Internet Marketing Ninjas Blog

SEO Questions I hate answering.

Questions I hate getting:

Today I got an email with this question:

“for the investment, what kind of return can we expect?”

my answer: “I have no idea”

Here’s some other questions I hate getting:

What Pagerank should I expect?

A common answer: I don’t know….it doesn’t matter anyways. What’s the PR of the top 10 sites for the phrases you’re targeting? I’d hope you’d be somewhere in that range.

How many links each month will you get for me?

A common answer: As many as we can get for the time you’re paying us for. This is done by hand, there is no button pushing. It’s not a numbers game anyways, it’s a qualty game. If you’re focused on numbers, we’re not the company for you.

Can I spend a smaller amount now, and when I start making a lot of money I’ll raise my budget?

A common answer “If you start low you might never get anywhere….and then you’ll never have the money to pay us more”.

How about instead of paying you, I give you a percentage of my business?

A common answer: I have to pay employees and I have a wife and child to feed.  Credit is not an option.  If you make millions you won’t have to share any percentage with me, just keep paying my monthly bill.

How long will it take to be in the top 10?

I don’t know. Have you looked at this tool yet?  How old is your site compared to the top 10 sites? How many backlinks do you have compared to them? How is their quality of backlinks compared to yours? What the history of people linking to you (what words have people been using to link to your site?) How good of a resource is your site? Can you site attract natural backlinks or are you 100% relying on your SEO for backlinks? How much unique content do you have? Do we have to pay everyone to link to you, or do you have a “natural” reason why people might link to you? Keep looking at that tool with the phrases you’re targeting, and keep asking yourself these questions. An SEO is only part of your solution – how much are you helping?

How would you respond to these questions? What questions do you hate getting?
PS…I’m a bit tired and maybe a bit cranky….so maybe my responses at this moment are a bit more “bitter” than they normally are. I’m usually a bit “nicer” with how I respond.


11 Responses

  1. The one I get is… I won’t pay until I rank on top for my keywords and not before. I could say.. good luck! I am sure a black hat guy can do it for you, but don’t email me when you get banned.

    Or, I don’t need SEO anymore because my site is indexed! WOW! No shit! Ok, well what key phrases are you ranking for? don’t know, do you? How much traffic have your brought in and converted? Don’t know either huh? Well, good luck with that! Indexed doesn’t mean you are ranking!

    People think they read an article or two and they are experts. I have gotten to the point where I can trun down small jobs that require a lot of hand holding and question answering.

  2. I confess, I’m the guy who submitted the question that Jim listed first among those he hates, “for the investment, what kind of return can we expect?” I just sent him a reply to his email with a bunch of other questions that he’ll probably hate as well. I’ll tell you this, while this post may be ‘bitter’ his personal response was ‘nicer’ and appreciated. I like a guy who cuts to the chase, who displays a necessary arrogance born of compentency and certainty. A lot of ‘consultants’ would respond, “Well, I can’t guarantee you’ll experience these results but typically we generate 303.25 links per 6 month engagement.” Not Jim, he says, “I have no idea.” It’s the right response. He doesn’t know me–yet–or my market or the receptiveness of the individuals who pay attention to this market to providing links or our commitment to making a program work over the long haul. What he was kind enough to provide was a lot (I mean really a lot) of information for me to make the decision. He took away the certainty I sought and, by doing so, assured that whatever decision I made was made for the right reasons; because I drank his Kool-Ade and made the necessary commitment to be an effective partner in the process. Ya gotta appreciate that…

  3. >How about instead of paying you, I give you a percentage of my business?

    Not having employee’s I have a different situation than you, but I’m really thinking about trying a few performance based jobs. Either working with a visibilty metric or a CPA basis.

  4. Jim… you have a right to be cranky! I can totally relate to how you feel when you get those questions. I feel like there should be a pre-qualification video we should record and then make each of our new prospects watch before they hire us. This would eliminate a ton of time we spend answering the same questions over and over. :0)

  5. When i look at this i try to see it from both positions. I can see why Jim might get frustrated with questions like this, I think, When you offer a service that is of HIGH Quality and not cheap btw, you should answer questions like this. This is an investment that many of us have made before with companies that do not have hight standards as it seems Jim has.

    When i first looked at Jims prices i said to myself “Holy Crap”

    Myself, I have come to realize (by reading this blog and Jims site) that Jim does do things different, so it goes to show that no one should compare what Jim does to anyone else.

    So now when i look at Jim’s prices i don’t compare it to other services i have seen on other sites and forums.

  6. How about any questions that start with;


    I don´t have any money but I was wondering . . . .

  7. How much will it cost to get me to # 1 on Google?
    How long will it take to get me to # 1 on Google?
    How come I’m not in Google?

  8. How about the enquiry that goes “I want to get to the top of Google for ‘casino’ and I’ll pay for performance”. Yeah, right, I’ll take that contract!

  9. I got a potential client today that offered me a % of the website’s revenue in return for a discount, I totally hate clients that send in SEO projects tageting web hosting or home business as the keyword while they have a new website.
    Another questions would be why are you charging this much?

  10. Or the ones when they say “that’s easy – I could have done that” when you explain how you changed their title to say “Search phrase | Company Name” instead of just “Untitled Document”.

    Sorry, you gotta get the basics right before you can start on the tricky stuff.

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