Managing the marketing budget effectively is one of the main requirements for a business to be successful – companies that spend their ad money wisely are bound to ultimately gain an edge over the competition.
However, being smart about spending money on marketing does not mean simply looking for the cheapest option, but unfortunately, that’s what many companies end up doing.
And in few areas can that be as devastating to a business online marketing efforts as in search engine optimisation.
It’s easy to be tempted by offers of first page SEO rankings for as little as a few hundred dollars per month, but, as the old saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is.
Why Good SEO is Not Cheap
The problem is that many business owners don’t really understand how much work goes into developing a comprehensive SEO strategy.
And the truth is, they don’t have to – after all, the reason why they hire an SEO agency in the first place is so that they don’t have to spend time understanding the technical details of it, focusing on their day-to-day business operations instead, while the agency does the SEO work for them.
But the problem created by this lack of knowledge is obvious.
When an SEO company promises fast SEO results for an incredible price, the business owner is tempted to believe that SEO is a somehow automated, easy to do, and that the ‘big, greedy SEO companies’ are simply trying to scam him by charging thousands for the same services.
Unfortunately, as it soon becomes clear, SEO is much more than just putting some keyword-stuffed content on a website and using software to build some low-value backlinks.
That might have been effective, to an extent, a decade ago, but after the recent Google updates, all websites that relied on these kinds of second-tier SEO approaches have suffered huge blows to their rankings.
These days, there aren’t many tricks left to exploit when trying to ‘cheat’ Google and rank high for relevant keywords. The only viable long-term strategy for achieving and maintaining the rankings on search engines is to actually do the legwork, and do it consistently.
That means doing long and in-depth keyword research – finding out what the competitors are ranking for, what keywords have the most potential, what keywords might be easiest to rank for and many other pieces of data.
It also means producing top-quality content, that will not only be relevant in terms of topics and keywords, but will provide immense value to the readers, and will lead to backlinks occurring naturally, in all the necessary places.
Finally, ensuring that the website is properly optimised, mobile friendly, fast-loading and convenient to use, also takes many hours of tweaking and tuning.
When you consider how much times it takes to do all of these tasks properly and consistently, it becomes very apparent that it’s not something that can be done for a mere few hundred per month.
In fact, with the competition being as steep as it is now, you could argue that even at the higher price ranges, an SEO company has to be established and proven in order to be trustworthy, as good resource management is required to achieve tangible results, even on a higher budget.
Still Not Convinced?
Hopefully, you now see just how much work goes into quality SEO, and why cheap search engine optimisation prices almost always mean disappointing results.
However, if you still need convincing, here are three reasons why cheap SEO will do little to help your business, and why it can have devastating long-term effects on your business:
1. Bargains Never Work
People naturally look for bargains – there’s a certain thrill of knowing you were able to get something for less than it should or could be worth. However, there are areas where even the most pennywise folks don’t budge to spend whatever’s necessary.
For instance, imagine that you had a medical emergency and needed help from a surgeon. Would you trust your life in the hands of an inexperienced medical intern if he would offer to do the operation for a fraction of the cost?
My guess would be that you’d rather pay for a top professional to perform the surgery, even if the price is daunting.
The same should apply to your business.
Would you risk years of building a reputation, both offline and online, just so that you could save a few bucks? It just doesn’t make sense, but sure enough, many people still choose to put their online marketing efforts at risk by trying to cut marketing costs in the short-term.
2. Cheap SEO Costs You Money
It may seem like an oxymoron, but paying for cheap SEO is costing you money.
You might think that you’re saving money tenfold when paying just a few hundred dollars for SEO services, but in reality, you would likely be just as good throwing that money down the drain.
After all, the purpose of investing in SEO is so that you see returns in the form of Google rankings and, in turn, a steady stream of new clients. Well, with cheap SEO, it’s very likely that the results will never come.
So while the expensive SEO packages might cost you a significant amount in the short term, they are an actual investment because you are paying to grow your business in the long term.
Whatever amount you pay for the services of a qualified SEO company, you get the returns of that investment once you are established on the search engines and can experience tremendous growth to your business.
And the biggest loss of all when hiring cheap SEO companies is the loss of time. While the monetary loss may not be that significant, the truth is that in the months wasted waiting for any results from cheap SEO, a professional SEO company could have brought significant results to the business.
3. Cheap SEO Can Hurt Your Online Rankings
When cheap SEO providers don’t have the means and the recourses to run comprehensive SEO campaigns, they try to compensate by engaging in risky and even black-hat SEO techniques to try and get short-term results for their clients.
And the worst part, they do sometimes work, temporarily.
But inevitably, as search engines catch on, the rankings quickly disappear, and worst of all, Google can penalise or even blacklist your website for the shady activities, making it extremely difficult to ever climb back up in the rankings.
So, while there will always be quick-fix schemes for tricking Google and other search engines, they are not a viable strategy for a serious business.
The effective and time-tested SEO tactics have remained more or less the same throughout the years – clearly defining your target audience, producing quality content and getting it shared in relevant places is still the backbone of any long-term SEO strategy.
What makes the most successful SEO campaigns stand out from others is not some hidden knowledge, but rather good old-fashioned effort, as well as thoroughness. More often than not, the company that spends the most time doing research, implementing the data and then tweaking for best results is the one that is able to gain a significant edge over the competition.
Quality SEO Requires Time
It should become clear just how much work goes into developing a sound SEO strategy. Each business is unique, and there’s no magic formula to finding the perfect approach to meet individual needs.
Therefore, SEO does cost. But when you consider how much work has to be put in, and how big the potential returns are for the business, the cost doesn’t seem big at all.
In fact, it would be pretty easy to argue that SEO is one of the best marketing investments a business can make, but only if it’s a real SEO strategy, and not a ‘get rankings quick’ scheme that is so prevalent in today’s marketing world.