Thursday, May 11, 2006

Giving SEO advice for free?

I like to help people in and outside of work as its generally part of my nature and I don't like to think of myself as a selfish person.

But I find it hard to help someone I know has me over for a first meeting to "discuss the benefits of Search engine optimisation"


Because every time I am asked "In fine details what do you do to optimise a website?" all they really want to know is what to do and leave me out of the loop!

I don't dress up optimising websites as a black art - so I like to stay pretty transparent about what it is I do.

Whilst lots of SEO consultants and practitioners talked about smoke and mirrors (
something thankfully the Search Engine Marketing industry seems to be moving away from) I provide what I know and not hide behind fancy terminology in an effort to secure the potential business.

Yet whenever I did this and talked about how SEO is done I never ever got the work!
So it was becoming tempting to advise it is "magic"... though I never did.

Ultimately I found myself advising for free - which after 4 years just doesn't pay enough! ;)

I tried something different today whilst with a potential client when asked about advising SE optimisation in detail and said:

"I've carried out SEO for 4 years and spent a lot of time carrying out research, analysis and testing. I trust you'll understand I will not explain in detail what I do but instead summarise briefly so you can make an informed decision if I am right for your business."

I continued:

"If however you need me to go into exact detail on optimising your website then may I suggest we arrange a new date in our diaries for me to return and carry out a paid consultation with you."

An honest answer - and one which I think was appreciated all the more for it.

I finished by summarising the SEO involved:

Keyword research
Structuring the code & content (i.e. on page SEO)
Linking strategy
Ongoing analysis and optimisation

We then progressed forward with schedules/prices and a mini SEO project (paid work too) for me to start the ball rolling.

So next time you're in a similar situation try this approach it might just work for you!