What SEO packages do you sell as a freelancer?
SEO is intangible. It's not like web design, where you can sell a website. It's a tangible thing.
So I'm struggling to get an understanding of what it is freelance SEO users actually sell. How do you guys package your products? And are your products usually one time products, or are they a recurring package?
Mine are all recurring. there's no use spending on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and to not maintain it and lose the rankings a year or two later. You could price it with cheaper maintenance but higher upfront or just a larger maintenance fee to cover your start up cost.
I create a new plan for each company I talk to dependent on their budget and the results they want. E.g. one site might not want any blogs or articles but to just optimize the site and improve the existing content, I would charge them a lot less than a company that wants 2 blogs a week
Thanks for your response!
So obviously a lot of the SEO tasks are quite time-consuming. Let's say you did an audit of a website, and found that there are:
-10 keywords your client is not ranking for but their competitor is
-need to build 20 backlinks
-5 pages with redirect chains
-20 pages that are in positions 4-10 and you want to boost to positions 1-3
How much of this hypothetical work would you do yourself? How would you calculate the amount of hours you work on this? How would you calculate how many months this would take?
Apologies for the long response, but this is where I'm most unclear…on how you break down tasks and communicate that to the client
For how much I charge a client it is based on the hours of work it takes me.
What does change is the delivery time, sometimes 6 months sometimes a year for the exact same campaign for the same price but the variations are the industry and location. The more competitive the industry and location, the harder it is to rank so it usually takes more time for them to reach their expected result.
SEO is an ongoing process so it is hard to give a solid delivery line but as long as you can assure your clients "As you can see month by month progress is increasing, however for you to reach your goal target of 1-3 it can take up to 8 months"
Another thing you need to make clear to them is that once they get their 1-3 position after 8 months, they can't stop the campaign and it has to keep running. At this stage I charge a cheaper fee just to keep on top of the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) as the main hard work has already been done but they just pay to keep the site updated and secure, for new content to be written in.
Clients HATE being left in the dark, I will always email AND call them at least once a month to give them an update on how the campaign is improving and to check if they have any issues. In the case you provided I would just keep the client updated through all of this "3 months on we are now ranking for 6 out of the 10 keywords from your competitor", "these keyword rankings have improved from position 8 to position 4"
I also have clients that say "Honestly I have no idea what you're doing and I don't want to, I just want to trust you to do the work. I am seeing the results so I will just sit back and trust you" – THESE ARE THE BEST CLIENTS, HOLD ONTO THEM FOR LIFE. Clients like this I usually end up doing more work than the ones that complain all of the time for no reason.
Thanks for your detailed response!
I use 2 different ways to offer SEO services.
1 with a fixed price with reporting
2 with time tracking where the client pays me according to per hour cost.
We've to brief what tasks we're going to do like, on-page and off-page tasks, but with time tracking we usually don't describe tasks as our main goal is to bring 60% results within 3-6month. So we've to do whatever it takes to bring most keywords on ranking from N/A
For reporting, we share live worksheet with the client so that he can see what's going on with their website.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is also tangible as on the first week you'll find out all the On-page errors, and when they start link building you can also check all live links in their reports.
I've done link building in-house in the past, and I find it's difficult to predict the number of links you'll get a month purely because of how much factors out of your control exists in the process. But also the fact that it's SOOOO time-consuming to do.
How do you manage link building for clients as a one man team? And how do you promise X number of links per month without using shady tactics?
package fulfillment is difficult to work on, and it is not customized to the needs of the website and its more like automated. running an SEO campaign really needs personal attention, what I discuss with the client is their budget and proposed number of hours. with that we can focus on what really is important based on the SEO Audit and real goals that we can target.
That's fair enough.
I'm struggling to understand how freelancers map which SEO tasks would be appropriate to the client's business goal. And also, how to calculate how long these SEO tasks would take and the pricing of them
Would you be willing to expand on that please?
None, I sell a solution and determine numbers of hours per month. I audit the site and determine a path of action (I have no idea if I worded that right, not first language) with that path of action I work.
Downside of this is it takes a lot of time, and many times clients don't take the service (too expensive most of the time) so is wasted time. But when it works, is easier for me to follow the plan and demonstrate advance.
How do you calculate the hours per month?
Depending of "things" to do, I calculate portions of the day of 3 hours, and experience, I know i.e. how much time will take me to do Search Engine Result Page (SERP) titles and description of I know the amount of pages, and an average of how long it takes to write content, or research keywords.
Minimum time for duty is 3 hours average, even for something that takes 15 minutes, that way I have plenty of time to attend any complication, or maybe do something not agreed, once, or even things that are not detailed in the work proposal and I know I should do it but forgot to write it. Or you know, Google comes with an update and something is broken now, so needs to be fixed.
But is far from perfect and after that I negotiate with the client for the final price.
If I feel good with the money the client will pay, I accept the deal. Every client is completely different so for the same job I could ask totally different prices too.
I'm overcomplicating things maybe, but since I work only with small business for personal reasons, I feel good doing this.
Hourly for SEO work based on the tasks and goals. Building links is a retainer based on the number of links the client needs monthly. I have a top notch content team and have been doing outreach for 5+ years so have built many relationships with sites over the years, have over 2,500 detailed for each niche.
How do you calculate hourly work?
-On-page changes = $20/hour
-Keyword research = $25/hour
This is where I'm struggling to understand…what meaning the individual SEO tasks have in the system of SEO freelance
Hourly for my agency is $150 an hour, no matter what the work. Most companies need between 5-20 hours a month of your time, based on our history.
Ah ok, thanks for your answer
Full service SEO is backlinks, dev hours and articles. We write articles for target keywords and boost them with backlinks. The ideal client for us is monthly:
1,000 for seo management + ad hoc dev work 1,000 for backlinks , outreach and placement 1,000 for 4 articles
Then we adjust for industry and competition and budget, but that's the basic breakdown that we can get results with.
Are you a one man team?
No, i run a small team. We are 2 SEO users, 1 content manager, 2 designers, 2 developers, 1 linkbuilder and writers are hired ad hoc.
It's more like a collection of freelancers that come together for SEO projects. I don't think it's possible to do SEO by oneself, there are so many requirements.
Out of curiosity, what kind of work do you think IS possible as a one man SEO?
It depends on the type of client what I do. But I always sell myself and not SEO and certainly not packages. I found that after doing Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for 3 years you cannot sell anything unless you understand the clients problem.. There are enough SEO experts out there. But there is only one you. That's every entrepreneurs unique selling point when selling services.
You say it's not tangible but it depends. Startups mostly have no idea or have a slight understanding regarding marketing strategy and SEO in general. I found myself more or less do marketing strategy and product branding stuff rather then SEO. Especially in e-commerce startups. The reason is if I don't it hurts SEO indirectly. Maybe some won't go that far.. I do and clients keep coming back for this very reason until I can't handle their SEO on my own; content output vs competition.
I also found that I'm not selling SEO a lot of times. I'm selling myself and I have never ever had a client say 'your SEO is amazing I'm going to hire you'. I always have clients who I connect with and we both want to help each other. B2B is more or less starting a relation and becoming partners rather then selling your services.
It's not about money it's about creating value. So sell value not packages. Then sell it as a recurring service when it comes to Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO is an infinite game because SEO is nowadays managing a product rather then project based IT stuff IMHO.
I get what you're saying. That is the key to selling anything right? The ability to sell YOURSELF.
But at the end of the day, you still need to provide an SEO service. So when you're "in the trenches", what sort of tasks are you doing in this recurring service?
Is it a load of copy changes on a blog?
Is it pruning blogs?
Is it doing featured snippet optimisations?
That's where I'm struggling to build a mental image
Thanks in advance for your response!
So you are saying your doing the research and (marketing) strategy for free? When and how are you doing your research for a client?
I'm not doing anything. I'm not an SEO freelancer. I'm looking go to into SEO freelance, so I'm trying to get a better understanding of how people like yourself operate your SEO freelance business
Yeah then I'd suggest to just start doing something, take action and you'll learn along the way. Learn how to pitch by trying to sell an SEO gig on Fiverr for example. Learn how to generate leads if you know how to sell creating your own website, social media channels etc. Make sure you have a business model and sell your value. I don't think you'll truly understand until you've been working your ass of for nothing. Because if you know how to do SEO you basically know as much as anyone doing the same everyday.
Thanks for this answer! I suppose this is the harsh truth – I will only know how to layout the SEO groundworks for a client once I've actually gone out there and done it!