Pay for Performance vs Developing a Partnership
Organic search traffic is the most important marketing channel for your company’s long-term growth. In order to get this organic search traffic growth, you need to have rock solid SEO in place for your website. No matter your industry — legal, ecommerce, commercial real estate, or any other market — you need to have the right strategy in place to bring the right people to your website.
When you begin researching who can help you find this sustainable growth from SEO, you’re going to come across a lot of different agencies and different models for SEO efforts. How can you figure out what is the right SEO model for your business? Take a look at the difference between pay for performance SEO and SEO that is built off a partnership with an SEO agency so you can see why long-term SEO results come from relationships, not pay for performance.
What is Pay for Performance SEO?
Pay for performance SEO is a payment model in which you only pay for the SEO once you see results from the work that has been done. Sometimes, SEO agencies call this performance based SEO. While this may sound great, it doesn’t necessarily mean you will see that sustainable, long term growth you are after. Pay for performance SEO focuses on goals related to improved rankings, traffic, or revenue. These goals will be for a certain number of keywords, or a certain traffic growth. At that point, you would pay for the results.
All of these buzzwords may jump out at you as just what you want to accomplish. However, be aware that oftentimes with a pay for performance based model, you will be getting quick results only, and not having someone focus on the long-term growth of your organic search traffic — and your business. This is not always the right model for businesses going after a sustainable, long-term growth plan to improve their business’s digital presence for years to come.
Why Pay for Performance May Not Be Right for Your Business
Performance based SEO is not right for businesses that are seeking to develop a long-term strategy that will sustainably grow SEO, organic traffic, keyword rankings, and overall business growth. In order to do this, you will need to develop a relationship with an agency who specializes in SEO strategies for growth. This agency will help you identify goals and develop a strategy that will get you the results you want — and continue to see results long into the future.
Good SEO Takes Time
A good SEO strategy cannot be implemented overnight. Good SEO needs time to work, and the timeline typically is 3 months minimum. While you may see some results earlier than that, the really good stuff comes with time. Good SEO is focused on growth — with content development, onsite optimization, and backlinking as the three main cornerstones to build on.
White Hat SEO Techniques Only
When an agency rushes results, as is often the case with pay for performance SEO, they may resort to black hat SEO, which include keyword stuffing, over optimization, abusive link building, and other tactics that are considered spam. They could also focus on keywords that won’t actually bring any valuable traffic to your website, like long-tail keywords with zero (or next to zero) monthly search volume. Black hat SEO can bring about immediate ranking increases, but they will eventually be caught and penalized by Google.
However, if you find the right agency who is focused on your long-term success, then you will likely find an agency who employs white hat SEO, which won’t see penalizations from Google and will see sustainable growth in your keyword rankings and organic traffic. White hat SEO include all the good practices that will help your site see that growth, including content optimization and backlinking campaigns.
What to Look for in a SEO Agency
You need to be able to trust that your SEO team has your business growth in mind. That’s why developing a partnership with your agency is key to everyone’s success. When your SEO team knows what your goals are, and you know that they will employ good SEO to steadily growth your keyword rankings and organic traffic, everyone wins. Here are the 4 main things to look for when vetting agencies to take over your SEO:
- The agency’s goal setting strategy: Are they guaranteeing top rankings for keywords within a month? If so, they probably aren’t going to be focused on sustainable growth. They may even be using some of those bad, black hat SEO techniques that may bring about good results up front but will inevitably hurt your website.
- The timeline they offer: If the agency says they can get you results in a matter of weeks, instead of months, they aren’t being realistic with you or are not using good SEO strategies. Good SEO takes time, and you should be looking at a minimum of 90 days for results with any agency you work with.
- Their long-term outlook: It may sound great to find an agency who focuses on short-term goals, because those are how you will know what’s going to get done and the foundation that will be laid — but if the agency only focuses on the short term, then you should look somewhere else. Long-term goals are important for SEO, because most SEO projects will take months to accomplish.
- The reports they offer you: If you’re paying someone to handle your SEO, you want to see the results along the way, right? The agency should be able to give you monthly reports on your keyword rankings and have weekly or monthly calls to give updates on the campaign. A good SEO agency will be transparent with you about the work they are doing behind the scenes on your site.
ELK Can Analyze Your SEO Potential
With just your URL, ELK’s SEO experts will put together a SEO battle strategy that can give you an idea of what your SEO potential is. Learn more about how ELK’s SEO team grows traffic, keywords and revenue.