About SEO Sydney experts

Blog - seo mistakes

The dangers of Pay on Performance SEO

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.

If you want my team to do your SEO & digital marketing for you, click here.

Article Overview

If you ever hear the words Pay on Performance for your SEO I suggest you run away quickly. Whilst it may seem like a good idea in the beginning when you want quick results. Pay on Performance is fraught with dangers when it comes to your SEO. Most pay on performance agencies will use this as a sales ploy to entice you to sign up with them and it never ends up where they promised it would.

I recently had a phone call from a business owner that was so jaded by his past SEO experience and dealings with SEO agencies that he was only willing to do an SEO campaign based on performance.

He said that he’d been so disappointed with the results of his past 2 or 3 agencies that the only way he was going to move forward was based on actual results produced.

Updated 14th February 2022

While this might not be a bad approach to take and attitude to have there are some serious issues involved when it comes to engaging an SEO agency purely based on their performance. If you think that there are agencies out there that will not do this, think again. There are heaps of SEO and internet marketing companies willing to give it a go and take on your SEO and only get paid if they perform well.

This is where the issues arise and the following are my concerns about giving the green light to a performance-based SEO campaign.

#1: If the agency is only going to get paid if they perform then they are going to use every spammy technique known to get your rankings up to page 1.

Once there they will phone you up and gloat at the wonderful job they have done and then lock you into their contract. This is the way they work. They lull you into a false sense of security thinking that you have got a great deal and that there is no way you can lose – I mean you are on page 1 and this is where you want to be so why not pay them now? WRONG! Getting to page 1 quickly is inorganic and Google is on the lookout for this type of activity. These types of speedy results are sugar-coated highs and once Google detects this you are going to get slammed with a penalty or have your website ‘sandboxed’ and dumped to page 10 or more. This will be too late for you to do anything as you would have already paid your SEO spammers for their work and be continually paying them a monthly fee. It’s a huge scam and all I can say is that if you want to go on a pay on performance scheme then get ready for the consequences. They are dire and you are going to lose out big time.

I wanted to explain here how many SEO agencies are able to get quick results and therefore offer pay on performance solutions. What they have are a whole bunch of private blog networks which they use to get you fast results. Search Engine Land in their article Private blog networks: A great way to get your site penalized tells us that this scheme is similar to a link wheel or link pyramid, as it involves several different websites all linking to one another or to one central website. While these types of schemes were used commonly years ago, PBNs have now been considered a pure black hat tactic and should be avoided at all costs, as they can lead to a loss in rankings or even a manual penalty. PBNs usually provide little to no long-term value to the websites they are linking to.

As a business owner, you will most likely have never heard about these PBN’s but they are the most common form of SEO link building for Pay on Performance companies and the results are always hideous.

Related article: We can help get your Google penalty lifted.

# 2: Another issue I have with this type of SEO is who determines what a good result is and how do you measure their performance? Do they pick the keywords they intend to rank or do you? I will make a bet that they will pick them and these words will be super easy to rank. They will choose long-tail, phrases that are probably already on page 1 or on the cusp of getting there and once on page 1 they will deem this as a success.

When it comes to search engine optimisation, there are many variables that go into determining what is performing well; ranking a keyword is just one factor. Are they looking at your website traffic, bounce and conversion rates? No, they are not I bet. These guys are all about ranking low-quality keywords that will have little benefit for your business and claim this as a victory. The only person winning here is them as they take your money!

When you perform an SEO campaign you must be the one to decide what is performance and then create a campaign targeting these KPI’s. Anything less than this is ‘old school SEO’ and will not work. The online space is far too crowded now and for your business to stand out from the crowd and succeed you need to be proactively targeting all areas of your digital footprint. Again, as stated above ranking a couple of keywords is just not going to cut it anymore. You might think that you’re doing the right thing by your business and getting your SEO guys to really lift their game, but in reality, they are just going to take the same cookie-cutter approach that they scam with everyone else and do the same to you. Be very warned about this!

# 3: Many SEO agencies camouflage this performance-based remuneration by labelling and advertising it as ‘no rank no pay’ or ’90 day ranking guarantees’. These are all the same scams and perpetuated by the same players looking to fleece you out of your money. They are all exactly the same and designed to make you feel as though you are making a risk free decision when in fact you are putting your website under a bus. Even Google has clearly stated that you can’t guarantee any form of rankings – read this article & see below: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/35291?hl=en

# 4: These agencies generally outsource their link building activities. Their business model is all about making the sale and getting the next sucker on board. This spells dramas for your future ranking chances as the work they will be doing on your site is going to harm your URL. At the end of the day, Google will determine this and devalue their link building activity, but in the interim, your site might end up getting penalised. Google is very much awake to this fraudulent SEO and so should you be.

In Conclusion

So, if you thinking about engaging an SEO agency purely on their results think again. They are going to cut every corner, use aggressive non compliant shortcuts and do everything (including non-compliant SEO) to gain your confidence in the short term. What may seem like a quick victory will in fact lead to long term online pain. With SEO you need to have a long term well thought and planned campaign, PLUS you need to have patience and wait for real sustainable results – call us here on 02 9360 8514 and ask for Steven. I will clearly show you how we can get you some seriously good rankings from qualified visitors and solid valuable leads – this is the proper way SEO should be done.

steven waldberg - ceo seo sydney experts

About the author

Steven Waldberg

Steven is the director of SEO Sydney Experts and is one of the founding members ( that’s over 18 years ago). He has one of the longest careers in the SEO and content marketing industry and has written for many prestigious websites, including B & T and AdNews. If you’re serious about working with someone who will dedicate 100% of himself to your business; Steven is your SEO Expert.

Do you want more traffic from Google?

Yes, I do Not Now