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How much would you pay to be #1?

I’m seeking to test a pricing experiment.

What if I said I wouldn’t charge you dime unless you reached your ranking goals?

I’m asking everyone out there (who would consider hiring us), how much would you pay (monthly) to be #1? to be in the top 10? How much for rankings between 1 and 10? for how many keywords? How much per word?

Just create a table showing the URL(s), keyword phrases, and prices per rank you’d pay monthly.

I’ll choose 1 site/person who submits a good proposal to me by the end of next week. If we agree to take on your project, Sign a contract, and you won’t be charged a dime until ranking goals are met, then you paid agreed amount for stated rankings each month.

How much would you pay to be ranked for what phrases?

Feel free to email your proposal to me at my-first-name @ we build FYI, start date will be Nov 15th.

BTW, What do you think about this idea?


25 Responses

  1. I like the concept.

    Here are some thoughts I have: how many prospective clients (who obviously aren’t #1 now) know how much the targeted traffic at the top spot is really worth to them? – let alone how much traffic their link will pull from that spot when query volume and click through ratio are considered?

    -To some people #1 is worth more because after the search clickthrough their site converts better, or is better monetized than others. Maybe a comission rate of “clicks” for the #1 spot may work better?

    -Might it be good to seek worthy sites that would convert well in the niche target and then base a proposal on that?

  2. Something tells me you’ll also be getting something like “Uh..$300?”.

    You will share the data with us, right? 🙂

  3. Jim, I think it’s fascinating. We always thought the toughest thing about SEO as a business is the pricing model, so I’ll be really curious to see how this turns out. One question — what duration are you looking for? One pitfall I see here is that someone might want to get to a certain spot but then coast along and not pay to stay there.

  4. I would say a cut of the profits. 20% or more depending on the market. This would enforce quality.
    PS: I’m cheap:) and I would like something related to mes0thel|0ma if possible and sprinkle some |nsur4nc3 on top.

  5. Hey Jim;

    Very solid way to approach pricing. I have done a couple of joint ventures along those lines. The hardest thing about it is getting people to realize the value of a) conversion and b) longtails.

    My personal hypothesis is that they will either radically over value a KW or undervalue it. Looking at the value of a particular KW is truly the correct way to look at it. Pay Per Organic Month, so to speak…

    Very nice concept.

  6. Interesting concept but how do you guarantee a position when there are no guarantee’s? As one personal already commented, “someone might want to get to a certain spot but then coast along and not pay to stay there.”

    This will be interesting to keep an eye on.

  7. as Eric says, conversion rates and long tail search traffic can’t be factored in very easily. Anther factor is how long the sites ranking will remain in place. How about a pay-per-click model?

  8. Hi Jim,

    A system I have in place with my clients is:

    50% up-front payment – This allows me to spend some time doing some keyword research, content creation, internal links, on-page SEO stuff and some link building.

    25% when the site hits the front page of Google – This budget is mainly used for buying quality, related linxs

    The remaining 25% when the site hits the 1st or 2nd position – This is normally my beer money!

    Obviously the rate we agree at depends on how competitive the keywords are, content creation (which is normally shared), a social media campaign etc. etc.

  9. Great idea. For me it is difficult to know how much more traffic, and more importantly sales, would be generated from spending a few thousand with you. And what would happen if we realised it wasn’t providing us with enough sales to cover your costs? After cancelling would we shoot down the page or stay there for a while? Would the links you bought be taken down etc?

    I sell art prints in the UK and am on page 2 of Google for my competitive KWs at present. I guess it depends on your market to a certain extent as to how much you are willing to pay, AND how much Jim would do it for?

  10. There seems to be a couple of themes running here – one, how can you guarantee reaching the number one position & what is number one worth. The first is irrelevant, as jim is capable of doing it and is willing to accept all of the risk. According to the aol data dump from last year, number one is pretty damned valuable:

    For Positions ranking from 1 – 10, the % of clicks for:

    Rank 1: 42.13%
    Rank 2: 11.90%
    Rank 3: 8.50%
    Rank4: 6.06%
    Rank5: 4.92%
    Rank6: 4.05%
    Rank7: 3.41%
    Rank 8: 3.01%
    Rank 9: 2.85%
    Rank 10: 2.99%

    So, according to at least that data, if you now rank number 10, you should increase revenues 14X if you are at number 1. If you are number 2, you should expect an increase of 3.5X.

    Finally, If you cancel the service once your goals are achieved, at least be prepared to continue the fees for any ads we’ve achieved for you. If you don’t, then of course we’ll put those ads to better use. 

  11. I think it’s a great idea. Does that mean as the months roll on, the client only pays for the months that the agreed upon position is achieved? I’ll send a small sample for your consideration.

  12. Interesting concept Jim. Experimenting with pricing models is something I’ve always done, and this is one I hadn’t considered.

    I’m not sure I like it, due to longevity of the ranking vs. ongoing payment, but then again, YOU get to choose based on their proposal. Clients bidding for your services – PPR – Pay Per Ranking.

  13. I think a CPC model would be the best way to get paid. For example, it took me 6 months to take a client from 89 on a very competitive term and about 2 month to get to top 10.

    The problem is of course unethical people who stop paying after the rankings stick around for a few months. I would need at least a 2-3 year contract (iron clad) to make sure I got paid in the long run.

    Jim, I would be very interested in some sort of generic contract you use for such a system. If you feel so kind 😉

  14. Excellent transparent pricing model, Jim

    Do you get clients willing to sign up for 2-3 year contracts?

  15. Hi Jim

    Very interesting question?. To rank in position 1 for keyword “airport parking” we would be willing to pay $1000 per month with a 1 year contract, I would be willing to pay $800 with a 2 year contract. Would you share your techniques and tactics used to gain a top that top position.

    Many Thanks


  16. Hmmm. I am #2 – yet who wouldn’t want to be #1? I suspect your job would be easy to get me to #1 since we are so close already.

  17. I think you have to look at the bigger picture when pricing. I’m sure it will be a higher price for a subject like “Bank loans” than something smaller like “Pencils” – I would certainly pay handsomely for a few #1 spots for some keywords but then like previous posters have mentioned there are no guarantees,

  18. We have used this pricing model for a long time. We don’t even demand a long term contract, because the client’s don’t want to risk losing their positions.

    We charge a pretty low base price per term, and then they pay based on positions from the moment they reach the first page of Google.

    We have differentiated the pricing steps as follows:

    First place
    Top 3
    Top 5
    Top 10

    Depending on the starting point for the client, it takes us between three and twelve months for us to work them up to the first page.

  19. It depends on the industry, imho. Hotels do a lot of volume so #1 is obviously huge. Outside hospitality, industries like insurance and electronics do lots of volume online. But if you get industries with long sales cycles and a 50K conversion every other month, it’s more difficult to value.

  20. I do travel serps for people. 500 euro per serp top 5 in google. 200 euro 5-10. Second page is zero money.

    I like this approach because no results no money. Also it is really easy to do if you know how. Unlike the above poster I can get results within 3 weeks if the domain is trusted. I am not interested in doing new domains as it is a PITA. I also emphasise this is a blackhat approach but till date I have had no clients banned.

    Also as someone else pointed out, it is like crack cocaine for the clients and they cannot give up because the sales are rolling in. You have them by the short and curlys.

  21. I think it would depend on the keyword. If you have a keyword with 200,000,000 results then I guess it will cost a lot of money, say in the $, $$$ range. I’m #10 for my keyword from about 2,500,000 results. I wouldn’t pay anything. I do my own SEO. But if I didn’t know SEO I would defiantly pay to get on page one of search engines.

  22. It depend on the keywords but If i had money enough,I would pay over $1000 per day for pr 10 on my site.Over 50% of the costumers come from the search engines.So…

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