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E-Marketing Performance Blog

Why We Don’t Work on a Pay-For-Ranking Pricing Model

pay for ranking

In the annals of bad business practices, the pay-per-ranking pricing model is probably the worst metric a web marketer could use to determine their value. And that’s even assuming that there is such a thing as a universal search engine ranking anymore, which there really isn’t!

Typically, a pay-for-ranking model works like this:

Google positions #1 SERP:
$x when position achieved + $x to maintain this position / month
Google positions Top 3:
$x when position achieved + $x to maintain this position / month
Google positions Top 10:
$x when position achieved + $x to maintain this position / month

One of the problems here is that it’s not scalable for long-tail, low-volume, or low-value search phrases. Websites can rank for hundreds of phrases, but many of them will provide little value. Who determines the cost of each specific phrase?

But the bigger reason this model doesn’t work is that there’s truly no such thing as a top search engine ranking anymore. Search results are personalized for each searcher to the point that everyone gets a different set of search results.

And even if you could find a way to make this model work, I wouldn’t suggest it. The focus is too much on search engine rankings instead of creating a website that provides value to the searcher. The rankings game is a losing game. We like to focus on business growth rather than ranking growth.

Stoney G deGeyter

Stoney deGeyter is the author of The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!. He is the founder and CEO of Pole Position Marketing, a web presence optimization firm whose pit crew has been velocitizing websites since 1998. In his free time Stoney gets involved in community services and ministries with his “bride enjoy” and his children. Read Stoney’s full bio.

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