Disclamer: I’m not against SEO in general but against the SEO that most “gurus” are trying to sell.
Yesterday I read in interview with Canadian guy Gab Goldenberg on StayOnSearch.com that immediately provoked me to respond. The exact lines that really got my attention are:
“- When a potential client says “so when can I expect results”, what is your typical answer? When can they expect results?
- When I get paid! Seriously though, I don’t guarantee rankings. I do guarantee deliverables, because I control those.”
Seriously dude, you’re so lucky that the World is still full with ignorant managers that want to look hip and are ready to open their wallets for this. SEO is still somehow new and many people trust good sales people like you and pay for “deliverables”.
Sales people get paid based on the revenue generated, marketing people get paid based on the revenue generated, hell, top CEOs get paid based on the revenue generated but SEOs are special breed – they get paid for “deliverables”. How sweet!
Hey CEOs, Managers or Business owners reading this (in case you’re one of my 2 daily readers), stop trusting such mountebanks. You’re the ones holding the money and you should learn how to spend them wisely. When hiring SEOs do not ask for rankings, traffic or links. Ask for SALES from this channel – after all it’s all about REVENUE at the end. When the board meets they don’t care if you have 50 quality editorial links, 100 Diggs or #3 spot for "awesome keyword", they look at the revenues. Never, ever assume that rankings or traffic are 100% related to sales. They’re not. However they are 100% related to expenditures.
Instead ask for ROI (as Gab’s domain name suggests). Track the monthly sales that you currently receive from the organic channel. Then get a SEO offer, calculate the total cost including the development cost you might incur and say:
Hey Gab, I currently make XX money a month from this channel. Your services would cost me YY for the total period. From you I want such ROI that in 12 months, the money I made from this channel is more than the combined cost of your services YY and the yearly revenue I would make at the current temp of XX a month (12*XX). And of course I give you 3 months gratis before I start counting. Either this or I get my money back. (just don’t try this in case you’re just starting ;)
Now this is what I call a fair deal. This basically ensures that at the end you’ll be better off if using SEO services than not. Now those of you that have used SEO services, go, make the calculations and tell me, are you really better off now than before?
P.S. ROI however depends on the quality of the site, so make sure you optimise conversion. After all a good SEO should also be able to help with this.