More threads by Lloyd Silver

Jul 21, 2014
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My business model for non-local SEO includes both an initial fee as well as an ongoing one given that I'm continuously doing a tremendous amount of work.

As I'm getting more and more into local SEO, I'm looking for ways to build a similar recurring revenue stream. Right now I have a flat fee with a specific set of services that we provide (GMB, citations, on site, some other stuff). And we certainly do ongoing work in PPC and social.

We have a couple of services that we include in our flat fee for the first 12 months (mainly Yext plus a review platform). So I'm definitely setting the stage to charge for those once the 12 month period is up.

What are some additional activities that you do for which you feel charging an ongoing fee is appropriate specific to local SEO?
Thanks Joy and completely agree. For me it's a balance between what we know needs to be done and the skepticism and reluctance many local businesses have with recurring fees in online marketing (although they are happy to pay for the yellow pages for some reason).

I like to bring clients on board with a defined project at a fixed fee, provide great value, and then discuss what we can do on an ongoing basis once we've established trust. But you can't sell the ongoing work as something that completes what they already purchased as that would create very uneasy feelings and be unethical. It has to build and expand in my opinion. Even maintenance can be a challenge as I think that would fall under the completion issue that should be disclosed up front. But I like the idea of a package that helps with content, reviews, etc and that would address any issues due to an algorithm change.
...We have a couple of services that we include in our flat fee for the first 12 months (mainly Yext plus a review platform)...

Thanks for this very interesting post, Lloyd. Recurring revenue streams come first, all else comes later.

I'd like to ask which review platform you use, as noted in your original post, quoted above?
I use for reviews. There are a couple of other good ones out there like Mike Blumenthal's Just depends upon what works for your business model.
I want to second the recommendation for If you can also get a reputation monitoring piece in there, it can be good.

The big issue, I think, is that I can give a lot of value in month 1-3, worth far more than the per month price. They need to hang around for months' 4 -12 just so that I get appropriate value.

I suppose you could quote a "pay at once price" and a "monthly fee" price, but, I think that opens up a can of worms.

The other concept is to stretch some projects out. So, get title tags in month 1, but, then do listings in month 2, etc. . .
Hoosier that's why I charge a one time fee, although happy to spread it out over a few months. The value created in the first few months is substantial and if I charged straight monthly I'd either have to spread out the rollout or risk losing money if they bail early.
I think the model I used with a monthly add on would be good.

Not that you need to use my fees, but what I did was...

3500 one time service financed over 3 months. So it was not month to month - and there was no bail out at month 2 option. So I made that clear up front. I just spread the work and payment out over 3 months.

1500 up front, then 1000 month 2 and 3. Never had any Dentists try to bail early or not pay.

I didn't do citations or link building. Just G+ L page, my how to get more reviews training program (via email) and the on-site SEO.

So that way you get paid more upfront for all the extra work it takes initially - but make it a little easier on their pocketbook. But then maybe add on 500 a month on-going (or more depending on your perceived value and how much you are going to do.)

But that was 3 years ago. If I did it today I would DEF include a monthly on-going because there is so much you may need to do to keep them high AND so many ongoing issues that could come up.

But on the monthly I'd be sure to cap hours at a max of X hours for X dollars and explain - typically we do X, Y, Z monthly. But if you get hit with a time consuming Google bugs or dupes then the troubleshooting time could either cut into the X, Y, Z work or possibly run into consulting fees to fix.
Thanks Linda.

Your model is quite similar to mine in terms of the $3,500 you charged.

Personally, I despise time keeping so I'll never do anything time related if I can avoid it (at least in terms of publicly telling people).

I kind of like the idea of insurance. We know that at some point during the next 12 months there will be some type of algo change that requires us to do a fair amount of work. And there might be something minor pop up as well. And of course there are things to be done just to maintain the status quo in a competitive niche.

So estimate how much you think you'll spend in terms of hours and costs and come up with a monthly fee which you can then add to based upon value creation and other non-tangible items. At some point during the year it will likely "suck" and you'll be doing a ton of work and not getting paid that much in real time for it. But you're letting clients even out those fees so they don't get hit with a surprise, which is something I think a lot of local businesses will really appreciate.

This has been helpful to me in terms of thinking through what activities I need to do on an ongoing basis, and then how to transfer that into recurring revenue (and responsibility).
Recurring payments has been the most important step my business could have.

When I first got my feet wet, working out a price point, back when I didnt understand the total potential, one of my first clients was a gym. They paid me 400, I set up their listings, standardized info, etc etc.

A few months in they are #1-3 in the search of their market, I went to yelp to see the leads there, lotsa leads, nice. Then a few months later yelp added the revenue guesstimator, thats when it went hilarious. For a gym, if they were getting leads, 70% of folks who walk through that door the first time are converted into a membership sale (at $30/m for 12m). Doing the math after one year, "my" listing generated $200,000 in revenue, all it cost them was $400. And that was just yelp, google leads and the others....who knows.

Smartest decision they ever made, dumbest decision I ever made. Lol.

Luckily they sold it, and the new owner is "subscribed" to me for a recurring amount.

I find some owners to be against monthly recurring payments, like if they are a(n) NPO. They budget differently with a board of directors. Some they want to write a check for the whole year, "hell yea I'll give you 5% off!" lol. But 90-95% of my clients I have monthly. Some are autodrafting. Some, very few, need invoices, which is pain, then they go through their accountants to cut checks.

We just need to flexible and accommodating. Money spends. I got in this to help folk, I have yet turned someone down because they "appreciation" of my service isnt gift-wrapped with the right color paper.

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