In SEO and SEM, time management is critical. Almost anybody in the industry will tell you that you can spend countless hours "tweaking" a web site, looking at traffic analysis and conversion stats, and employing solid link building campaigns. These are all essential parts of a good SEO service but limits have to be placed on the amount of time you'll spend doing any of these activities for any one client.

Newer clients and those that are in obvious need for improvements can–and often do–require more dedicated time for each of the above, but you still have to budget your time effectively in order to prevent your profits from circling the drain. And this goes for every SEO, it doesn't matter how little or much you charge per hour!

The problem with time is that there are only a limited number of hours every day. I have the same 24 hours to use each day as Donald Trump and George W. Bush. When I go home after what feels like a full, non-stop day manage one client after another I often think about how these guys must feel. They have vastly more responsibility than I, but still the same number of hours in which to get stuff done.

If I could have one wish, it would be to have more hours in the day and to require less sleep each night. OK, that's two wishes but I'd settle for either one of those–preferably the latter.

I often have clients ask me, "What more can we do to improve X?" My response is almost always the same. There is plenty more that we can do, so long as you're willing to pay for it. Unfortunately, that ends the conversation for most clients. Heck, I don't mind providing a value added service every now and then; swapping images or giving advice on how to make a site more appealing to visitors. Conversions are an important part of the optimization process, but even time spent there has to be limited, unless the client has purchased an SEO package with an in depth conversion analysis service attached. Days can be spent analyzing data and improving a site for conversions and that kind of analysis simply can't come cheap.

When we put together our package pricing, we first figure the number of hours that are generally required each month to perform a task, ensuring that we're able to create a successful end result. That's our benchmark and we use it with the knowledge that clients will occasionally need more time spent each month on a task, and less time in other months.

Other things that have to be factored in is time spent that's not the actual doing of the work, but communicating with the client or others about the project. Most don't realize that this can add up to a significant amount of time, which is why many SEO firms limit the amount of "consultation time" that a client can receive each month. Pole Position Marketing doesn't charge clients for consultation since we believe that this comes with the package. We do factor this into the pricing, realizing that some months there may be several hours spent consulting with a client, answering questions, or working out the details of the ongoing SEO campaign, while other months may be only a few. This is all taken into account.

When you consider that you have only 24 hours in a day, time management, regardless of your field, becomes one of the most important aspects of your professional and personal life. This may sound odd, but even when relaxing in my home; I'm monitoring my time. Why, because I want to make sure I get family time, chore time and even time for myself each day. Every bit of that is important for health, business and for your family as well.

There are many great books at there on time management, one easy read that comes to mind is the One Minute Manager, probably one of the most popular books on the subject of time management.

Finally, I would like to wrap this up with something that (I believe, though am not 100% sure) came from John Maxwell, regarding the value of your time:

To know the value of one year - Ask the student who failed their final.
To know the value of one month - ask the mother of a premature baby.
To know the value of one week - ask the editor of a weekly magazine.
To know the value of one day - ask the wager earner with six children.
To know the value of one hour - ask the lovers who are waiting to meet.
To know the value of one minute - ask the person who missed the plane.
To know the value of one second - ask the person who survived the accident.
To know the value of one millisecond - ask the Olympic silver medalist.

Discuss this article in the Small Business Ideas forum.

May 16, 2006

Stoney deGeyter is the President of Pole Position Marketing, a leading search engine optimization and marketing firm helping businesses grow since 1998. Stoney is a frequent speaker at website marketing conferences and has published hundreds of helpful SEO, SEM and small business articles.

If you'd like Stoney deGeyter to speak at your conference, seminar, workshop or provide in-house training to your team, contact him via his site or by phone at 866-685-3374.

Stoney pioneered the concept of Destination Search Engine Marketing which is the driving philosophy of how Pole Position Marketing helps clients expand their online presence and grow their businesses. Stoney is Associate Editor at Search Engine Guide and has written several SEO and SEM e-books including E-Marketing Performance; The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!; Keyword Research and Selection, Destination Search Engine Marketing, and more.

Stoney has five wonderful children and spends his free time reviewing restaurants and other things to do in Canton, Ohio.

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