I speak with many business owners regarding their web sites, business objectives and challenges and routinely provide them solutions along the line of what an agency can do for them (or even what they can do for themselves). These discussions are well received and provide a road map for work to be done. A common theme I hear is that business owners know what needs to be done and have been told some of the strategies before but the drop off then happens after the consult. So, is it a consultants responsibility to provide insights that both can and cannot be implemented?
More often than not SEO's can be consumed with consultant remorse. Holding back on suggestions because they know the client (or the agency) can't implement. Cost may be the issue or technologies and resources. I find myself bullet pointing many of this resource intense work and labeling it as such and explaining to the the client these are some additional thoughts that would provide value but come with much more detail and work to uncover.
But what about the SEO consultant that throws everything out at the client?
I've seen great consulting documents and presentations that have done just this. This certainly gets a client amped about the opportunity. Then the fall out of a consultant no longer being involved or the additional time/resources to do the work that wasn't relayed up front. I think it's an injustice as SEO's to flex our brains too much without understanding the scale and scope of the project prior to engagement.
Ideas without execution are hallucinations - Thomas Edison
This year we are guaranteed to see many SEO best of 2012's and forecasts of 2013 for SEO and Internet marketing strategies posted on sites within the industry. I too have posted along the same lines in recent years and it comes as no shock that those of us who follow the blogs and news sites are pretty dead on when we post what we can expect.
You see, SEO isn't that much of a mystery. It's knowledge and hard work coming together. There are so many smart thought leaders in Internet marketing that are paving our way toward identifying the on-going best practices for success. The best questions I hear from prospective clients when choosing WebiMax as their consultant agency are formed around the fact that they want to see tangible suggestions. Ideas that can be worked on. No fluff.
Less is More
Less can always be more in a consultant engagement. Five pages of real strategies that can be worked on successfully vs. 50 pages of grandiose ideas and intangibles will be far more valuable in the long run.
So, this year I am going to steer clear of the authorship, brand & trust rank as well as the decrease in technical on-site priorities. It's clear that PR and Social media have had the greatest effect in 2012 on Internet marketing and, not withholding any major modifications or penalizations in how we use PR distribution services, this should drive us through the upcoming year.
I think the best things we can do as consultants is not to just speak, but to be actionable. It should not be common place for as an SEO consultant to provide (or recite) current SEO strategies and trends without properly evaluating each client as a unique challenge.
Lastly, always make yourself available for your clients post-engagement. If you are going to recommend it as a consultant than you should be in tune with the strategy as it is being deployed and running. What are some of the ways you have engaged with consultants in the past? Have you had similar situations?