SEO Pros Shouldn’t Envy Their Clients’ Harvests

Reiner 👑
Do SEO's get screwed over? I remember a project I had where I ranked someone #1 for highly competitive health terms like, "bicep workouts", "full-body workouts", etc. I was paid 10k for the project while the website owner now makes a 200k profit per month from the work I did. What is your opinion on this?
[filtered from 72 💬🗨]

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Florentin
What do you mean? if you get hired of course u get paid for it but that doesn't mean somebody has to give a share of their revenue without you having equity or something.👍🏽💟23
Jason
Unless you had an agreement for commissions based on ranking then you did the job you got paid to do. Should the gas station attendant get part of a winnings of a car race because they filled the car with gas that enabled them to win? 👍🏽🤭14

Ronak » Jason
or the guy who made the car 👍🏽3

Nick » Reiner
How much of that $10k did you invest to get those rankings? 👍🏽1

Reiner 👑✍️
about 30%
Nick » Reiner
Thanks for the reply. I think 30% makes sense, but yeah when you consider taxes and cost to achieve those rankings.. it does seem like a lopsided deal. 👍🏽1
Jato » Reiner
I would have charged them 40-50k minimum. 👍🏽1

Magnus
Rank and earn your own websites instead if that's bothering you. That's what i do and cant really figure out why a lot of people do Search Engine Optimization (SEO) work for others, if they really know how to rank a website. 👍🏽12

Florentin » Magnus
sometimes its easier to generate revenue than ranking your own sites. U can easily get 10k a month by having 3-4 clients, that's why I prefer having clients sometimes 👍🏽3

Abbott
lol, no. You don't get screwed by doing the job you agreed to do.
Nothing is stopping an SEO from using their skill set to build their own properties.
Never met a competent SEO who didn't have their own sites. I honestly don't know how SEO's learn the trade without their own sites. 👍🏽7
Parisa
By that logic
If he wasn't able to earn money from the ranking, after you were paid, would you pay him back/ refund him what he paid you?
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Jonathan » Parisa
excellent question! 👍🏽1

Pavel
Lol to get a share of the revenue you have to have equity in it. Yea the guys I run ads for make 100x what they pay me but I didn’t buy their medical clinics so I can’t complain about that.👍🏽2
Parker
Along the same lines as you with that – many years ago I got a new client to print their new startup called Bright Roll. They said we can pay you outright for the cards or employee stock options . I then asked how
Many sets did they need and they replied they were looking at maybe 100 to start and another 25 each month after that they were planning … after talking with the wife since I was going to have to front the cash to the business account to do this …so I had to go back And so no thanks … wanted the cash for each job … well… 4 years later and maybe 280 sets of business cards … they sold their little start up to Yahoo for $420,000,000.00!!! Damn kick myself all the time on this one but it’s what I signed up for and agreed on 👍🏽2

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Justin
Mostly in the beginning when SEO users are hungry for work. As you gain experience and confidence you will start to charge what you're actually worth.
Gross
What’s his profit on the 200k? If anything use this as a case study to justify charging $450-500 an hour to future clients. Even then, if you’re that good, you may need to mix in value billing. 👍🏽5
Travis
If you got the pay you wanted for the job you did, you undersold yourself. Not the clients fault. 👍🏽2
Awasthi
Do some forecasting of the leads and revenue before proposing. Quote your fees accordingly. If they are paying what you quoted, you can’t complain. I added over 2 millions annually in sales to a company. I get paid 16k. I am ok with that. 👍🏽1
Andrei
Get a testimonial, put that in your resume and start charging $30k for similar work.
You're in the business of ranking websites, not in the business of being bitter for ranking websites so well that they make a lot of money.
Go ahead, invest in your business, hire more people, sell to more clients and make 200k/mo yourself.
I mean, how should a web developer feel when they built a website for $20k and the owners make $500k by using it? Or a business consultant when they give out a coaching sessions for $5k and the client makes 50k by using the advice? or copywriters when their email/fb ad text generates 20x more money than they got paid.
Do what your clients do – grow your business. As long as you act as a 1 man army and don't flourish, no right to argue about this.
So to answer your question – no, I don't think SEO's get screwed over. It's very hard for a business to quantify the revenue you bring. As for a FB Ads agencies for example, they can work on commission – each sale brought from the ads gets a cut – but that is trackable. In your case, what if a Twitter post got them the purchase? Or a YouTube viewer bought something?
Get in some arrangement that works for you. Your outcome depends on your initial terms. 👍🏽6
Sampson
Maybe do a monthly fee not a one off lump sum so your always being rewarded.
John
Ah well do a Return on Investment (ROI) chart and have clients sign off on you using their data to sell your service to others.
The merchant should make a ton of money, that’s the deal. 👍🏽1
Austin
I'm my opinion, you were paid to do your specific role in getting visibility to their site, he does his role by converting / doing his services. Everyone plays their role. If you want more, you MUST be able to convince business owners they're gonna make more than they're paying you.
Everyone says they're good at Search Engine Optimization (SEO), but at the end of the day they're not the ones that suffer if the business doesn't pan out.
If you're that good with your skill, maybe it's time to start looking into a start up venture to get behind. I'm 100% sure if you could get a company in the green, you'd get paid plenty. Coming from me, a start up guy.
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Davy
Did you carry the risks to setup that entire 200k / month business initially? No. So simply stating that you did the SEO won't cut it. Growing a business is a lot more work than just ranking a website.
I only need to take one look at my Analytics account and to get an idea of how much my clients are making each month since my SEO work for them is paying off. But hey, I didn't carry any risk for their business. I got my 10k for doing what I'm good at. In case all of it it failed, I probably would have gotten my 10k as well.
Many SEO pro's try to make money by doing their own projects, but very few succeed in the long run, despite their good rankings. So growing a business means a lot more than being good at SEO. 👍🏽2
Oliver
NOT A PRO… just an owner… I’m wondering if it would be smart for SEO PROS to start investing in certain projects they can sense or see a trend in being successful. It’s all about data.
I’m hoping that if you see data that something will fail you would tell your client. I hope.
This is the reason Bezos is where he is. He worked on analyzing books and what what sold and didn’t. He applied the same theory on different products and BAM!!! Amazon was born… it’s all about data if you have it you should use it. Most people who hire you guys don’t have a clue as to what you guys know.
Chris
I am thinking research needs to be done either through a discovery session or other type of data analysis to find out what that term is worth to the client. From this point you can then gauge what you can/should charge based upon the terms value to the client and the costs associated in getting to no. 1 +++
Tejer
To some extent, in every job that you do where you help someone else improve their sales and get a passive income, while you get a flat fee you might find yourself feeling that way. "I'm making someone else rich".
But such a client might recommend you to others or might need your services again, and you on the other hand, also get the confirmation that the methods you employ work. So you can start your own projects on the side implementing these techniques. 👍🏽3
Robert
I think it doesn't matter what profit the company makes. Would you be saying the same thing if there profit was 20k? People work for huge companies ever day and they pay their staff minimum wage while they swim in wealth. 👍🏽1
Vaughn
That is a loser's mentality.
Zeeshan
Rank your own site on same keywords and use Clickbank affiliate. Earn big 🙂
You can sell that website on Flippa or to the same client 👍🏽2
Mann
If that's what you charged him for the job you did not get screwed you just learned a lesson.👍🏽3
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Lupe
This is why I believe SEO’s are underpaid. We provide so much value to clients and most clients don’t see our value until further down.

Simon
Hence, why one should tie them down to performance-based compensation in the contract before starting the work.
A simple clause stating that if X amount of traffic is generated and sustained 90-days out, the SEO agency receives X amount or a percentage more.
One shouldn't blame the client for being cunning as we all are in managing our expenses. One should be proactive going into any contract. The onus is on us, not the client. 👍🏽2

Imran
Next time when you're closing a contract, knowing that niche is lucrative you should do contingency based agreement, take a % of their revenue based on the deliverables,i.e X,Y,Z keywords you ranked them for. And this really happens if you have a previous relationship with that client.
James
Screwed over? The price you asked you where happy with and that's what the client paid?
A builder of the house gets paid for a complete job I've never seen any one then complain when the house is completed and selling for 10x 20x what he was given?
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Loy
You’ve not paid people for things you’ve used to help make much more money with before?
Shocking.
Tell that to the poor who assemble your devices you used to make money from SEO about how you’re being ripped off. 👍🏽2
Jonathan
Should Many Chat, which you use extensively and has made you a lot of money, be getting a percentage of your business? What about the people you learned SEO from?👍🏽1

Chris
I do agree that its unreasonable to ask for a percentage of earnings (just like its unreasonable for business owners to make SEO contingent on performance and profits – SEO users are professionals who need to be paid for their labor hours and are not obliged to take on the risks of business owners). Long term retainers with performance benchmarks and guaranteed payment floors seem to be the answer to me. It doesnt help that most business owners are absolutely uneducated about SEO and have no idea what goes into it, or are cheap bad actors. Qualifying clients is key, as is walking away from clients who don't agree to your reasonable terms. 👍🏽1
Jonathan » Chris
I agree that SEO users shouldn't be forced into pay per performance.

James
Learn the SEO method where when they stop paying you can pull back your links …

Chris
SEO performance decays with algorithm changes. Again, all of us working together to blacklist bad actors and stop working as individuals will solve this. If the Writers Guild of America can stand for their members, so can we.

Jen
You need to read the backstory about the Nike logo! mate. 👍🏽2
Zuva
I think it's confirmation that your methods work. I would be worried if the client's site didn't rank for their target keywords. That it did should reassure you that you will probably find the same success if you started your own site and implemented the same tactics.

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Simon
It's all about how and where you position your service in terms of importance with your client.
Of course, many factors play a role in this:
– Uniqueness of service
– Quality (real and perceived)
– Level of competition
-Etc.
I am sure there have been times when you have retained the services of freelance writers whose copy generated sh*loads of traffic for you. However, you still only paid them 5 to 7 cents per hour.
I've seen that from some of your older over-the-shoulder videos.
The point is, business is not meant to be a fair distribution of capital based solely on merit. For better or for worse, cunning, advantage, and leverage all play a role.
Sometimes one is on the receiving end, other times one holds the whip.
Usually that is determined on the front-end — the moment one decides to take a job at a certain price. If a writer accepts a gig at 6 cents per word and generates 1 million views for a client — great for the publisher tough sh*t for the writer.
If you ranked someone number 1 for 10K and the site owner is raking in 200k per month — well, as much as I love what you do for the digital marketing community, as much as i think you're a cool dude and have enjoyed your videos for years — I must say that it's great for the site owner, but tough sh*t for you.
It's only business — it's not meant to be fair. Sometimes one is the "leverager," other times, the "leveragee."
Daniel
Simple: rank your own websites. 👍🏽1
Patryk
I think we are paid just fine.
The business owner takes all the risk, they get themselves set up, most of the time it’s all the pieces falling into place not just SEO.
Then you say $200k and that’s fine and dandy, but what’s the profit cash on cash on cash.
Most can barely pay themselves…
All I’m saying is there is a lot more to think about when I hear that question. I play a part in business start ups all the time and most don’t work. Those that work most aren’t profitable. Of those most don’t make it to 5 years. Etc… 👍🏽1

Simon
EXACTLY.
Business implies risk. He who takes the most also profits the most.
Applying a "fairness doctrine" to business would mean that Reiner would be refunding all of his clients whose rankings didn't achieve their expectations, or students who felt that they didn't receive the expected value from his courses.
If the $10K was the agreed upon fee, I don't see any foundation for grievance.
Now, if the contract stipulated something different and the client is trying to pull a fast one. . . well, that would be a different story. 👍🏽1
William » Patryk
every client I interview (I don’t work with everyone) answers a set of questions that are designed to provide me with away to figure out their yearly income, profit margin and units sold. Based on that I determine the value I’m fixing to bring and based my prices on that.
If the client can’t spend 100k with me in a year then they can’t afford me. 👍🏽1
Patryk » William
Yea I agree, that's just figuring out your pricing model/what you charge. I'm saying if you charge $10k/m and that's what you agreed to then that works and is fair if the client makes 1m/y.

Strauss
what was your effort requirement? and your resource requirement? like if you charge out at an external houry rate of $200 an hour and make $100 profit on that + your resource cost what was the total profit? if it was over 5k then move on, if not then next time charge more I guess. 👍🏽1
Lauren
It takes a lot more to make 200k per month than it does to SEO the site. It doesn’t magically appear.👍🏽1

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