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What to charge for an SEO Project?

Client wants to shift some inhouse work to contract basis

6:38 pm on Sep 24, 2002 (gmt 0)

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

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I finished my first and only SEO contract a few months ago. My job was to lay out a plan for the web sites and the company that hired me was supposed to have an internal person implement all of the changes I recommended.

After that contract ended I decided to pursue affiliate work on my own sites better instead of any new SEO work. However, the client from the contract called today. They are laying off the internal person who was going to implement the SEO plan, and want to know if I would be interested in doing the rest of the SEO work on a consulting basis over the next year or so. I am interested, but want some advice on what to charge.

The type of work left to do would be ODP and other directory submissions; creating static, content rich, product pages; running the Webtrends reports; checking rankings; redesigning the home page; coordinating changes with the design firm for the parent company's web site; etc. Java knowledge is required as the core application is a fairly complicated set of Java programs.

I already have a number of DMOZ listings and top ten web pages in the major search engines for the types of keywords that match the products the client sells, plus a background in programming that includes Java training, so I have some fairly unique qualifications for the project. Plus, when I did the first part of the contract I helped them to remove the spam code from the previous SEO firm and made a few other tweaks, which got their two main sites bumped from PR0 to PR6s in Google. So I think I have a good track record with them to start off with.

My questions are:

If it works out, what would be a reasonable rate for me to charge for this project? Should I charge by the hour or flat rate? (I did the first part by the hour and thought that worked out well, but I'm open to other suggestions.

What would be the going rate they would be charged if they hired someone else to do this type of work?

7:43 pm on Sept 24, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Haven't done SEO for clients yet, but I build databases. One thing I would say is if you are relying on the client for any input - eg, material for those content rich pages - make sure that portion of the contract is on an hourly rate, or at least double the time you think it will take.

Sure as eggs you'll spend twice the time you anticipate just chasing them up for material.

9:09 pm on Sept 24, 2002 (gmt 0)

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

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Yes, after working on my own sites and sites like my kids' school and daycare where I'm the only webmaster, it was strange to work at a company where a minor change to a web site may take weeks to implement and need 3 layers of department approvals. Every task during the first project phase took much longer than I had originally scheduled. That is a good reminder to make the task estimates much longer this time.
6:56 am on Sept 25, 2002 (gmt 0)

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If you charged by the hour last time perhaps you should do the same this time.

Do you need to quote up front or could you invoice regularly, eg fortnightly? That way you can just bill as you go. Obviously this works better with clients you have a relationship with - which it sounds like you do.

As you're invoicing regularly they'll also be able to keep track of how much they're spending.

7:09 am on Sept 25, 2002 (gmt 0)

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My clients like end of month invoices. I also include the original spreadsheet/estimate with each invoice showing whats been done and whats outstanding ,hrs worked, add. costs, % complete, project cost to date, etc. they love this bit :)

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