Client: "How Much? How Long?" What do you say?


I get this question pretty frequently:
How long will it take me to get ranked on google for {insert medium competitive phrase here}?
And How much do I need to pay monthly to reach the goal?

I want to know your typical response to this question.
In general, I would want to give them a number, and I would hope they would pay over a period of time. Typically, I give them a few choices:
1) Aggressive SEO which includes buying links, as well as directory submission (free and paid), and on site optimization. I tell them buying links is a little riskier, but may bring results faster.
2) Less aggressive but consistent optimization: directory submission, on site optimization (studying traffic patters and optimizing pages), and some link exchanges.

#1 is usually 2-3 times as expensive as #2.

What do you think?


How long is a bit of string?

How long is a bit of string?

Depends on the Niche

Some niche's are more expensive than others - regardless of the competitiveness of phrases. There's also the fact that some niche's are much easier to get a new site launched in than others.

I'm not the SEO Guru that many others are that frequent these parts, but my experience has varied pretty greatly. I don't think I could reasonably ballpark the timeline for ranking without knowing the specific niche, and even then it might not be that easy of a question to answer reliably.

When people talk about medium competitive phrases, you never really know what you are getting into. Of course there are other sites trying to rank for those phrases, but how aggressive are those other sites in general and how aggressively will they work to maintain their current position? You can certainly spend time analyzing the niche to come up with a decent prediction, but I would imagine that time would be better spent working on SEO/SEM.

How long will it take me to

How long will it take me to get ranked on google for {insert medium competitive phrase here}?

Personally I tell them we don't work like that. We measure our success for them in terms of conversions (they soon realise that conversions are what they are *really* after). It also helps to explain to them about the benefits of mining the long tail, I usually use the imagery of a plant in the rain (plant being their site, rain being users on the net). Imagine you have one large leaf or several thousand - which catches more water? Aside from being less effective (IMHO), focusing on one ranking doesn't create a stable business model (insert appropriate "eggs in one basket" warning). This outlook also supports natural looking SEO which flies under the radar and helps to avoid penalties or collateral damage from algorithm changes.

We'll carry out the work that will get them the most conversions on their site, not focus on one specific phrase. Make sure that you're tracking and reporting on these during the work contract.

Payment? Well I don't think it's fair to judge the work in less than three months. Once you're showing the increases in conversions then time becomes irrelevant (which is why you need to be tracking these religiously). In my experience they will be happy to keep you on a permanent basis after that.

How long and How Much

Both those questions are literally the same in any industry as well as SEO.

My Dad works for Mack Trucks, he always says to everyone. 'I can do anything you want, all I need is time and money. It's just how much time will you give me, and how much money will you give me. Either more time or more money will get the job complete."

It's the same as any other marketing effort. More money = less time .. and more time = less money.

Generally speaking of course.. unless your client has an actual cool site where people would link to it naturally.. hence you would not need to buy text links.

The answer... 42.

Its official

im going to hold you to that adam

The answer... is 42. Was

The answer... is 42.

Was that determined while on your 20% time?

I'm with nuthing

I always say "how long is a piece of string".

Niche, budget, risk and timescale dependant. Research an upper and lower limit for link building the niche + ppc prices and you'll be closer to an answer.

Buying links is risky? You must be buying some interesting links ;-P

What do you say?

What do you say?

The first time you say YES to whatever they want. And then you try your best, and see how it goes.
The second time you say "well, I can do that, or I can do this" and explain how you might try. Do what they decide.
The third time, you say "well, is that really what you want" and see if you can help them define the best goals.
The fourth time you say "here's how I work" and then you offer a contract to do it your way or no way.
The fifth time you say "sorry, I only accept seasoned SEO clients" and refer them to your brother in law, who is just learning this new field called "S-E-O".

It sounds like you're a new SEO and you need some experience, eh?

In medicine they have a phrase "see one, do one, teach one" which refers to how medicine is taught. First you watch one procedure get done, then you do one under guidance, and then you teach the next new guy how to do it.

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