you next to nothing, a couple of links and a chat + analytics setup etc.

This worked for ultra low competition clients and local SEO clients but this package was sold to a new vitamin company that wanted to rank for acai related terms. Our sales team told them it'd be a few weeks/months but for that budget they were never going to rank.

I dreaded their fortnightly call asking how progress is going because I knew that it was never going to be a positive call. I had multiple clients like that before I finally left for greener pastures, but agencies like that can go do one.

randomvar ✍️
That sounds harsh man. I hope that you are in a better environment now.

Thank you. I went solo nearly a decade ago now and haven't looked back.

Some Irish guy calling me and speaking on the phone for ages about how he didn't see results in the first month. Then when I contacted him about payment, he'd promise to pay me today and then we'd discuss what the plan of action was for the next month. Continually one of my most difficult clients, always sucking up time with phone calls, never satisfied. More months go by and payment has never been made (nowadays I stop working after the first late month). So I call it quits, but he's still saying he's going to pay. He'd already started to see solid results by this point too, so he must've been happy.

Chase him, chase him, chase him, and he keeps saying "sorry, money's coming your way now, just on the way to the bank." Eventually, in the beginning of this year, tell him I'm going to take him to court. The very final day of the very final demand, he replies, "yeah take me to court, I'm going to make a claim against you, too!" No idea what the basis of his complaint could possibly be.

Start trying to make a claim against him and discover that, because I'd waited until <year>, it is now pretty much impossible for someone in the UK to claim against someone in Ireland, because of Brexit. I'd have to pay for a solicitor, and even if I won, I'd still have to pay the solicitors' fees. Which are very expensive in Ireland.

Watch this space. I'm gonna get the bastard. My stepmum lives in Ireland so I'm considering using her address as my correspondence address.

Been there with a few clients like this and feel for you, people like him are utter scum and probably treat many others like this and call it doing business. You're better off concentrating your energy on finding new customers IMHO.

Yeah I was like 'oh well, looks like that guy won' but my fiancee is like 'you've got to do all you can to take that bastard down!'
I had one who owed me £900, he paid £300 and then told me he'd see me in court for the rest. I'd got him onto Google top 4 for 9 of his keywords.

He had forgotten to rescind access to his site at that point so having taken a copy of the original content I just put it all back via copy and paste and stripped his site of my work (contract stated he didn't have the right to use it unless he paid in full).

He rang me up next day demanding I put it back, I just said I'll see you in court. He then physically threatened me at which point I hung up and blocked his number.
Very good. At least you had the right clause in your contract. A lot of people tell me to revert all the work I did but then that could make me liable for a claim from him, for loss of earnings from not being able to use his stolen content.

I've messaged him now. He says he always pays his debts and will pay. He told me to not make promises I can't keep, which is absolutely bollocks as I've been in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) long enough to know never to promise anything. And he says he's now with a company that delivers what they promise… Yeah good luck with that mate. Anyone who promises anything in this game is a scammer. Serves him right.

Still not got paid though.

The smartarsed things I want to say to him, like all those times he promised to pay on a specific date… But instead I thanked him for his feedback.
I took a client's whole site down in 2004, as a one man band with no contracts, after him and his wife made multiple promises to pay the last instalment which turned out to be hot air. The best excuse was that his dad died and then his mother in law had died and he'd been too preoccupied to pay me the last £200. This was 5 months in and the site was generating enquiries. Personal circumstances just aren't my problem.

Took the site off the Web server, changed the File Transfer Protocol (FTP) password (back in my Dreamweaver days) and I put up a message on his now blank home page saying "<Client name>, please call me to sort your outstanding bill and I'll put the site back up."

He spotted it later that afternoon and called me up threatening to take me for every penny, my car and my home. I responded I had no savings, my car was on finance and my girlfriend owned our house and we had no contract. So he then threatened to drive up (5 and a half hours away!) and rip my throat out, shit down my neck and take me apart limb from limb, his words not mine.

I retaliated that I'd get a load of dodgy inner city blokes I knew to go down to his premises and have "fun" with his wife.

He went proper mental and told me he'd report me to the police for what I had just said, at which point I replied he had threatened to murder me first so we were even.

He never paid me and had to go back to his previous designers to put the crappy and not optimised old site back up. Complete and utter tit. He had a huge fatal heart attack in <year> and I can only hope it was prolonged and painful, he was a very nasty piece of work who thought he was some kind of cockney gangster. Sorry, not sorry.

Pay a commercial solicitor to put together a commercial contract for the work you do, people will know you mean business if you give it to them and it serves to protect them too.
Ps we had another one last year physically threaten a member of my team and that he was going to come round and smash their face in.

He showed up that afternoon and dogged us up through our office window. I went out and he legged it as I came out the door. Nothing but a bully.

I'm VERY clear with my clients that SEO takes time, and that the first few months will feel like they're dumping money into a black hole without seeing any return. If they want quick results, they don't want SEO. If they want long-term, sustainable business growth, they'll have to wait.


I contacted some young freelance content writer on Twitter at the start of this month. Sent him on up to 600 words and told him to do what he can, just to see where he's at and see if he likes it. Added him on Facebook.

Hit him up a week later to ask if he was still planning on doing it.

Hit him up a week later… and he'd blocked me on everything. Stunning lack of professionalism. I'm vicariously embarrassed for him.

I wonder if your opportunity is still available to other candidates though :3

"I don't want to waste money targeting 'landscaping' for my company named 'XY Landscaping' because technically we mostly do 'hardscaping'!!!"

Where I am, "hardscaping" is searched 10 time per month. "landscaping" around 5000 times and I had them on page 1. Apparently that's a 'waste of money' though…

I've explained it over and over again and he doesn't get it.

I have had similar experiences in the landscaping space. I once had a client who did everything — mowing, landscaping, mulching, etc. — and then decided he only wanted to do lawn fertilization. The site was optimized for everything but that and he was upset that he was getting leads for services he no longer performed (as of a few weeks ago).

My favorite was a lady who had called and asked questions, this was several years ago. She asked how long it would take to get her to page 1 for a keyword. I explained that no one could say, its impossible to predict but that in my experience the absolute best case scenario would be 90 days and that's if everything went right. (Mind you this is <year> or <year>)

She calls me back exactly one month later and signs up. About the end of the first month she says it's been almost 60 days when are we going to get to page 1. I reminded her that the absolutely best case scenario would be after at least 90 days and it had been less than 30 not nearly 60. She kept saying things like that, she would send me an email on Monday morning saying how come I have not heard from you in so long, after talking to her at 6pm on Friday.

It turned out she was counting the month she spent thinking about it before signing up as part of her timeline! And forget about hearing the words best case scenario etc.. I did get her to the bottom of p1 for a national competitive keyword in less than 90 days but she had done a chargeback.

Looking back I think she was scamming me from day one. Either that or she just had no connection to reality.
OK, SEO is not an instantaneous fix for ranking, even doing all the right things can take between 2-3 months to see significant improvement results. Google is indexing and sorting data from a lot of sites and it takes time for the effects to show up. I have been teaching SEO for over 15 years at Iowa State University and your statement is what most people think initially. It takes time, that being said, you should monitor your ranking position and see if it is moving in the right direction. Do you know where you currently rank? It is a lot harder to move from page 5 results to page one than if you're already on page2. Find that out and then monitor each week if there is any change. If link building is part of your strategy, realize it takes between 6-10 weeks for Google to identify new links and add that to your ranking criteria.
This is a failure to educate the client before taking them on. I had a client ask after one month why they were not on page one and I realized I must not have made myself clear about a timeline on results. I refunded them and made a promise to never again take on a client until I had told them in person and via email what they ought to expect and when, and was sure they understood. Never have had a problem like that again.

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