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    SEO expert's bargaining chip


    Hi,
    When one engages a SEO expert on his/her e-commerce site, the SEO expert demands a full access to google analytics account in order to do his job properly. This is also his way for generating traffic reports to send it to the client. However, the access to google analytics also gives the SEO expert access to the accounts of the company. He has thus a full knowledge of how much revenue was generated in a month by the company. This knowledge then gives him a power to negotiate his SEO fees frequently with the company. He will start to think that the more revenue the company makes, the more his SEO fees should be. But any given company can only increase the pay of a SEO expert to a certain level. If the company's revenue doubles in four months after hiring the SEO expert, that should not mean that the SEO expert's fees should also double. The increase in the revenue could be due to other factors not related to the SEO experts work.
    So what do you guys think? Is it fair for the SEO expert to demand increase in his fees because the company's revenue has gone up?
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    Originally Posted by hurray
    Hi,
    When one engages a SEO expert on his/her e-commerce site, the SEO expert demands a full access to google analytics account in order to do his job properly. This is also his way for generating traffic reports to send it to the client. However, the access to google analytics also gives the SEO expert access to the accounts of the company. He has thus a full knowledge of how much revenue was generated in a month by the company. This knowledge then gives him a power to negotiate his SEO fees frequently with the company. He will start to think that the more revenue the company makes, the more his SEO fees should be. But any given company can only increase the pay of a SEO expert to a certain level. If the company's revenue doubles in four months after hiring the SEO expert, that should not mean that the SEO expert's fees should also double. The increase in the revenue could be due to other factors not related to the SEO experts work.
    So what do you guys think? Is it fair for the SEO expert to demand increase in his fees because the company's revenue has gone up?
    Well... I doubt you can get it to work that way.

    I provide services based on Ranks, Traffic, and Sales while demanding the content I produced and subsequent links are 100% mine, unless the customer also accept the risks that come with those. Risk from either Violating Google's TOS or Risk of no return because no one provided natural links for the project you produced.

    I do it this way because the risks are very real and that is what costs a lot.

    You can certainly claim you produced the ranks and even the traffic but it is impossible for you to determine that you conclusively produced the sales unless you also own the website and all the content thus own the customers' experiences.

    Additionally, once a brand "takes off" it generally produces more sales than all the keywordy stuff put together and you didn't create the brand.

    Your proposal is perfect for DIY SEO... you are your own client and you get all the rewards because you assumed all the risks yourself.

    But getting someone else to pay and saying that is you taking the risk isn't really what is occurring.
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    It's a free market so if the SEO 'expert' ratchets up the price the website owner can shop around for an alternative.
    Learn SEO and Online Marketing with Doodleddoes or follow me on Google+ at https://plus.google.com/+TimHillDoodled/
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    Hi Doodle and Fathom,
    Thanks for your input. But if you have a good SEO expert working for few years for you and suddenly he jacks up his fees, it can be difficult to find another equally good one and more importantly "reliable" SEO expert.
    Anf if you deny, he can get bitter and lazy, doing less work for you.
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    Is this something that has really happened to you or an imaginary scenario? This sounds more like paranoia than real-life to me, but I suppose it could happen. And if this is really something you're experiencing, are you sure the SEO expert isn't raising his rates for entirely different reasons that are more typical of service businesses?
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    Typically there will be some kind of contract between the client and the SEO. When that contract ends, that opens up negotiations for a renewal. At that point it's fair to argue that great results warrant a higher pay, and if the SEO claims to be able to deliver such results again, a company would be wise to consider taking the offer. If the SEO gets too greedy, then that's where the arrangement ends.

    That's different from what you're describing. Using data you happen to have access to to leverage your employer is highly unprofessional and unethical, and if the client has been smart about the contract, probably illegal. It's also just bad self marketing; it only takes one client kicking you out and telling their whole network that you're a blackmailing scumbag to make sure you'll be applying for jobs at your local fast food restaurants.

    Being trustworthy is a big part of this job.
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    Originally Posted by hurray
    But if you have a good SEO expert working for few years for you and suddenly he jacks up his fees, it can be difficult to find another equally good one and more importantly "reliable" SEO expert.
    Anf if you deny, he can get bitter and lazy, doing less work for you.
    I get where you are coming from but you should have some idea on what your contractor is doing for you. My fees go up in two ways:
    - annually if our costs (wages, overheads, etc) require them to
    - ad hoc if we start to carry out more tasks for the client.

    So if your contractor says "I'm putting my fees up by 50%" the question back should be "And what other/extra activities will you be doing with those extra funds?" if they have not made this clear (which they should)
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    Originally Posted by RBremer
    Typically there will be some kind of contract between the client and the SEO. When that contract ends, that opens up negotiations for a renewal. At that point it's fair to argue that great results warrant a higher pay, and if the SEO claims to be able to deliver such results again, a company would be wise to consider taking the offer. If the SEO gets too greedy, then that's where the arrangement ends.
    Except generally I argue against 'contracts'. We have 30 day rolling contracts and that's it - I see no point locking people in, if they trust you they will stay.

    And ths bit about "great results" is murky as well. Maintaining a client's current rankings could be regarded as "great results" by some and "inneffective SEO" by others. So it is up to the SEO firm to persuade the client that the work done - sometimes regardless of a change in rankings - has provided "great results" and the best way to do that is:
    - keep the client aware at all times of the tasks actually being carried out (personally I do this on a monthly basis. At the start of the month I tell them what will be done and at the end I tell them what was done)
    - when it comes to fee increases remind them what tasks are being done, explain why some of those tasks will now cost more or what further tasks will be carried out.
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    Thank you guys for your great response. I was quite surprised and did not like it when my SEO expert sent me a google analytical report that had records of sales that were made on my site. I have limited his access to the back-end of my e-store, but I cannot deny him access to my server and google's webmaster account. He continously uploads some kind of scripts on the server and says that these help him do his job better. I am for anything that help him do a better job on my site. But since he has access to the sales report, I am scared that he might use it as a leverage to increase his fees. But that situation has not arrived yet and hopefully will not.
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    Originally Posted by hurray
    I have limited his access to the back-end of my e-store, but I cannot deny him access to my server and google's webmaster account. He continously uploads some kind of scripts on the server and says that these help him do his job better.
    I would be heading for the door already. Here are the warning signs:
    1) your SEO contractor calls himself an 'expert'
    2) your SEO contractor is not transparent - they should explain and be transparent about each and every thing uploaded to your site
    3) you don't trust your SEO contractor and start limiting their access to parts of your data/site.

    You sound like someone who has hired a roofer and rented him your attic space. He keeps saying everything is OK but you are too scared to look or can't be bothered to understand what he is doing. Pull him up!

    My clients understand what I am doing, why I am doing it and what the objective of each task is. Educating them this way actually makes them less likely to go elsewhere because they quicklu realise many other SEO companies operate a "it's too complicated for you to understand so don't worry your pretty little head about it" type approach.
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    I disagree, I still think you're overly paranoid.

    Have you explicitly asked him what the scripts are for? As in "What does this code snippet do? Why is it necessary?" While I agree its his job to educate, sometimes clients don't want a 45min lesson on code and want a 5min "Yep, thats me adding it in, no need to worry" answer. Just ask and avoid any miscommuncation.

    If he is tasked with tracking GA information and sales conversions/goals are something that you're tracking in GA, then it seems to me that it's only logical that he's tracking sales conversions/goals. How else can he show an ROI of his SEO work? It seems reasonable for him to benchmark your sales at the start of the campaign, then show where the sales are at the end of the campaign so he can say "You paid $X, I did Y things, your sales are now up Z amount." The purpose of SEO is to ultimately bring in more revenue. That's his job, that's why you hired him. If he's reporting a big increase in revenue, its not so he can then raise his rates an equal percentage. It's so he can show you the benefit of the work he has done.

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    • GabrielG agrees : agree strongly with this
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    Think of it this way. If you hired a sales guy and after a year he asked you how much revenue he brought in, would you assume its because he is going to demand a huge pay increase for doing better than break-even or because he wants to show you he's a worthwhile investment? Would you think it reasonable to say, "Sorry, I'm not going to tell you"?
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    Originally Posted by DanSEO
    I disagree, I still think you're overly paranoid.

    Have you explicitly asked him what the scripts are for? As in "What does this code snippet do? Why is it necessary?" While I agree its his job to educate, sometimes clients don't want a 45min lesson on code and want a 5min "Yep, thats me adding it in, no need to worry" answer. Just ask and avoid any miscommuncation.
    I think we are actually saying the same thing. I'm not up for educated the client to the nth degree but I will tell them if new code is added to the site, what it is for and what objectives we hope to achieve by having it there.

    A SEO company that says "I need that script uploaded for your SEO work" and expects you to say nothing isn't right. It may well be a link wheel code for all you know.

    My point is never hire someone to "do SEO" and think/hope they will do it right. You have to know enough to keep them on their toes as you would/should with any outsourcing.
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    Originally Posted by DanSEO
    How else can he show an ROI of his SEO work? It seems reasonable for him to benchmark your sales at the start of the campaign, then show where the sales are at the end of the campaign so he can say "You paid $X, I did Y things, your sales are now up Z amount."
    Or how about "You paid $X, I did Y things, and your sales did not go down by Z amount."? This becomes a very grey area.

    Originally Posted by DanSEO
    The purpose of SEO is to ultimately bring in more revenue.
    Not always. The purpose of SEO can be to protect a certain level of revenue ....
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    Originally Posted by hurray
    Hi,
    When one engages a SEO expert on his/her e-commerce site, the SEO expert demands a full access to google analytics account in order to do his job properly. This is also his way for generating traffic reports to send it to the client. However, the access to google analytics also gives the SEO expert access to the accounts of the company. He has thus a full knowledge of how much revenue was generated in a month by the company. This knowledge then gives him a power to negotiate his SEO fees frequently with the company. He will start to think that the more revenue the company makes, the more his SEO fees should be. But any given company can only increase the pay of a SEO expert to a certain level. If the company's revenue doubles in four months after hiring the SEO expert, that should not mean that the SEO expert's fees should also double. The increase in the revenue could be due to other factors not related to the SEO experts work.
    So what do you guys think? Is it fair for the SEO expert to demand increase in his fees because the company's revenue has gone up?
    Supposing he can show that his work caused revenue to go up, then yes, it's fair to ask to be paid more. For example, he can show how many sales you did in the year before hiring him and how many in the year after. Note that you need to adjust for algorithm penalties or boosts (usually seen as a sudden drop or jump; if it's a jump you need to try and compare against SEO and whether there was any algorithmic activity on the date of the jump - look for news on Panda, Penguin and other updates around that time. These parts of the algo don't just penalize sites, they move other pages higher so some people benefit.

    I also don't see what's unethical about using this sales info @RBremer.

    "But any given company can only increase the pay of a SEO expert to a certain level." Why is that? The cap is just knowing what it would cost to hire someone of equivalent skill and reliability including salary, benefits, bonuses and hiring costs. Many good SEOs earn 6 figures a year, at least in North America and the UK. Is that what you're paying your SEO? Or at least top salary for your local market?
    Working on rock the pitch, my soccer site.
    I also offer CRO consulting & split testing services. PM me if you want a higher conversion rate / help figuring out what to test.

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