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Why Investing in Cheap SEO Services is a Bad Idea

Cheap SEO Services: Why Investing in Them is a Bad Idea

As a business owner, you may have seen advertisements, cold-calls, or emails saying that you can get professional SEO services for incredibly affordable prices. For example, some promise first-page rankings for only $100 a month or less. While this may sound like a great deal and investment for your company, you may want to think twice before signing up for these services. Cheap SEO services may look enticing at first glance due to low rates and promises to get you to rank on the first page of Google. However, please bare in mind that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Related: Top 10 Signs You Need SEO Help.

What Exactly are Cheap SEO Services?

Depending on the size of your business and your monthly budget, your definition of cheap SEO services will vary. Low-cost or cheap SEO services are often considered synonymous with untrustworthy companies who utilize spammy, Black-Hat SEO techniques.

Paying for low-cost SEO services can result in penalizations from Google that actually negatively impact your rankings, and lower your company’s reputation. In addition, it is important to consider just how effective very low-cost rates really are. In this article, we’ll cover four important reasons why cheap SEO services should be avoided.

1.) Cookie-cutter SEO strategies

Many SEO companies who provide cheap SEO services will view your business just like any other. With this “cookie-cutter” format, they won’t consider important factors which make your business stand out – for example, your products, services, competitors, industry, etc.

Cookie-cutter marketing plans, quite simply, DO NOT WORK. Your SEO plan must be customized to your company’s unique product, service, and industry. One of the reasons that businesses can even offer such low prices is that they really only utilize cookie-cutter SEO “strategies” – templates. When it comes to SEO, one size does not fit all.

By comparison, a trusted SEO agency actually cares about the unique needs of your business. They do not utilize “cookie-cutter” plans and will instead custom-build a marketing strategy only after careful research into your industry, products, services, and competitors. This customized plan takes time, and will cost a fair, honest price. Be wary of companies that do not discuss a customized SEO strategy tailored to your business’s needs.

2.) Black-hat SEO techniques

We’ve already discussed Black-Hat SEO, but what exactly is it? Black-Hat SEO is a practice of many spammy techniques that, when implemented, will negatively impact your site’s rankings. Especially when following a cookie-cutter strategy, these companies will have a difficult time actually getting the results that you are looking for, so quite often, they will fall back on Black-Hat techniques.

Black-Hat SEO focuses primarily on getting your site to rank high and is of little to no use to your visitors. These spammy practices may get your site to rank, however, they usually have little to no value to your user. In addition, with their updated algorithms over the years, Google will punish these techniques by lowering your site in search results. If there is a lot of Black-Hat SEO tactics implemented on your site, Google will drop you from their rankings altogether. Some Black-Hat SEO tactics to watch out for include: cloaking, keyword stuffing, adding link farms, hiding text, article spinning, and cookie stuffing, among others.

When choosing an SEO company, it’s important to do your research to see if they are up-to-date on best industry practices. Watch to see what current and past clients say about the agency in their testimonials, Google Reviews, or Facebook Reviews. If they have case studies, be sure to review those as well. With careful research, you will begin to recognize that a reputable SEO company cares about building quality content and getting your site to rank using proper, White-Hat techniques.

Side note, if you want to learn more terms like white-hat or black-hat, check out our post called SEO Terms and Meanings to learn what those terms mean and so much more!

3.) Unreliable customer service & poor communication

Cheap SEO companies are notoriously hard to get a hold of. As a business owner, you are more than likely going to be curious and want to ask questions about what results your SEO strategy is generating. A low-cost SEO agency is going to care little about developing a business-client relationship with you. This may result in many unanswered phone calls and emails.

To go along with this, some SEO services are outsourced, so your point of contact may work in a different time zone. In calling them, you may also experience language barriers, which only adds to the frustration.

By contrast, a trustworthy SEO agency will regularly update you about progress of the SEO strategy. Whether it’s weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or quarterly, SEO specialists will email, call, or meet with you in-person to discuss your conversions, traffic, and reporting. A good SEO company will never leave you in the dark about what’s going on with your SEO plan.

4.) Little to no actual experience with SEO

Often times, unfortunately, companies offering cheap SEO services will hire staff with zero SEO experience. This is very problematic, because SEO requires extensive industry knowledge, proven experience, a digital marketing degree, marketing certifications, or a combination of these. If the company you are researching cannot demonstrate their marketing knowledge – RUN! On the other-hand, watch out for signs of over-promising and under-delivering.

In addition, note that people with education and/or certification in SEO will not want to work for or represent companies who utilize Black-Hat tactics. Neither will they want to follow cookie-cutter templates to improve your search engine optimization. SEO professionals who genuinely care about your online business will utilize only the best tactics to get your website to rank.

As a whole, if the SEO company has demonstrated proof that their team has education or certification in the industry and their clients are raving, chances are they can also help significantly improve your SEO, too.

What Price Can I Expect to Pay for Good SEO Services?

In contrast to very cheap SEO services, you can expect to pay between $350-$2000 per month for your SEO plan. If you are a smaller business especially, (depending on your budget), you can expect to pay an amount somewhere in this range. For larger businesses, you may be able to invest more. If an SEO company is advertising for much lower prices than the range listed here, chances are they are a cheap SEO agency.

What if the price is too high for me? This is a legitimate concern. If budget is a concern, a good SEO company will be willing to work with you on a monthly budget to ensure you’re still benefiting from good SEO services with the price you can afford.

Benefits of Choosing a Knowledgeable, Fair-Priced SEO Company

SEO is an ongoing strategy. Because it takes time to see organic traffic coming to your site, you will want to be sure that you invest in a team who genuinely cares about improving your SEO. As a rule of thumb, cheap SEO companies care far more about customer acquisition than client retention.

One way to know if you have chosen a good SEO agency is that they will want to sit down and talk with you. Whether it’s a phone call, screen share, or in-person meeting, they will discuss your:

  • Business goals
  • Competitors
  • Demographic
  • Traffic
  • Conversion rates
  • Keywords
  • Social media
  • Call-to-actions
  • Site speed
  • Content

In addition, they will inform you of how they will keep in touch on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis. Remember, a good SEO company will tailor this with a customized, strategic approach, rather than by using a cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all template. Find out more about how a good SEO agency can help improve your local, on-page, and off-page SEO, as well as perform SEO audits on your site.

If you’re brand new to SEO, some other good resources to check out include what an SEO management company does and how they can effectively help you, as well as more information on how to choose the best SEO company.

Disclaimer: WebCitz, LLC does not warrant or make any representations concerning the accuracy, likely results, or reliability of the information found on this page or on any web sites linked to from this page. This blog article was written by Emily L in his or her personal capacity. The opinion(s) expressed in this article are the author's own and may not reflect the opinion(s) of WebCitz, LLC.