Before even considering the price of SEO services, it’s a good idea to take a step back and consider just what SEO is.
If your business has a presence in the digital space, then you’ve most likely come across the idea of SEO, or search engine optimization. If you haven’t, it’s likely that you’ll find yourself facing the concept as a potential business opportunity.
The main purpose of SEO is to strategically configure or arrange your business’ website with the intent of gaining maximum exposure on search engines such as Google. When people search for your product or service on the Internet, you want them to see your brand.
Is SEO an effective strategy for your business?
You bet. The ROI on a well-run SEO campaign can be astonishing, especially when compared to other forms of digital marketing, such as PPC (pay-per-click) advertising, and traditional marketing, such as buying media advertisements.
That doesn’t mean those other marketing channels aren’t effective. But SEO can often be considered a tactic that marches to the beat of a much different drum. Because of this, it warrants a closer look before diving in if it’s something you haven’t entertained it in the past.
So you’re ready to pay for SEO services, but how much is too much—or too little?
As a business owner, you may recognize the potential benefits of SEO, but you likely don’t have time to work on optimizing the site on your own. So you find a great service online that will do it for you and promises to deliver on exactly what you think your site needs. But before you pull out the checkbook, it’s important to clarify that not all SEO is the same.
Unfortunately, due to the high margins that exist with well-executed SEO campaigns and a lot of misinformation about what constitutes high-quality SEO, there are also predators in the industry looking to make a quick dollar. In fact, you can purchase SEO services on sites such as Fiverr.com for as little as $5 and even on online auction sites such as eBay.
Those low prices may be tantalizing to your bottom line, but the old adage about getting what you pay for should ring clearly in your ears when considering bargain SEO.
Five dollar SEO isn’t high-quality SEO. It’s not even OK SEO. It many cases, it can be worse than spending no money on SEO.
Here are a few reasons why you want to avoid $5 SEO:
You Really Get What You Pay For
For $5, you’re not going to get a whole lot of value. Any SEO service that costs less than that of a meal at a fast-food chain should send up big red flag.
The way these cheap services work is that they often use software to automate certain SEO tasks, such as creating links from other websites to your website.
One of the most common pieces of software to do this is currently priced at $99. For such a steal, it’s very unlikely that this “affordable” software is going to outsmart Google and the billion-dollar algorithm it uses to decide which websites show up on page 1 and which don’t.
The chance of seeing any results from a service like this is slim and more likely none. Worse yet, these services can actually harm your search engine rankings.
Beware the Pandas, Penguins, and Penalties
Yes, I did say that using $5 SEO can actually harm your search engine presence. That’s because Google is more than aware that people are trying to use such services to manipulate search results.
Google’s answer to this problem is continual updates to the algorithms used to filter and deliver search results. In cases where sites have blatantly ignored playing by the rules, they issue penalties that can take your site out of the search results or deliver a blow that will leave you leagues behind your original rankings.
Google likes to give a lot of these filters cute animal names. Two of the more prominent filters are named Panda and Penguin. Panda is a filter that makes sure the material on your website is somewhat unique, useful, and well-organized. Penguin is a filter that checks what types of websites are linking to your business’ website and determines whether those links makes sense.
An example of the type of links that make sense to Penguin would be a link from a web forum site about cars pointing to an automotive website or a link from a small business in Philadelphia pointing to another small business in Philadelphia. These connections from one site to another are logical and serve an obvious purpose.
On the other hand, does a video gaming website in South Korea linking to a B2B industrial supplies company in Philadelphia make sense? Of course not.
That’s the kind of link that you’ll often get with $5 SEO. Too many of these odd-looking and unnatural links can trigger the Penguin filter to take action on your website.
If your business’ website triggers the Penguin filter, it can seriously harm your search engine presence, making it almost impossible to show up in people’s search results.
Your Business Is More Than an Invoice Number
If you’re reading this, you care about your business. You’ve spent a lot of time and money growing it. You want it to continue growing and thriving.
Low-cost, low-quality SEO services don’t help you do this. $5 SEO services operate on the volume model. That’s a big part of why they almost always use automation.
Many of the super-budget SEO services aren’t interested in actually helping you grow your business but are instead interested in taking your money and sending you on your way.
Your business’ website is worth more than $5 SEO
In such a digitally centric world, success can often live and die by the quality of your site—both in the search engine’s eyes and your customers’. Your business deserves a holistic approach to digital marketing and SEO, from high-quality content to effective PR.
As a Stream client, you’re much more than just a $5 bill in our pocket. We want you to succeed. We need you to succeed. We want to be your strategic partner.
For more information about how Stream Companies handles SEO, look at our free eBook The Stream Way.
All the best,
Tim Backes is a Digital PR Coordinator at Stream Companies, a full-service Philadelphia-area advertising agency.