While searching online for professional SEO services, you come across a package that only costs $200 per month. For many small businesses, such packages are appealing because of their limited marketing budgets. When it comes to SEO, however, cheap doesn’t always mean good. In fact, hiring cheap SEO providers can cost you more money in the long run.
In addition, there’s a high possibility that these cheap providers may employ unethical or poor SEO practices that can cause your website to be penalized by Google. Nowadays, we find more and more clients coming to us after a poor experience with a “budget” agency, or even worse – a “top freelancer”. Drawing from our experience, here is a quick look at the top six costly mistakes that cheap SEO agencies tend to make.
Implementing Cookie-Cutter SEO Strategies
Cheap SEO packages often featured FIXED sets of options across the board. This is a major red flag because no two businesses are the same and SEO solutions should be tailored to suit the unique objectives, circumstances, and needs of each individual client.
Next, cheap service providers also often fail to account for variables pertaining to their clients’ current SEO status (if they are recovering from a recent Google penalty or where they operate (locally or nationally), among others). Because quantity (and not quality) matters most for cheap SEO agencies, they care little about their clients’ businesses and their core objectives. Their cookie-cutter SEO strategies simply end up flushing their clients’ money down the toilet.
Forgetting to Block the Staging Environment
Some SEO audits are easier to do than others. Sometimes, it’s too easy.
When clients come to us complaining about their previous cheap developer, we take a portion of the site and pop it into Google to find the identical site…never blocked or password protected or removed from that cheap developer’s staging environment. Few things hurt a website more than the-same-exact-website that Google found first but because of a lack of knowledge or neglect for quality check procedures, that cheap SEO guy certainly thought nothing much about it.
Using Duplicate Content Online
Maybe your company’s website recently got a major revamp, including its design, layout, and content. The cheap web development company you have hired, however, may have accidentally or intentionally published duplicate content on one or more web pages. This means that exact key phrases, sentences, and even paragraphs have been copied from other sources. In other words, that’s plagiarism!
Having the original author come knocking on your door is one issue but being ignored by Google is another serious problem that’s going to hurt your SEO rankings. It is important to note that Google only rewards UNIQUE content that adds value to its readers. Cheap SEO providers often do not bother with these issues and choose to leave duplicate content lying in plain sight.
Focusing on Short-Term SEO Success
For the first few months, the cheap SEO provider you have hired may seem to be producing promising SEO results. Hence, you may feel that your website is in good hands. While one may notice an increase in organic search rankings in the near-term, pages that have been generating traffic and leads may stop producing the same results when an algorithm changes. Earlier SEO strategies may soon become obsolete. For example, Google places more emphasis on long-form content (articles that are longer than 1,800 words). Those 300-word articles on your website no longer contain the same value that they once had.
Business owners must know that it takes significantly longer to earn and maintain top rankings on Google’s first SERP in relation to their predetermined keywords. Cheap SEO service providers often stick with outdated methods and can only deliver short-term successes that provide little or no value for money.
Leaving Files Disorganized
Budget agencies offering cheap SEO packages seldom keep their clients’ websites and FTP servers organized. Large images, videos, audio files, plugins, and PDF documents have been steadily piling up behind closed doors. When these elements start to slow down your site’s performance (e.g. page load speeds), its rankings will start dropping as well.
In some cases, one may even find files that are irrelevant to his or her business in the web space. For example, you may have accidentally stored a collection of old family photos and have forgotten about it. Your cheap SEO provider has seen them but deemed not his business to remind you about these photos. Well, unless you are selling family vacations, you need to give your files and folders a Marie Kondo treatment. This is something that professional SEO providers will certainly go one step further to advise you on doing.
Not Tracking SEO Metrics Correctly
Adding Google Analytics tracking code to one’s web pages is NOT proper tracking. Many cheap SEO providers do not enable demographics and interest reports properly, thus failing to understand what your target audience wants. Without such data, you may end up wasting money on ineffective SEO campaigns.
Another element that’s often neglected by cheap SEO service providers is conversion tracking. Regardless of how many visitors your website has, your website isn’t going places if you are not converting them and KNOWING your conversion rates.
We can easily agree that SEO is one of the best forms of online marketing if one plays by Google’s rules religiously. While it’s easy to get attracted by low prices, remember that there are no shortcuts in the world of organic SEO. If you are considering hiring someone to drive success for your website online, it is important to prioritize quality over price. The former can offer the type of long-term results that your business NEEDS in a cost-effective manner, and that is what truly matters when you want to make a sound investment in SEO services today.