You know that famous ship repairman story?
The one where a ship engine had failed and no one could fix it.
The one where an old but experienced repairman was called in.
The one where he fixed the problem by simply tapping a certain spot with his hammer?
And then billed the owners for $10k?
Yeah you know the one.
The one where the bill said: $2 for tapping, $9,998 for knowing where to tap.
True or not, this story is close to real life.
I had this happen to me one time, kinda.
Was called in to work on something, did the work in no time, sent over a bill and was asked to ‘please explain’.
What really got me was the nitpicking about my itemised bill.
- 3 hours to audit a site? nah, this should be done in 1.
- 3 hours of consultancy? nah, it’s just messages over WhatsApp
- 3 hours of zoom calls? are you serious?!
Yeah you could audit a site in an hour but anyone can run it through some SEO tools and spit out an audit.
It takes someone with experience to interpret that data in the right context.
Most of these cookie cutter SEO tools will get your blood pressure raised for no good reason.
Now this whole experience taught me not to bill by the hour.
It also taught me how important it is to set the right expectations as early as possible.
From the seriousness of the problems, to the work required and of course, the cost to make things right.
And it goes without saying, transparency throughout is paramount.
SEO is and always will be seen as some sort of dark art. People go wide-eyed when they find out what I do.
“you can control Google?!”
We need to educate and (it pains me to say this) constantly provide value.
You never want to be in a position where you’ll be saying “just because you can’t see what I do, doesn’t mean I didn’t do anything!”
– Take all the screenshots.
– Run all the website crawls.
– Backup everything.
– Log your time and keep your own timesheet.
– Record it all.
Because when the time comes to justify, you’ve got the receipts.
A reminder for me first, and for every other SEO consultant who always has to justify everything!