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SEO is a challenging marketing discipline to wrap your head around, let alone master. It can be perceived as a battle of wits between Google and your SEO agency. Often, you’ll find yourself measuring, theorizing, and resorting to trial and error to determine what will work based on the latest algorithms. No wonder figuring out why SEO clients quit is an ongoing process since your relationship with brands is an accident waiting to happen at times. 

After all, every process involving money as a foundation is quite delicate and complex, especially when it comes to giving money away and expecting something in return. The paying party runs the show, requiring the other party to be flexible and deliver results.

Being in digital marketing and SEO for years, your agency has reluctantly said goodbye to clients, even though working with them was a great experience. On the other hand, some clients have signed contracts with your company after working with other SEO agencies that failed to meet their expectations. 

Any SEO agency will tell you that the last thing they want is losing a client (unless clients are more trouble than they’re worth). With the level of competition everyone’s facing, acquiring new clients is getting stiffer by the minute. Meanwhile, retaining existing clients is by no means any easier. 

In this article, we’ll go over the top reasons why SEO clients quit and what your agency needs to do to make sure they don’t. 

Clients don’t see proof of your work and their ROI (not because it isn’t there)

SEO clients primarily invest in your services to see two things: 

  • Measurable Results
  • Positive RoI

The results of your efforts may be there, but know that if you fail to communicate them effectively to your clients, they’re as good as non-existent. 

What your SEO Agency needs to do or keep doing: 

  • Create and present metrics that your clients can keep track of and look back on over time. You can also make use of data-driven dashboards that will put these metrics into focus. 

Something to remember: It’s best to keep things simple and not overwhelm your clients with too much data. Stick to the metrics that are relevant to your client’s goals.

Bottom line: If clients don’t see proof of value and RoI, they’ll look for it elsewhere.

Clients don’t see results

  • They don’t see an increase in sales
  • Metrics, such as keyword rankings, aren’t enough, and the clients want more

Admittedly, SEO services are anything but cheap. For this reason, clients expect tangible results. However, some clients have unrealistic expectations of seeing positive changes in rankings, traffic, and conversions overnight. 

What you can do: Apply an integrated approach to marketing a business in the digital space and help your clients understand that quality SEO services require time and, most importantly, patience. 

Ideally, a strategic combination of organic and paid marketing is best. For comparison’s sake, PPC (pay-per-click) and paid social advertising produce faster results (3 months and a matter of weeks, respectively). SEO may take longer to yield results, but its positive effect is long-lasting compared to other marketing channels. 

Clients see an increase in rankings but not an increase in their website traffic

In search engine terms, ranking = traffic = customers. It becomes a huge problem when you see a decline in any of these variables. To counter any negative effects, you should see your entire team contribute by doing the following: 

  • Advertise on social media
  • Vary the length and format of the content on your client’s site
  • Pay close attention to on-page SEO 
  • Don’t overlook email marketing 
  • Target long-tail keywords
  • Ramp up your guest posting efforts 
  • Make sure your website is fast and technically optimized etc.

Bottom line: Everything is interconnected, and everybody in your team has a role to fill for you to succeed.   

Clients wrongly assume that SEO is a one-time thing

Apart from thinking SEO results will show up overnight, many SEO clients also believe that they can stop investing and choose to leave once initial positive results are achieved. 

But in reality,  

SEO is far from being a one-time thing

You can compare SEO to physical training. Once you stop regular workouts, you can expect to get out of shape gradually. Without a consistent SEO strategy, you’ll inevitably experience a drop in rankings, traffic, and conversions. 

SEO values consistency

Your team should continue working, even after ranking well on search engine results pages, to make sure that you and your clients:  

Stay above the competition 

Anyone with an internet connection can advertise their business online, making the competition for search engine rankings even fiercer. Depending on the client’s business, we could be competing with hundreds, even thousands of other websites that are also trying to rank for the same keywords. That’s why we mustn’t stop implementing the strategies that got us to the top of the rankings in the first place. 

Keep up with ever-changing algorithms 

Google is the most used search engine in the world. Eventually, people discover ways to exploit its algorithm to achieve high rankings. To prevent these instances, Google regularly updates its algorithms, making it very important for you to keep up with the changes. 

Often, you’ll find a particular SEO strategy that used to be effective may no longer yield the same results, or worse, can be penalized by Google if they’re still applied. 

Again, everyone needs to contribute and showcase a total team effort. Specifically,  

The Content Team 

The goal of your content team is to produce fresh content. In the SEO industry, everybody used to say, “Content is King.” Here in Reach Digital, we know that “Optimized content is king.” — fresh, helpful, and engaging content that will keep your client’s target market go back to their website. 

The Web Development Team 

The need to update your clients’ websites or add a new page to improve functionality and user experience will inevitably arise. When making these updates, your web team should do so with SEO principles to positively affect rankings with consistency.

The SEO Team 

Your SEO team needs to be on the lookout for: 

  • Technical SEO Issues 

Issues like broken links and errors negatively affect the user experience of your client’s website and should be fixed right away.

  • Harmful Links

Link building is beneficial when trusted websites link to your client’s sites but can be detrimental when spam or low-quality backlinks take over. Once this happens, Google will start to assume that the website is spammy or of low quality. You’ll need to check the backlink profile and disavow bad links regularly.

  • Additional Rankings

Every time a new page is added to your client’s website, you’re creating a brand new ranking opportunity. Getting more pages of their website site to rank for different keywords increases traffic, leads, and eventually, sales. 

Key Takeaways

Keeping your clients happy doesn’t have to be hard

The many pieces to the “why SEO clients quit” puzzle can seem challenging.  You can make it less so by investing in the necessary tools and software to help you get the job done. Also, don’t forget to invest in your human resources, as they’re the driving force behind most processes and workflows of the company. 

SEO is here to stay 

Clients and brands will always look for the most cost-effective way to market their products or services, and the best place to do that is online.  

While the role of SEO and the strategies around it may change, new avenues are constantly opening up through different entry points such as 

  • Voice
  • Apps
  • Wearables
  • Internet of Things (IoT), etcetera. 

New, organic search opportunities will always arise, which is good news for those who work in the industry because it entails stability and more avenues for growth. As long as you do your jobs and help businesses reach their goals, the reasons why SEO clients quit will be the least of your worries. You can focus on maximizing client satisfaction and retention while keeping your company profitable for the foreseeable future. 


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