Posted by Steven Waldberg June 17 2020
OK, so you have done the ring around and spoken to three or four SEO agencies and can’t seem to make heads or tails of the pricing. One company is quoting you $5000, and the other is only $500 with ranking guarantees & amazing promises. Why such a big difference in price when they are saying the same thing? Perhaps it’s a good idea to go with the cheapest. The guy sounded nice over the phone and was very convincing. And, yes there was that 90-day ranking guarantee.
Before you go down that path, remember these words:’ Cheap SEO is not good SEO”.
Today I want to highlight the issues of cheap SEO just in case you were about to greenlight your SEO campaign with the cheapest provider.
Let us imagine a scenario where you’ve just had a ski accident, and you have damaged your hip. Your doctor gives you the number of a few orthopaedic surgeons to go and see. Now imagine that one of the best surgeons at St Vincent’s Hospital who is going to charge you $20,000 for the entire procedure. Yes, this is expensive, so you go to another surgeon who will do the whole operation for only $2,000. Somethings very wrong here and would you risk your health by going with the cheaper option. And, to add to this, the surgeon has no formal qualification and is not covered under Australian or NSW law. There’s no way you’d go with this guy unless you had a death wish.
Cheap SEO is the same thing. It’s dangerous and particularly bad for your business. If you value your livelihood, then cheap SEO can be extremely harmful to your potential future earnings. Just think about it. They stuff up your Google rankings, and then you get no money which leads to a whole raft of disasters. You may have to get rid of staff, cancel car payment and even your mortgage. Relying on any SEO agency without a solid background who has to quote low prices to get your business is the formula for disaster. Now, I’m not saying you have to spend a small fortune and go with a sizeable glitzy agency, but there is the middle ground where you can get real value for your marketing dollar. There are signs to look out for when choosing your next SEO agency which I’ll explain in a bit more detail.
1. You can physically go to an office where you can go and chat with them. Virtual SEO can be a problem as most of these companies are overseas. Ideally, you need a local SEO agency.
2. You get monthly reports that highlight what they are doing, and the backlinks created.
3. Before you begin the SEO campaign, they conduct a full website audit to make sure your site is Google compliant.
4. Your phone calls or emails will be addressed immediately, or at least within 24 hours. Customer service is vital with SEO as there can be many questions.
5. The monthly work is measurable. Which means you can see improvement in the rankings, online visibility and the numbers of people coming to the site. This is critical and will determine if your cheap SEO agency is doing any work.
6. You deal with one point of contact and not shuffled between account managers.
When implemented correctly, SEO takes time and resources. There are on-page audits to perform, coding, copy adjustments, copywriting, content marketing, as well as always fine-tuning the site for conversion rates. All this takes many staff-hours plus your paying for the technical experience. So, the question is; how can an SEO company whose quoting low prices do all this work and still keep their doors open? The answer is simple; they are not doing anything, or they are outsourcing their work to a country where labour rates are cheap. Is this what you want to for your business? To have your most precious internet marketing shipped overseas and leave it to someone who is paid probably $5 per hour. The question you should be asking yourself is what level of involvement and enthusiasm will they have for your business.
While I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to offshore some components of your business and conduct everything in the virtual space ( hosting and internet security), but when it involves your SEO, local implementation is better.
Your rankings start to slide about a month after they commence work. A clear sign that they are not compliant with Google’s rules. Be realistic with your expectations. If you pay a basic fee, how are you going to outperform your competition which has a better-looking site with excellent copy and is so easy to use.2. Bad Linkbuilding
The links they are building are of low quality. For SEO to work effectively, backlinks must come from relevant and quality websites. Google will index cheap links and if over they are optimised expect to get a penalty where Google will remove your site from the SERP’s.
Most cheap SEO companies will be in the virtual space. They might have a Sydney address, but this is only a front so they can add it to their Google My Business and pretend to be local. So, if you have any questions or issues, you will have to talk to someone overseas. I know how much I hate this and if my website rankings have tanked or I’ve got some sort Google penalty I want to be speaking with someone local.
The majority of cheap SEO agencies adopt a policy of ‘churn and burn.’ They have slick salespeople to convince you to sign up with them based on their low prices — the moment you’ve signed up your handed over to an account manager, and you’re ‘so-called’ account manager is your only contact. When the results are weak, and you want your money refunded it’s a matter of dealing with someone offshore. Good luck with that!
Good SEO requires the content throughout your website to be relevant, informative and have local content. Most cheap SEO agencies will outsource this copy where someone from India or the Philippines will write the text. It will have no local content, and be written to try to get Google rankings and not for the client. Excellent copy costs money, and this is one way cheap SEO companies save money. Low-quality content is the quickest way to poor Google rankings by the violation of their strict content guidelines. If you think that this can’t happen to you, think again as you’ll notice that those pages with the best copy are ranking the highest.
Also Read: Is quality content good for SEO rankings?
If you’re on the hunt for an SEO company and some salesperson tells you that they’ll offer you a 90-day ranking guarantee note that this is a lie!
Let me repeat this; ‘ a lie’. There are no such things as a guarantee, and Google even tells us this on their website. You can also see what Moz a reputable online website says about ranking guarantees here: Why Reputable SEO Firms Don’t Promise Guaranteed Search Engine Rankings
At SEO Sydney Experts I sometimes get asked if I can offer some sort of ranking guarantee, but I’m far too honest to tell them what they want to hear. What I say is that I will personally work on your site and SEO and do the same for you as I have done for other clients whose rankings are all on page 1. My guarantee is this: hard work, quality link building and excellent content marketing. These are the only effective ways to get any sort of online visibility.
If someone sees some dodgy links pointing to your website or your sites on some gambling sites, then this can severely damage your brand and reputation. Plus, if the copy they read looks like it’s been written by someone overseas without a thorough understanding of English, this will put them off using your service, damage your brand and trust the authority of your site.
If your customers feel this way, then Google will also and your website will suffer. Creating content people will love to read is hard. Even I find it difficult, sometimes putting blogs together. But the point here is that I write it myself for the local Sydney market. I would never leave this type of service to any person who does not fully understand my business.
No, this is not a football match where you get a penalty. A Google penalty means your site is gone. It’s disappeared, and the process to get it back can be bloody hard. Cheap SEO companies probably won’t do much, so you might not get a penalty. But, the work they will do is going to be sub-standard. That’s for sure. I mean, what are they going to do for $500 per month. If that’s what they’re charging then how good can the work be? I’d be anxious if that were me, and I was only paying that for my SEO. It’s important that you realise how severe a Google penalty can be for your business. You can see more here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_penalty
Most agencies ( not us by the way ) want you to sign up to a yearly contract. You are stuck with them, and you have to keep on paying every month because you signed the contract. Sure you can stop paying or cancel the direct debit or credit card, but they will go legal. And, if you try to get your money back, they will have a signed contract. Yes, you may win but is it worth the hassle. In the meantime, ask yourself what damage they can do to your site as they have all the logins etc. It’s a nightmare, and your competition is still up there on page 1 while you’re stuck on page four or five. So the money you thought you saved upfront has ended up costing you more time, lost sales, sleepless nights and a website that ha a potential Google penalty. How awful!
You might have just ended a nasty SEO contract but don’t fall for the same mistake a second time. Some terrific salespeople will be able to still sway you by offering low prices, and there will again be the temptation to go down the same path if they are offering guarantees and can show you fake past clients great results. Whatever you do be smart and go with a proper SEO agency that doesn’t provide the cheapest SEO. Why not give me a call on 02 9360 8514 for honest transparent pricing when it comes to your SEO.
Steven is the author of this article and one of the marketing team at SEO Sydney Experts. He is the most passionate about helping Sydney businesses get the most out of their SEO and internet marketing. He’s been doing this for nearly 15 years and is super keen to help your business grow and succeed online.