Q and A: How much should I charge for an SEO instruction manual?

QuestionHi Kalena

I have to write an SEO instruction document that will be translated into 5 languages and distributed to 4,000 business owners who have signed up for an industry-specific web template program.

The document will guide the business owners through the process of optimizing their websites by means of simple instructions and screenshots. Many of them are not computer or web savvy so it will be an exact step-by-step process.

In the end, the document may be just a dozen pages, and it may take around three days to produce (approx) – but my gut feel is that the value of the document goes beyond just man hours. I feel that I should be charging for my expertise as well as the value of the document to these 4,000 businesses. Anyone have any feedback or past experience here? I’m having difficulty putting a price on this job.


Hi Carolyn

You don’t say whether you are writing this document as a freelancer or as a full-time employee of an agency. If you are being hired as a freelancer, then definitely you should be asking for a premium fee for your knowledge. If you’re an employee and your boss has commissioned the document, you should probably discuss your concerns with him/her and ensure that you are rewarded for the project in a manner that you think is suitable.

If the document is being sold to the 4,000 businesses, perhaps you can ask for a commission or a performance bonus of some kind?

You might also want to consider copyrighting the information as your intellectual property or making it available to your employer / client with distribution restrictions (perhaps using a Creative Commons license).

Hope this helps.

Q and A: Are one way links more powerful than reciprocal links?

QuestionDear Kalena,

Which is more powerful – a link from Facebook to my website, or a link from Facebook, and my website linking back to that Facebook page?

Thanks, Robert

Dear Robert,

A very ‘dry’ answer to your fairly complex question would be that one way links hold more traction in search engine rankings than reciprocal links. So a one way link from Facebook to your website would be treated more favorably than reciprocal linking between Facebook and your website. However, I am not trying to imply that reciprocal link trading should not be done or discounted.

Since I would be doing injustice to your question if I stopped right here, I am taking the liberty to delve further in order to paint a clearer picture for you.

“One way links vs. reciprocal links” is an age old debate and has been beaten to death. Still, this topic carries an aura of ambiguity for the very simple reason that there are too many variables involved. Search engine ranking algorithms have grown in complexity and their link analysis techniques are far more sophisticated than they were a couple of years ago.

While many people would want you believe that reciprocal linking is dead and not worth your effort, I personally believe that this notion is not entirely true. One way links are better than reciprocal links but this does not certainly mean that reciprocal linking is worthless. A limited amount of reciprocal linking is not only normal but natural.

If you want to recommend a useful resource to your visitors and the other webmaster does the same because he believes that his site visitors would find your website to be equally interesting, then I don’t see search engines having a problem with it. There are thousands of websites that link to one another for the simple fact that it makes business sense. If search engines start devaluing all reciprocal links then they would be ignoring these legitimate link votes, and in the process do more harm than good. So, as long as you stay away from abusive reciprocal linking that smell of link schemes done to artificially inflate search rankings, you will be just fine.

In essence, the more important things to look at and consider are link relevance and the quality of the link. If these two parameters stand fulfilled, I would not be too fussed whether it is a one way or reciprocal link.

Saurav Verma

Further Reading:

What are Reciprocal Links and What do Search Engines Think of Them?

Link value factors

Q and A: What software do you recommend for SEO?

QuestionHi Kalena…

What program/software you recommend (the best in the market) to manage multiple accounts for SEO?


Hi Asher

It depends what you mean by “managing multiple SEO accounts”. If you mean manage multiple client projects, I’ve heard WebCEO is good for that, but I’ve only tested it briefly. I prefer to use a tailored Excel spreadsheet to keep track of client link data etc.

I also use Freshbooks to invoice clients and timesheet their services and ProposalKit to create client proposals.

I don’t recommend any specific tools to perform the site optimization itself – that should always be done manually if possible. There are however some useful SEO tools for determining or reviewing various aspects of the page/site optimization. SEO Book Tools and SEOmoz Tools spring to mind.

Also check out the tools category on Search Engine Wiki.

Google Caffeine – A Taste Test

I recently wrote a piece for SiteProNews on Google Caffeine and thought I’d share the link with you here.

The article covers a search query experiment I undertook comparing SERPs on the existing uncaffeinated Google and Google Caffeine. The results are surprising!

See this visual comparison for a snapshot.

Check out the full article here:

Google Caffeine – A Taste Test

Google Displaying Breadcrumb Navigation in SERP Snippets

A couple of bloggers have reported seeing breadcrumb trails in Google Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) lately, meaning they may be testing the inclusion of breadcrumb navigation as part of site snippets.

Breadcrumb navigation shows the user’s path in relation to their current location. It’s the little trail of keywords you often see at the top of the page, below the main header image telling you what section of a site you are on. There’s a good explanation here.

Philipp Lenssen of Google Blogoscoped blogged about seeing breadcrumbs in Google SERPs as far back as July. Leo Fogarty has seen a couple of results on closely related search queries.  Now Chris Crum of Web Pro News reports a few random instances of breadcrumb SERP usage.

Google have always encouraged webmasters to use breadcrumb navigation for usability purposes and now they’re apparently going to reward webmasters who take their advice by including breadcrumbs within their site snippet.

Here’s a screengrab of how breadcrumbs look in the Google SERPs for the search query “car hire Spain”:

As you can see, the keywords in the breadcrumbs that match the search query are bolded, meaning that they are included in the algorithmic ranking factors for that query. So potentially, the use of breadcrumb navigation as an SEO tactic has just become a whole lot more important.

A check of the pages displaying the breadcrumbs in their snippets confirms the use of breadcrumb navigation and the exact breadcrumb trail included in the snippet e.g. http://www.auto-europe.co.uk/car-hire/Spain.cfm.

I personally haven’t seen any crumbed SERPs but it’s apparently quite rare so far, with the testing possibly limited to UK sites.

Have you seen any? Please let us know via the comments below.