Giving Away Free or Discount SEO
Lee Odden at TopRank gives some excellent advice to SEO practicioners who find themselves on the other end of the phone with tight business owners or marketing executives looking for huge discounts or short term test buys. Lee feels that caving into pressure and giving away discounts in order to bag a client is tempting, but he feels it’s a good rule of thumb to not get caught up in discounting services, possibly because of a downward spiral in future negotiations effect.
From the Top Rank Blog (This is just a sample, Lee has a bunch of them) :
Prospect : “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.”
Lee’s Reply : 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 SEO 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.
Rand Fishkin says it best in an entry on SEOmoz where he discusses how a simple mistake in book keeping led to 5 months of free service given to a very happy company; “Sadly, I’ve read on forums and heard the rumor passed around that us ‘SEO types’ love to talk and are easy to trick into giving free advice.”
Does giving discounts in SEO pricing or talking up a prospect with free advice lead to more business and securing a client base? Or is respect, professionalism and credibility lost?