Jump to content

Cre8asiteforums Internet Marketing
and Conversion Web Design


Photo

One Off Seo - Is This A Viable Up Front Business Proposition?


  • Please log in to reply
31 replies to this topic

#1 send2paul

send2paul

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 2905 posts

Posted 28 November 2008 - 09:13 AM

Here it is.....

I'm finding more and more that I'm talking to people with business websites who haven't a clue about SEO, (or even how to spell it!). As soon as I've got into explaining that no-one is ever going to find their heavily ladened Javascript, whizzy animated & illustrated website, (that has hardly any words on it), they begin to sit up an take notice.

Now, I don't have the time, (and also the expertise!), to be a full-time SEO person and continously manage their SEO for them. But, I may have the time to do a "one-off" SEO for them. That's to say, I could point out the reasons why they should use keywords, and where and how they should use them etc.

If I was to be "up front" with them and say something like - "I could improve the possibilty of people being able to find your website in search engines compared to the present situation", and point put to them that I'm not a professional "SEO person", and will not be monitoring their keywords, their competitors websites etc, and will not be offering the type of services that more experienced SEO people/companies could offer..... is this a viable propostion?

Would folks go for a one-off fee to improve their website standing in search engines? How could I prove, (apart from telling them the reasons why no-one is visiting their website at the moment), that what I could do for them will increase traffic to their website? Would anyone be willing to pay just for knowledge that they don't have, (regarding the current non-visibility of their website in search engines), but that could possibly improve the performance of their website?

I could answer a lot of my own questions above - but I was just wondering if there are others here who have found themselves in the same/similar situations - and what are your experiences?

#2 EGOL

EGOL

    Professor

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 5419 posts

Posted 28 November 2008 - 09:39 AM

I believe that this is a viable service to offer to businesses in low competition niches or those who provide a specialized service in a specific geographic area.

You could charge by the hour.

I have done this for a couple of small websites of businesses who were owned by friends.

First showed them that they were invisible in search.

I educated them about keywords. Helped them pick keywords for their business. Instructed them about a page for each theme of their business. Instructed them about writing for search.

They sent me the new content.

We made no design changes other than adding a few calls to action on their site. Here's what we did..... Remove frames, rewrite title tags, inserted their new content. Gave them instructions for acquiring some low-hanging links.

THeir website traffic is 20x what it was.

They are not as competitive as I would like to see. They know what it would take to do that. But they are thrilled now that they are getting found in the search engines for searches on local terms (such as scranton autoglass) and that calls are now coming in from their website.

The only downside was that a couple local designers are not pleased that I revealed their ignorance.

#3 iamlost

iamlost

    The Wind Master

  • Site Administrators
  • 4610 posts

Posted 28 November 2008 - 10:47 AM

The only downside was that a couple local designers are not pleased that I revealed their ignorance.

This happens in all businesses. I used to enjoy outing competitors poor product, service, knowledge, without actually saying one bad word about them. ;)

Of course it is a perfectly viable service, Paul. You are offering to take an under performing enterprise and turn it around. Then leave. It is called trouble shooting. No reason not to be an SEO troubleshooter.

I'd sell two plans:
* a hands off review and suggestion package (the economy option) that they have to impliment.

* a full service review and then you apply the corrections. You could divide this to exclude/include copy if desired and know a good copywriter to subcontract.

Leave them with a follow on plan and further reading. Get them into the game and wave good bye. Given how Local search is mutating all over the place and how few folks have a handle on it I see 'rescues' as a growth sector.

Have SEO, will travel
send2paul, Londonish


#4 bwelford

bwelford

    Peacekeeper Administrator

  • Site Administrators
  • 9008 posts

Posted 28 November 2008 - 12:10 PM

Unfortunately the majority of web designers do not implement SE-friendly websites, so you're bound to step on some toes. However as Egol and iamlost have said, this is a very appropriate and much needed service.

I would suggest a slightly modified version of what iamlost has proposed. The Bronze package would be based on spotting the major stumbling blocks as far as the search engines are concerned. It would come in two strengths. Bronze View would provide a short written report of needed improvements that they would implement. Bronze Improve would include your making those improvements.

The Gold package would be the full review you had in mind. Gold View would provide a detailed report of needed improvements that they would implement. Gold Improve would include you and/or your partners making those improvements.

I think it is useful to offer a number of alternatives like this at different prices. This maximizes the chance that you will include something they are willing to pay for.

#5 EGOL

EGOL

    Professor

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 5419 posts

Posted 28 November 2008 - 01:55 PM

I think it is useful to offer a number of alternatives like this at different prices.

This is a great idea. You could structure the pages so that they could be purchased in sequence - each step puts them in better position. They could do one step per calendar quarter or on whatever schedule they want.

#6 send2paul

send2paul

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 2905 posts

Posted 28 November 2008 - 03:49 PM

Chaps - thank you for all this incredible input. :)

Personally, my doubts were raised about doing this because of all my time spent here....lol... :P and how the "strive for perfection" seemed always to be the key to be completely successful. Or, put it another way, "half baked SEO", seemed to be frowned upon as if I was going to commit some kind of sins to the great Gods of SEO! :angry:

However, the optimistic part of me kept saying "But these people, (website owners), really have no idea just how many people can't find their website - and haven't a clue how to do it". And, it seems my optimism, can be grounded, (and with a potential plan!), in that simple logic that anything that can be done to improve there website's traffic - must be a "good thing" :)

Interestingly, we could move into the field of "Pricing". I see we've talked about charging by the hour, or the "package", or the page. But, what exactly would one charge? How do you justify to a client who has no idea of what you're talking about that your fee of $X per hour/page/package is reasonable and correct? I suppose I could customize an analogy to whatever their own business is in order to try to sell the idea?

I do like these packages idea. I may see what I could dig up. I have a few people interested in my ramblings about SEO. I think I just need a some kind of framework to go back to them and see what they say?

I like what you said Egol about the website's you helped. The exact story about local search was an example I gave to someone about, (and this is my experience with one of my own websites), how Canadian Google.ca, (or .com), searchers like to filter out their search results from their friends "south of the border" - and that's by searching with town and state in the search reference, as well as the type of business etc they are searching for.

And I like the Bronze package Barry - the short written report. This would be the "written down" version of some of the SEO Monologues I've had with people. (It's usually a monologue as opposed to a conversation as they haven't a question or response in their heads to come back with! :P )

Yes Iamlost, I agree regarding "rescue services". When I first came to Cre8asite and was really keen on web design etc I took a trip to a local crafts fair. There, I picked up all the small businesses' business cards - and checked out their websites. Of course, the websites were appalling.... lol... :P - and it was then, after reading through and taking part in some of the Website Hospital posts/threads here, that I really thought there was a need for a "website doctor". But in those early days of learning when everything was still brand new, I didn't have enough experience to do anything.

But now I can leave the web design to the designers and potentially be able to sort out the "Get Me Seen In Search Engines" crowd :)

Okay, this all sounds very optimistic, (and so it should!), but can anyone see any potential pitfalls here? Are there any technicalities or legalities that I could be overlooking etc etc?

And please, if anyone else has tried this kind of thing before, join in the conversation here! :infinite-banana:

#7 EGOL

EGOL

    Professor

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 5419 posts

Posted 28 November 2008 - 04:26 PM

The two problems that I see are... 1) getting the companies to rewrite their content.... and 2) getting their current designer to give you access to the site...

When I did this there was some real snarling by the designer... they wanted me to give them lessons and they would do it. They didn't like my price for the lessons.

#8 send2paul

send2paul

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 2905 posts

Posted 28 November 2008 - 05:47 PM

Yeah - good points.

I suppose the re-writing of content could be part of one of the "packages"? Although I'd be reluctant to go down that route with the type of "service" I'm thinking of offering. I'd rather be pointing them towards what is wrong, then they can get their own content re-written using my advice - and then maybe checking it out.

I guess, I want to be a "hands off" SEO guy! I was thinking of just supplying the website owner with all the details to improve things, and it would be up to them to implement them - probably using their original design people to do it? (I can see problems with that though!). Hmmm - what showing them a "mock up" of what their website/web page could look like with the advice I could give them? That way they could then take it to their design company and say - "I want this".

Yes, I see the idea of teaching a design team how to optimize as being a bit of a pain for them! And then it could harm their business with the client as well I suppose ,as the client would be wondering why SEO didn't come under "design" - and just what did the client pay the design team to do?!

#9 swainzy

swainzy

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 3318 posts

Posted 28 November 2008 - 09:43 PM

half baked SEO

I think that should be your business name. :cower:

Miriam does some kind of report for her clients as a first step. Let me see if I can get here in this conversation.

#10 A.N.Onym

A.N.Onym

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Invited Users For Labs
  • 4003 posts

Posted 28 November 2008 - 11:18 PM

From my SEO/usability report writing experience, I can share the following:
- how much gets implemented matters as much as (or more, than) what you include in the report
- a website without traffic (without links) won't get the benefit of SEO or usability, because no one will be visiting it, anyway

That is, for the website to gain benefit from your service, it either already has to have quite a number of links or an oncoming plan to get them for, so that your SEO report and its implementation would actually remove an existing traffic block (Flash, JS, no internal linking, etc) and the client would see an increase in traffic/sales.

If implementing your report (or using your optimization services) won't get them sales and they aren't planning to get ore links, why would they buy anything from you?

There was a really interesting thread, enlightened by Ammon, about selling SEO services and his article.

Regarding this case, I'd offer the following, if I were in the same situation:
- a written report and get an internal or outside developer to implement them and check how they were implemented
- a written report and implement the changes yourself, if you feel like it

That is, I'd make sure that the changes will actually be implemented. Unless there's a specific workflow to implement the changes, the client, probably, won't be able to organize it himself completely.

Barry's suggestion on having two types (concise and full) and kinds (report or implemented) is a valid one, but are you sure that the concise report without implementation will get the client any results? After all, it's ROI that matters.

Edited by A.N.Onym, 28 November 2008 - 11:20 PM.


#11 send2paul

send2paul

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 2905 posts

Posted 29 November 2008 - 02:46 AM

Yura - thanks for your input here. (We're jusy popping out for the day - but I'll come back to what you said later on).

Donna - I'm now the proud owner of halfbakedseo.com - what an excellent idea! Inspirational! Thank you :infinite-banana:

#12 swainzy

swainzy

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 3318 posts

Posted 29 November 2008 - 11:52 AM

halfbakedseo.com - what an excellent idea!

It sprang from YOUR brain. :D

#13 DonnaFontenot

DonnaFontenot

    Peacekeeper Administrator

  • Site Administrators
  • 3804 posts

Posted 29 November 2008 - 11:58 AM

Sounds to me like what you want to do is offer an SEO Audit service, in which you identify key issues and offer recommendations. SEO audits are not uncommon, and if you do a little searching, you can probably pull together different price points/plans based on what other seo audit services offer.

#14 swainzy

swainzy

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 3318 posts

Posted 29 November 2008 - 12:04 PM

Sounds to me like what you want to do is offer an SEO Audit service

There you go Paul, that sounds like the correct term. Good one Donna.

#15 iamlost

iamlost

    The Wind Master

  • Site Administrators
  • 4610 posts

Posted 29 November 2008 - 12:06 PM

Note to send2paul: as Donna's self-appointed agent I hereby claim, on her behalf, 25% of all income prior to expenses, to be paid quarterly by gold bullion transfer to a friendly offshore bank in the Caribbean, in return for your use, however transient or perpetual, of the term 'halfbakedseo'. Her claim remains valid should you ever transfer, by any means, use of said term, in whole or in part, to any subsequent party or parties. She to receive one quarter of all proceeds of such a transfer or transfers while retaining her full percentage and priveleges therein with the new holder or holders of the term.

A pleasure doing business with you. :D

#16 swainzy

swainzy

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 3318 posts

Posted 29 November 2008 - 12:10 PM

:lol: iamlost! That was good. You sound like a contract lawyer. I'll go for those terms. Where do I sign?
This calls for a :D

#17 send2paul

send2paul

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 2905 posts

Posted 29 November 2008 - 12:27 PM

Donna F - hi :)

It's very funny actually, but I hadn't considered what I was proposing as "auditing" - but, I guess, that's exactly what it is. I shall research SEO Audit Services. Thanks :)

Yura - hello again. I think you're right about how much does or doesn't get implemented. One of my ideas was to get testimonials off satisfied clients. But satisfied with what exactly? Good point raised. Links - yes. On my list... exactly a way down my list considering the state of some of the websites I've been looking at! :lol: To be honest, the base standard for improvement was to see an improvement of traffic. On the presume that the website has some sort of visitor stats, then a "before" and "after" comparison was what I would be looking for. Remembering that I would only be looking at "SEO things", (which as we know cross over with marketing, branding etc), how the website converts their increase in traffic may well be another advice service I could offer - blogs, newsletters, downloads, sign-ups etc.

And it is the ROI that matters Yura - you're right. Which brings me right back to one of my initial conundrum's - why would someone pay for advice on something they nothing about anyway? For example - future clients will also be reading this thread, (on the presumption that they have Googled me to find out who I am etc), will the process of the thoughts on this page outline that my "experience" and business strategies for this SEO service I'm developing are sound and worth investing in?

Iamlost/Donna S - had I know I was being pushed into a corner just to have my brilliant ideas swept from underneath me, I's have logged in under another name and remained completely anonymous! :D

All - thank you for your help and experiences. Your knowledge and guidance is most welcome. I know it's the Thanksgiving "weekend" in the USA, so special thanks for those folks across the water who have logged into help me out! :)

#18 A.N.Onym

A.N.Onym

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Invited Users For Labs
  • 4003 posts

Posted 29 November 2008 - 12:45 PM

Another moment that you may want to consider is to actually install a good analytics package to gauge improvements, even if traffic, SE traffic, page views/visitor, etc.

If I were you, I'd still offer basic conversion optimization as a part of the deal, because 20% of changes lead to 80% of improvements.

Customer satisfaction

Typically, a client comes to you with some expectations. If you don't learn and/or change them, you'll have to meet them. Thus, you'll need to know them anyway and match those metrics.

If the client wants to "get to the top of Google for 5 keywords in a month" (quote from a recent request), then you'll have to match it, if you don't change the expectations.

That's why it is of grave importance to:
- have or install a good analytics package (AwStats at minimum, something that tracks traffic and conversions over time is better, such as Google Analytics, Clicky, Clicktracks, etc)
- learn what the client wants and convert that to metrics (traffic, page views, page views/visitor, time on site, form fillings, downloads, etc)
- do what you can to achieve the results

Value for the client

The answer to your wondering about the value for the client may be that you'll have to:
- analyze the possible outcome of your work on the website
- warn the client of the outcome, if it is close to zero (if the site doesn't have links - especially for a new website)
- possibly, decline to work on new websites in competitive niches (I've recently done an estimation on one site and it might require an investment of $3-5k for a new website to enter a not very competitive niche, so if your client doesn't foresee spending such amount, then he'll have to spend his time on his site, in which case, you can't guarantee he'll do much about his site).
- try some cases for testimonials to see how it goes

Thus, satisfaction is the results from your work using your clients (or agreed upon) metrics minus your clients expectations. If the expectations are over the board, you get an unsatisfied client no matter you do.

Off Topic offtopicThe question of definitive, guaranteed ROI and the time required to get it from SEO work is something that bothers me, too. Am I not too good enough to bring ROI new websites in a few months or it's common practice? I guess it's a topic for another thread, though.


Why use your services?

As for the question, why would anyone use your services, it's the matter of needs and your offer.

If you are sure you can get results for the client and the client wants to invest in his website to get more out of it (sales, downloads, sign-ups, etc), then you can satisfy this need. If you think you can offer something spectacular, you might want to educate unsuspecting potential clients of what they can get from you and what they might lose, if they don't use your offer. It's all in marketing your offer, really, IMHO.

Edited by A.N.Onym, 29 November 2008 - 12:56 PM.


#19 send2paul

send2paul

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 2905 posts

Posted 29 November 2008 - 01:24 PM

Yura - that was superb, thanks again! :lol:

Some of what you say reminds of me of a phrase used in business accounting and bookkeeping, called the Expectation Gap:

The expectation gap is the gap between the auditors' actual standard of performance and the various public expectations of auditors' performance (as opposed to their required standard of performance).

And what you have meticulously laid out is the explanation for that model for an SEO audit service. And I really do appreciate the pointing towards particular services or software. The "freer" the better :) This is an excellent phrase:

Thus, satisfaction is the results from your work using your clients (or agreed upon) metrics minus your clients expectations. If the expectations are over the board, you get an unsatisfied client no matter you do.

- I'm almost tempted to get a t-shirt/coffee mug made with that slogan on! :D

I think the marketing of my offer is not such a problem, as I have an "in" to most of the clients I am thinking of. And, as a "test drive" I was thinking I may do a "freebie service" whatever that may be - for the first few clients and then get their testimonials to place on my website, (halfbakedseo.com), once I get that up and running. I have an idea what most of the clients will want, as they fall into the same kind of business bracket, so the added value of the SEO service is what they can do with the traffic once it arrives.

However, I do really want to restrict myself to one kind/type of service, and not overstretch myself just to satisfy any business models/theories.

As ever with me at the moment - TIME is the thing that I don't have hardly any of. It's the only resource I have trouble keeping control of.

But thanks Yura and everyone else for your time here :)

I had a good few ideas about this "One off" SEO business service before I posted here - but it's been great to read the knowledge, wisdom and experience of the Cre8asite Crew, who, of course, I know give their time here freely.

Thanks again to everyone. And please - if anyone has had their own experiences in this area - please feel free to chip in now. Your thoughts woud be greatly appreciated.

Paul

#20 Sean_Elkin

Sean_Elkin

    New To Community

  • Members
  • 2 posts

Posted 02 December 2008 - 11:43 AM

Paul,

My two cents here... have been conducting SEO since 98, formally started SEO/SEM business in 07. I have a few things to share that I hope you might find useful.

1) Be careful with "freebie" site audit or reviews. I'm not saying don't offer them, but be aware that as you get into this more and more, the time involved for review will likely grow somewhat parallel to your experience. This may be counter-intuitive and others may have a different experience, but I have certainly found that where I once spent an hour or two in review with some "shooting from the hip" recommendations, my own process has evolved into at least 3-4 days (say 8 hours a day) of review and analysis.

You also have other options here...

-- show a sample audit/report (demonstrates depth, but removes time commitment on your part)

-- discuss budget for the "full monty" before you offer up free time. I will donate the 3-4 days for a full audit if the potential client passes the interest and financial sniff tests (are they real, are they serious, did they choke on the cost range when presented).


2) I've come to the realization that the research and analysis phase of SEO is paramount in the process. It is the foundation for overall strategy and implementation and if it is faulty or lacking, your results PROBABLY will be too. Another way of putting this... NASA chimps could implement SEO if solid research, analysis and planning are behind it.


Sean

Edited by Sean_Elkin, 02 December 2008 - 12:09 PM.


#21 send2paul

send2paul

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 2905 posts

Posted 02 December 2008 - 02:58 PM

Sean - thanks for your insights.

My research has taken on many strands over the last few days, one of which was searching for PDF, .doc, or .xls "SEO AUDIT REPORTS" - of which there are many out there lurking in the "examples" section of SEO "audit specialists". It's quite a surprise to see the diversity of what constitutes an SEO audit. (I'll be researching some of these particular companies a little later to see what they're made of!)

I've also been looking at the various "tools" I have at my disposal - software etc. (It's interesting to see some audit reports with re-hashed WEB CEO, or SEO ELITE type generated outputs in them).

And then I've been playing around in my head as to what exactly I might offer and how I would action the reports. The "SEO AUDIT REPORT" example may well be the way to go.

So, it's interesting to hear from you Sean, i.e. someone who has been there and got the t-shirt etc! :) The time factor was something I am concerned about, and will probably be the one BIG deciding factor in what kind of service/audit I will offer. Even with the capabilities and the knowledge to offer more, I'd rather be offering what is well within my comfort zone before I start expanding on anything else.

"Financial sniff tests" - sounds like a great name for band.... lol.... but I see what you're saying :) From previous discussions in this thread, I think the marketing/salesmanship of the whole shebang is important to get potential clients really sniffing around the deal on the table.

And I totally agree about the research and analysis stage. Interestingly enough, nasachimps.com, is still available as a domain...... :)

Thanks again Sean. It's good to hear from folks who have rode into the valley death - and survived! :)

#22 Tmeister

Tmeister

    Ready To Fly Member

  • Members
  • 15 posts

Posted 03 December 2008 - 09:22 AM

I think anyone who signs on long term contract with an SEO was sold a bill of goods. In 13 years I've never signed a deal that is longer than a 3 month term from first indexing. I don't do link development and personally think if you have to ask for links you don't deserve to rank. I have never had an SEO client for more than 3 months and have never charged a recurring monthly fee until a few months ago. I've had clients that have been with me for close to 10 years but they are web development not SEO clients. That stuff abiout the algos changing is well... a myth. If you don't chase algos and exploit algos then changing algos don't affect your rank!

#23 bwelford

bwelford

    Peacekeeper Administrator

  • Site Administrators
  • 9008 posts

Posted 03 December 2008 - 11:06 AM

You're right, Tmeister, that most of the SEO improvement activities can be done very early on. So a fixed fee ongoing contract may in many cases be inappropriate.

However in all cases, by watching performance you see ways of further improving. Who should be doing that 'watching'? Should clients be taught enough to do it themselves?

#24 DrPete

DrPete

    Mach 1 Member

  • Members
  • 327 posts

Posted 03 December 2008 - 12:16 PM

Echoing others, I've found that the biggest issue with working with smaller clients who would be open to this (the ones who could really benefit from just the basics of SEO) is implementation. Do they have a designer to work with, and even putting aside stepping on that designer's toes, what is it going to cost them to have that person do the work. I often find that a small-biz client has the budget to pay me for an audit/report, or to pay the designer, but not both, and that ends up being a problem. That realization has pushed me a bit toward the middle market.

#25 send2paul

send2paul

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 2905 posts

Posted 03 December 2008 - 03:16 PM

Yes, the implementation of the "SEO Report" was something that was touched upon before Dr Pete. And I agree - even if I presented a client with a report, what good is it to them if they can't implement it themselves, (as they lack the sills/abilities etc), and they know this before they sign up with me? Equally - they might be able to afford a web designer - but not me as well.

Is possible to present an SEO Report with a "And Here's How To Do It" section? A section that could be written for anyone with the modicum of web savvy - I'm thinking about the web designer here. And then, of course, the client would be charged by the web designer to implement the SEO Report anyway!

Tmeister - thanks for dropping by with your experiences. I have a question on a comment you made:

I have never had an SEO client for more than 3 months and have never charged a recurring monthly fee until a few months ago

Was not having a client for more than 3 months based on the service that you offered, or was it by natural progression, (that's to say you found that the work that you did became constant and you finally reached a point where 3 months was the limit of the results you could show with the service that offered)?

Barry -

Who should be doing that 'watching'? Should clients be taught enough to do it themselves?

Education of the clients. Hmmm. It would almost be like selling an e-book or something to them. Would they read it/understand it, or even have the time to follow it through? Depending on the SEO service offered, I guess I would know when results were likely to show - and how they would show. Surely, that would be a good selling point at the initial contact to be able to say that I could show them the "before" and "after".... and "what the future could bring" - and thereby creating future business, return clients etc?

#26 DrPete

DrPete

    Mach 1 Member

  • Members
  • 327 posts

Posted 03 December 2008 - 03:24 PM

Is it possible to present an SEO Report with a "And Here's How To Do It" section?


That's an interesting idea, although you'd be in danger of becoming a long-term hand-holder and might end up losing money, given the price tag. I opted to include a 3-point Action List in my entry-level report, trying to make the advice as actionable as possible so that the client feels like they have a plan and got real value out of it, but it still leaves them to do the implementation. Honestly, this means that a slightly higher budget point will be required, but I think that still leaves a very large target market.

The only other viable option is simply to offer some of the implementation services, but price them separately (either packaged or hourly) - or partner with someone to do it, preferably on a fixed-cost basis. That way, the client at least has the option up front and knows what their getting into.

Frankly, I've realized over time that someone who doesn't have the budget to do a low-end report to improve ROI and pay for minor implementation isn't going to be a good fit for me and either (1) doesn't take their website seriously, or (2) doesn't have an online business model that merits investment. A ma-and-pa site with a brochure website that they never update probably shouldn't be buying optimization reports, unless they plan to start investing more going forward.

#27 Sean_Elkin

Sean_Elkin

    New To Community

  • Members
  • 2 posts

Posted 03 December 2008 - 03:56 PM

Tmeister:

Interesting that you state...

I have never had an SEO client for more than 3 months and have never charged a recurring monthly fee until a few months ago



Does this suggest that you have not had a long-duration client because you always finish all work within three months, or because you just have been able to land your first long-term client? Are your other clients project-based or hourly?

I ask this because I certainly have had experiences where three months was not long enough. So much is out of our individual control in SEO... like client response time, implementation processes/sign-off imposed by the client and last, but certainly not least, search engine delays & issues (re-indexing, fixing problems, bringing a problematic site out of the proverbial sandbox, moving hosts, etc.). I had one site in particular that was stuck with Google for 6 months, regardless of what we did. Once it was out of the sandbox, things jumped nicely, but again, out of my control.

__________________

Dr. Pete makes a superb point here...

Frankly, I've realized over time that someone who doesn't have the budget to do a low-end report to improve ROI and pay for minor implementation isn't going to be a good fit for me and either (1) doesn't take their website seriously, or (2) doesn't have an online business model that merits investment.



It is often the smallest retainer clients that cause the most problems and need the most hand holding. And I can't say I blame them, because often this is their sole (or at least major) effort for the quarter or year. So they tend to want to know every detail, micromanage, torture themselves over daily changes in rankings and traffic, etc. That's why I say consider being up front with price ranges during the first conversation with a healthy dose of expectation management.

We also generally offer to perform the on-site SEO ourselves or work with the existing webmaster for the same price. As long as there are not massive complexities to the site, I have found that it is quicker to go in and make the changes ourselves, and having that web design/dev background, makes us very cautious to not blow up things. Otherwise, if we have to work with their staff or vendor, this is generally the process (with a guess that 85% of web designers know little or nothing about SEO):

1) educate client on actions as needed (marketing director, VP, etc.)
2) spend the time typing up explicit instructions (for that NASA chimp), specific to the website
3) go over them with the webmaster (this can be easy or a complete nightmare/struggle all along the way)
4) constantly check to make sure said NASA chimp has not accidentally torched the site, changed URLs, etc.
5) check every page and every thing the cosmonaut was supposed to do
6) bring bananas and go over what was missed or executed incorrectly and lather, rinse, repeat steps 4-6.

If we do the work, steps 2,3,4,6 go away. If we do the work, way less hassles and often less time.

Sean

Edited by Sean_Elkin, 03 December 2008 - 04:05 PM.


#28 send2paul

send2paul

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 2905 posts

Posted 04 December 2008 - 03:48 PM

Dr Pete:

The only other viable option is simply to offer some of the implementation services, but price them separately (either packaged or hourly)

- may well be the way forward, but as Sean said:

It is often the smallest retainer clients that cause the most problems and need the most hand holding.

- and this could well be the situation that I will find myself in, with the client "area" that I'm aiming to target. Basically, they would probably all be WOWED by the idea, blown away by the possibilities, but not have the time to do anything about it. I think there would almost be more of a TRUST factor in me, (as opposed to straightforward salesmanship), that would probably secure some of these deals.

All of my work will be done remotely. I mean, I will probably have met the clients in "another capacity" before, but now be going back to them with something completely different. But I will not be going back to their premises to do any work. Sean, Dr Pete, (or anyone else), what is your experience of getting client's trust? Also, what about getting them to trust you with hosting passwords etc to access their websites? And what has been the split, (in your experiences), between work done at the client's premises, and work done remotely? And, finally(!), were there any factors which meant you had to either work remotely or work at their premises?

Thanks again for everybody's input here. It's great to see so many folks chip in with their two cents. please, if anyone else has anything to say or comment on - please join the discussion now! :)

#29 A.N.Onym

A.N.Onym

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Invited Users For Labs
  • 4003 posts

Posted 04 December 2008 - 11:07 PM

I always include reasons why the suggestion is made and how to do it.

I think that it is correct to assume that implementation should be included, together with progress tracking.

Or, in the least, to offer assistance with the implementation (work with a designer or a freelancer).

#30 send2paul

send2paul

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 2905 posts

Posted 10 December 2008 - 05:40 PM

I always include reasons why the suggestion is made and how to do it.

-Yuri - hi :)

Yes, I was thinking along the same lines myself. But when you're dealing with folks who haven't a scooby, (that's rhyming slang - scooby doo = clue! :) ), about what you're talking about, I think I may fall into the trap of getting too tecchie, and then they would probably see that they would have to get me, (or someone else!), to do the work anyway - which might scare tehm off as they see "hidden costs" escalating. (I know it's quite difficult to see "hidden costs" - but you know what I mean! );).

I suppose it gives them the option to decide how they want the work done, and, if indeed, they want it done at all?

#31 DrPete

DrPete

    Mach 1 Member

  • Members
  • 327 posts

Posted 10 December 2008 - 05:43 PM

Sean, Dr Pete, (or anyone else), what is your experience of getting client's trust?

Sorry, meant to reply to this the other day and completely forgot. Personally, I've rarely found the trust aspect to be a problem from an IT perspective. If I've built up enough trust to get the job/contract, clients are pretty willing to give me access, passwords, etc. Honestly, they're probably a bit too willing to do that.

The only trick is if they have a 3rd-party designer or host or in-house team, and my work is somehow threatening to that entity. I try to tread delicately and really make it clear to designers and 3rd-party folk that I'm there to work with them and help the site succeed, not replace what they're doing or take away their work (often, my recommendations will actually help them get more work).

#32 send2paul

send2paul

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 2905 posts

Posted 10 December 2008 - 05:52 PM

Yes - good point about the "working with the team bit". I guess that if the web designers etc were capable of SEO etc - then you would never be there in the first place, the website would be in a better SEO condition, and they would have charged more for their overall service!

p.s. Yes, I also meant to get back here myself, but have been a bit busy lately! :)



RSS Feed

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users