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How would you pay for SEO work for a site?

     
2:05 pm on Jan 8, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Am considering paying for SEO to be done to a website and initially considered paying for a fixed number of hours per month to be spent on developing the site.

However it strikes me that it might be possible to structure an arrangement where the SEO was paid by the traffic they bring, or perhaps the rankings they achieve, assuming it is desirable traffic / rankings? However, I bet, as with many things, the devil will be in the detail!

Does anyone have any experience paying an SEO company to do SEO on a website?
1:57 am on Jan 9, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Most of these snake oil salespersons* will want their money up front. They can promise to improve your metrics, but all too often nothing happens, or it does not last.
*SEO these days is not as predictable as it once was ... the search engines have moved way beyond those weary techniques
1:22 pm on Jan 9, 2019 (gmt 0)

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I have heard of people being paid by rankings achieved, rather than time worked, both have advantages and disadvantages. I have worked with a company paying an hourly rate which hasn't been too bad and does not encourage black hat.

tangor, yes SEO is not so predictable indeed, but I am not sure I am ready to embrace the PPC only route yet.
9:00 pm on Jan 9, 2019 (gmt 0)

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paid by rankings achieved


I'm not sure that is much good either, as something that gets you on page one tomorrow might crash and burn later, and it is a lot easier to stay on page 2 than to get back there if some algorithmic penalty based on what your "SEO" has done dumps you on page 52.

It also raises the question of what term(s) you want to rank for, and of particular relevance to that question is that keyword/key-term ranking isn't the simple thing it once was. More diverse and verbose searches are the rule now, and even key-term searches that appear straightforward - Red Widgets, for example - could be looking for the product, information about the product, or services related to the product. Being on page one for information searches may not be much consolation for selling nothing.

While paying for results looks like a Good Idea, it might be difficult in practice to set anything up that actually delivers something worth having.
11:27 am on Jan 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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The op query was (paraphrased) "Can I hire by results and split the profits?"

SEO guys and gals probably won't go that route... nothing lasts forever ... worse, what if they fail? Pretty sure they would want cash in the bank for their work.

One can TRY, of course!
1:26 pm on Jan 10, 2019 (gmt 0)

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Hi tangor - one can indeed try.

I am at a bit of a crossroads, I can add content, lightly sprinkled with keyterms, (and have been doing that) but I don't have much time to do more. On its own it does seem to be helping G organic traffic, but I am aware one change to the algorithm and all that work is potentially wasted. And G seems to be changing their algorithm more and more frequently.

And the other aspect to the crossroads is ppc, we spend on G ads and they bring us traffic, there are no algo changes to worry about, just pay to play. In a number of ways it is quite convenient. And both SEO and PPC cost money, there is no such thing as a free lunch.

I am aware that this a common issue for companies, to do SEO, to do PPC, to do a combination of the two or to do one of them only?
6:52 am on Jan 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@Mark_A ....

Keywords/terms don't have near as much value as they once did. G, in particular, is looking at the CONTENT and whether the result is good for the user query. It is suggested that forced or artificial use of keywords might actually produce undesired results!

Content should be natural, useful, and in many cases, "knowledge box" size as that is serp zero---where all of us want to live. :)
9:53 am on Jan 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@tangor - I don't think we have achieved "knowledge box" yet, my articles tend to be between 3 - 400 words, I assume that would be too large for the knowledge box?
1:58 pm on Jan 11, 2019 (gmt 0)

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It really depend on what exactly you mean by SEO? Are you looking for digital pr (research/studies etc) which will earn links? Do you need someone to give you technical seo advice? Do you need some content marketing?

I must get around 5 or 6 calls every week asking us for "seo" with budgets of 250/month. For that they expect everything. They want us to take care of their technical seo issues, help with their website development/enhancements and also want content and link building. Its just impossible and this is the issue and why the industry has such a bad name.

One of the things i implemented for our site to hep some of these companies is joint venture seo. In its simplest form, we discuss the project with the client, and, if we like his business idea or project, we will negotiate a % of the company and in return they get a full service digital marketing agency helping them out. It sometimes fails (9/10 times due to egos) but on a few occasions it has worked amazingly well. As we now own part f the company, the client is assured we wont take any silly shortcuts (we wont anyway) and they leave us to get on with it while they deal with all the other aspects of the business whether its a service or product based. The only thing i would say is that consider that for the first 6 months or so, the marketing company is pretty much working for nothing so we can be quite picky on who with do this with. There is also an issue of the ownership of the domain (we insist on owning the domain for the first 3 years at least).

There is also quite a bit of initial legal/setup costs etc so its not as easy as it sounds but for those big juicy startup projects, it can be perfect.
3:00 am on Jan 14, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@Mark_A ... knowledge box is as big as g or Bing will display on the front page... both have a link for "more" if required.

All that means is the article can be defined in a paragraph that "answers the query".

Writing to something that simple just to be in the serps is an art... or as simple as answering a question in a concise, direct, and as few words as possible, way.

And then dearly hope the user clicks through to your website to ... whatever else you wish to achieve.
9:18 am on Jan 14, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@Shai, yes your way seems different, I expect negotiations to establish terms would be very detailed.

@tangor, I will have a go then to write concise answers and hope that 1) the question is asked and 2) the asker eventually arrives at our website ! :-)
3:49 am on Jan 15, 2019 (gmt 0)

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@Mark_A,

If you can solve that, DO NOT SHARE IT! Every Tom, Dick and Harry will rush to copy your "magic bullet!".
6:24 pm on Jan 15, 2019 (gmt 0)

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My 2 cents on how to pay them.

Have a tough interview, and decide on a metric to measure success. Whether it is increased impressions for organic searches, or a better average position for a specific set of keywords, conversions or what ever it is that you want to call a win.

Discuss the goal with them so they know what the target looks like. Determine with them how much time they need to spend per day/week/month to achieve the goal(s)

Then pay them for their time, which is really saying pay them for their expertise. A good SEO will likely spend more time on your project then they bill for, as most don't stop thinking about your project in traffic, the shower, the crapper, whatever.... But typically only track time while sitting at a keyboard.

Then give it time and watch your metric, if they don't meet the metric after a fair amount of time, then you need a new person. It isn't fair to ask someone to work and only pay them if you get the results you want. Sometimes you hire a dud, sometime you find a star, but a star won't shine as bright if he/she is being undervalued.

This is true of all industries, you don't hire a cook then tell him he only gets paid if people like his food. Instead you hire one using the best selection skills you have, you trust in your selection, and if people don't like his food you move on from them. They still get a paycheck though.
 

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