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The Truth About SEO Packages You Need To Know
People are risk-averse until we start diving into the bargain bin for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) services. Maybe it’s ignorance, or maybe it’s just the mentality of budgeting. Still, many business owners and Marketing Directors look for the cheapest options for SEO instead of the focus on investment and returns.
When done right, SEO is an investment and not a cost.
SEO is a long-term solution for consistent performance.
A marketing campaign is the best cookie-less marketing strategy available to build consistent brand equity and develop reliable financial returns in a measurable, transparent, and adjustable fashion.
Suppose you already know that you need the support of a digital marketing professional to help you navigate the murky waters of SEO. In that case, you should also already know how cheap SEO services can cause permanent dents in your online presence.
As a business owner, when you hire a cheap SEO company, you put your brand, your website, and their online reputations at risk. Your website is a source of leads and income for your business. If you are looking to scrape together change from your couch cushions for backlinks, content, and outreach then you might be looking in the wrong place and this online marketing channel is not your best strategy for your needs.
Without professional, high-quality marketing services, you risk missing out on lead generation and potential sales as customers consistently miss your online business website on their search results.
Let’s take a look at what you can expect from this marketing service, what you need to rank well with SEO, and the seven dangers of going cheap when choosing an SEO company.
What It Takes To Rank In SEO
Don’t get me wrong. I think there are plenty of great online marketers out there who don’t charge what they are worth. However, when you start talking about $200/month SEO services, then you are firmly in the “Cheap SEO club.”
Even a $500/month affordable SEO package is barely enough to move the needle when considering all the work and coordination that goes into SEO. Sure, if $500/month is all you can afford it might seem reasonable to spend what you’re able to, but the truth is that there is a minimal amount of action needed to deliver results through online marketing.
When you hire cheap help in a highly technical field, you take on the risk of what is taken out of the marketing strategy to obtain the rock-bottom cost.
Think about it. McDonalds can sell $1 cheeseburgers because that meat is not grass-fed steak.
While a McDonalds cheeseburger will pass, cheap SEO can have a lasting impact on your business for years to come.
There is a difference between an affordable SEO company and one that will intentionally undercut their efforts in an attempt to keep their costs below market value to deliver short-term success in organic search.
An SEO specialist knows the tools and steps needed to get you found in organic search. In addition, an SEO specialist knows the levers, timing, and approach your site needs to take to make specific changes over the course of a few months.
At these levels, you are not talking about full-spectrum marketing treatement, including the oversight of an experienced practitioner or the services required to deliver results. SEO can be broken up into three main buckets:
- Technical SEO: Search engines are robots that crawl your site to understand the context and relevance of your content to user intent. These bots navigate connections on your site based on the map you provide in your code. You can leave a lot of money on the table or block search engines if the technical side of your site is not monitored.
- On-Page SEO: Google and other search engines want to deliver relevant content to their users, and you can use your content to drive qualified traffic to your site. If your SEO service doesn’t include fresh content, content optimization, or content expansion, you miss a significant component of SEO marketing.
- Off-Page SEO: The Internet is a giant party, and Google wants to introduce you to other party members. Outreach and relationship building is the backbone of SEO marketing, and if your SEO services don’t include outreach, you will not get noticed online.
SEO costs money to run and rank. If you’re not paying for it, then it isn’t happening.
If you are not willing or able to finance at least $1,200 (per month) for quality vanilla SEO services, then you should not focus on SEO services.
It’d be more advantageous to invest in different types of content marketing if you have more time than money. Otherwise, you could invest a few hundred dollars a month into paid media channels like Google Ads, Google Remarketing, or Facebook Ads.
Focused, paid SEO services (Paid Google Ads, Paid Facebook Ads, etc.) will include content, outreach, and some technical review throughout the month. In addition, you should expect an SEO plan to include monthly reporting and recommendations. If your marketing partner doesn’t offer monthly reports, then you know they are not looking at your account at least once a month.
You get what you pay for with SEO marketing, and if you’re looking for cheap SEO, then your agency is cutting corners to make that price a viable marketing decision.
How Can I Find A Great Affordable SEO Company?
Now that you know why cheap marketing services exist from an economic perspective, it’s essential to know what to look for in an SEO marketing agency.
You should look for reviews, testimonials, and case studies to determine if your agency will provide the support you need at a price that you can afford.
We will dive into some expectations, but first, I think it’s important to remind you that agencies know how to “game” the system and trick Google. This can lead to a situation where an agency looks like they know what they’re doing when they just know how to trick Google.
That’s why it’s essential not to trust Google results to find a good reputable marketing partner that can back up their claims with case studies, referrals, and testimonials.
What Should You Expect From SEO Services?
When you shop for SEO services, remember that not all providers are created equal. It would help if you took the time to vet each option and choose the one you believe will help your business gain exposure and conversions. You put a lot of trust into a marketing department, and if you’re leading, consideration is price. You are overlooking the tangible threats to your business that can arise based on cheap SEO services.
Once you have narrowed down your choices, investigate their websites. Some marketing companies won’t advertise their packages in great detail, but this is a red flag. If your cheap digital marketing agency isn’t listing their services in detail, then how do you know what you’re getting?
Either they don’t want you to know how little they offer, or they want to trick you into giving them money without any KPIs.
Look for an expert with at least three years of experience who is a practitioner across. They should have a website that offers testimonials, case studies, and examples of successful campaigns to demonstrate the proven results of their online marketing capabilities.
Analyze content they have created, their ability to rank technical SEO successfully and local SEO services, and ask about their link-building practices. You will find gray hat marketers can’t explain their outreach efforts in detail (or they lie) because these individuals simply link spam Google. This approach to link building offers great margins but can put your business at risk, so be careful!
If you are still considering low-cost services for your online business, look at the difference between inexpensive providers and professional services.
|Service||Inexpensive Providers||Professional Providers|
|Web Development & Design||Bring problems like low conversion rates, significant security problems, and no chance to improve SEO in the future.||Treat your page as the centerpiece of your online marketing strategy and pay attention to every detail to support your success.|
|Link-Building||Inexpensive Links = Spam. Thanks to Google’s Penguin algorithm, sites that are deemed “spammed” are aggressively punished.||Use relationship building and networking to gain high-value links to actual sources over time.|
|SEO||Use simple tricks like keyword spam, which will catch Google’s attention and bring penalties and ranking drops.||Offer original, high-quality content, competitive keywords, and professional website structure to bring long-lasting high rankings.|
|Content Building||Duplicated, low-quality content stuffed with keywords will be removed by Google’s Panda algorithm and prevent you from gaining customers.||Professional content attracts the proper attention and builds your brand as it inspires action from users.|
As you can see, while you may save some money upfront by enlisting a cheap SEO agency, any return on investment is quickly lost as you scramble to solve the issues caused by unprofessional (and unethical) marketing tactics.
7 Reasons Why You Should Never Choose Cheap SEO Services
You can see how the right SEO plan can be pivotal for small business owners and Marketing Directors alike. SEO is a powerful tool that can deliver extreme benefits, but it can also cripple your online presence with the same power you are looking to harness with a marketing partner.
A cheap SEO agency will hurt your business and could put you in a sticky situation.
Are they not scared yet? That’s fine, but here are seven things to consider when hiring a cheap agency for the sake of argument.
1. You Get What You Pay For
As we discussed above, there are lots of moving pieces that your marketing partner needs to consider if you want to see measurable results. From keyword research, technical evaluations, and intent alignment, your marketing manager needs to understand search engine interactions intimately. When you pay standard market rates for SEO marketing, you buy years of experience from a seasoned practitioner.
You are paying for the tools, experience, and first-hand knowledge. You are paying for clear communication and value-added support so you can focus on your business. I mean, that’s why you hired a cheap SEO agency in the first place, right? You were looking for a partner, for results, for a guarantee.
Well, I can guarantee you that you will not see consistent results with cheap SEO services and you will lose in the long run.
2. Google Quality Guidelines
Algorithms are changing, and since the advent of Google’s Panda, we’ve seen that cheap SEO can put companies out of business by causing issues that are impossible to recover from promptly. Could you imagine being one of the sites that had to close because they were “gaming” the system? Could you imagine being a company that outsourced their online marketing services to a cheap marketing agency and lost everything?
Yikes– when you hire an SEO company, you entrust a lot into their hands. Don’t set yourself up for failure.
A cheap service will lack the expertise required to understand fine details in Google policies. You can’t expect your favorite basketball team to win a championship if players don’t know how to dribble or how to pass.
SEO is a detail-focused marketing channel that requires a professional interpreter to see what is happening in the field and make a strategy for your business’s success.
If you’re not paying enough, your SEO marketing agency won’t have the time to give your account the love and care it needs.
3. Short Term Gains Result In Losses Over Time
You should only use an honest company that you find or that you’re referred to. You can learn a lot about a marketing agency by how they initiate contact with their customers. I bet you that the same cheap SEO companies who spam you will be the same agency that will spam users on the Internet.
Spam is a common trick used by agencies that promote cheap SEO services because it is an inexpensive approach for short-term, fake results. Good SEO and good marketing in general is not explosive or volatile. Good SEO is consistent, comprehensive, and conservative in approach.
Poorly done SEO is costly to clean up. For example, link disavow starts at around $4,000 to start with. The disavow process is a deep scrub of all links on your site. The procedure takes several hours and requires a fine-tooth comb approach as a professional manually looks at each site on your link and disavows (tells Google) to not look at that link because it’s toxic.
Lousy SEO will impact more than your bottom like- it will cause search engine issues with your entire site for years to come. Not only will you miss out on leads, but cheap solutions could cost you more money to fix your site’s leaky bucket.
4. Black Hat vs. White Hat SEO
As we discussed, not all SEO strategies are created equal. Different marketers like to dabble in different marketing tactics in the “evil” pool called Black Hat SEO. This type of strategy includes buying spam links that can quickly boost your site metrics but result in a site ban or Google Manual Penalty.
Black Hat SEOs also only look at content as words on a page. Real sites need accurate content that is created by a real writer who understands your target audience.
Cheap content will only focus on search engines and ignores human readability. You can tell when a robot produces content, and so can your customers.
Make sure the SEO agency you choose practices white hat SEO, which involves strategies and techniques meant to catch the eye of a human audience and plays by Google’s book.
5. No Shortcuts To Good SEO
There are several hard costs to any good marketing strategy. For starters, SEO marketing plans usually include fresh content and content optimizations each month. This deliverable requires several expensive tools. If you are not paying at least $1,200 (per month), your SEO agency is not acting on enough information.
It’s difficult to have the information they need to do their job, how will you get the results you need? Cutting corners is something you can do in a marathon and get a slap on the wrist, but SEO cutting corners can result in Manual Penalties and site-wide bans.
Marketers already know that content is king when it comes to formulating a digital marketing strategy. Search engines marinate that quality content creation is the best way to rank for keywords and create the most positive user experience.
Inexpensive marketing agencies are notorious for creating “spammed” content that uses keywords without proper context. It produces content that is jarring and difficult to read. Your audience will be so distracted by the nonsensical content that they will move on to your competitor’s site.
6. Unnatural Links
Links are the most powerful marketing asset at your disposal, and with this great power comes great responsibility. Your marketing manager needs to know how to build high-quality links.
If you want to screw up your site really fast, then start building low-quality links that look unnatural to Google. That search engine will slap you with a Manual Review, and you could be sitting on the sidelines for months and even years to come.
Talk about lost profit… I think if you splurged on a decent SEO company, you’d have saved money in the long run!
7. No Reporting
Many cheap SEO companies like to throw a 100-page report at you and call it a day. They are hoping that your eyes will gloss over as you start to consider life choices that delivered you to this soul-crushing moment in time.
If you don’t understand your monthly reports (or you don’t get one), you get played. Your SEO reports need to have essential KPIs like revenue (if applicable), Clicks, Impressions, keyword tracking data, and recommendations to improve performance.
SEO is a marketing channel that is in constant flux. Your site and content marketing strategy needs to adjust to changes in the algorithms and moves by your competitors. Don’t forget- your competition is looking to put you out of business. Monthly reports and recommendations can make sense of the chaos so you can focus on your business and stamp out your competitors!
Don’t Get Burned By Cheap SEO Services.
It’s obvious just how dangerous budget SEO services are for small business owners. Once you’ve incurred a Google penalty, there’s no telling how long it will take to be removed.
Big businesses can recover quickly, but small businesses may never see their rankings improve, even during the year following the manual action. That equals a year of no online lead generation, no web sales, and no search engine rankings. That’s enough to force any business to throw in the towel.
Avoid SEO disaster by enlisting the services of professional, qualified SEO experts, even if it means stretching your budget to ensure you hire a trusted marketing team that knows the ins and outs of page optimization.