Once in awhile a SEO expert gets hired by someone who knows almost nothing about the internet, how SEO works, or even what a "keyword" is. Such clients are like babies in a crib fumbling around with Alphabet Blocks trying to make something. Are they trying to make a word? Are they trying to build a fortress out of the blocks. Nobody knows because they are so nonsensical.
The clients want something done to bring in extra customers. They heard from somewhere that SEO people are the experts when it comes to advertising, but they don't really know what it is they want beyond that.
Do they want Search Engine Optimization? Probably. That is what SEO stands for, but don't expect the clueless client to know that.
Do they want SMO? "Maybe. What is SMO?" they ask. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc. "Oh yes we want that!" they say because they recognize the brand names and therefore think it must be a good idea (despite the fact SMO has very low Returns On Investment).
Do they want PPC? "Wait, doesn't that cost money?" Yes sir, everything I am listing costs money. "But I would be paying you to do PPC for me, which means I am spending money to have you spend money. Doesn't it?" Yes, technically that is true. But you get more bang for your buck if you hire an expert to optimize your PPC campaigns. "Oh, okay."
And so forth.
Take for example the image below...
Any SEO expert reading this will go "Yup, I've had something similar happen to me." because they can relate to dealing with clueless clients who ignore instructions.
It would be like if you were teaching someone archery and you ask them to aim higher. They ignore you and shoot, the arrow falling short of the target. Then you ask "Did you aim higher?" And they say they did not. Why? Apparently because some people are stubborn and refuse to listen to the expert - or refusing to admit the expert is right.
This happens all the time. Not just in SEO or teaching fields. It could be a simple matter of tech support.
"Sir, is the caps lock on?"
"Do you think I would have phoned you for tech support if I did not check to see if the caps lock was on?"
"It happens sometimes."
"Well I already checked it..."
A minute later. "Um. Okay, I got it working."
"Great. What was the problem?"
In the above example the person clearly had the caps lock on, but they didn't want to admit that was the problem. Partially because of embarrassment, partially because they didn't want to admit the expert was right in checking the most common causes first.
Back to SEO imagine for example by a client who asks to be in the top ten search rankings for a topic unrelated to their website. A keyword that is extremely popular like S E X. Meanwhile their website is for automotive insurance. You try to explain to them that they are asking for the impossible, to promote a website for such a popular keyword that is totally unrelated. The client explains their logic "If we get just a tiny percentage of traffic from that keyword then we will get way more traffic overall - and a percentage of that traffic will buy automotive insurance." Okay, yes, technically that is logical. But wouldn't it make more sense to focus on promoting the words automotive insurance - because then you are guaranteed to get a higher Return On Investment because that is what people are actually looking for, plus there is no way an automotive insurance website will come up in the top 10 for such a popular and unrelated keyword. It would be a complete waste of money and be "a drop in the bucket" compared to the 325 million+ websites out there containing the word.
It would be like a Toronto divorce lawyer wanting to show up in search results for New York immigration lawyer. Do they have a law practice in New York? No. Are they an immigration lawyer? No. "Oh but there are lots of immigrants in New York who need immigration lawyers and if they get deported they might come to Canada." Right. Twisted logic that depends on the possibility that people might come to Canada from New York, might come to Toronto, and might need a divorce lawyer. That is a lot of mights to be wasting your money on.
To my fellow SEO experts I give my sympathies. We have to deal with these clueless clients far too often. It is a blessing whenever you get a client who at least understands how keywords work and the importance of relevant keywords in SEO.