I love being there when karma comes back around. I have had a client for the last 5 years or so. Did an uber-site for him back when I was really hunting and taking almost anything for web business. Built up a vicious Google SERP killing site for fencing – somewhere around 75 pages. Now, I don’t know what your normal pricing is if you’re a webmaster, but back in that particular time period, I actually did all of that for $500. It was the difference between eating and not. These days, add at least a 0 in there. And back in those days, it was perfectly acceptable to just replace city names when you were trying to blanket an area. So it was NOT that difficult, but had super results.
For years, that site has stayed at the top of the search engines across several counties and every little town and burg in them – it’s a local business after all so I just wanted to focus there. Ranked for every little town and burg in those counties on first page if not first position.
What has it actually made me?
Maybe $500 in the last 5 years. It’s one of those, “I’ll bring you $100 to get some SEO work done.” This occurred about every 6-8 months or so. It was usually followed by a 2-3 month wait for him to actually bring me the money. I’d do some backlinking and listen to the sob story about how broke he was.
Of course, about 9 months prior, he was bragging about being paid thousands for a 20 minute fence repair. I had pointed out then that it would be a REAL good idea to get started on an SEO monthly plan just in case…
Over the years, I have definitely come to the conclusion that cheap customers cost more – lots more. Nice article here – Why Cheap Customers Cost more
Fast forward to a few weeks ago – Penguin 2.0
Site hasn’t really been updated with any new content in years. Backlinking very sporadic – even though I had explained many times that it needs to be consistent if a site is to stay moving ahead. Rankings started sinking in the major markets. While I do like to stay on top of my sites and have customers/sites that I like to keep at the top, this site and owner were pretty much at the bottom of the list by now.
I often find myself “helping out” the little guy because that’s where I started and where I am. Not a big player and I like the underdog winning – at least on occasion. It’s just sad when the underdog doesn’t appreciate the time or effort it has taken you to get them there.
So, I get the “OMG, my site rankings have dropped and something has to be done now” phone call. It’s finally time to have the “come to Jesus” discussion and point out that a sporadic 100 buck payment is not cutting it and if you want a site to rank, you need to get serious about it. And getting serious costs money – not sob stories. Particularly after that last meeting about making thousands for a 20 minute repair…
The next day, after the “Okay, I’ll get on a monthly schedule with you for SEO” commitment and a promise to have money a few days later, an email – “Please send my info to xyz webmaster” Yup, I could see this coming and honestly I was happy to some degree to be rid of the problem altogether. Some recoup of the gratis time I had already given would have been nice, but to not get the panic phone call and ongoing b*llshit would be even nicer.
I’ve had a few exchanges with the local webmaster and he seems like a nice enough fellow, but I believe he picked up a copy of WordPress and figured himself a webmaster. While I’m sure he considers this a HUGE win for him – I’ll let him discover exactly what he won in his own sweet time LOL. As a matter of fact, I have a few more customers I should recommend him to…
Another cheap customers take – and pretty closely echoes my sentiments these days.
And karma kicks in…
Getting Your SEO Money’s Worth
Wanted to see if the domain transfer had occurred and he’d grabbed it up so I could get the site off my server. Pulled it up – yup – a new site with 11 pages or so. Hmm… the old site had the 75 pages thing going on. Let’s pull one of those up and see if he modified the htaccess file or added any 404 redirects – nope. Not a one. So about any click through from Google from the still ranking area pages – and there are many – will hit a 404 page. Impressive. A lot of wasted Google juice. Never thought about it, but I wonder if your site can end up ranking for a 404 page. Interesting thought. But it doesn’t appear that any of those town pages have been handled at all.
Domain strength probably just tanked. Serviced areas and rankings for all those little burgs just tanked. The site went from frying pan to fire – cheap customer, inexperienced webmaster. You get what you pay for. If you want serious Raleigh SEO services, contact us. Or ping one of our partners here for Outside Raleigh SEO