Are there any SEO Companies that Charge Based on MileStones Instead Of a Monthly Fee?

Are there any SEO companies that charge based on RESULTS rather than simply a monthly fee? I've had several friends ripped off paying thousands for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) over many months for little or no ranking improvement. I realize good ranking take time:) I'm looking for an SEO company who bases billing on performance rather than on promises.
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are there any seo companies that charge based on milestones instead of a monthly fee

I do pay per sale for this reason. I tell my clients that they can spend thousands on an SEO company and find out they are clueless, or $500 1 time and pay per sale. Worst case they lose $500, the best case I am by far the most expensive option they will ever pay, but it is due to the results working. I do not work on the client's main site. That way if they'd like they can hire an SEO company for (faster results alongside me). This is because 1 I don't want to deal with your company politics, and 2 if you don't hold your end of the bargain I can take it to a competitor, I have had to do this a total of 1 time as they went a full year of no payment on at least 30 leads a month, most clients treat me and my employees as a business partner and give us whatever we need since we're result based.
Pay per sale has a whole different set of rules than SEO companies as you only really go into it if the company has preexisting Client Relationship Management (CRM) tracking. Otherwise, pay-per-sale companies just go into lead generation and affiliate marketing.
I hope this answers your questions.

Moin » Alex
What is 500 for? How soon you bring them sale? Basically how you structure your agreement?
Alex » Moin
The $500 is one of 2 reasons. It is essentially a downpayment, for me to take my time to keyword research and write core content and build a branding package and some backlinks. It also sets up a form of payment that they can use to pay me on each sale. How soon, it really depends there are no guarantees in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) some customers I have gotten leads in 2 days, some in 6 months, currently I have one that has only had 1 lead all year which is sad for me since I pay to have his site live monthly. It's structured as an agreed-upon commission between me and the owner during the initial sales process, then written up as a contract when they get over the tracking phone number and email address for the leads.
Moin » Alex
Does it work with local niches? Do you link your site to their Google My Biz (GMB) in local?
Alex » Moin
I make my own GMB in local.
I inform my customers they are competing against themselves, but I am only paid on results, if that makes sense.

Edward » Micha
How do you propose this will work?
How would you measure the 'results'?
I'd be interested to hear what your view is and just how it can work.
You mention 'ranking' but rankings don't pay the bills, business does, so that for me presents an issue as I drive sales through many different methods.
Here's a proposal then. I build a new site, I build a new profile across social media including GMBGBP) and you pay per qualified lead.
How does that sound? No risk for you, no risk for me as I can always sell to your competitors if it doesn't work out.

Alex » Edward
This is almost how we do it, mentioned above. But instead of leads we do a commission on sales. The commissions are based on volume, my auto glass guys are $50-300 a sale high volume and they are on top of their sales. Roofers are $1500 a sale, My Home Security guys are $300 a sale, Snow Removal Landscaping $300 a sale. Then I have a financial advising company that is 3.5 Million a sale. pay per lead would not be near as much money as I make on commission. Does it suck seeing leads that don't close? Absolutely but when they do it's good money.
Edward » Alex
My prior experience of pay on commission has left a sour taste in my mouth.
Most of the sites I run are my own, I work with clients who appear to be fun, if not I say no.
I have my own finance sites where the money comes to me and pay guys for carrying things out.
I agree it's better to work in different ways. I was proposing to the OP a system that he'd most likely not accept.
I have a feeling he wants an SEO to rank his site without paying anything, or making a single small payment when he does rank.
Alex » Edward
Yeah, if I am working on the main company site I charge $5,000 a month cause I am charging for my intellectual property and time. This is because I have 0 protection if they "move in a different direction". I also get creative freedom on my sites as far as domain and branding which is sooo beneficial. Some niches I have 3 customers in the exact same are and they all love my service, which is something you just can't do as an agency due to conflict of interest. But when my interest is generating leads to make more money there's no conflict since they're all my sites. But my first pay per sale client almost made me quit cause it was a friend and he didn't pay me for a year and I ranked his site, only to find that he was closing leads but not paying. I couldn't transfer the site to a guy who closed 4 out of 10 leads I sent cause I was suspicious because it was his site and brand. Lesson was learned the hard way arguments happened and I learned you have to make your own entity everytime and sell it as such.
Edward » Alex
Yep I have a load of split deals in place already and have had to 'sack' a couple of idiots who tried to stiff me.
Alex » Edward
You just wouldn't think your best friend would be the first one to stiff you. But it lead me to my best client since he saw that I know what I am doing and invested money into his own backlinks. My biggest problem in the industry is how cheap intellectual property is. Makes me sad. But yeah I was just playing devil's advocate that pay per sale is a good model if you have trustworthy owners with good tracking and sales processes.

Holgate 🎩
I only guarantee what I can fully control and as others have said, you are basically describing the pay-per-lead model and from experience, clients won't pay for it, if given the choice, as it tends be at a premium over the more traditional SEO agency/retainer modelling. If I'm asked for a guaranteed service, I'll say, no problem, I charge this amount for this amount of guaranteed leads!… After a short while, they work out that it costs more in the longrun to do this and will choose the normal SEO package.

Castillo » Holgate
Also worth mentioning that a pay-per-lead SEO, is very often just a Pay Per Click (PPC) campaign disguised as Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which has no long-term benefits.
Holgate 🎩 » Castillo
Yes, that happens a lot or quite often they will use PPC to supplement an SEO campaign until rankings start kicking in. A lot of the time, they also build their own properties and divert the calls so if the client leaves, they own the property, not the client and can sell the leads to another potential client… So basically they get the client to pay to build their own lead gen properties. You can argue this is not ethical but without contracts it happens.

Back when I owned an agency, we had several pay for performance contracts (it was based on revenue sharing).
However, there's an inherent problem in these types of contracts – the SEO agency has to invest many months of work before they start earning a reasonable amount. And then once results start coming in, the client will be paying more per month (to make up for all the months where they paid nothing). The client could simply walk away with the results they paid very little for.
To overcome this, our contract had a minimum commitment – the client wasn't allowed to cancel the contract until they had paid us at least $30,000. (If we didn't achieve results they didn't pay us, but they weren't allowed to walk away.)
Basically, if you want an ethical SEO company to charge for results, you're going to have to make a big commitment to make it worthwhile for them to invest so much up-front into a website they don't own.

Edward » Thompson
I have a 'buy out' clause where if ending the agreement they have to pay x months results. It also has other protection built in where the 'client' has agreed to pay £xxxx per month if ending the contract prematurely. In effect it's a deferment agreement and the amount paid in future comes off the deferment amount.
E.G. lets say we agreed £1000 per month, after 10 months the sales are coming in and we are starting to get paid say £500 a month. The defered amount drops accordingly and then, once the deferred amount is paid off they can then cancel and pay the severance amount of x times the last yy months average
Nelson » Thompson
This is the correct answer.

Micha ✍️
Here is my proposed model. I have a very small video production company- a one man band. Pay initial $$$ for on-site SEO, then $100 per month for off-site SEO with a monthly performance bonus based on keywords/phrase rankings in my market year-over-year. Can I expect to move the needle on my website rankings paying an SEO company at $100-$200 per month?
I tell all my clients that have to sign a 14 month contract. that forces them to stick to the plan. RESULTS, good results are month 9 -12
Great Results 12 – 14months
My Best SEO client who just let me execute has over 155 page one articles, Multiple SERPs and is in a very competitive demographic roofing in a major city. it took 4 years for him to own it!! under your model I wouldn't get paid for a minimum of 14 months, what's my incentive to put in multiple hours per month in optimizing and making the site rank. he pays the most out of everyone and has since day one.
My Slow and steady lowest paying client has 55 page ones, Multiple SERPs etc. He has been with me for 2.5years now. and didn't see really good results till month 14 onward. because he didn't pay for me to be aggressive with optimizing. but he got there. its not rocket science just consistency really with good content.
While I hear your frustration because this happens so often where people pay and don't get results, I have to respectfully disagree,
I don't think anyone would agree to work that way! would you? I am going to use your product or service but only pay you if I decide it has added value.
#my2cents 😛

Alex » Frey
Congrats dude, roofing is a tough niche. I got bored doing it and passed it off to some of my newbies and needless to say they failed. I am just now getting to those clients and the content is very dry and boring.
If you don't mind I have a few questions unless your roofing state is Arizona in which case I wouldn't want to get you in trouble. Mainly just wanted to say good job and keep up the good work sounds like you're killing it!
The content is so dry lol. I have had the same writer on my team doing it for the entire time so we have an inhouse expert lol in addition to me.
Alex I would love to chat.
Phone? Pm? Google Teams?
Let me know.
Alex » Frey
PM we can Facebook call to screenshare.

Hiring someone to do work is an energy exchange. In its simplest terms, you pay me to do work for you. When there is equal commitment, a partnership is formed. You with your money, me with my knowledge, skills, equipment, and abilities. If you're not committed enough to your own business to invest in it, I have no interest in your business either because there is not an equal energy exchange. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) work requires an outlay of time, resources that are paid for upfront, and KSAs. You are in a very competitive industry. You had to purchase your equipment to provide your photography/videography services same with your SEO person. We also have to purchase equipment, software, and tools to provide our service. We do this because we are serious about our business. Are you serious enough about your business to make a commitment?
I see on your website "We require a $1000 non-refundable retainer plus a signed contract." Why wouldn't you afford your SEO professional the same respect?

Micha ✍️ » Joan
Sure, but I would NOT base future payments on a monthly fee without some proof of performance.

Nobody, who actually knows how to get results, is going to charge based on results. They don't have to. They have people lining up to pay whatever price they ask. Most likely, as a wedding photographer, your business model can't afford to pay the price per month that someone who actually knows how to put you on page one of the Google search results would charge. So it's a bit of a catch 22. When someone actually knows how to make your phone ring with Search Engine Optimization (SEO), they are going to charge more than most businesses can afford. Additionally, almost NOBODY who charges people money for SEO actually knows how to put businesses on page one of the Google search results for any meaningful keyword. So there's that too. You'll burn through 3-10 SEO companies / "experts" and waste tens of thousands of dollars, before you find someone who even knows how to do the thing they are charging you money for.

Micha ✍️
Those are EXACTLY my sentiments. It's a catch 22. At what point is the money invested in an SEO company worth the return? That's a much harder question to answer with a small company like mine. A multi-million dollar enterprise can easily afford $$$ for quality SEO. I can't.
Dustin » Micha
The uncomfortable truth is that wedding photography is NOT AN SEO PLAY. For goodness sakes, you take pictures and videos for a living. All of your clients should come from Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok. This is a social media play. Not an SEO play. You have ENDLESS content to share. Pics. Videos to post to social. Tag your clients…tag your clients' mom's. Now your clients are sharing it, giving you double the reach and exposure. One year after the wedding you're hitting up your clients, tagging them on social, posting a reel / tiktok you made for them. This is not an SEO play. This is an instagram, tiktok, Facebook play.

Personally, I would consider doing a pay-per-performance model. I don't know why other SEO agencies wouldn't, the only thing I would really fear is the trust of the client (as in paying when we produced results). Other than that why would you be afraid to do it? In fact, in a lot of ways, it would be better.

Edward » Nathan
Refusing to do something doesn't mean the party refusing is afraid, it's personal choice.
Most successful companies have a way of operation that works so they stick to it. Why would they move away from that system just because someone asks them to, that can be the road to ruin.
Nathan » Edward
Not all are afraid, but some are. Lots of SEO companies are scammers that's a fact. Lots of people thought I was crazy when I started my SEO agency on the concept of no contracts.
The SEO industry evolves over time and I wouldn't be completely opposed to it, to help customers feel more peace of mind and help destroy some of the scamming SEO companies.
Your resources are different than mine and mine are different than yours. I am heavily invested in my own businesses outside of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as well as charge per leads and have employees that I need to keep busy and the risk is very low to me. It doesn't make either of us wrong for operating in different ways.
Yep I've never used contracts. But that requires the right client, if I don't feel comfortable with the conversation I'll let them know that I don't think we're a good fit.

Website design and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) are filled with scammers.
It's very difficult to find someone who actually knows what they're doing, and who actually does it.
I've been doing search engine optimization for over 20 years and I have never met a business owner that was in business more than a few years who had not been ripped off by a bad website designer or a bad SEO person.
Virtually every small business, except brand new businesses, have been ripped off by an unscrupulous website designer or SEO person.
As far as getting someone to work for you and then you pay them for performance, you're never going to find anyone good who does that.
If someone agrees to that, they don't know what they're doing.

Jennifer » Tom
This 💯
Micha ✍️ » Tom
Jennifer » Tom
Thanks but that website is about 1/2 done so definitely not ready for any visibility yet.

Think Chris M. Walker had lead gen options. Outside of that this is how I look at Search Engine Optimization (SEO). I walk into your restaurant and I did not see the sign. Then I discover it s seafood and I have never had sea food. The menu is in English and I speak Spanish only. What kind is g results can I expect. The biggest issue with results is that your consumer does not know your language but they want results. I am here to learn SEO language and how it works. During this time I am building relationships. I am hiring from and doing based on my education. Then I am able to order what I need and know if I am getting what I ordered. It makes a great relationship. It sucks being hungry, not knowing the language, and perhaps not liking seafood all while trying to successful feed your needs.
Pay per lead (PPL) or Pay per acquisition (PPA is worth it if you balance how much you spend for a lead through Google ads then up charging the lead for the sweat equity and money out of your pocket that was needed to obtain that lead.

Edward » Thomas
He has stated he doesn't like that model
Thomas » Edward
Then I would have to agree with you. You would have to make a full fledge site that would include plenty of pages/blogs, links, and an optimized Google my business. I'm addition to the diligence that the "client" has to obtain reviews and video, photo, and potential text content to help better optimize the ongoing campaign. Depending on the industry, you may be having to put up 5 to 6 figures to generate the initial site to potentially obtain leads in a fast manner. For any consultant or agency that would be worth while for them to do this would be for a long multi-year retainer to be profitable. As well as the client needing to put in the work to be on news segments, events, grow their network, reputation, and focus on multiple mediums to drive more brand recognition. This can be a large risk for both parties if one doesn't decide to pull their weight during the duration of the agreement.

I have one client like this, it was a trusted person who I knew if I delivered I will get compensated. At first I had to use some of my money and I get 30% of gross sales now I'm still getting 30% and he's matching my earnings toward SEO. Eventually I will bring that number down because I'm sure it's not profitable for him since he is essentially paying 60% of sales atm and that will be once 20% totals to $10k then that 10k will include the budget for SEO + profit for my pocket.

Alex » Ambriz
So the way to think about it. Commission-based SEO is only on sales you bring in which the owner views as sales they wouldn't have without you. Without you, they may be investing 3,000-6000 a month on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in a snake oil company and just lose money for months. So in that regard, I am sure your owner is happy with his work and you shouldn't feel bad about the number until it gets brought up.
Ambriz » Alex
That is correct, I should of stated that it was 30% above their last 12 month average.
Alex » Ambriz
Sounds like you're killing it for them dude congrats. Keep up the good work and make that money. 🙂 I'm saying don't feel bad till they bring up that you're expensive cause you're not in the grand scheme of things.

If you want to own the market and want to rank high in your niche, it's a huge investment. If you pay 🥜 for handling this investment, you are a fool if you think that you won't get 🐒. In other words: if you want a selling machine at 5th Ave you will probably pay a proper monthly fee as well. If your budget is just like 500$ a month, maybe you can rent a garage on 200 Park Avenue and wonder if you're selling shit.🤷‍♂️
In the end, this isn't a risk issue, it's a reward issue. You want someone who can produce results but you don't want to pay what it takes to produce results.
If you charge enough to do your job then you should consider around 20-30% of that revenue should go into marketing. When they continue to produce jobs and your revenue goes up they will continue to produce jobs because their revenue goes up.
To take all the risk to rank you for a reward of $1200 maybe $2000 per year when overhead to complete the task is in the $1500-1800 range I might generate $200 profit. But after the cost of tools, electricity, and other factors I am actually in the negative.
I really went to bat for you in the beginning but I think at the end of the day you are trying to hire a lawyer at paralegal prices.

If SEO costs a lawyer-like fee of $100 per hour then yes, I can't afford it. Big companies can, but I can't. I just don't understand why a good SEO expert cant build and maintain good web visibility locally on one site spending 5 or 6 hours per month on a website at lets say $35 per hour. Is that unreasonable?
Nathan » Micha
Yes, it's unreasonable. This is why the tools we use cost us more than that, on top of that you are paying for knowledge.
While I would love to work for every small business owner who can't afford it, those who can pay my bills and overhead. It's much like me wanting to pay you $35 an hour for you to come to shoot my wedding video? Would you do it?
Why not? I am sure it would take you less than 5-6 hours. BTW lawyers are in the $250-500 per hour range and I am In a very conservative state. Most SEO users even affordable ones charge around $125-200 per hour.
However, what I can accomplish in a few hours is more than someone at $35 an hour can do it 20. Unfortunately, just like in your business of having to purchase high-quality cameras, lighting, and other materials, the same is true with Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Except we have to continue to pay for them over and over each month as well as some are pay per use such as rank tracking software.
It would be awesome if the SEO software companies would do it for $10 a month vs several hundred for each tool per month, they aren't going to do it! Because it's supply by demand and when you are competing with other wedding videographers in the area who understand that jobs = revenue and more money they are willing to pay more.
When SEO agencies need these tools to make their revenue from those companies we are willing to pay several hundred per month, per tool, and thus our overhead goes up. So in order to produce results and not be another scummy SEO agency promising the world and not being able to deliver whether it be tools, time, or resources we choose to be honest.
At the end of the day, you are trying to buy a Lamborghini with a used Honda budget. It's not meant as an insult but the reality of the situation. While the guy down the street has 3 employees wanting to rank for Wedding Videographer Sacramento and he's willing to pay way more for the same amount of work… Well, you get what I mean by now I hope.
This is why the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. It is what it is my friend.
Micha ✍️ » Nathan
So the golden question is, is it worth spending $3,000 on bridal shows + $2,000 on WeddingWire per year or putting that $5,000 into Search Engine Optimization (SEO)? Figure the first two get 4 or 5 brides per year…or is $5,000 still a Honda budget for SEO
Charles » Micha
Yes, because other people will pay them more. You're dealing with the free market and trying to spend less than the going rate, and it takes time to get SEO results, so what's to keep you engaged long enough to see the rewards?
For example, I have friends who are novelists and do copywriting to pay the bills, because novel writing today is generally a very risk-taking endeavor. A good copywriter is minimum $100 per hour because for any less they can do other more interesting things. They wouldn't voluntarily be writing marketing copy for pharmaceuticals or aircraft parts, they'd rather be working on a book.
For the same reason, SEO has a market rate because most people doing SEO are doing it for the money, and if it had fewer qualifications it would have lower barrier to entry and the market would be flooded and they wouldn't do it, they would do something else that made them more money.
You aren't offering equity in your business, you're offering gig pay, so where is the long term for them. If you were offering equity in your business, allowing them to benefit from your long term success, it might be a different conversation with some.
So, that's why. It's a skilled professional service that you don't want done badly.
And, by the way, most really good lawyers charge way over $100 per hour. Decent paralegals Search Engine Optimization (SEO) make $150 an hour. A really good corporate lawyer bills out at $300-500+ an hour. A specialized lawyer, $500-750 and up. And they don't get paid on results, they get paid for their knowledge, experience, and reputation.
I think you may also just not be in touch with the pulse of the economy. People stocking shelves at Costco can easily make $50 an hour plus benefits, so when you say you want to pay $35 an hour with no security to get (for example) 100x your current web traffic for e-commerce, you sound really out of touch.
Your friends may have gotten ripped off because they trusted people they shouldn't have. I get emails every day with people promising SEO magic. They're full of ****. Check out the reputations of the people you're hiring, that's how you get some measure of security in this.
Does that make sense?
If you hire the right SEO agency or freelancer 4-5 is nothing… That's the honest truth! If you want a link to one of your posts form Huffington Post Weddings FB let me know I will give it to you for free!
I also would be happy to give you free consulting on how to achieve results yourself. I love helping the little guy but at the end of the day I have a family to feed.
Micha ✍️ » Nathan
Thank you so much for the offer😊
Nathan » Micha
Alternatively, you could pay for ads but if 4-5 is the bar per year the bar isn't set very high.
We have all talked about the bad but you do have a lot going for you with 30+ years in business. Your rankings are right on the brink of producing results, and generally in these scenarios can happen fairly quickly.
With some good links, you would hit the first page for some high searched terms.

Raise your hand if you've ever hired a video production company or photographer who promised great work but whose final product sucked! ✋✋✋
Point being, Micha, your industry is just as guilty of this. I've paid *multiple* video producers and photographers over the years for shitty work until I found good ones.
Every service you hire is a gamble… car repair, home services, ect… Who hasn't been burned by these industries too?
And you certainly will roll the dice for cheap work.
The best solution, ask for referrals from people who can vouch for their SEO vendor.
On another note, if your budget is only $100-200/month, your most like options are to find what you're looking for on Legiit. Or pay for some SEO courses and learn it yourself.

Micha » Quinn
Thanks for your thoughts. I think learning it myself may be the answer.

They exist but you're probably looking at a pay per lead/sale scenario whereby they control the core asset and risk being dropped as a client for a higher paying one or might be looking into giving up equity to make it worth their time.
Nobody is going to invest capital, personnel and tech developing SEO for a client with that much risk. There are other clients with deep pockets who understand and value SEO as part of their marketing mediums.

Alex » Russel
Kinda have to control the core asset because of all the owners who try to weasel out of paying once it ranks. Wish it wasn't this way but dealing with intellectual property has always been a slippery slope.

Comission based outcomes on marketing is a lawsuit waiting to happen. In eCommerce it is more black and white with affiliate programs. The SEO owns the resource generating money and therefore can assume greater risk.
If you want my two cents, find a business that ranks in a similar niche (eg wedding cakes, florist) ask them who they use. If an SEO gets results they generally have a positive relationship with their clients and their clients are happy to endorse them.
But don't compare expectations of SEO to a tangible product like an electrician or a wedding celebrant. You can assess them on the output go their work and their ability to explain why they are doing it and backing it up with credible resources.
Think of SEO more like Public Relations (PR). I used to work with a PR agency who would write business award entries (helps increase value of a business before you intend to sell). They had historical evidence of getting results. But you can't guarantee it will work. What if she put 15hrs in and her competition paid a premium firm who put 50hrs into their entry.
SEO is a becoming more bottlenecked because the people who rank get more money and understand the value of SEO and choose to invest better. So the SEO users who know their value won't agree to work on a results based retainer purely because you need them more than they need you. Good agencies get asked this all the time and 99% of the time even if you get results people will still try to weasel out of paying.

Steve » Davis
Well said.

There's no way a SEO Agency charges you based on results, it depends a lot on how competitive your keywords are, and if you're looking for sales, there are several things that are not up to the Agency, such as, your price product, the quality even how you handle your leads… You could be getting a lot of visits but no sales because of your product/brand reputation…

Micha » Alberto
There are several companies on this post that have offered monthly SEO based on performance. Am I wrong? Are these companies I should trust?
Alberto » Micha
That's up to you.. you should check previous work and references I'm not saying they're wrong or they don't know what they're doing, also you can not totally trust an Agency that charges a monthly fee. To ME its wrong to charge for SEO services based on results
Micha ✍️ » Alberto
So how do you base your SEO fees?
Alberto » Micha
First you need to know what's the company's objective, how big they are, Evaluate keyword difficulty and competitors. And also it is up to how experienced you are.
You cannot charge the same fee to a small shop around the corner than a multinational company.

I will suggest trying out this model as this is working well for us we are paying a regular base monthly fee and then we have a bonus model on increasing the average position of selected keywords and paying a fixed $ amount for each keywords position increased compared to the previous 28 days then we also have a big amount achieving 1st position.
Note: always choose targeted keywords wisely.
I've seen it done many times where the SEO made an absolute mess of the company's website: to fulfil the contract they went after keywords that have no competition and that no one was looking for, almost got badly penalised by Google for super black backlinking and so much more. In the worst case it took the comp 2 yrs to discover why business dropped so badly bc monthly SEO reports (which were also doctored before delivery) showed the SEO fulfilled their contract.
There's only 1 "trick" I've found works when choosing an SEO service: find one that doesn't talk gibberish or talk down to you. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) isn't rocket science- it's logical and takes work. If you don't understand what they are telling you, choose a company that explains things better.
Unfortunately, SEO has become the snake oil salesman trade of the internet. Especially in the past 10-15 years.
Everyone claims to be an expert. Imagine being able to call your self an expert when you've never even been successful on your own (i..e most SEO techs have never even built their own successful profitable online business like an online retail operation). Typically, the REAL Good SEO techs don't have to be selling SEO services because they've made so much money in their own online business. (and I've met a couple of those gifted SEO experts in this Group!)
So, my advice is go to one of the outsource websites and hire someone for about a month for only ten hours a week. DO NOT pay any of them large deposits or cash upfront. Pay by the hour ONLY. After a month or two if you don't see movement in your ranking, DUMP that SEO tech Immediately and move on to someone else. DO NOT let them soak for months without any results. And DO NOT Fall for the sales pitch "it takes several months to see any results". That's usually BS just to drain as much $$ out of you as possible!
Your suggestion, payment based on results, is an ideal scenario. And any SEO tech that provides that service has the confidence and quality of service that would be very attractive to online business owners.

One month. If you have an SEO guy who can get you ranked on the top page in one month in even a semi competitive niche, then you better keep him. But reality is you will hire and fire SEO guy every month.
Micha ✍️ » Cesar
I'm looking for long term SEO- probably can't get it done in one month.
Kevin » Cesar
I not saying one month at the top, that's ridiculous ..
But after 60 days, you should definitely see movement. If you're stringing someone along after 6 months and no measurable improvement, you're just a Hustler.
And they should have fired you at the 60 day mark.
Randy » Kevin
I've got about 70 SEO clients and I can't think of any that didn't take 4-6 months to kick in. I tell them that up front, but the effort starts immediately. A few took over a year. But I am definitely not out to rip people off.
Kevin » Randy
Maybe you are honest and effective but I've hired about a dozen different SEO users in the past few years, and what I've found out the hard way is most do Not perform. And a weekly status report and close monitoring of their work is critical…
Micha ✍️ » Kevin
Atif » Joey
Joey » Atif
What do you mean how?

Castillo » Micha
What you're asking for is NOT SEO but some hybrid/Frankenstein strategy where you own nothing. Yep, you'll save money short term and you'll not own anything long term.
You're asking for the best of all worlds. I'm sorry you had a bad experience several times with SEO companies, but a post like yours will only attract these types of responses.
The problem is that your ignorance in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), or the ignorance of your friend, lead to very unfortunate experiences. And you're assuming that this will be the case forever, and that somehow changing the arrangements to completely favor YOU will somehow still be beneficial for the other party.
Obviously this is a failure in negotiations, and in understanding where the problem really lies – and that problem is in the statement "buyer beware".
Just because someone says they can do SEO and you be believe them, doesn't mean that they know anything about what makes SEO successful. It also doesn't mean that the blame is theirs to bare 100%. They lied, and you didn't do enough research to properly qualify them. The blame is 50/50.
I'm telling you this because as an agency owner, I don't know anything about Pay Per Click (PPC) but I have to hire people that are exceptional at PPC. If I hire someone and they fail me or my clients, who's fault is that?
What would you say to an agency owner who hired an SEO who was assigned to your campaign, and completely botched the whole thing? Would you blame the SEO or the agency owner who hired them?
I'd wager you'd blame the company over the Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
As an agency owner, I don't expect myself to be an expert in every service we offer. But I do hold myself accountable to understanding what makes a good hire for those positions.
You should consider the same in your own scenario.
Something to consider is that if an SEO company is going to invest their time and money into a project, they'll likely do it with a domain name they own.
I rank lawyer sites in Google with my own money. I do it because I can sell the leads for a lot of money, or take on a client and give them the leads from my site while I do the work for them.

Micha ✍️ » Silvio
Wow, I've never heard of that.
Chris M. Walker 👑🎩 » Micha
This model has been suggested to you several times in this post.
Micha ✍️ » Chris M. Walker
Selling leads from an independent website?
Silvio » Micha
There are sites like offervault where you can see tons of companies buy leads from people who are good at Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and ads.
These companies mark up the price to their clients.
So I might get paid $50 per lead while these companies charge their clients $100 per lead.
The benefit to me is that I don't have to take client calls, worry about leads getting disputed, etc.
There's a big market for lead generation.
On another note, these sites that generate leads also sell for sometimes as much as 36x the monthly revenue they generate.

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