A Breakdown of What SEO Work Has Been Done a Month by Month

The Summary of Discussion 2: A Breakdown of What SEO Work Has Been Done a Month by Month
Levi
Do you provide clients a breakdown of what work has been done month by month? I’ve one asking for this
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Holgate
I always tell them… that to keep prices down, we don't offer this service on their package and they'll have to upgrade to a premium package if they want a backlink report. That's usually enough to put them off lol.
If you do provide a monthly report of work done, be prepared to be questioned on certain backlinks and strategy as the people who request this particular service like to think they are SEO experts themselves 🤔.
Pedrotti 🎓
I only show results. Some didn’t like that so I told them to find someone else. I don’t ask the chef what temperature he cooked each of my dishes at.
Edwards
what was agreed at the beginning? if they wish to vary the agreement then you vary the price.
You must never give them a list of your links however that is suicide.
Truslow
We usually schedule a monthly meeting to track progress, show what's been done, and discuss plans and potential strategy modifications for the upcoming month. It lets the client see where things are being successful, where things need more work (or a new approach), and also keeps us appraised of their own goals and results. (e.g. For companies that are simply generating leads or quote requests, they can let us know their conversion rates from month to month. This lets us know if the traffic we're sending is more or less qualified and it also allows us to strategize on ways to either better qualify leads, adjust the process so they have different information going into the call, or something else.
Typically, on our end, the project manager creates a 10-12 page slide presentation on results, plans, work completed, and talking points for the meeting. They'll usually send us some conversion data a few days before the meeting so we can analyze that and include it in the discussion as well.
All this helps build a strong working relationship with the clients. On my part, I have one client in particular with whom we grab a cup of coffee and hop onto the meeting 10 minutes early during NFL football season so that we can discuss why my Patriots are so great and why his Jets suck so badly. Useless time as far as business goes – but extremely valuable time when it comes to growing our rapport and relationship.

Robert
Great advice – I've found that building rapport is really important especially when you're freelancing. Clients do business with you most of the times because they like you 😉
Wells
Why teach them how to fish… ?
That should be a higher price tag if you do teach them?
Truslow
I'm not teaching anyone to fish. There is no way to teach someone what I know. I'm merely justifying why they should continue to pay me lots of money to fish for them.

Perry
I've always been adamant against doing this. You'll soon find yourself in situations where they're telling you what you should / shouldn't do based on some nonsense they've read online.

Mike
And it only takes 3 minutes to explain to them why that idea is a bad idea. If you have built up trust, this isn't an issue.
Truslow
I'm with Mike. Without that meeting, they are THINKING something from some crazy article they read, but they are not discussing it. If they read something and we discuss it, I can explain why it's a bad idea, determine what aspect of the idea may be worth trying, or whatever. If we never talk and I'm not doing it – then that idea festers in their mind and eventually turns everything to rotting garbage.
Perry
I have to disagree. If they're asking to know a step by step breakdown of everything you've done over the month that, to me, means they don't fully trust what you're doing and they're trying to grade your work themselves. If you're getting them results they don't need to know what's going on behind the scenes because at the end of the day they aren't qualified to say whether it's the right thing to do or not. I should also mention that i do give a broad overview breakdown on what the strategy is / is going to be, but I'm not about to give them an itemized list of work done. I also don't have time to explain to them why x wasn't done this month when it was done last month if they see in their "monthly work done report" that something changed.
Again, totally fine to explain broad strategy and whatnot, but it sounded like OP was asking if he should be giving detailed reports of the work complete, to which i still say it's a bad idea
Truslow
They don't get a step by step every single move breakdown. But they see traffic and conversion numbers. Cost to benefit breakdowns, and basic things like "link outreach to x plus y new links from new domains and z from old domains." There's no magic or secrets being given away – just that we're doing what they pay us to do and that what they are paying us can be justified in what they're getting from it. If they're paying us for links – we'd damned well better be able to show them they're getting new links. <shrug>
Perry » Truslow
I made my comment about the step by step because that's what it seemed like OPs client wanted. Traffic and CR is great, since that is what they care about. If they're specifically paying you to get links, you should show that as well. I'm just saying in OPs case i wouldn't be giving them a step by step report unless it was part of our agreement
Truslow
Ahhh. I see. Breakdown just means hitting the points in my mind, but I can see how you're interpreting it too. Gotcha.

Robert
Yes – clients want to know if they're spending their money wisely on you.
It's important to give clients a monthly report of what you're doing. Tell them that you're doing this and that to get you results after X period of time.
In SEO, results can be tricky because Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a long-term strategy. Short-term results are risky. What you do instead is to give metrics such as number of backlinks built + number of guest blogs and so on.
Most of the times, clients will understand that you're doing whitehat SEO and not blackhat SEO.
The clients that frown and demand short-term results are never the clients who would sign a retainer project with you. So leave them be
Jesse
Detailed reports of everything are always appreciated but results matter most. A work long isn't a bad idea, just make sure you have a contract signed so they don't try and outsource you, use your work log and say this is what I need to some Virtual Assistants (VA)s in the Philippians
Chuck
An insertion order detailing work to be performed is provided at the beginning of the month. Supporting documentation showing work performed is included in the report at the end of the month. This way there is no confusion regarding deliverables. This way, clients know what they are paying for. Results are priority one, but transparency along with results is what keeps clients on board. I wouldn't do business with someone that doesn't disclose what I'm paying for. I wouldn't my expect clients to, either.
Levi ✍️
Done some thinking. I think maybe provide a report at the end of the campaign? I’ve been following Raul Marinho model of pricing out a set list of tasks with a number of hours all will be taking. Then to base a project cost on those hours, and then that is taken over 12 / 6 equal payments over 12/6 months. Then that way they are paying for a specific set of tasks and see it as an investment with an end date vs an ongoing monthly cost. If they end up at say position 4 on page 1 at the end of the campaign you can then discuss extending it. Seems a solid strategy and I just got a verbal yes to one I sent this way. It’s allowed me to command a higher monthly fee and I can provide all I’ve said on list of deliverables. What’s your thoughts on that?

Aske » Levi
In my experience, it depends on what you define together during the preparation before both you and your client commits to the project.
In many cases, I've found that we need to read between the lines of what they are actually asking- why do you think they are asking for a breakdown of work by month?
Is it because they want to be able to replicate later? Or perhaps because they want to make sure they get their money's worth? Or perhaps for filing?
You'll have to feel them out and sense what they are really asking for 🙂
Levi ✍️ » Aske
it is not because they are asking for this. It is because you go in and offer this as it is a refreshing change to what others are doing and instantly makes you appear more credible. You maybe one of three people tendering for the work and you want to stand out. Even if your the only one you want to make sure your doing all you can to win the work and increase your own conversion rate.
Aske » Levi
I see, thanks for clarifying.

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The Summary of Discussion 1: A Client Wants a Monthly So Detailed Breakdown of SEO Services

Darren
Client Query – I have a client who pays a relatively low amount for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). His competitors are performing more outreach; sponsorship, charity links, blogging.
So I’ve suggested doubling his SEO budget to help manage the resources to compete in this competitive industry.
Client is now asking for a full breakdown of all work completed, including number of hours spent on SEO.
How would you manage this? As I feel resources are too limited for this client
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Eric
I would probably dismiss them as a client tbh. I've had some of those. Never been a good situation no matter what.
Gareth
Exactly. Walk away. Sounds like he wants blood. You only get blood if you pay well
Darren ✍️
Half of me thinks that way and half of me thinks it’s about educating the client

Gareth
Some do not want educating nor see the value of the leads you produce.
Time is limited and plenty of work out there – focus on the clients that match your own ambitions 👍🏻
Albin
Definitely educate the client on the merits of PR style tactics for SEO, and the subsequent rewards. But one needs to sow the right seeds which don’t come cheap

James
I don't mind giving a rough breakdown with estimates, no time log or anything too specific though. For example we might say that for your $1k monthly budget we usually end up spending XX hours on average, with 30% on AdWords, 30% Facebook and 40% on page.
Not a "full" breakdown though. You can give them rough examples of what a month looks like, if they aren't happy with that then that's not really your problem.
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Andrew
Even the small guys have a real need to know. Here is how I solved that problem with my clients (we work with as small as $300/mo): www.teamwork.com
That said, If it's too much effort, you need to keep them informed that you do not provide an exact breakdown due to the extra time required. Show them in person their on-page SEO and their stats, and how their numbers have increased.
This is a sign of two potential problems:
First, you needed to manage their expectations early if you want to be able to increase the efforts. If the client hasn't seen results with $X, why would they double it? They are probably in their 40's or 50's and don't get it at all.
Second, you may not have done enough research up front and you sold something that won't ever deliver until you increase the budget. I have done that before too – this is just something to learn from for next time. The worst thing is not missing a client… it is having hem get angry 6-months down the road that they will get nowhere without a price increase. It may be better to let the client go if they won't fall back in line.
This is a sign of growing pains. You need to scale a bit more and assign tasks/have employees keep track of tasks in a project manager like Teamwork.
Project Management, Help Desk & Chat Software – Teamwork.com
TEAMWORK.COM
Project Management, Help Desk & Chat Software – Teamwork.com
Project Management, Help Desk & Chat Software – Teamwork.com
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Darren ✍️
Already using Teamwork, to manage 83 projects currently. But yes I understand what you say about setting expectations up front
Andrew » Darren
it took my team a little while to get used to adding every task to Teamwork. We even add the client to their project so there is full transparency. They rarely seem to use it, but they like to know they have it.

Igor
Five guys walk into a restaurant. Each sits on a one person table. The Waiter comes with menus and leaves the guys to choose.
The first guy takes out wallet and pours the cash on the table and counts 120 bucks, and orders all the food he can have for the money.
The second guy does the same, but he orders food for 88 bucks cause that's what he had. All the other guys do the same. They all order plates for all the cash they have. The last guy has only 5 bucks.
The waiter comes 20 minutes later carrying a ton of food and distributes it to the five guys. The last guy looks at the waiter and says "Why is it that you took 20 minutes to bring me this crappy burger, when you brought tons of food to the other 4 tables. What gives?
The waiter replies:
"Sir, it takes 20 minutes to prepare a good slice of meat. You put down 5 bucks and that gets you one slice of meat and some bread. The other gentlemen put down considerably more money, and got a lot more food as a result. It's the same meat, cooked on the same burner. Those who paid more, got more stuff done. Those who paid a fiver, got just one piece of meat. You got what you paid for sir. We can always bring in more meat for you, if you want to buy more. But you'll have to wait another 20 minutes. We only serve good burgers here."
If the client is paying a few grand a month, I'd spend the time explaining more. If not, give them this story and thank them for visiting.
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Mehta
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Jenks
I understand why people are saying "Fire the client" but I would go 1 step further before pulling the trigger. It's difficult for clients to understand value sometimes because it feels like a limitless hole…
I know some "big" SEO users lay it all down when they start because I've seen the documentation they send the client. It's also really easy to add value with SEO
We will acquire X-XX links per month. We will run competitor analysis to find existing link placements and target them. Etc
If you want to keep the client. Sit down and educate the client. " it's not about quantity links with Google, it's about the right links from the right sites and we have to search through thousands of sites, checking against specific metrics to ensure they are worthy of your investment. We use a range of software" by doing this, the client feels part of the process but you've also explained to them how complicated and time consuming what you do is… Which builds value.
If try 1 sit down and explain and if they still want to be involved and question you then f*ck them off
Timofei
Give the client a full breakdown for all work completed, then tell the client how many hours you did. He is obviously looking how much he is paying you an hour for the results you getting him. In addition to that, add a separate sheet what would getting backlinks, and other expendable things would get him and add very low amount of hours to get what doubling of budget would do.
Aaron
Lol you’re being treated as an employee not a owner they don’t see you as an equal.

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