I have done many performance based SEO deals over the years so it’s a field that I have great experience in. All in all I like CPA-deals – I don’t mind being paid on the value of what I do rather than the time it takes to do it. In fact, I love it! And most often the CPA-deals I have been doing have been the most successful and long lasting client relationships I have had.
However, I do get quite a lot of requests for CPA SEO from people that have clearly not thought about the consequences and possible negative sides of a CPA SEO deal and are not ready to accept them.
So lets take a look at some of the main issues that I have run into dealing with performance based SEO…
- CPA SEO will cost you more!
One of the most common misconceptions about performance based SEO is that it is a cheaper way to get great SEO. Its not! In fact, most often it ends up costing you more for the same work and results compared to traditional payment plans.The reason for this is very simple: With a performance based SEO deal your SEO supplier runs a risk. It is impossible for even the best SEOs to always succeed. Sometimes things just don’t work out the way you expected. The good jobs have to pay for the not so good jobs. So if everything goes well with your CPA SEO project – which it often do if your SEO is really good, then it will end up costing you more than it would if you had just paid the same SEO his or hers regular fees.
On top of this you will have to accept a bonus for taking a risk. If it just evens out there is no point for the SEO in taking the risk.
So you should not chose performance based SEO because you want to save money but because you want to reduce risks – the risks of paying for something that doesn’t turn out to be profitable.
- You get less freedom with your site on a CPA SEO deal!
If I have to take the responsibility of creating and executing a SEO strategy on your website that really works – and only get paid if I perform well, then I want to be sure I can do what I need to do and that you, your team or other subcontractors don’t mess it up.I need a certain degree of control in a CPA SEO deal. First of all you have to let me do what needs to be done – and get the necessary help from your development team. And when my fixes and optimization is done I need you to not mess with it or change things without my consent.
Because if I can’t do what I know needs to be done and I can’t be certain you, your team or your subcontractors will not mess it up (by accident or because you did not know it was of any importance) then I can’t perform and then I won’t get paid.
- You have to commit for a long term deal!
CPA SEO is not a short term deal. It takes time to get the basics done and time for the engines to catch up. Over time a well executed SEO strategy will just get better and better.Typically you will have to commit yourself for at least 6-12 month to give the SEO enough time to benefit from the results of the executed SEO strategy.
- Your SEO-consultant may end up earning more than you!
If you want to per on performance basis and the supplier you choose do a really good job (and maybe have a bit of luck on top of it) he or she may end up with a huge “salary” – sometimes even bigger than what you pay yourself or your top managers.I have had this experience myself a few times. On some of the CPA-deals I have made I have performed really well. The result have been that I ended up with a very good earning – sometimes £10-20k a month with only a few hours of work every month. I can understand how that might seem “unfair” to some of your hard working employees – but then you should just not enter into performance based deals!
- You most often have to pay an exit fee!
The value that a good SEO puts into a website will continue to bring in money a long time after the SEO has stopped working on the site. The technical improvements, the texts and the links will not just go away. And since you only pay for the value of the work the SEO do for you – and not the time it takes to create that value it is only fair that you pay an exit price when you want to get out of the deal.There are many ways to calculate such an exit price but typically you will have to pay a multiplication of the monthly value created – often from 6 – 12. So if the value created by your SEO in a CPA deal is $25,000 per month (according to the calculation methods you have agreed on) you will have to pay 6 or 12 times $25,000 if you choose to cancel the deal.
All the above is not said to scare you off CPA-deals. Not at all! I just want you to be realistic about the consequences of making such deals. If you are not ready to accept them don’t do CPA.