Make It Loud Blog

Advice and Knowledge from EXPERTS

Why We Don’t Accept Every Client For SEO

Every business wants more- more leads, more customers, and more money. So, why would we turn away business? In today’s market, the idea that an SEO agency around Atlanta would turn down business sounds kind of crazy, right?

It’s not as crazy as you might think.

It’s actually based on sound business practice.s It’s due to a little thing we call integrity.

As one of the oldest digital marketing firms around Atlanta, we’ve talked to thousands of potential and actual clients since we first started. We’ve never picked a niche because, frankly, we like the diversity of working with many different types of clients in many different industries.

Besides giving us variety (spice of life, blah, blah…), we feel like working within many different industries makes us smarter. The stuff we learn about is very interesting. Plus, there are lessons we’ve learned from working with other industries that we can successfully apply to clients in other industries for a fresh perspective.

We are one of the few digital marketing agencies in Atlanta with a retail location. This means we get people walking in all the time who want to talk about their business idea or their marketing. We’re happy to help with a free initial consultation. People always express their gratitude for the time we spend with them teaching them about web design, SEO, and more.

A while back, there was a two-month period of time where we had ten people walk in and ask us about doing SEO for their website. We turned down all but two. But, it wasn’t because we were too busy or we were all that picky.

We hope you’ll take the reasons we rejected these sites and use it as a measure to decide if search engine optimization is right for your business website.

There Are Plenty Of Bad SEO Agencies Out There

We’ve seen everything from the SEO Gurus who preach about how to do SEO from atop of their ivory towers (but don’t get their hands dirty themselves) to the fast and furious agencies that blow their horns about things like “we’ll get your site ranked on page one of Google in a week for $99 a month!”

There’s a basic principle that’s an absolute truism about the field of search engine optimization. That’s “if it sounds too good to be true, it’s a lie”. Most reputable SEO nerds won’t turn their computers on for $99.

Roughly 75% of the potential clients we see have been ripped off one way or another by a digital marketing agency or an SEO nerd somewhere. It’s super frustrating to those of us who are genuinely trying to get our clients results.

Read more about how SEO companies rip people off.

Top 4 Reasons We’ll Refuse To Do SEO For A Client

Without a doubt, the #1 reason we turn down a potential SEO client is after we take a look at their website. We can usually predict how things will go if our initial reaction is, “Um…..” vs “Wow! Ok!”

Look, we’re just regular people who like to do things like sleep well at night and not walk the streets looking over our shoulders. We enjoy the idea that if we run into a client somewhere that they want to shake our hand and thank us versus punch us in the face.

You can call it integrity, but it’s more like self-preservation.

Doing SEO on a bad website is a setup for failure for everyone involved.

What Constitutes A “Bad” Website?

A website is the artistic side of business and we all know that art is one of the most subjective things on the planet. Everyone’s heard that quote about art- “I don’t know what it is, but I know it when I see it.”

We all want a business website that is pretty, but good web design strikes a balance between “pretty” and conversion-friendly. Having the most beautiful website in the world won’t help your business if it doesn’t meet the needs of your visitors right away or they can’t even tell what you even do. We see a lot of websites like that. Some businesses have paid truckloads of money for them too.

Now, that’s a bad website.

Other things that make a website “bad” include things like:

  • It’s old and outdated. If any part of your site reminds someone of Nirvana or anything in the 90s, it’s bad.
  • If it has a menu on the left side, it’s probably bad
  • If a tiny person walks out on screen and starts talking to you, your website is bad.
  • If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, your site is officially bad.
  • If you built your website on your Google Business platform, chances are it’s bad (simply because we’ve yet to see a good one on that platform.)
  • Your site is bad if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. There is a lot of data to show that you’re losing customers because of this.
  • If your salespeople are too embarrassed by the company site to show customers, your site is bad. (Go ahead. Ask them!)

We’ve seen a lot of websites that have made us dizzy or the design is so awful that it makes us throw up in our mouth a little. Worst yet, think of the websites that were so bad that you had to show somebody. We all have seen sites like that. Some are so bad, that we even want to keep them as examples of a bad site.

We’re not going to name names here, but the reality is that having a bad website for your business is a quick way to chase potential customers to your competition.

Think about how you browse the internet yourself. Whenever you see a site that doesn’t immediately meet your needs, you bounce away to find one that does.

Given all of this, why would we try to get a bad website on page one of Google?

First of all, that’s not what Google wants. They want to give visitors the best results possible. Sure, we still see some ugly websites on page one, but these days, it’s only in industries where there aren’t better sites to replace it with.

So, if we accept a client with a bad website as an SEO client, we’re starting off in the hole AND working against Google right off the rip. Not a good start.

And, let’s say for example’s sake that we were successful in getting a site like this on page one of Google. Now, we’re actively driving visitors to the site who are looking for exactly what they provide, but what do you think they’re going to do when they click on this site and see some outdated, old, abomination of a website? Will they trust the business enough to buy from them or move on?

It’s been our experience that most visitors will move on quickly. This means that all our hard SEO work has been for nothing since the visitors won’t convert to paying customers. We’ve simply allowed ourselves to get caught up in a lose-lose proposition.

So, how long do you think most business owners would tolerate that? Worse yet, what kind of reviews do you think they’ll leave for us? No thanks. Trying to do search engine optimization on a bad site is a step toward business suicide.

The good news is that if your business website isn’t ready for SEO for any of the reasons mentioned above, our web design team can help you with that. Our company actually began as a small web design firm back when the phone book was still a thing.

The ROI Of SEO

Another reason we might turn away a potential SEO client is that we don’t see a clear-cut return on the investment for the client.

An over-simplistic way to look at the ROI of SEO is this: what’s your average client worth to your business? Take that number and use it to determine how many customers SEO needs to bring you in order to be profitable.

For example, if you’re paying the national average for search engine optimization services which is $1000/month, and your average customer brings in $1000 to the company. You need 1 customer to break even and two to start making money. Is it realistic for SEO to bring in 2 customers a month? In most cases, absolutely!

Over the years, we’ve had clients come on and ask for SEO when the chance for a good return on their marketing investment just wasn’t there. One guy begged us to do Google Adwords and SEO for these little cell phone holders he sold. They are really cool looking and I have one on my desk to this day. The only problem was that he sold them for $20/each. We walked him through the idea of how many of these things he needed to sell to make money with a $1000/month SEO bill or Google Adwords budget. We still recall the way the color drained from his face as he began to understand the math. We told him that social media was his best bet for marketing his product, and we gently nudged him down this path. He said it was the first time in his life he actually appreciated being rejected.

That’s just it- if the math doesn’t work for SEO, it’s our ethical duty to help our potential clients understand this. We consider it our duty to be a buffer from bad business decisions.

Dealing With Competitive Industries

Here are some industries we simply don’t want to accept as an SEO client:

  • Weight loss products
  • Viagra or similar products
  • Real estate agents
  • Divorce attorneys

It’s not that we have anything against anyone in these industries. It’s more about how difficult it is to get a website ranked in these industries based on how competitive they all are. We’re happy to design websites for businesses in these industries and find other ways to help them market what they do. But, as far as SEO goes, we most likely won’t live long enough to get them ranked on page one.

Again, we only want to take on clients in industries where we feel comfortable we can win. Is that cheating? Maybe, but it leads to a happier client and less stress for us. We like walking the streets without fear of clients attacking us with pitchforks.

Other Website Issues

The final reason we might turn away a potential SEO client is due to website issues.

This may sound vague, but we’ve had many people come to us with no access to the backend of their website. Without proper access, we can’t do the majority of what we need to do to properly rank the website. This includes:

  • Writing SEO-friendly page titles
  • Creating conversion-friendly meta descriptions
  • Writing keyword-rich content for the website
  • Building landing pages
  • Creating alt-tags on the images

And, the list goes on and on.

Basically, without access to the backend of the site, we can’t really do our jobs, so why agree to go swimming with sharks wearing a bacon bathing suit?

There are other times when people come to us with websites that are well designed in something other than WordPress. While we have worked with many other platforms, we are experts in doing SEO with WordPress websites which are currently around 43% of all the sites you see on the web right now. It’s far and away the most popular platform to build a website with.

It’s not that we can’t provide SEO on other platforms, but there’s a point where we have to decide whether or not it’s worth our time to take on a site where there might be a learning curve. Depending upon the industry and what platform the site is built with, we may or may not decide to take on that client.

One thing we never do is overstate our talents. If anything, we’re a bit too honest about things.

When you’re looking for an honest, straightforward, no-nonsense partner to help you bring in more traffic to your website, consider calling the SEO nerds at Make It Loud. We’ll give you the honest feedback you’ve been looking for, and that includes whether or not your website is ready for SEO.


About Make It Loud Web Design & More. For more than 18 years, our Atlanta-based digital marketing agency has been helping business owners establish a professional presence on the web. With websites that “WOW!”, SEO, Social Media Marketing and more, we have one job- to make you more money.

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