09 Apr Why Cheap SEO is Really Expensive
Everyone wants a good deal. Whether I’m shopping for a new car, camera, or television, I’m always on the hunt for the best price I can find. And I’ve saved A LOT of money doing so! In fact, I have a nifty little app on my phone that allows me scan UPC codes and find the best price on the planet. My wife and I replaced our refrigerator a few months back, and I saved over $300 off the best price I found locally by showing Lowes an online competitor’s price. They told me that they don’t price match online retailers, but I was fine with that and began heading toward the door and my computer. They made a phone call and ended up honoring the price. Awesome.
But I’m not always looking for the best price. Sometimes, many times, I’m looking for the best quality. Our new refrigerator is nice, and I got a great value on the thing. But I’m here to tell you it wasn’t the cheapest model we could find. Although I was good with cheap, my wife just wasn’t going for it. She wanted quality. And in the end, so do I.
This line of thinking is very important when we consider the value of your business. Most retail businesses don’t seek to lease space in the cheapest rent district they can find. Why? Because it probably wouldn’t represent their brand very well, many customers would avoid their store because of personal safety issues, and they’d end up out of business because we all know location is key.
However, there are many businesses that seek to cut corners with their online presence. This can be deadly to your business. Let me explain why.
A Behind-The-Scenes Look at Cheap SEO Pricing
SEO has changed dramatically over the past couple years. What worked in 2012 can absolutely kill your chances of ranking today, and in some cases can even get you banned from the search results altogether.
Before Google’s algorithm updates, SEOs would utilize inexpensive software that would blast links to your site all over the internet. Why? Because Google considered every link pointing back to your website to be a vote for your credibility. So the more links, the more credible your website, the more credible your site, the higher you’d rank in the search results.
This software is extremely inexpensive to run. You literally download the system from the internet for a few hundred dollars, paste a domain name you’re wanting to do SEO work for, hit the “go” button, and you’re done. You could easily manage hundreds of clients (charging them a few hundred dollars a piece), and hardly have to work at all. Very profitable business.
Unfortunately for many of these “SEO professionals,” and more importantly their clients, Google made a shift in the way they rank websites. Rather than simply counting the number of backlinks a website has, they take much more into consideration.
As a result of their efforts, they have been largely successful in reducing internet SPAM, and serving up more credible results to their users. The problem is, rather than taking just a couple hours to manage an SEO client under the old system, it now takes an incredible amount of work to achieve the same results.
Also unfortunate is that many “SEOs” have yet to awaken to the new reality of what it takes to be successful in organic search.
Good SEO Requires Man Hours to be Spent.
Unique, high quality content posted frequently on your website/blog, and other high authority websites, in addition to having a healthy presence on social media outlets, is what it takes to be effective today.
There is no software that can accomplish this for you. It takes relationships with high authority bloggers and editorial publication managers in your niche that will either feature your business, or allow you to contribute a guest post on their site. Time. It takes consistently developing unique content and posting it to your blog. Time. It takes constantly serving up unique status updates to each of your social media channels and engaging your audience. More time.
The reality is, if you’re going to position yourself as a credible source of information within your industry, and enjoy the lucrative result of ranking high in the search results, you need to spend the time necessary to get there. Depending on the competitive nature of your business, and the geographic area you’re targeting, this could take you anywhere from 10 to 100 hours or more per month.
Still, even if you had the time to do it yourself, it would take you months to establish relationships with authoritative websites that would help your rankings. So when I hear of an “SEO Professional” or an agency offering SEO for anything less than $500/mo, I get really nervous about the quality of SEO they’re providing to their clients.
Cheap SEO is Expensive SEO
Cheap SEO becomes expensive SEO when it takes you longer to generate a positive return on your investment than it would if you spent more but achieved high rankings more quickly.
Say you’re a dentist. Say your average dental patient is worth $900. Say you opt for an SEO plan that costs $350 per month. Say it takes you 6 months (if ever) to land on the first page of Google. Since we know that 90% of people don’t search past the first page when looking for a product/service, given this scenario, it would cost you $2,100 before you can hope to generate any revenue from these efforts.
On the other hand, if you had a much stronger SEO plan that cost more at $750/mo, but put you on the first page within the first 60 days, you would have spent $1500. You’d then have 4 months to reap the benefits.
Let’s say this dentist only acquired 1 new patient per month for those 4 months. That would work out to $3,600 in revenue (4 patients x $900). So in reality, the more “expensive” SEO package was not only “cheaper” but it also generated revenue more quickly.
To put it another way, the $350/mo SEO plan was $4,200 more expensive than the $750/mo plan because we were able to accomplish positive revenue results much more quickly, and didn’t burn dollars for months on end.
Of course the math is much more complex than what I’m communicating here, and each niche is different, but my point holds true. Cheaper is not cheaper in the new world of SEO.
My point is this. Don’t waste your time (or money) on cheap SEO. Not only are you risking penalties to your website, you’re also costing yourself real dollars in terms of monthly cash burn and lost revenue. Do it right from the beginning.