What can and cannot be obtained using SEO, read the first part of the article: SEO in 2019 – Part I
Payment schemes for SEO services. Are there guarantees in SEO?
One of the common questions asked by SEO service customers is the issue of warranties. SEO is a strange, unreliable thing; the reputation of contractors is often dubious. Of course, I want to play it safe and get a guarantee of the result.
Let’s see what is possible and what is not.
There are no guarantees of results in SEO
No conscientious contractor can guarantee you that in such a time frame your traffic or positions will grow in such a volume. SEO doesn’t work this way; it’s not a direct purchase. Speaking beautifully, an SEO performer indirectly affects the likelihood of a future result. We increase the attractiveness of your site for search engines that do not publish the rules of the game, do not report to anyone and are in no way under our control.
Yes, there are recipes that often bring results – working with the site’s settings, usability, content refinement, and everything else that we discussed in the section “What the contractor does”. But in the same way, there is a thousand and one reasons why these actions can give a weak result: actions of competitors or their current dominant position, change of algorithm (if you are not involved in rough manipulations, you should not be afraid of sanctions due to a change in algorithms, but the terms out of sight can grow) and so on. If you have already come under sanctions, you can only expect a time out from under them, but not guarantee in any way.
In addition, force majeure such as falling traffic in the subject due to external reasons.
You may not get the return from SEO because you mainly compete in price and at the same time your prices are often higher than those of competitors. Here you must first change something in the business model.
As in all other services where the final result depends on third parties, whether it is a trial, GR or brokerage services, the specialist takes money for his work, promising only to do everything possible to achieve the result, but cannot guarantee you the result.
In SEO, payment schemes are possible that protect the interests of the customer
Another thing is that risks can be shared in one way or another between the customer and the contractor, tying the contractor’s fee to achieve the result. As a customer, you most often risk some money and, more importantly, potential costs of missed opportunities, and your contractor should be prepared for the fact that his work will not bring profit.
Payment for items
We have already discussed in detail that positions are not the result. They are all different and they do not guarantee either traffic or conversion. For example, if you have high positions, but bad snippets – link descriptions on the search results page – then you won’t get traffic anyway, since your links will have a low CTR.
If the snippet says, “best price” and your price is just average, there will be no conversion. Do not settle for payment schemes for items and do not offer them yourself, this is a dead end.
Often, companies set aside a fixed budget for SEO. Then no one bothers to agree with a SEO contractor on a fixed amount of monthly services. In combination with prepayment according to the results of the report, this scheme is simple for the customer and comfortable for the contractor. Performers work best for those customers with whom it is pleasant to work – and fix makes work more pleasant.
The downside is that the volume of services is not the result, but the means to achieve it. If you prefer piecework schemes, a fix in its pure form will not suit you.
Pay for traffic
Traffic is not a business result in most cases (the exception will be media sites with advertising monetization). However, this is the most convenient trade-off metric. The SEO specialist approximately understands how much traffic he will bring, and the customer can easily figure out what further return he will receive from this traffic.
The difficulty is to separate traffic as a result of active SEO-actions from everything else, including the natural growth of traffic from search, which can occur on its own, without the participation of external specialists.
In such cases, we fix with the customer the current level of traffic from the search, remove all requests containing the brand name from it (since in fact it is not search, but direct traffic) and we make a forecast on the excess of traffic over the natural background as a result of our work. Sometimes we offer schemes where the bonus for the result is not tied to a unit of traffic, but to grades for growth – for 5%, a small bonus increases, for 10% a little more, and so on.
The risk of the customer in this case is understandable: traffic may not turn into money. And what is the risk of the contractor? The fact is that the customer can delay the implementation of site improvements proposed by the specialist, and traffic will not increase even though all the necessary work has been done.
Payment for applications
Customers of SEO Services would be happy to transfer all the risks to the performers. There are applications from SEO – get a percentage. No, I’m sorry. In practice, such schemes rarely work. As with any affiliate scheme, increased risk must be offset by increased opportunities for business management. If I risk my money, I want to understand that the sales department is working as it should, that the prices are not overpriced, that the market is needed in this form and so on.
The customer rarely wants to let SEO into business processes. In response, the SEO contractor is unlikely to be ready to make its fee dependent on factors that it does not affect – the prices and activity of competitors, the quality of logistics, the experience of sales managers, etc. Of course, there are productive exceptions to this rule, but certainly not at the start and not for any type of business.
Fix + Bonus for the result
In practice, the most common scheme is when the SEO contractor receives a small fix to offset the costs of the project and earns a bonus for the result.
Whatever the scheme for paying for SEO Services, the contractor’s tasks do not change – this is the same list of one-time and regular tasks.
Different contractors evaluate their services very differently depending on their experience, geographic location and so on. It is very rude to say that SEO support for an online store will cost from 900 USD per month, a small site with services from 600 USD, a large content project like the media from 1200 USD per month. Prices below this level indicate that the contractor does not have many years of experience conducting SEO projects and does not understand the economy of the service.
If you are sure that the business needs more SEO traffic, appoint a person in charge of the company, give it the budget and time of the developers, as well as the right to hire outsourcers and put them in the CMS site and in analytics.