I was recently at a networking event and began chatting to some small business owners. The conversation organically steered its way to “so what do you do yourself?”. I answered with “I’m a consultant with a digital marketing agency that spealize in SEO.
One of the business owners replied with “Oh, that’s something we’ve invested in recently, but haven’t seen much of a return.” They then asked what our fees were for helping our clients have more marketplace visibility in search results. Based on the kind of business that they ran, I said “for your industry, we know that it would take about €3,000 per month to move the needle”.
Their jaw dropped to the floor. “WHAT?! Per month?!” I only pay my current SEO providers €1,200 a year!” (which works out to only €100 per month). I replied with “And you mentioned it isn’t working for you? Correct”. They said “Well…yeah, I’m not getting the SEO results I want.”
I asked them what a current sale is worth to them. They told me anywhere between €15,000 to €50,000. So I asked them “So does investing €3,000 to optimize an important page of your website, even if it brings in just one sale, not seem worth it to you? Especially considering that you can earn repeat business from that customer, to allow your business grow even further?”
I offered to create a free SEO video audit for them, to have a look at what their current “SEO marketing” team was doing for them, and as I guessed, it was all incredibly old tactics that Google do not like you using on your website. The business owner was shocked. But unfortunatly this happens every single day, business owners (especially of small businesses) are scammed with cheap SEO packages that they think will fit nicely into their marketing budget, but it always ends with pointing the needle in the wrong direction.
Attention Business Owners - AVOID using a cheap SEO company
When you’re looking to make more people aware of your business and everything it does, it makes sense to seek professional SEO agencies rather than leaving it to an in house team. These allow your small business or brand to get noticed more easily online and increase the amount of traffic flowing to your website.
However, there is a clear risk when it comes to choosing the SEO agencies that you use. Making the wrong choice and going with “affordable” SEO services can destroy your website ranking and make it a lot harder for you to achieve your aims. It can actually damage your brand and take you further away from where you want to be rather than the opposite.
Avoiding partnering with a good SEO agency in favor of opting for cheap labor is a surefire way to see the service quality of what you get in return have a negative affect on your website and its rankings. There is a reason that quality SEO cost what it does. Just like everything in life, you get what you pay for, and that includes search engine optimization services.
We’re going to talk today about the reasons why cheap SEO can destroy the ranking of your website and ultimately how “affordable” SEO services hold your website back. There are lots of reasons and explanations why that might be the case, so read on now and find out more. The lessons you learn will help you when the time comes for you to hire new digital marketers to help you with your SEO efforts.
Why is SEO Important?
SEO is an important part of digital marketing for most businesses these days because it helps improve their online presence and customers click their links on search engines rather than the links of their competitors. The margins are often very fine when it comes to generating traffic and losing out to the competition, and that’s why SEO is so important.
Hiring SEO experts can make all the difference and really help a business to stand out and get noticed when it might otherwise be relatively unknown. It’s one tool among others that can give a small business a digital foothold and make it possible to attract new people. Good SEO practices and services are, as a result, highly beneficial to clients.
Without any consideration for SEO, businesses can sometimes be left behind and struggle to make an impact. Those businesses eventually get left behind and rank far below their rivals on search engines for relevant keyword searches. That’s obviously a problem and it’s why SEO is something all businesses should pay attention to.
The Ways in Which Cheap SEO Can Damage Your Website
When it comes to choosing SEO agencies, it rarely makes sense to go with the cheapest options out there. There are lots of bad digital marketers who offer SEO services but don’t really know what they’re doing. In most cases, they use the same strategy for every website, but each website and business is different, with different needs. We’re going to take a look now at some of the specific examples of ways in which cheap SEO can damage your website and your brand.
Bad Link-Building Can Damage Your Company's reputation
When you pay for cheap SEO services, you can be pretty certain that they’re going to look for the cheapest solutions and shortcuts when it comes to implementing an SEO strategy for you. That means you’re going to end up with cheap links, and cheap links are usually bad links that you’re going to want to avoid if you can.
Yes, it’s certainly the case that some links are worse than others. Poor-quality links as part of a link-building strategy will have less of a positive impact on how your site ranks on search engines than good links. And in some cases, very poor-quality links will actually make your ranking suffer rather than improve it in any way.
The last thing you want is for your website to be associated with a list of terrible links from low-quality websites. It differs from case to case. Sometimes, bad links will have a neutral impact and won’t change things much at all. But there’s also a significant chance that they’ll make things far worse and that your ranking will suffer because of them.
They Tend to Use PBNs
When you choose low-cost SEO services, they’ll probably use PBNs or private blog networks as part of their strategy for building links. There are a few reasons why that can be a problem. Bad PBNs are easily identifiable by Google, and they’re not going to reward their use, meaning you might not get much of a boost to your ranking as a result of gaining links from those websites.
There’s a chance that your site might ultimately receive Google penalties for using these PBNs, and that’s clearly not what you want. But with low quality and poor SEO services, they will take the path that’s easiest for them to deliver and that doesn’t require much time, effort or resources on their part, and that’s where the danger comes from.
It’s much better to find other ways of building links, even though that’s more difficult. You won’t find cheap SEO services taking the time and making the effort to build links on reputable and authoritative websites the proper way.
They may also use Link Farms
Link farms are even more extreme examples of PBNs in that they don’t even have proper sites or content. They’re essentially zombie sites that are used for nothing more than building links. And they could be used to build links to your website if you choose a cheap or low quality SEO company to work with.
It’s generally accepted these days that link farms are bad and that they’re not going to improve your SEO ranking much at all, and might actually make it worse if the site is penalized for using them. You don’t want to be dealing with that and it’s why any reputable SEO company will stay clear of using link farms at all costs.
It’s another example of how things can go very badly wrong if you choose the wrong people to help you with improving your SEO ranking. You should try to think about the damage that these can do and why cheap SEO companies might use them. It’s an easy solution for them because they’re cheap and simple, but they won’t yield the results you want.
If you ever receive an email such as in the screenshot below, never reply to them and definitely never pay to be placed on any of these links. What bugs me most about these emails is that they all come from a free @gmail account. At least try to look professional in your outreach!
The Content Can be of a Poor-Quality
The content that they produce for your company or when building links to your website will often be of a low standard and poor quality. This matters because the content that you put on there and attach to your brand will have a direct impact on how the world sees you, and on how Google judges your site when ranking it.
High-quality content will have more impressions and more engagement and that’s obviously better than relying on cheap content that’s just pumped out there without any real thought or consideration. You want your website or business to be associated with good quality content that reflects well on you.
That’s not what you’re going to get if you’re using cheap SEO services that focus only on what’s fast and cheap for them to accomplish. Taking a little extra time and paying more for content that’s in line with the high standards of quality that are demanded of your brand in other situations makes far more sense in the long-term.
Basic Errors in the Content
On top of a lack of quality, the content might also contain lots of errors that indicate to the reader little effort went into its creation. When you choose the cheapest options out there, you’re going to get cheap results. Again, this is about how the content reflects on your brand and what it says about you.
Content that’s filled with errors and that doesn’t flow well isn’t going to win over anybody. You should make sure that any company that you’re working with regarding SEO understands the importance of high-quality content. If you don’t know what it takes to create high-quality content, move on and work with a different service provider.
Once people start to associate your brand with a lack of quality, it feeds through to everything your small business does. You want people to see your brand and see high standards, but that’s not going to happen if you accept second best with regards to the quality of the content that’s provided for you.
In some cases, these SEO services can simply scam you. They do this using “black hat” SEO. This involves using SEO strategies that go against Google’s quality guidelines. As you can imagine, Google wants to ensure that your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is from reputable SEO companies that use “white hat” SEO in your digital marketing strategy.
This is something that might only happen in extreme cases, but it certainly does happen. They might promise all the things you’re looking for from an SEO service but they fail to deliver on the things they promised. That’s not just a case of falling short though; it’s a deliberate act.
There are far too many companies in this niche that are only in it for the money and that aren’t at all interested in delivering value. They’ll be more than happy to take payment from you but when it comes to meeting deadlines or offering a service that you paid for, they’re not so efficient and not so keen.
In some cases, nefarious SEO companies might simply take your money and then fail to deliver any services at all. These blatant scams are less common than the ones that simply fail to deliver on what they promised, but you should be careful because they do exist.
They Might Sell Links from Your Site
There are lots of ways in which bad SEO companies can exploit you. As we discussed, they can underdeliver on what they promised, but there are also other ways to rip you off. They can also exploit your website by selling links to other sites from yours. That’s something that’s not just unethical because it’s done without your consent; it can do much more than that.
When you get links from your site sold, it can have negative repercussions for your website and how it ranks on Google going forward. Google can often punish sites that are involved in that kind of thing, meaning you can get punished for the actions of the company that you hired to improve your ranking.
Doing your research and reading online reviews of companies that have used their services before should tell you if they had negative experiences or not. If you notice that a lot of online reviews mention unethical and damaging practices such as selling links to the client’s site, that’s a sure sign that you should stay away from their services.
Poor Research Techniques
Research is a key part of producing a winning SEO campaign, and it’s a part of the process that can’t be overlooked. If the company you hire to work on SEO for you doesn’t put the time and work necessary into research, they simply won’t be aware of your niche and the companies that you’re competing against for search rankings.
Digital marketers that have been around for a long time and have carried out this kind of work before will know how to carry out research correctly and properly. That means they’re able to research your competition, compete effectively with them and conduct proper keyword research too.
It’s in your best interests to work with a company that has that research experience and knows what it takes to offer a tailored service that’s specific to your needs. So when you’re discussing your needs with digital marketers you’re interested in working with, you should always discuss research techniques with them before making a final decision.
A Lack of Good Tools and Resources
There’s a range of premium SEO tools that are needed to carry out good SEO work. Many of these tools are established as industry standards, and all of the best SEO companies will use them. Using a cheap SEO service on the other hand probably won’t make use of those same SEO tools and resources, and that can lead to lower quality outcomes for your site.
A lot of those cheaper services will use different tools and resources that are maybe cheaper to buy or that are free to use. These tools tend to have far more limited capabilities and don’t yield the same results as the better tools and resources would. It’s something to keep in mind when considering SEO services.
One of the main benefits that come with choosing a more established, well-known, and respected SEO specialists is the tools they have at their disposal. And it’s not just the tools that matter, but also the staff they have at their disposal who know how to use those tools effectively and to get the most out of them.
When you work with a cheap SEO agency, one of the things you’re most likely to notice is that the communication will suffer. You won’t hear from them often because they won’t be as focused on your needs and won’t pass on information to you as readily as a more professional SEO service would. That eventually becomes a big problem on your end.
You’ll probably also notice that they take longer to respond to your messages. These little things might not seem like a big deal at first, but when those little frustrations start to add up, that’s when working relationships can really start to break down and ultimately damage outcomes for your website. That’s not what you want.
Communication matters when you’re looking to work together with a third party to improve your SEO outcomes. It’s a collaborative process and they’ll need to be willing to listen to your needs if they’re going to deliver the results you’re looking for. So it’s worth discussing that with any company you’re interested in working with before you go ahead and hire them.
Poor Performance Levels Will Hand an Advantage to Your Competition
The bad news about all of this is that poor performance levels from the SEO services you use will result in handing the advantage to your rivals. It’s one thing to be outperformed by your rivals, but it’s far more frustrating for your company when you end up directly benefiting the companies that you should be trying your best to compete against. You want to avoid a high client churn rate and instead be aiming for client retention. Affordable seo companies will not help you with this goal, and that is a fact.
The whole point of working on SEO and improving your approach to SEO is to make your business more competitive and outrank your competition. With bad practices and poor performance levels (especially with technical optimization), you’ll not only fail to gain an advantage for your business, you’ll end up with a disadvantage. And the only people who benefit from that are your rivals.
It doesn’t make any sense to be doing their work for them. Make life harder for your rivals and focus on taking steps that take your business in a more positive direction. You can do that by using services that are delivered and overseen by experienced digital marketers who know what it takes to improve SEO outcomes for websites and businesses like yours.
As you can see, there are lots of different things that can go wrong when you rely on a cheap search engine optimization (SEO) company that can’t be trusted. That’s why you should be sure to choose the best digital marketers around to help you with your SEO needs. With the right help, good SEO services can enhance your business and extend your reach online.
There are, of course, companies that offer an affordable SEO service that offers the level of quality you’re looking for. A successful SEO campaign should be tailored to the needs of your small business. That means using competitive keywords that are geared towards your business goals.