There was a discussion at High Rankings a few weeks back about training clients to maintain their website after it is designed. The conversation began with the question of whether it is better for web developers to teach clients how to maintain their site or to do it for them?
Not being in the web development industry I don’t have an exact answer to this question. But it did start me thinking about the same type of question in regards to SEO. How much should you teach your clients about the SEO process? Do they need to know the ins and outs of search engines? Should you teach them the aspects of keyword research and link building? Or is it simply better to do these things for them and only teach them the basics?
We try and give our clients as much information as is useful to them. We want them to understand what we are doing but we don’t want to give them too much information. One of the worst things you can do is overwhelm a client with documents that make no sense and have no value to them. It’s a waste of your time and it’s a waste of theirs.
Here is an example: At a previous SEO firm I worked at we would spend 10-12 hours putting together an extensive technical document for every client. We would send it to them, get on the phone to discuss it and realize the majority of the clients not only had no idea what any of it meant but didn’t even read it.
We also take into consideration the knowledge level of each client. With keyword research for instance, we want each client to know why we do it, how we do it, and how it’s going to help them. It is important they understand things like what the search volume numbers mean, why broad terms aren’t necessarily better or why they shouldn’t have the same keyword on every page. Does a client really NEED to know how to perform keyword research? No probably not. But the more they know about it, understand it and see the time and effort that go into it, the more they value you and that time you spent doing it.
Another major factor to think about is the client’s expectations. What exactly are they expecting from you? If a client signs a contract expecting that you will do the work, implement the recommendations and report to them once a month then the level of information you give them is minimal. If a client is expecting calls once a week and details on what you are delivering to them, explaining the processes is very important and you should give them the appropriate information.
Basically, the best thing you can do to determine if the information will be useful to the client is to ask the question “Is this going to be beneficial to both them and us?” Maybe you shouldn’t spend three hours of a client’s time and money explaining the link building process to them. But if it will help them understand the value in SEO and more importantly in you, then it may be worth the time. The way I look at it, the more knowledge and understanding the client has of what we do, the more they value us as a whole.