Thread: pay by results?

Page 1 of 2 12 Last
  • Jump to page:
    #1
  1. No Profile Picture
    Contributing User
    SEO Chat Explorer (0 - 99 posts)

    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    26
    Rep Power
    0

    pay by results?


    Hi all,

    Suppose my car breaks down and I take it to the car mechanic guy and he looks it over and says it will cost $1000 it fix it, and I say ok thanks. I come back later and pay the $1000 as agreed and he says 'thanks. By the way I tried my best but it is not fixed. For another $1000 I could try some more or I guess you could try another mechanic'.

    I wouldn't be happy with this and would be saying 'give me my ******* $1000 back'. The fact that the guy tried his best is no good to me - I am interested in is the car fixed or is it not fixed. If I wanted someone to not-fix my car I could have just given the $1000 to my granny who knows nothing about cars.

    So I think an honourable mechanic would not say the above but would either keep going until it is fixed without asking for more money or offer a refund. The point is that the if the original quote of $1000 was too low this is the mechanic's fault and also that it is unfair to the customer to say 'OK I can fix your car for $1000' and then after some period of working on it say 'oh yeah sorry you know when I said $1000, I actually meant $2000'.

    If the job turns out to take longer than expected it might be because there is some genuine difficulty but alternatively it might be because the mechanic is lazy and / or not up to the job.

    So I think some customers think about SEO in this way and I have some sympathy for this thinking - the customer is interested in results (such as getting on page #1) and wants to pay for results not for excuses. I know that an SEO guy cannot force a page # 1 result but he can agree to share the financial burden of failure.

    Or in another example, commercial contracts (such as building a house or whatever) often or always have various penalty clauses built in to deal with various degrees of failure.

    So is the customer wrong to think like this or is it common / normal to have some kind of refund / guarantee policy built into an SEO contract?

    Thanks
    Last edited by Juc1; Jan 26th, 2013 at 02:57 PM.
  2. #2
  3. No Profile Picture
    Contributing User
    SEO Chat Good Citizen (1000 - 1499 posts)

    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    1,300
    Rep Power
    514
    Gee I have *NEVER* had a mechanic discover a second problem or found a problem was worse than they thought during the repair. I mean how would that ever happen Mechanics are omniscient.

    Not.

    Your analogy fails instantly.
  4. #3
  5. SEO Consultant
    SEO Chat High Scholar (3500 - 3999 posts)

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    3,587
    Rep Power
    1948
    Stop being cheap and hire a professional.

    Fixing a car is not SEO. SEO is not fixing a car.

    If you want your analogy to make sense, instead of fixing a car, why not say TUNE a car. That way, your tuned car must compete with OTHER tuned cars.

    Your site is not the only website in the market just like a NASCAR is not the only car on the track at one time.

    I offer NO: promise, suggestion, guarantee, refund, clause, etc in ANY of my contracts. You know why? I don't write the Google algo and I do not take responsibility over said algo with any changes.

    If you hire a person to build you a home and it turns out 5 years the county laws change and you're in violation of a code. Do you blame your builder who could NOT predict the future, or do you blame the county? Neither. You deal with it and adjust. This is SEO. There are too many variables than a single 'mechanic' or 'car'.

    Comments on this post

    • Test-ok agrees
    • dwhitmore agrees
    www.V2INTERACTIVE.net - SEO Web Design | On-Page SEO | SEO Audits & Reports | Link Building
    BASED IN ATLANTA, GA. Contact: Skype/Phone/Email (Discounted rates available for SEOChat members only - email seochat@v2interactive.net)
    Please EMAIL me at the above address and do not send Private Messages. I rarely check them and your message will be lost.
  6. #4
  7. Roll the dice.. and live
    SEO Chat Mastermind (5000+ posts)

    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    6,527
    Rep Power
    2332
    Originally Posted by Juc1
    So is the customer wrong to think like this or is it common / normal to have some kind of refund / guarantee policy built into an SEO contract?
    Interesting analogy… really the crux is expectations What did the mechanic promise for the quote…. What did the customer think the mechanic promised for the quote…. In the end expected outcomes need to be agreed.. not guessed at later is my view…

    Comments on this post

    • realityhack agrees : Excelent point.
    Live the moment
  8. #5
  9. No Profile Picture
    Contributing User
    SEO Chat Good Citizen (1000 - 1499 posts)

    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    1,300
    Rep Power
    514
    Gazzahk is correct, the entire issue is about setting expectations, putting them in writing, and fulfilling them.
    In many industries people will give you an 'estimate' that is not necessarily what you will pay in the end. The key is spelling out what that estimate entails, and what will cost you extra. In other fields it is common to charge by the hour regardless.

    Any good SEO knows they can't give a valid quote for position X. If they do their research they might be willing to set a number of natural search customers over Y span of time, or a percentage of new sales (must be very clearly defined) but most often it is going to be pay by the hour with clear expectations of what will be accomplished in 20 hours etc.

    Any SEO or PPC person that comes in and tells me they can get me X% new customers goes right in my trash bin. Same for anyone guaranteeing anything else.
  10. #6
  11. SEO Consultant
    SEO Chat Genius (4000 - 4499 posts)

    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN, USA
    Posts
    4,210
    Rep Power
    979
    It is an interesting analogy and I understand why some people think about it.

    Here is the crucial difference

    A car has the same parts that it left the factory with. They perform the same function and don't change on you as you work on it. The principles of operation are set in stone and the tools to do the job are called up in a manual.

    This is not the case in SEO

    Imagine the mechanics frustration that after fixing the ignition system so that he gets a good fuel mixture and a strong ignition that actually thats not how combustion works any more (but it was when he started) and now you need to pour in some magic beans in the gas tank, which is now under the front seat, which is now not where the driver sits any more, oh and the steering wheel is connected to the brakes now.

    Get my point.......?

    I understand the analogy but given the ever changing nature of search engine algorithms (which SEOs don't know) its not a practical analogy to make.

    Now, thats not to say that good SEOs don't abide by some core principles and conduct their business in an ethical way. Good SEOs have an intuitive sense for the pulse of search algorithm development. Its sometimes hard not to do something you know will get results now but which you believe will be detrimental in the long run. This is how I felt about 2 or so years ago, and then Panda and Penguin hit and I was glad I had stuck to my principles.

    Comments on this post

    • Test-ok agrees
    Last edited by tstolber; Jan 25th, 2013 at 05:04 PM.
  12. #7
  13. No Profile Picture
    Contributing User
    SEO Chat Discoverer (100 - 499 posts)

    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    456
    Rep Power
    509
    Car mechanic is a poor analogy - fixing a car is diagnosing and replacing bad parts with good parts. Parts can be physically examined, measured and tested. Google is a black box - you can't see the gears inside. You can't run diagnostics, isolate potions of the algorithm, or "fix" it. You can, based on experience and reasoning, expect that certain inputs and actions will influence certain outputs.

    So I think a better analogy is an attorney or a surgeon or a financial adviser. Non can give a guarantee of the outcome - there are too many variables and things outside their control. Good ones will tell you the probability of the outcome based on their experience. Good ones will have far more successes than failures. Good ones give references and tell you their action plan. Good ones constantly study. Good ones are not cheap.

    Ed (not an SEO)

    Comments on this post

    • joshz agrees : Good post.
    • Test-ok agrees
    • realityhack agrees : Your analogy is supurb.
  14. #8
  15. SEO Since 97
    SEO Chat Mastermind (5000+ posts)

    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    5,209
    Rep Power
    1928
    A better analogy would be a drilling company that drills test holes for lets say water or gold...you pay the driller x amount of money in hopes of finding gold or water. An experienced driller will have a good idea as to where you should try. However if he strikes out, you can pay him again for more test holes, hire another driller, tell him where to try and so on. But your not going to get that money back.
  16. #9
  17. Roll the dice.. and live
    SEO Chat Mastermind (5000+ posts)

    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    6,527
    Rep Power
    2332
    The analogy I would choose would be more like this…

    You are in a race. The SEO you hire is like your coach. They can advise you and help you develop strategies to try to win. However at the same time there are others in the race who also have coaches or are much more gifted athletes. In the end if you do not win it is not necessarily the coaches’ fault. The blame may be with you for not trying hard enough to do what the coach advised. It may be that you are simply not good enough to beat the best in the game no matter how good a coach you hire.

    It is true a bad coach is probably not much help and a waste of money. It is true some coaches may advise performance enhancing drugs (black hat) which may allow you to win until you are caught.

    It is also the case that most of the top athletes pay for top coaches….. This is because good advice and well developed strategies are necessary for winning competitive events.

    Does an athlete ask for a refund from their coach if they lose the competition?
  18. #10
  19. Agency SEO
    SEO Chat Mastermind (5000+ posts)

    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    6,158
    Rep Power
    2847
    Here's my promise:
    • I will look at your website and make an honest determination on whether or not you can expect a positive return on your investment. If I don't think it's there, I won't take the work and we can part friends.
    • I will do everything to your site that I have done to all these other sites and you can look at the results and call the site owners for a reference.
    • I, or a member of my staff will answer your emails and phone calls when they are received.
    • My work will be transparent, you will know (if you read the reports) exactly what I am doing every step of the way.
    • We will treat you with respect as we are honored you chose us to manage your internet marketing.



    That's all I can do. Need more? I'm sure you can find someone on Fiver to make many more promises.
    Last edited by KernelPanic; Jan 26th, 2013 at 02:48 PM.
  20. #11
  21. No Profile Picture
    Contributing User
    SEO Chat Explorer (0 - 99 posts)

    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    26
    Rep Power
    0
    Thanks to all for your replies and alternative analogies. I should clarify that I have in mind a case of a medium competition niche eg a small business not ie where getting to page 1 is highly doable, ie not a very competitive niche where getting to page 1 is unrealistic. I can see it both ways - from the seo guy's point of view I know that results cannot be guaranteed but from the client's point of view I can see that seo that fails to get to page 1 is really a waste of time and money. I think a lot of this comes down to trust - with the car analogy it is of course one thing if the bill rises due to some genuine mechanical problem and another if it rises due to the mechanic's incompetence / laziness / dishonesty etc - and of course the non-expert client can easily be bamboozled with a bit of car / seo science ie the client is often in no position to challenge what he is being told.

    Also I think there is something about sharing the risk here. I was reading somewhere about a big construction contract in which the contractor agreed that the price for this construction is $X and if once we begin the work the costs rise due to unforseeable or uncontrollable circumstances the builder will bear at least some of this burden - this is called 'taking the hit' ie perhaps because it is somehow unfair that the client should bear all the extra costs - because the client's business has to budget to stay afloat and does not have an unlimited supply of money. Of course another builder might refuse to accept such a contract - but that is just my point - that there are different kinds of contract and it seems to me that SEO need not be exempt from results based contracts. Or a middle ground might be a contract that is partly flat fee and partly results based.

    The business people I know would be baffled by the idea that they should continue to pay out monthly fees for not getting on page 1 or by the idea that SEO contracts should be somehow exempt from the scrutiny of results. I have some sympathy with this so I don't think the answer is well they just don't understand how SEO works. But then I guess there are enough SEO clients out there who are happy to pay flat fees.
  22. #12
  23. SEO Consultant
    SEO Chat High Scholar (3500 - 3999 posts)

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    3,587
    Rep Power
    1948
    This is not construction. This is SEO. If you're going to compare apples to apples, compare it do media or commercial advertising/marketing. Just because you have a commercial on the super bowl does not mean you will gain customers. Exposure is one thing. You're sites/sales/price/product ability to convert them into customers is another thing.

    There are more variables in place with SEO than any other service in the relating industry. Thus, it's not a mechanic replacing your brakes or a construction company building you a deck.

    Keep things in context and it might make more sense.
  24. #13
  25. No Profile Picture
    Contributing User
    SEO Chat Explorer (0 - 99 posts)

    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    26
    Rep Power
    0
    Originally Posted by joshz
    This is not construction. This is SEO. If you're going to compare apples to apples, compare it do media or commercial advertising/marketing. Just because you have a commercial on the super bowl does not mean you will gain customers. Exposure is one thing. You're sites/sales/price/product ability to convert them into customers is another thing.
    OK but I haven't said anything here about conversion - I am only talking about search results and specifically getting on page 1 which would usually bring more traffic. Needless to say if the client's company or product is rubbish then more traffic will not equal more sales.

    There are more variables in place with SEO than any other service in the relating industry. Thus, it's not a mechanic replacing your brakes or a construction company building you a deck.
    I'm not sure what you mean by a deck but there can be massive variables in construction - the contract I mentioned above was something like building a new railway line. My general point is that I don't see that SEO has some kind of super-exempt privileged status on the grounds of claiming to have the most variables.
    Last edited by Juc1; Feb 15th, 2013 at 10:29 AM.
  26. #14
  27. SEO Consultant
    SEO Chat High Scholar (3500 - 3999 posts)

    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    3,587
    Rep Power
    1948
    Originally Posted by Juc1
    My general point is that I don't see that SEO has some kind of super-exempt privileged status on the grounds of claiming to have the most variables.
    Then don't hire a professional OR spend years testing out SEO methods so you can do SEO yourself. If you go the latter, stay away from blogs and do your own testings and findings. I find those who read blogs simply echo what they read without validating it.
  28. #15
  29. No Profile Picture
    Contributing User
    SEO Chat Explorer (0 - 99 posts)

    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    26
    Rep Power
    0
    Originally Posted by joshz
    If you go the latter, stay away from blogs and do your own testings and findings. I find those who read blogs simply echo what they read without validating it.
    Thanks that sounds like good advice for an SEO newbie like me.

    Originally Posted by joshz
    Then don't hire a professional OR spend years testing out SEO methods...
    I think it is strange that this is your response to my question about an SEO contract having some kind of results clause - as if this was somehow impossible or as if the choice was 1) hire a professional = no results clause, or 2) don't hire a professional. Even if you don't want a results clause in your own SEO contracts clearly it is not impossible and some other SEO professionals might choose to have such a clause. Maybe it is only a minority of SEO professionals who offer some kind of results clause but I know two for a start. Needless to say all kinds of results clauses could be thought up, some of which would be unfair to and so unacceptable to the SEO professional. But my general point in this thread was that not all results clauses are necessarily unfair to the SEO professional, or crazy, unthinkable etc

    Having said that if a particular SEO professional is getting plenty of work without offering any results clause then of course I agree that from a business point of view it might make no sense for him to start offering one ie he doesn't need to.
    Last edited by Juc1; Feb 25th, 2013 at 05:15 PM.
Page 1 of 2 12 Last
  • Jump to page:

Similar Threads

  1. Google Website Results Problem - Showing Spam Results
    By johnm365 in forum Google Optimization
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: Sep 5th, 2012, 09:31 AM
  2. Can an organic results ban also affect paid search results?
    By jeanthibca in forum Google Optimization
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: Jul 2nd, 2009, 01:24 AM
  3. Back links, Google of about results vs. real results numbers
    By entro in forum SEO Help (General Chat)
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: Feb 9th, 2009, 07:16 AM
  4. Replies: 0
    Last Post: Jun 16th, 2006, 04:05 PM
  5. allintext:Results Good; Regular search:Results STINK
    By bpmee in forum Google Optimization
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: Jan 26th, 2004, 10:40 AM

IMN logo majestic logo threadwatch logo seochat tools logo