Even in the dig­i­tal age, there are a few mar­ket­ing prac­tices that polar­ize opin­ion quite like SEO.

From those who con­sid­er it redun­dant or an incon­ve­nient cost to the mar­keters that com­mit a large por­tion of their bud­gets to search engine opti­miza­tion, it con­tin­ues to inspire debate through­out the indus­try.

SEO is arguably more impor­tant in today’s com­pet­i­tive online mar­ket­place than it has been at any point in its his­to­ry.

The key lies in your exe­cu­tion, and an innate abil­i­ty to dis­tin­guish good SEO ser­vices from those that are mere­ly cheap or acces­si­ble.

Below, we’ll explore this in fur­ther detail, while reveal­ing the key rea­sons to avoid SEO pack­ages that are mar­ket­ed as being ‘cheap’ or ‘quick win.’

The Importance of SEO

Let’s start by eval­u­at­ing the impor­tance of SEO, which remains the sin­gle most effec­tive mar­ket­ing tech­nique for scal­ing traf­fic online.

How­ev­er, the prac­tice is increas­ing­ly chal­leng­ing, par­tic­u­lar­ly in high­ly com­pet­i­tive indus­tries where a large num­ber of brands con­tin­ue to strive for a viable mar­ket share.

It’s clear that brands who invest in good qual­i­ty SEO and are able to secure con­sis­tent­ly high rank­ings will achieve a com­pet­i­tive advan­tage over their rivals.

This leads us to the chang­ing nature of cus­tomer behav­ior, which has evolved con­sid­er­ably as the web has enjoyed expo­nen­tial growth. More specif­i­cal­ly, con­sumers are increas­ing­ly like­ly to source, ref­er­ence, and pur­chase goods online, as they lever­age the web and its tools to seek out key points of infor­ma­tion such as com­par­a­tive pric­ing and avail­abil­i­ty.

This is borne out by sta­tis­tics, with more than 3.5 bil­lion search­es per day on Google alone. So, brands that rank well in Google’s organ­ic search results in rela­tion to piv­otal key­words and phras­es are in an ide­al posi­tion to edu­cate cus­tomers and com­pete for their busi­ness, while build­ing the foun­da­tions of trust and cre­at­ing the poten­tial for a long-term rela­tion­ship.

Why You Should Avoid ‘Cheap’ or ‘Affordable’ SEO Packages

With these points in mind, it’s hard to ques­tion the rel­e­vance or effec­tive­ness of high-qual­i­ty SEO in the dig­i­tal age.

In fact, the con­tin­ued emer­gence of tech-savvy mil­len­ni­als (who account­ed for 54 per­cent of all online pur­chas­es in 2017) as the dom­i­nant con­sumer demo­graph­ic will only serve to increase the rel­e­vance of dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing and SEO in the near-term, with this group known for its desire to research prod­ucts inde­pen­dent­ly and curate their own con­tent.

As we’ve already said, exe­cu­tion is key if you’re to cap­i­tal­ize on such trends and lever­age SEO suc­cess­ful­ly on behalf of your busi­ness. This means that you need to invest in cus­tomized and high-qual­i­ty SEO, rather than attempt­ing to reduce costs by select­ing a cheap provider with a one-size-fits-all men­tal­i­ty.

If you still aren’t con­vinced, here are some com­pelling rea­sons to avoid cheap and afford­able SEO pack­ages.

1. Cheap Packages Can’t Deliver Even Basic SEO Requirements

In basic terms, the two key dri­vers of SEO are high-qual­i­ty con­tent and back­links.

As you would expect, these two activ­i­ties are also the most labor and cap­i­tal inten­sive, mean­ing that they account for a sig­nif­i­cant per­cent­age of your SEO out­lay.

Even at this point, the typ­i­cal propo­si­tion pre­sent­ed by afford­able SEO pack­ages begins to lose cred­i­bil­i­ty. This is because the com­pa­nies that offer cheap ser­vices do so because they lack cap­i­tal, mak­ing them unable to cre­ate high-qual­i­ty, long-form con­tent or secure guest post place­ment on high author­i­ty sites.

Long-form con­tent needs to be well-struc­tured and extreme­ly infor­ma­tive, while it requires a great deal of skill and a sig­nif­i­cant time invest­ment to craft.

With­out the nec­es­sary resources to cre­ate such con­tent, low-qual­i­ty SEO providers often use soft­ware to scrape exist­ing online arti­cles and spin them into “new” posts, often at the expense of struc­ture and accu­rate gram­mar.

Giv­en that this con­tent is a direct reflec­tion of your brand and its web­site, it is a prac­tice that can severe­ly dam­age your rep­u­ta­tion among con­sumers.

Not only this, but these com­pa­nies can scarce­ly spare the time to con­duct basic link out­reach, and this often leads to the cul­ti­va­tion of cheap or poor qual­i­ty links that offer min­i­mal val­ue.

This should be avoid­ed at all costs, as the devel­op­ment of ques­tion­able links in high quan­ti­ty is an out­dat­ed tac­tic that can actu­al­ly harm your brand’s online per­for­mance in the mod­ern age (we’ll have a lit­tle more on this below).

2. Sub-standard Link Building Doesn’t Move the Needle

When the con­cept of link build­ing first emerged as a viable mar­ket­ing tac­tic, there was a clear empha­sis on quan­ti­ty over qual­i­ty. Quite sim­ply, the com­pa­nies that secured the most links to their web­site would achieve favor­able organ­ic search results, mean­ing that there was lit­tle need for engag­ing con­tent or sus­tained link out­reach.

The issue is that while afford­able SEO providers tend to sell a sim­i­lar ser­vice today, the nature of link build­ing has evolved con­sid­er­ably in line with Google’s con­tin­ued algo­rithm updates.

Invest­ing in such a ser­vice, there­fore, places your brand at con­sid­er­able risk, with Google increas­ing­ly like­ly to penal­ize instances of poor qual­i­ty, mass link build­ing and the busi­ness­es that com­mis­sion these strate­gies.

If you find your­self engag­ing with a firm that is promis­ing to deliv­er a cheap SEO ser­vice, they’ll most prob­a­bly try to sell them­selves on the premise of offer­ing a high quan­ti­ty of links.

This means lit­tle with­out the req­ui­site qual­i­ty, as the chances are that the afore­men­tioned links will be built using auto­mat­ed soft­ware and then pub­lished on poor qual­i­ty web­sites with min­i­mal trust or author­i­ty.

Make no mis­take: the most like­ly con­se­quence of such a strat­e­gy is just a waste of finan­cial resources, as Google tends to ignore such links in more recent times.

How­ev­er, with such activ­i­ty in con­sid­er­able vol­umes, this may put your brand at risk of a Google penal­ty, which could see your site removed from organ­ic search results com­plete­ly.

Such a sanc­tion requires both time and a con­sid­er­able amount of mon­ey to reverse, so in effect, it’s far more effi­cient and cost-effec­tive to sim­ply employ a rep­utable SEO ser­vice provider in the first instance.

3. One Size Definitely Does Not Fit All

When deal­ing with afford­able SEO pack­ages, you’ll prob­a­bly find that providers offer set options and pric­ing across the board.

This is a gen­uine red flag to expe­ri­enced mar­keters, as no two busi­ness­es are the same and suc­cess­ful strate­gies must always be tai­lored to suit the needs, cir­cum­stances, and objec­tives of each indi­vid­ual client.

In fact, there are a huge num­ber of vari­able that will deter­mine what type of pack­age and growth strat­e­gy is right for you.

These include basic fac­tors such as your bud­get and the indus­try that you oper­ate in (and its lev­el of com­pet­i­tive­ness), along with with your cur­rent SEO sta­tus and whether you’re recov­er­ing from a recent sanc­tion or Google penal­ty.

Sim­i­lar­ly, rep­utable SEO providers will also want to under­stand the struc­ture and focus of your busi­ness, pay­ing par­tic­u­lar atten­tion to whether it oper­ates local­ly, nation­al­ly or trades over­seas.

They’ll also strive to deter­mine the demand for your prod­uct or ser­vice and seek guid­ance on your core objec­tives so that they’re able to mea­sure their own per­for­mance and achieve gen­uine results on your behalf.

This type of in-depth fact-find­ing mis­sion is cen­tral to suc­cess­ful SEO cam­paigns, as it helps you to opti­mize your spend and enables ser­vice providers to tai­lor their strate­gies accord­ing­ly.

Providers that ask these types of ques­tions are also like­ly to deliv­er a far more effec­tive ser­vice, and rec­og­niz­ing this can help you to make an informed deci­sion.

By way of con­trast, remem­ber that cheap SEO agen­cies are sim­ply focused on secur­ing a high vol­ume of clients in order to dri­ve prof­itabil­i­ty, so they’ll take lit­tle inter­est in your busi­ness or its core objec­tives.

4. You Have No Leverage to Hold Cheap SEO Firms Accountable

The desire of cheap SEO providers to pri­or­i­tize a high vol­ume of busi­ness is an inter­est­ing one, as this cre­ates a sim­plis­tic busi­ness mod­el that doesn’t allow the cul­ti­va­tion of long-term busi­ness rela­tion­ships.

So, not only do most cheap SEO com­pa­nies have lit­tle inter­est in the busi­ness­es that they serve, but they also bear lit­tle account­abil­i­ty or fear should they deliv­er a sub-stan­dard ser­vice (which they invari­ably will).

In fact, by the time you’ve become frus­trat­ed with their ser­vice and sought to ter­mi­nate the rela­tion­ship, they will have already secured new clients and will be all too hap­py to cease con­tact.

This can be extreme­ly frus­trat­ing for busi­ness own­ers, who must face up to the prospect that have wast­ed finan­cial cap­i­tal and must bear the respon­si­bil­i­ty for this mis­take alone.

This is at odds with the typ­i­cal busi­ness rela­tion­ship, where there is a mutu­al desire among all par­ties to cul­ti­vate long-term inter­ac­tion and resolve any issues that threat­en this union.

Remem­ber, if you receive a gener­ic email from an SEO provider, the chances are that this mes­sage has been sent to every sin­gle con­tact that the com­pa­ny has on its data­base.

This type of approach is designed sole­ly to build a high vol­ume of busi­ness and secure one-off pay­ments as quick­ly as pos­si­ble, and it is indica­tive of a firm that is not inter­est­ed in long-term col­lab­o­ra­tion or deliv­er­ing any sem­blance of val­ue for mon­ey.

5. Cheap SEO Providers Can’t Deliver a Long-term Strategy

They say that patience is a virtue, and this is def­i­nite­ly the case when it comes to SEO.

In fact, it can take a great deal of time to achieve pos­i­tive results through SEO, par­tic­u­lar­ly in com­pet­i­tive indus­tries or in the case of firms that have been penal­ized by Google in the past.

In fact, the for­ma­tive stages of an SEO cam­paign usu­al­ly demand a sig­nif­i­cant finan­cial invest­ment with­out deliv­er­ing any kind of pay­off, which can be frus­trat­ing to those who are new to the prac­tice.

While you may see your organ­ic search rank­ings increase in the near-term, it often takes far longer to earn a cov­et­ed place on Google’s first page in rela­tion to your pre­de­ter­mined key­words.

Brands that are placed promi­nent­ly on Google’s first page see the biggest ben­e­fits in terms of the quan­ti­ty and qual­i­ty of traf­fic, so see­ing action­able results can take much longer.

This is yet anoth­er com­pelling argu­ment for employ­ing the ser­vices of rep­utable SEO providers, as such an invest­ment will sus­tain a longer-term cam­paign that is more like­ly to yield results.

In con­trast, cheap SEO pack­ages will be unable to deliv­er any­thing but a basic, short-term cam­paign, and one that will pro­vide lit­tle or no val­ue for mon­ey.

The Last Word

While it’s easy to under­stand the appeal of cheap SEO pack­ages in the cur­rent busi­ness and eco­nom­ic cli­mate, it’s impor­tant that busi­ness­es adhere to the basic rule of pri­or­i­tiz­ing val­ue over cost.

In fact, this is even more impor­tant in the case of SEO, where the amount that you spend and the type of ser­vice provider has a direct bear­ing on the results that you’re able to achieve.

This betrays the sim­ple fact that good and effec­tive SEO should nev­er be cheap, as key fac­tors such as high-qual­i­ty con­tent cre­ation and author­i­ty link out­reach cost a great deal time and sig­nif­i­cant amounts of mon­ey.

Hope­ful­ly, the argu­ments in this post will con­vince you to pri­or­i­tize high-qual­i­ty SEO over cheap ser­vice providers in the future. This will offer you access to an excep­tion­al qual­i­ty of ser­vice and the type of long-term results that your busi­ness craves, while enabling you to opti­mize a key per­cent­age of your mar­ket­ing spend.