Poll: How Much SEO Advice Do You Give Before Asking For Money?

Mar 28, 2011 • 8:46 am | comments (19) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under SEM / SEO Companies

give away for freeA HighRankings Forum thread asks a really nice question on how much SEO advice and guidance do you give away for free before asking the prospective client to sign a contract or pay you?

I know some people who will give up to 15 minutes of their time for free, while others give zero time. I know some that will not charge for SEO help at all.

Clearly, those who have made a name for themselves in the industry do not need to give away free advice to land new contracts. But those who are new or do not have a proven track record will need to give away some tips before earning the trust of their clients. The question is how much?

Here is a quick poll, let us know how much you give away before requiring money from the client.

Forum discussion at HighRankings Forum.

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SEO Aware - Melissa

03/28/2011 12:51 pm

I give advice, but the advice is enough to make my points. Not enough info is given for people to use it without me. To fully understand they would need to hire me.

Marcus Miller

03/28/2011 01:44 pm

I voted for a little but it tends to be a little too much. Sometimes you need to give a bit away to show how you can help but I try to keep it quite general and move the client towards an initial report based on a single day of work.

S.E. Troll

03/28/2011 03:15 pm

I tell people that basic SEO is important but that a person can't run their business off of SEO alone. Titles, meta descriptions, good page and naming structures. I refuse to work for any more simpletons who think they can get rich quick by gaming Google. I refuse their money for ethical reasons. Sadly, there are still too many of them out there.

Nick Stamoulis

03/28/2011 03:26 pm

You have to give a little advice away, especially if you are trying to get a new client. It lets them know that you know what you are talking about. It also shows that you've done your homework and know what they need. I usually answer a few questions and then say, "If you want to talk about this further, I suggest you sign up for my SEO consulting session." You can't give everything away for free.

SEO - Richard

03/28/2011 04:03 pm

Like everything in the world, its all about give and take and in order to secure the business you have to give some advice in order to show that you know what you're talking about. It's an interesting question though as there is a fine line between giving advice and actually telling them exactly what needs to be done.

Sarah Carling

03/28/2011 04:16 pm

I'm really not sure how to answer this, sometimes you have to give a prospect advice just to get them thinking about SEO the right way to allow you to work with them. If you don't accomplish that before you start then you'll just have a client who won't be happy with you. It should also depend on how much the business is worth, if a client is going to spend a lot of money, and/or you think there are good referral opportunities, sometimes you have to play the odds and sacrifice a little more of your time (this also applies to prospects who have been referred by an existing client imo, count that towards keeping your client happy)


03/28/2011 04:18 pm

Gotta give away a little advice if you want to show them you're worth their time.


03/28/2011 04:19 pm

talk until the client thinks you are the right guy

Julien Berard

03/28/2011 04:52 pm

Unfortunately you often have to give away way too much advice for free before being hired... this has drawbacks sometimes when the cient finally decide to go solo, with your free advice

Justine Doerner

03/28/2011 06:08 pm

This is indeed a tough one but I would have to agree with the majority of commentators on this one. A little advice can go a long way but you can't give your SEO strategies and secrets away - if you did who would make any money? Everyone would take the advice and run. You can give very(and I stress very) little and should then offer to consult with them. That's where you can help them out more and get an idea of what it is they are really searching for.

SEO Services

03/29/2011 08:53 am

It is tough... because if a prospective client is asking too many questions they might just be fishing for information to do it themselves. Or worse they are just a very nosy customer. I think asking too many questions and taking up alot of time is a red flag. If a customer is serious he/she will give me a shot to actually see what I can do.

Crown Molding Richmond Va

03/29/2011 11:43 am

Give em all the advice they want they still probably do not have the time, patience and skill to do it themselves.

John Allen

03/29/2011 12:51 pm

Normally, I will provide council on SEO and SEM for free up to the point that they are ready for me to physically be involved. This usually serves to build rapport and credibility as many lack the expertise to execute my recommendations. There are also DIY cases where I provide assistance to a small business or non-profit who can't afford my services, but is capable of implementing my suggestions. This isn't to say that I haven't wasted hours my time on larger accounts explaining where the issues are (multiple meetings), and not been hired (that burns). Just FYI if you're not serious about hiring someone (lacking money or whatever), asking for multiple meetings is taking unfair advantage of the persons time.

John Allen

03/29/2011 12:53 pm

This certainly would help weed out the ones that aren't serious.

Chinese SEO

03/29/2011 07:38 pm

Free advice is okay as long as you make me feel you are a nice person, who I usually tell: "...Good. Someday, and that day may never come, I'll call upon you to do a service for me. But until that day – accept this justice as a gift on my daughter's wedding day..."


03/30/2011 02:02 am

I give them a fair amount of advice, but try to keep it on the side of here's what's wrong with your site/blog. Then steer them in the direction of a written analysis with in-person presentation, for a flat fee that works out to about my usual rate. I promise to talk to them as long as they want during the meeting, but never met a client who could absorb more than 90 minutes of this stuff without keeling over.

Web design rochdale

04/05/2011 06:24 am

All the person has bundle of desires and he/she is free adviser. Free advise is good while we taking important decision about our profession or etc. All the users recommending their different thought and experienced about SEO. So as per my own, It is good to take decision as own. because various thought and experienced from the different users make you confused.

Franklyn Galusha

04/27/2011 01:22 am

I've been accused of giving away too much. I usually spend approximately an hour before deciding if the fit is good. First, if I can achieve what they need and the second is if I think I can work well with the prospect. Most importantly, it gives me an opportunity to demonstrate to the prospect that the work needs to be done is probably more than they're ready to take on themselves. Franklyn Galusha from FranklynsBay.com

Akash Kumar

09/12/2011 03:34 pm

Its better to advice a little not because that way we will spill out all our secrets but because most of the customers do not understand much about SEO so its better to show them the results instead of confusing them with all of your knowledge.

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