This one seems pretty obvious, but it might be worth pondering for a minute or two.
Would you rather have an educated client or a complete newbie?
This isn’t just an SEO question. Any consultant, agency, or service provider is in business to help other people and/or companies accomplish their objectives. Sometimes the clients are knowledgeable about your area of expertise and just need a little outside support, and other times they are completely clueless about what you do and how you do it. They just know (or were told) they need it.
For me, an educated client is a bonus but not required. And in my line of work it’s rare. The more a client understands SEO, the better. Even if we disagree about something related to SEO strategy or tactical implementation, it’s easier to have a discussion about the pros and cons of each other’s approach if there is a common vocabulary and understanding of the main principles. Sometimes, though, a “know it all” client can be annoying and stuck in their ways.
Conversely, a client that has no preconceived notions can also challenge a consultant to break things down to the most basic elements and transfer that knowledge. In my experience this adds value to the client’s investment and gives the consultant an important chance to re-visit the fundamentals. Yes, it’s more time consuming and sometimes frustrating to offer remedial SEO tutorials, but it’s nice to see them start to “get it”. It builds trust.
So, would you rather have an educated client or a complete n00b?