Pay for Performance: Pay for performance is a payment structure based on sales or servicepeople receiving commission when they perform promised actions successfully. It is also referred to as PFP or a “guaranteed” service.

In the context of Internet marketing or search engine optimization, such promises might include a certain number of views or clicks, a certain number of leads, or a certain page ranking. For example, a contract might stipulate that an SEO company be paid as soon as the client’s website ranks on the first page of Google search results based on a certain keyword.

There is an appeal in such pay for performance plans, since no company wants to pay for a service that isn't providing any value. However, many pay for performance SEO companies are exploiting potential customers in order to make money quickly. For example, they may optimize a company’s website for irrelevant keywords with low search volumes, assuming the company management is not familiar enough with search engine trends to recognize that such tactics won’t bring increased traffic or more leads.

Companies making such guarantees are also more likely to engage in practices that work temporarily, but ultimately result in penalties imposed by Google and other search engines. These include illegitimate link building practice through article syndication or the use of automated tools generating spam backlinks. These may momentarily boost the website’s page rank, triggering payment, while providing no lasting benefit for the customer.