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SEO Rates
How to charge a client?
chots

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3069030 posted 5:41 pm on Sep 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

HI,
Most of the seo's have been charging on hourly basis, but I want to know that how can I charge a client on basis of rank achieved on a particular keyword I mean $/ keyword. For example-- 10 $ for "blue widgets" if its coming within 1-10 top sites or 5$ if its coming within the range of 10 -20 in search results.
Any type of help will be greatly appreciated :)

[edited by: caveman at 4:47 pm (utc) on Sep. 5, 2006]
[edit reason] No specific keywords please. thanks! [/edit]

 

Komodo_Tale

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3069030 posted 8:22 pm on Sep 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hello Chots,

Before you fling yourself upon the rusty barbs of this business model, might I suggest that you postpone your ultimate anguish, pain, suffering and paranoia until after you pass this mortal coil. Save it for Purgatory or Hell.

Okay, now that I have your attention with this over-dramatic into, why don’t we explore the world of consulting compensation models.

Model One - Billable Hours

This is the most popular model in consulting. Think attorneys. The concept is that the value of a consultant’s work is consistent at all times or on an average basis. Hence, the consultant can be converted into a meter. Prospective customers are encouraged to seek the most expensive consultant that they can afford to receive the highest value for their work.

Unfortunately there are lots of flaws in this model. Rates are based largely on reputation, not ability. Chances are there will always be someone charging less expensive rates who can do the job quicker and better. They’ll just be harder to find. Second, everyone has strong, medium and weak hours in our labor. As hard as we might try, and no matter how Type-A we are, human beings are not consistent creatures. Finally, projects are susceptible to the unexpected. Using the billable hours model, the unexpected or unplanned tends to come out of the client’s pocket.

Model Two – Pay Per Project

Let me disclose right now that this is the model I typically use and endorse to others.

In Pay Per Project, one outlines the goal, scope and outcomes of a project and sets a flat fee for the effort. (In some projects the cost of materials will be charged separately without a cap.) Think construction. Prospective customers can discuss the project in its entirety and plan their spending based on desired outcomes. If the final price is too high they can choose which features to let go of. If the price comes in lower than expected they can choose to pocket the savings or invest them in upgrades. All of this planning is undertaken and decided upon before the project actually begins.

The benefit to the client is that any nasty surprises come out of the consultant’s pocket. The benefit to consultants is that they are paid for their effort. (Remember that word, effort.)

Model Three - Your Model - Pay For Results

Pay For Results is similar to Pay Per Project, except that instead of being compensated for one’s work the consultant is paid based on the performance of the outcomes of the work. There are two sub-models: Flat Rate, where all projects cost the same, and Per Difficulty of Outcomes, where the compensation is based on how hard it will be to achieve an agreed upon result.

Using SEO as an example, in Pay For Results a consultant is not paid until specific end results are attained such as an agreed upon keyword achieving a specific search engine ranking or until an agreed upon document achieves a certain level of daily traffic.

Pay For Results is often confused with Pay For Performance. Pay For Performance is largely used in professional sports. For example a NFL football player is paid to produce a high level of performance in football. If a player cannot achieve certain standards he will be replaced. However, while that player does meet the required standard he is paid. There might be a results based component to his work, such as a bonus for making the playoff, but overall NFL and other professional sports players get paid whether they win or loose. Even the last place player at a PGA golf tournament or IPT pool tournament gets paid.

The problem that I have with Pay For Results in SEO is that Internet marketing is a dynamic and fast evolving field. A tweak of the algorithm by Google can lay asunder weeks, months or even years of work. New techniques are being discovered or devised every day. Pay For Results only works as a professional model when the business environment is stable and predictable or if the compensation is radically elevated or huge.

In SEO Pay For Results is the realm of desperate consultants trying to get business at all costs and of charlatan clients hoping to get something for nothing. Negotiations tend not to be about devising an effective project at a fair price, but about consultants and clients trying to outmaneuver each other.

<snip>

[edited by: caveman at 3:23 pm (utc) on Sep. 5, 2006]
[edit reason] TOS #10 [/edit]

petra

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3069030 posted 9:00 pm on Sep 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

The nature of SEO (long term) will inevitably lead you to the consulting model mentioned above. Whatever you do though make sure you benchmark your client's site before you start work and make sure you let them know where they stand at that time. This will make your job much easier when you try to convince them that the improved results are attributed to your work.

caveman

WebmasterWorld Senior Member caveman us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3069030 posted 3:33 pm on Sep 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

Komodo_Tale does a good job of outlining the three basic approaches to pricing in the field.

However, IMO it is neither fair not accurate to characterize the Pay For Results model as "the realm of desperate consultants trying to get business at all costs and of charlatan clients".

Some of the top providers in the field have this kind of arrangement with some clients. Their clients enjoy the benefit of only paying for success; the providers participate in the upside (i.e., a percentage of the new business they helped create), but also risk not getting paid at all, if they do not succeed. The approach is not for everybody, but it's a viable and at times preferred model, being used by highly professional SEO's and upstanding clients.

There are sleazy SEO and clients employing all three of the models outlined.

kaz

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3069030 posted 3:46 pm on Sep 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

my pay for performance model isn't based on rankings but a percentage of sales. in certain circumstances that has worked well for me as an seo and the client. i think it is a better alternative than basing pay on rankings achieved.

econman

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3069030 posted 3:52 pm on Sep 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

It strikes me that the Pay for Performance model has another flaw: it creates an incentive for the SEO to indulge in risky tactics, with the client bearing the downside risk if those tactics backfire and result in hurting the site's rankings.

Worst case scenario: the site shoots to the top, stays there long enough to convince the site owner to pay the SEO firm, then the trickery is discovered by the SE's, the site is penalized by the SE's, plunging in the SERPs or losing all of its traffice from one or more SEs.

It seems to me that anyone with a substantial investment in their site should avoid this compensation model, unless they are extremely knowledgeable about SEO (in which case why would they hire a firm?) and they have 100% confidence in the SEO firm's honesty (e.g. they're absolutely certain that all of the techniques to be used and the associated risks have been fully disclosed).

creepychris

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3069030 posted 4:12 pm on Sep 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think it would be better to charge per the increase in search engine traffic overall. Think thousands of keywords generating three or four referals daily instead of '$5.00 for this one keyword that I am going to optimize for'.

Webwork

WebmasterWorld Administrator webwork us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3069030 posted 4:13 pm on Sep 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

Prospective Client: "Does your pay for performance plan include a remedy for wrecking our website's existing standing in the search engines?"

SEO Service Provider: "Well, no, if your webpages rise up - we share the gain - but if your pages disappear from the SERPs due to our incompetence, costing you $$,$$$ we don't share the pain. We only take credit for success. Not getting paid for our (shoddy) work is pain enough for us."

Sorry, but I don't agree that "not getting paid" is pain/motivation enough when the SEO not only fails to succeed but, instead, manages to succeed greatly in failing.

A consumer of SEO services should avoid contract terms that protect the SEO's interests in success and protects the SEO's interests in miserable failure, too. It's not enough that the SEO doesn't get paid IF what they do is ruin your existing standings. That's called malpractice and there ought to be a remedy.

That said, is any company writing SEO malpractice insurance? I'd love to read the insurance contract.

weeks

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3069030 posted 5:02 pm on Sep 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

This even came up in the pre-web days. My printer wanted to publish a catalog for one of my clients, a wholesaler of industrial supplies. The client wasn't in the catalog biz--they sold their stuff to retailers, that sold the stuff to the users. (Readers here are probably picturing me typing this from my rocking chair on the front porch of the nursing home...)

Printer said they would print, layout, mail, etc, for free for piece of the action. We even had a meeting on this. It was sooooooo stupid.

rogerd

WebmasterWorld Administrator rogerd us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3069030 posted 5:17 pm on Sep 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

Pay for performance made more sense before there was a sandbox and when results were more predictable and more quickly achieved. There was a time when one could design a page properly for a particular search engine and be relatively confident of it ranking within a month. (Obviously, some terms were tougher than others, but one could generally estimate the difficulty of a term.)

Today, rankings are far less predictable and high rankings can take far longer to achieve. Few true professionals would be willing to perform work now and be compensated many months (or years) later. If nothing else, client credit risk argues against such an approach - do you really think it's wise to extend many months of "credit" to your client? In essence, any "work now, pay later" approach involves offering lengthy payment terms to your client.

I wouldn't argue with a performance bonus of some kind based on traffic, conversions, or even rankings, as long as the consultant is compensated properly for the work performed at time of delivery. I agree with the members who have suggested that a 100% pay-for-rankings deal is far too likely to yield to short-term risky behavior.

To my mind, good SEO is all about building a solid base that works both for users and search engines - proper navigation and page structure, content that draws organic linkage, strategic promotion on other sites, etc. This isn't likely to yield flashy short-term rankings jumps, but over time will yield ever-increasing amounts of traffic. Focusing on ranking for a handful of keywords is less likely to produce steady traffic increases than doing well on thousands of "long tail" searches.

davidof

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3069030 posted 5:42 pm on Sep 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

> SEO Service Provider: "Well, no, if your webpages rise up - we share the gain - but if your pages disappear from the SERPs due to our incompetence, costing you $$,$$$ we don't share the pain. We only take credit for success. Not getting paid for our (shoddy) work is pain enough for us."

Unfortunately this is the business model that has been employed by the majority of CEOs in the US / UK over the last few years. In fact they have added a twist. If I managed to boost the share price over the next quarter I can cash in my options, if I blow-up the business I take my golden parachute. Sweet.

I think a compensation model based on some increase in qualified traffic has merit though - either through the new traffic funneling to some kind of outcome - purchase, contact etc or through the SEO being paid a % of increased revenue. As an earlier poster said you need to have a good baseline of how the site is currently performing.

McMohan

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3069030 posted 6:22 pm on Sep 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

chots, I have been running my business on just the same model as you explained for about 4 years now. As with all models, it has its own pros and cons, but the pros that outweighed the cons, made us stick to that model and quite enjoy doing so. I thought that model was our USP, not any more IMO, now that it is a WebmasterWorld homepage news :-p

Employed the right way and in right spirit, makes this model a great way to work with a client, and has client interests at heart. The months when a site isn't doing quite well, client gets to pay less (quite rightly so), and when it is doing great, client pays more (again the way it should be). It offers an incentive to the SEO to perform better. And yes, for the lazy ones like me it is a cool way to avoid doing reports after reports and show man hours ;-) (a side benefit best taken as a pun)

Its the PPC of SEO side.

pageoneresults

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3069030 posted 6:38 pm on Sep 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

Pay Per Project with a possible revenue share incentive. There are fixed costs that need to be covered and I surely wouldn't want those hanging out there "on credit". Here is my monthly retainer fee and then here is what I'd like to have in regards to revenue share.

Always bill in advance. I usually do three months. Terms are due upon receipt. There is no 30, 60, 90 to deal with. Keeps the cash flow going and minimizes overhead too.

caveman

WebmasterWorld Senior Member caveman us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3069030 posted 7:54 pm on Sep 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

IMO there are good and bad aspects to both the Project and Performance approaches that a blended approach addresses.

Here is a real world case: Client approaches an SEO/SEM, initially wanting to pay the project cost (five figure fee) and retain the right to recover all damages on the downside if things go wrong. Success would add literally millions to the client's income over the course of the next twelve months. Serious declines in traffic could cost millions. Essentially, the client is offering the SEO/SEM an upside that is limted to a five figure fee, yet asks them to accept a downside risk measured in millions, should traffic tank. Chances of getting a top SEO/SEM to do that: Hopeless. ;-)

Resolution: The parties worked it out with a structure of a flat fee plus bonuses at milestones: A win win for all, with a definable maximum cost to the client, that they will be happy to pay if the milestones are reached. The client's downside protection? No fee for the SEO/SEM. SEO/SEM's have only time and knowledge to work with. With respect to Webwork, if the downside for an SEO/SEM firm (most of which are relatively small) is that the effort fails and the firm is not paid, that is a powerful motivation. Small businesses cannot afford to lose out on fees covering weeks or months of solid work. A few of those and a small company runs the risk of no longer being viable. Ya, that is motivating to most business people. ;-)

The notion that downside recovery should be built in is, on it's face, seemingly reasonable. But in the real world, it is hardly workable. For one thing, no SEO/SEM with a brain would even consider a deal with unlimited downside, unless there was also comparable, unlimited upside. The problem is, not many clients want to offer unlimited upside via profit participation.

And realistically, the likelihood of proving true negligence or malpractice and recovering damages is very small. (That is really only protection against goofballs doing really shady stuff that is provably bad.) ;-)

If clients are to succeed, they need to avail themselves of the best talent, and manage risk accordingly. But that is just business.

When it comes to hiring external SEM help, IMO, the savviest clients are those who are wise enough to understand that a comparable alternative to hiring an external SEO/SEM is to hire in-house help. If they do that, and follow the advice of their in-house employees, and the site tanks, they have no recourse except to fire the internal SEO's. Certainly they would not sue them for tens of millions.

It's all about resources and risk.

In-house SEM's are valuable; increasingly essential in fact, for larger firms. OTOH, the advantage of external help is the cross pollinization and depth of experience that top independent SEM's offer. So in fact, what the smartest clients do (if they can afford it) is to hire internal and external SEM's, take the external input under advisement, and test their way into everything.

Smart business people, managing risk intelligently, in other words. ;-)

Webwork

WebmasterWorld Administrator webwork us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3069030 posted 9:41 pm on Sep 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

For one thing, no SEO/SEM with a brain would even consider a deal with unlimited downside, unless there was also comparable, unlimited upside.

Yet, isn't "unlimited downside" exactly the risk that (an incompetent) SEO presents to a client?

If it's brainless for the SEO to assume "unlimited downside" risk then it's equally brainless for the client to assume all downside risk. IF I was representing a client I would likely argue for including a provision that should traffic drop by >20% following an "optimization" then the SEO would be required to buy traffic until the damage could be undone. (I know you SEO's will love that idea, but it's an idea that ought to be aired.)

And realistically, the likelihood of proving true negligence or malpractice and recovering damages is very small.

In the right circumstances I could make a case for SEO malpractice by: 1) Civil "discovery" of all information about changes you made or steps you took; 2) Submit that information to an experienced SEO; 3) Get an opinion that the original SEO deviated from acceptable standards of SEO practice by doing - or not doing - A,B & C and that those facts were likely a material factor in bringing about a loss of pages or ranking; and, 4) Get to a jury by virtue of that expert opinion.

It will problematic to argue, as a defense, that a plaintiff's SEO cannot explain why a website/page rose up, fell or disappeared from the SERPs. If an SEO expert witness cannot reasonably explain the action of the SERPs then what was the defendant SEO selling to the client? A right to payment for an unexplainable improvement in a website's performance?

I see interesting times ahead for those whose fortunes rise and fall with the ranking of webpages in organic SERPs. Be careful what you sell. Consumer fraud might just be the first count of a multi-count civil action lawsuit if someone's website tanks after it is "optimized". The before and after traffic numbers, and revenue numbers, will tell an intersting story to a jury. Enter this field, of offering SEO services, with due circumspection.

[edited by: Webwork at 9:55 pm (utc) on Sep. 5, 2006]

cabowabo

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3069030 posted 10:20 pm on Sep 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

Can't we just make this real easy?

Pay By Performance = Affilate Marketing

Set up an affiliate program for your client. Put yourself at the top and do a two tier setup. You will get action on everything that passes through.

Do your SEO and recruit.

Wait 90 days. Open the envelope from your client. Say aloud, "Good God, look at the size of that check!"

Repeat.

Cabo

caveman

WebmasterWorld Senior Member caveman us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3069030 posted 11:50 pm on Sep 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

Isn't "unlimited downside" exactly the risk that (an incompetent) SEO presents to a client?

Not at all, IMO anyway. This is like saying that a trial lawyer presents unlimited downside risk to a client accused of a capital crime. In a philosophical sense, there is some truth buried in here. But in reality the risk is only in degree, and is greatly mitigated by judgement, experience, and common sense.

In the real world, doing deals is all about risk and reward, with common sense applied. So for example, in the case of hiring a lawyer, the solution is not to put the lawyer in jail for 20 years to life if the case goes south ... it's to hire a good lawyer, and exercise judgement when taking the lawyer's advice. :p Same with SEO/SEM.

And even in hiring a good lawyer there is still risk of outcome. Hiring a good lawyer does not mean that the the case has a positive outcome. Loss is still a risk in law and in business. One simply can't separate risk and reward from business and deal making.

If every lawyer faced modest upside and huge downside, there would only be hacks doing the work. As it is, something similar has happened to the medical profession, in part because the risk side of the equation has gotten quite high.

If it's brainless for the SEO to assume "unlimited downside" risk then it's equally brainless for the client to assume all downside risk.

Hehe. Another red herring. The client already is assuming unlimited downside risk. It is the client's Web site. The risk exists whether the SEO is hired or not. The site may tank just before, during or after the SEO/SEM is engaged, and it may or may not have anythig to do with the SEO's efforts. There may also be risk in not hiring an SEO. In many cases also, the risk has already been realized and the SEO is being called to address an issue.

There is of course a legitimate point about SEO malpractice: It exists. So for now, buyers must really beware. And confusing the matter, SEO malpractice is hard to define. A year ago I would have tried to associate 'black hat' behavior with malpractice, but these days, an increasing number of clients are asking about black hat techniques, since in some instances these techniques are increasingly used with substantial success and no significant consequence. Yesterday's "cloaking," for example, is today's "IP delivery."

Personally, I've landed on a way of dealing with this that my clients seem to like a lot, though it won't be for everybody. I do not do ANYTHING without a client's understanding and approval. Nothing. Amazing how effective simple teamwork and honest communication can be. The solution came to mind when I was talking with a potential client, just the two of us, after lawyers had almost killed the deal before it started. Go figure. ;)

BTW chots, is any of this helpful to you, or have we gone far astray?

eZeB

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3069030 posted 1:20 am on Sep 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

Interesting discussion. SEOs can't be held responsible for algorithm changes or other capricious behavior by the SEs.

I have often inserted an 'extra' clause in client contracts to the effect that I am not responsible for penalties or 'other actions by the search engines' beyond my control, if I sense difficulties with the client.

Whether that will actually hold up in court is another matter, but if a client is unhappy with something that is beyond my control, and is threatening lawyers, I tell him to read the contract and lets make an appointment ASAP to talk about your website rankings.

That generally solves the problem right there. Keeping clients informed and educated solves those problems before they occur.

I suspect that since there are few hard and fast rules, and such a divergence of opinion and results, not to mention hundreds of factors, it would be very difficult indeed to pursue a negligence lawsuit.

And even those who do what is widely views as 'bad' get away with it for a long time. Stuffed alt tags? Hidden text? Off theme links? to mention a few. Anyone could find dozens of examples either way.

Komodo_Tale

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3069030 posted 4:19 am on Sep 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

Wow, this took off. :) Let's see if I can stir the pot some more. ;)

Okay. . . . I will admit that not everyone who accepts a pay for results contract is desperate nor that everyone who wants to hire an SEO and pay based on results is a charlatan, but it still raises a bloody big red warning flag in my book.

As for negative consequences to the consultant for negative results, this does not have to be covered in the contract because if a consultant performs actions outside of the bounds of the contract that negatively impacts the client or if the consultant knowingly or negligently performs actions that have a detrimental impact on the client and if that same consultant did not disclose prior to signing the contract the volatile nature of his or her methods, or if the consultant does not disclose that any SEO contains an element of risk, then the client can file a civil suit. The contract would most certainly be voided and compensatory and punitive damages would be awarded. Of course this would involve attorneys, time, money, expert witnesses and so forth, but assuming that said consultant did something stupid he or she will be twisted into a cylindrical hole guided by a spiral-grooved path.

I hope everyone has business insurance.

<snip>

[edited by: caveman at 4:29 am (utc) on Sep. 6, 2006]
[edit reason] No commercial links please, per TOS. :-) [/edit]

pageoneresults

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3069030 posted 8:26 am on Sep 6, 2006 (gmt 0)

Retain the right to recover all damages on the downside if things go wrong.

This is definitely not something that would be part of "my contract". First of all, I'm not going to be involved in something that is going to bring unnecessary risk to the client, that's not "my business model".

Second of all, I cannot offer that type of guarantee since I have absolutely no control over the constant flux of the indexes. Sure, I'm going to assert a "little influence" but there are "absolutely no guarantees".

I know from past and present projects that the consulting services I perform will increase your revenues and become a win/win situation for all involved, including the consumer.

You are paying me for my "professional advice". How "you choose" to act on that advice is now your responsibility. I'm not going to make recommendations to you that would jeopardize your campaign. I'll discuss them with you as a courtesy but that is as far as I go. ;)

Be sure to include a Indemnifications clause in your contractual agreement. And remember, it is always in "your best interest" to consult with legal counsel on issues such as these. :)

Ride45

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3069030 posted 3:05 am on Sep 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

Your only options are to bill hourly, or scope out a project with clear objectives and quote by the project, which is really just an estimate of your hours anyway.

Doing things on a performance/results basis CANNOT ever work.

Roadblock #1: You're the best SEO in the world, follow all webmaster best practices and guidelines for SEO, yet no your actions are solely dependent on the actions of something you have no control over - a search engine.

Roadblock #2: You write a 60 page SEO manual for a client with explicit recommendations. If they follow everything in it, then in theory they should achieve a top ranking result. Are you going to contractually hold your client to executing everything in your 60 page doc? With what timeline? What if aligning resources to execute your recommendations takes your client 3 years?

If you decide you want to go with a performance model - have a good one...

P.S. If you can afford it get insurance.. you absolutely should have insurance without question... although I would love to see a case study if there have ever been any successful suits. I am not a lawyer, but I can see a judge throwing an SEO claim case away..how can you attribute the failure of a business and financial loss to a free listing in SERPS.. there are just too many factors outside the control of the SEO to be able to hold them accountable for any losses. Companies should just do dilligence first.. Look for other SEO success stories as a measure of your risk before you get into bed with a SEO.

jdancing

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3069030 posted 3:31 am on Sep 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

I would sure hate to be an full time SEO in today's Google centric world. What to do with a potential client with a new site stuck in the sandbox...NEXT!

I know many good SEOs are taking their skills, buying promising sites and increasing the rankings to turn a profit in the real web world.

pageoneresults

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3069030 posted 3:50 am on Sep 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

I know many good SEOs are taking their skills, buying promising sites and increasing the rankings to turn a profit in the real web world.

Actually what you do is find 6-8 "really good clients". Service them as if they were your own sites. Look at it as a long term relationship. Client and SEO should be prepared for that. You need to be selective in this type of business model. Some clients are just not meant for "long term relationships".

That's for the small individual SEO Consultant. Now, put together a team of individuals who specialize in different aspects of Internet marketing in general, and you have a winning formula. One individual SEO Consultant can now branch out and provide additional services expanding their client base to 15-20 "really good" clients.

You base your pricing on what the client would pay to actually hire an in-house person and/or persons to perform what you'll be doing for them as an off-site consultant. Look at the average yearly salary for each person's specialty and then bring that into the equation when providing a retainer fee schedule to the client. Don't undersell your services and be careful about overselling.

As an example, a quality asp programmer in Southern California might earn upwards of $100k in 1st, 2nd year gigs.

A quality SEO in California might earn upwards of $100k in 1st, 2nd year gigs.

Now, bring in a designer at $100k, marketing director at $150k, etc. and, as you can see, the total earnings of each person add up rather quickly. You're looking at $450k to put together a quality team of four (04) professionals - experts at what they do. It wouldn't be really far fetched to bill 6-8 "really good clients" at $75-$100k per year. And remember, this is all relative to your geographic location. And of course, your capabilities as a professional. :)

McMohan

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3069030 posted 5:35 pm on Sep 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

I see the concept of Managed Internet Marketing gaining popularity, which I hope is going to be a viable strategy for the future. This is how it works -

1. You agree to be paid by leads and conversions.
2. By the nature of business and average conversion value, you decide the value of a lead and a conversion. There is a wide range between selling a pen and finalizing a BPO project.
3. You decide what tricks in online marketing you want to play, SEO, PPC, banners, email, newsletter, the web 2.0 (blog, RSS, forums), affiliates, what have you. Ultimately you will be paid $X for a lead and $X+Y for a conversion.

I am sure many members here are already practicing this approach.

Jane_Doe

WebmasterWorld Senior Member jane_doe us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3069030 posted 6:09 pm on Sep 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

how can I charge a client on basis of rank achieved on a particular keyword I mean $/ keyword.

If you want to work on that model, as others have said do affiliate marketing. Then you not only get income, you own the sites, which may also end up being be worth a lot of money (if you ever wanted to sell them).

WebGuerrilla

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3069030 posted 1:15 am on Sep 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

Your only options are to bill hourly, or scope out a project with clear objectives and quote by the project, which is really just an estimate of your hours anyway.

Anyone in this industry billing by the hour should seriously consider finding a new industry.

Doing things on a performance/results basis CANNOT ever work.

I would have replied sooner, but I was busy sending out invoices for August performance bonuses. :)

Roadblock #1: You're the best SEO in the world, follow all webmaster best practices and guidelines for SEO, yet no your actions are solely dependent on the actions of something you have no control over - a search engine.

If you're the best SEO in the world, you probably aren't following all best practices, but that's a topic for another post...

If you're really good, and you have a decent amount of experience, the control issue isn't really an issue. Search engines really don't freak out that often. And when they do, you just take some time to figure out what has changed, and then adjust accordingly.

The real challenge with a performance based model is having enough experience to accurately predict the probability of success with each potential project. You don’t have to be right every time. You just need to be right enough times to come out ahead. And if you’re coming from a “bill by the hour” model, that’s not too hard to do.

Roadblock #2: You write a 60 page SEO manual for a client with explicit recommendations. If they follow everything in it, then in theory they should achieve a top ranking result. Are you going to contractually hold your client to executing everything in your 60 page doc?

Of course you are going to require the client to execute your strategy in a specified amount of time. And you are also going to stipulate that failing to execute the strategy in the timeline specified will cause the contract to shift to a substantial monthly retainer until the strategy has been fully implemented. (That’s one of those experience things)

What if aligning resources to execute your recommendations takes your client 3 years?

If you followed my advice, you would collect a nice retainer fee for 3 years. If you didn’t, you would be screwed. You wouldn’t make any money, but you would walk away with a new appreciation of the importance of evaluating a potential client’s resources and level of commitment to the project. (Again, we’re back to experience).

Komodo_Tale

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3069030 posted 12:26 am on Sep 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hey there WebGuerrilla!

I would have replied sooner, but I was busy sending out invoices for August performance bonuses.:)

I too love performance based bonuses. But you have to admit there is a big difference between getting only your basic fee and not getting paid anything when the ranking or traffic levels do not meet or exceed a pre-specified level.

I will always do the best job I possibly can based on our mutually agreed upon contract, and even though I will do a great job for you Florida II could strike tomorrow.

Given this market and the demand for services I choose to accept only those jobs where I get paid for my work. If I get a bonus for better than expected results, that's sweet too.

Komodo_Tale

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3069030 posted 12:37 am on Sep 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

FYI: I have begun a related thread at [webmasterworld.com ] in the Suporters' Forum.

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