If you’re a marketing manager or an online business owner you might have come across companies offering services like the following.
Best Value SEO Package:
- 5 keywords
- 1000 directory submissions
- On Page and Off Page optimization
- Fast indexing with Google.
Looks great, right? Why not try the offer for one month at least?
You might be forgiven for thinking that the only thing you can lose with these services is the money you give them. But you could lose a lot more than that. Before signing up for tempting offers of cheap SEO packages you should understand the potential pitfalls.
Cheap SEO Package Pitfalls
Companies that sell SEO packages are betting that a client’s desire for instant solutions beats the desire for long-term growth. The lure of the ‘All in one cheap SEO package’ is all too tempting for busy business owners and marketing managers. For one thing, it’s a quantifiable expense. $500 per month is easy to understand. SEO packages promise wonderful results like ‘first page rankings on Google’. Sounds great. But nobody can guarantee this. Nobody.
Just today I received an email from a well-known keyword research company offering “On Demand 24-48hr Page 1 Rankings for local SEO”. Why do seemingly reputable companies also buy into the get rich quick machine? Most likely because people want fast results. And they ignore warnings of potential negative consequences.
Why do people still buy ‘SEO packages’ from India and other places that charge much less than US companies?
‘National SEO package’ is an easy concept to grasp. “Monthly SEO package” offers the comfort of knowing that someone is working from month to month on improving your website’s search engine ranking. In the end many people don’t care how they get to the top of Google. The bit-sized chunks of SEO wizardry for a cheap price can be tempting.
But here’s the truth of it. Affordable SEO can end up costing you dearly.
Inexperienced and factory-line type SEOs will apply the same techniques to your site as they will to another site. They might apply different systems to different niches but with cheap SEO you won’t get individual attention. Imagine the following scenario.
- Client A buys cheap SEO packages from ACME Inc., an SEO agency that offers services at a very cheap price. (Look on Google, Fiverr, and UpWork and you’ll see what I mean).
- ACME Inc. picks 20 keywords based on client A’s niche and begins to build backlinks using these anchor phrases. Titles and body content is changed to reflect the new keywords. Alt tags are altered and product pages are reworded. ACME Inc. informs the client that these changes will take time. Client A waits.
- In the meantime, Client B, who is in the same niche as client A, orders search engine optimization packages from ACME Inc.
- The same keywords and techniques are reused for client C’s business.
Rinse and repeat. That’s the only way a business selling small business SEO packages can survive.
Why SEO packages don’t work
Common techniques employed by cheap agencies are:
- Spammy-link building – Creating links back from irrelevant websites
- Private blog networks (PBN) – Buying and linking from servers that appear to Google as high-authority but are in fact, built only for SEO purposes.
- Keyword stuffing. Loading each webpage with as many instances of the target keyword as possible.
Some of these techniques still work today in some cases. But Google will eventually catch up. Your rankings might rise initially but they won’t stay there. Google is getting better at discovering and penalizing black-hat SEO techniques. The algorithm isn’t perfect yet and the door is still slightly open to unscrupulous marketing agencies.
If your SEO Company ignores your individual businesses needs, strengths, and weaknesses, then they cannot create a holistic SEO strategy. SEO is not just keywords and links anymore. Branding, user intent, and authority are huge factors in how Google places websites in 2017.
Cheap SEO packages work on a one size fits all basis. The internet is becoming more personalized. People want individual experiences. Business should expect the same from SEO services. A marketing plan that does not focus on your brands strengths is not a plan at all. It’s merely a best guess scenario. They sometimes work. Most of the time they make no difference. And on many occasions they negatively effect search engine rankings.
In 2017 SEO strategies that worked in 2007 are not only outdated but are dangerous. In the bad old days of SEO, agencies used templates, automation, and strategies based on simple repetition and volume to beat their way to the top of the search engines. SEO work was cheap and brute force was the tool of the day.
Professional search engine marketing companies today understand your customers’ relationship with Google. People are looking for answers. They want quality content. They want to be informed and they want Google to provide them with the definitive solution to their problem. An SEO in 2017 must understand the needs of your customers.
Content marketing is an essential part of any online marketing strategy. Blog posts and articles worthy of page one ranking demand detailed research. They also require the input of competent writers. Bad SEO agencies use generic content and article spinning. This reworked content might pass all plagiarism checks and appear legitimate but it’s essentially a copy of another website’s work. As search engines become better at understanding concepts and topics they have the ability to spot patterns. ‘Spun’ content shows up as low-quality material. Google’s job is to provide high-quality results to searchers. Cheap content written purely to target keywords will not make the grade.
What to avoid
Avoid agencies selling cheap SEO products with ambitious generic analytics projections. Analytics for a car dealership are not relevant to a fitness center.
Avoid cheap SEO services that guarantee high search engine rankings for multiple keywords in a short period of time (1-2 months). In the past, these wild claims could actually be substantiated. However, Google’s algorithm is much smarter now and can see when companies are using generic SEO tactics. Your business should not be treated as a generic player in your industry.
As a checklist avoid any agency that claims the following
- Connections to the search engine team in Google
- 24 or 48- hour first page rankings guaranteed
- Multiple search engine ’submissions’
Avoid agencies that insist on
- Hosting your website on their servers
- Maintaining ownership of the content they product for your website.
Look for an SEO agency that takes the time to understand your particular business requirements. Find a company that can project results based on your industry and business.
What about Web Design and SEO?
Good web design firms in 2017 focus on making websites that follow Google’s recommendations and provide a great user experience. SEO should not be an ‘extra’. Optimizing a website for search engines should be a fundamental component of any website build. Stay away from any firm that separates the two components (website design and SEO) into distinct ‘packages’.
What your business needs is a custom SEO plan. If you value your business above generic copycat type companies then don’t settle for a package.
You might ask, “What’s the worst that can happen? If I get bad quality SEO work I can just pay a reputable company later, right?”
Well, imagine eating cheap, junk food for years just to see what happens. Your quality of life decreases. But as you begin to repair the damage you realize that it will be an expensive road ahead. It might also be a futile one as irreparable damage means improvements are minor. Do you want to take the chance of an inexperienced SEO causing irreparable damage to your brand? If Google decides that your website is violating their guidelines there will be a lot more work to do to repair this reputation.