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Follow-up: Paying for Ongoing SEO Services

October 3, 2007
Hi Jill,

First let me say how much I enjoy your newsletter.  I am in the same
business and find your information very helpful.  I especially like the
emails that you answer and post, as I often come across the same issues &
like to see how others handle them.

However, I have an issue with one of your answers.  To gain credibility, I
often send my clients to sign up for your newsletter to show that I am not
the only one telling them whatever it is I am telling them at the time.
With that, the answer to a question from your last newsletter could severely
hurt my (our) business.

The question was posted on 9/26/07 from someone who knows a business in town
who was being charged $200/month to keep his Internet rankings.  And while
you hinted that you would need to learn more to make an accurate assessment,
you said that this guy is wasting his money for monthly optimization.  I,
too, charge monthly to work on people's sites and have an impeccable record.
I am doing nothing shady and would never consider doing so.  However, if one
of my clients reads that answer, it is going make me and a whole bunch of us
in the industry look bad... including you, since you offer monthly
optimization services.    

I see your point in the answer, but was hoping you could clarify that
charging a monthly fee is a perfectly legit manner for an SEO company to
help its clients gain consistent rankings.  As in ANY industry, there are
always people looking to take advantage of those who are vulnerable.
However, in the case of that question, you simply do not have enough info to
make that accusation, thus this business may or may not be wasting $$, but
it's impossible to tell without more info.
 
Again, I respect you and the work you do immensely, but in this case believe
a public correction or clarification is in order.
 
Thank you for your time and consideration.

Chris

++Jill's Response++

Hi Chris,

You may want to take a look at the follow-up comments in the newsletter
archive
, as some of your concerns have been addressed there.

Further to the comments there, my problem with much of what passes for
"ongoing maintenance" is that many clients aren't actually getting anything
for their money. The SEO company says they're working on your SEO but can't
seem to explain exactly what it is they're working on, nor do they provide
any sort of monthly list of the things they have done or any sort of
deliverables.  

For a company such as yours that is presumably actually doing work, I'm sure
you must provide your clients with that work each month so that they know
what they're paying for.  And I'm sure you must be measuring the success of
your efforts and providing them with those metrics, then outlining what
you'll be doing in the months to come, based on what you learn using those
metrics.  Ideally, your metrics will not be rankings reports, but instead a
thorough review of the site's web analytics and/or log files.    

My post was intended for those clients who never see anything but a monthly
ranking report, with no other work being done or recommendations being made.
They could just as easily spend their money elsewhere, and it would have the
same effect on their website.

I also wanted to make it crystal clear that once your site is optimized and
doing well, if you stop working on it, you won't suddenly lose your
rankings.  

Hope this helps!

Jill