Every now and then I get calls from prospective clients asking for some kind of pay-for-performance arrangement for SEO. Usually these are one-man start-up operations with “a great idea” and very little money. Sometimes it’s a more established company just scared of entering into a long-term contract that will produce unknown results. Either way, the desire for such an arrangement is certainly a valid one, but not always one that can be implemented as easily as it sounds.
While I don’t think the pay-for-performance pricing model is entirely unworkable, I think the cons far outweigh the pros. Logistically the tracking needed to ensure fair and just compensation for performance adds additional layers to the total process, depending on the metric used for “performance,” quite possibly making the entire solution unwieldy for productive SEO.