Shopping for SEO – Discounting a Bad Idea

Over the years I’ve had many opportunities to give prospective search marketing clients “good deals” for a variety of reasons. Early on in your business, there are some compelling reasons to do so, but my advice? Don’t. Here’s some classics along with my feeble replies:

“We want to see what you can do with organic SEO for a month or two, and if we see results we’ll pay more.”

Great, sounds like you’re focused on results. For the short term, your best bet will be a paid search program. We can have a Google AdWords account setup with the approriate keywords, ad creative, landing pages and conversion tracking within 2-3 business days. We can monitor progress and scale the program up or down accordingly.

At the same time we can begin the process of optimizing your site for improved organic rankings which will take some time. Organic search engine optimization should be thought of as a long term strategy. As we refine your site to be crawlable by search engines and enhance content as well as incoming links, your site will become more relevant for the search terms your prospects are using. If you’re going to optimize your site for organic rankings, it should be done correctly and long term or not at all.

“Our brand is very strong in the marketplace and working with us could be an entry point to bigger things. So give us a lower rate now and we’ll introduce you to bigger opportunities with our other companies in the future.”

I can see you’re very proud of your brand. We’re very proud of the results we’ve been able to deliver for our clients. The value we provide our clients is not something we discount. We would be happy to try a smaller project with you and scale accordingly based on the merits of that program.

“We want you to optimize our site on a pay for performance basis.”

Unless we have near full control over your site’s content and design, a pay for performance program is not practical. An effective search engine optimization program almost always involves improvements to the content, organization, linking and usability of your website. SEO builds traffic, usability and conversion expertise influences the user once they get to the site. We would need control over the factors that affect the performance for which we would be accountable.

There are many others and it’s tempting to just say, “thanks but no thanks”. I can say every time my search engine optimization company has ever given a discount for any of the reasons above, it almost always turns out for the worse. That’s why we don’t any longer. What’s needed is better education on what SEO is, what it can do and when it is appropriate.

[tags]seo,search engine optimization,search marketing,discount seo,lee odden[/tags]