Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from

Forum Moderators: LifeinAsia

Message Too Old, No Replies

Performance Based SEO

List of Caveats

3:18 pm on Dec 21, 2009 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

10+ Year Member

joined:Aug 26, 2003
votes: 0

Do you offer performance based SEO to your clients?

If you do, what caveats do you add to the contract?

e.g. on page optimization recommendations must be implemented within 5 working days, etc, etc...

7:54 am on Dec 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

Moderator from AU 

WebmasterWorld Administrator anallawalla is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

joined:Mar 3, 2003
votes: 21

I wouldn't advise any SEO to make such an offer but if they did then they should require the client to notify the SEO of any proposed changes before they are implemented.

Back when I was at an agency, we often found that a failure to improve rankings was sometimes caused by the website not only being updated but sometimes with a completely new website. In some cases their web person is unaware of the SEO work and when they make an update, all the SEO work gets wiped out.

2:40 am on Dec 27, 2009 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member whitey is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Jan 28, 2005
votes: 27

Do you offer performance based SEO to your clients?

As a business owner looking for top quality SEO services , I am fascinated by what answers may come forward. SEO's have to sell their services , but overselling , or playing games of " marketing spin " that create failure in the eyes of a client are clearly unacceptable or indeed potentially downright deceptive and therefore indefensible.

Every healthy business relationship starts with a declaration of truth about what the service provider represents to do , what they are capable of and what the customer can reasonably expect from that declaration. Some qualification must follow bearing in mind not everybody is equal in their resource and delivery capability.

So , on a positive light , can i turn this question around a little to give some professional SEO folks some food for thought and btw , I'm no SEO contracts lawyer. But here goes with a few basic that stick out in my mind :

First , let's not start with caveats. They are important , qualifying secondaries. But , let's look at what commitments can be built on to form an SEO contract or expectation ....

1. The contracted task [ SEO ] is to provide services that create traffic from search engine listings [ SERP's ].

Performance measurements / KPI's sit as an agreed set of goals that are reasonable and achievable. Performance [ income , traffic , conversions , yield , time scale , cost [ fixed or estimates ] need to match reasonable expectations.

A due dilligence phase should be used as a means to communicate this between the client and yourself , the service provider. This will really uncover what you both know about the task at hand. I recommend all formal agreements should flow from a process of due dilligence. This in itself would be a formative stage and some beta phase activity may strengthen the agreed estimates for performance.

2. Methods : An outline of the various methods and processes to be used.

3. In my view all SEO services must include a list of " can do's " and a list of " can't do's " . Simply ask the site owner what they want and respond with what you can and can't do. These are your disclaimers and caveats.

Clearly , any SEO does not not fully understand the whims of the SE's plans , nor the competitive elements they are up against.

Any professional will always be respected for statements of limitation. Provided it makes sense.

Equally an SEO must provide some specific scope to the level of their commitment , otherwise they don't deserve to be engaged. Spin should be ignored.

6:45 am on Dec 28, 2009 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

10+ Year Member

joined:Mar 29, 2007
votes: 0

If your performance based SEO is upto the level of inquiry forms received or goods sold (not just organic traffic to the site), then I would recommend that you start your own website and sell leads to these companies as then you would be better paid by the same companies as well as have the power to sell them to their competitors, if they are not giving a good price.

PS: Personally, I would not do performace based SEO NOW due to the highly volatile nature of the SERP's with personalization, real-time and all other things coming in and tweaking the results daily.

11:47 pm on Dec 29, 2009 (gmt 0)

Senior Member

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

joined:Apr 26, 2004
votes: 1

When I do SEO work for people I explain my services in the form of a medical metaphor. I explain, that if you had some terrible disease like cancer and went to the doctor for help the doctor would use all the science and medicine available to help you and in some cases you would be fully cured, in some cases you would live many more years, and some cases you wouldn't make it an extra day. The point being that the doctor uses what they believe to be the best science and tools available, but in the end you are still dealing with variables and elements you simply can't control and things that can't be predicted occur.

I tell clients SEO is very similar to this. I have a whole bag of tools, techniques, best science available, etc, but I can't control every variable and I can't definitively control the search engine and decide what keywords and position this person comes up under no matter how hard I try. I say it is best to say that I influence, but I don't control what happens. Sometimes I will be successful, sometimes I won't, but that doesn't mean, just like the doctor, I didn't perform a value and service and do everything in my power to achieve the best outcome possible.

In addition, I also sell only partial services. I explain that I will do an initial consultation and work on a site, but my projects also include training the client to do a lot of the work themselves. Once they start doing that work I move to an advisory role and occasional consultant if needed. I find this works wonderfully for me.

12:50 am on Feb 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

New User

5+ Year Member

joined:Feb 1, 2010
votes: 0

I recently came into this situation. A client wanted a complete website overhaul and ongoing SEO. After providing pricing and lengthy coversations he said yes to the website redesign, but wanted to discuss an incentive-based SEO contract. One thing to note is that I will be handling content edits, so there are no issues with the someone else doing or not doing their job.

I too would recommend to avoid this at all costs (and I love Fortune Hunters' analogy). However, the client I have is rare in the fact that he was very candid during the sales cycle and always provided me with honest answers. He also did not try to negotiate the price of the website redesign. Since his business works on 100% contingency (you can guess what he does for a living), his point was that he wanted me to always be incentivized to work hard on his behalf.

I could appreciate his point of view and he was also very nice in the way he approached the subject. He basically said that he wanted me to come up with a pricing model where I didn't feel slighted or had to worry about income. So here is what I came up with. Note: figures used are strictly for illustration purposes...

Month 1 - 6: $100/month (full price)
Month 7+: 5% off for page 2-4 ranking, 10% off for page 5-7, 40% off for page 8+

The discounted amount is then earned back after page 1 results are obtained. For example, if months 7 & 8 the site is on page 5, but gets to page 1 in month 9, I would get the $20 back ($10 for month 7 and $10 for month 8) PLUS I would get an additional 20% bonus on that money that was withheld - so I would net $24. So I always have the potential to earn back the full difference. The bonus is essentially like the interest on the principal.

Hopefully I've explained this in a manner that can be understood. I tell you in a few months if I'm a fool:)

Although I don't like the idea of deferring earned income, it definitely keeps me motivated to give it my full attention - which is what the client was trying to achieve.