When it comes to online marketing, there is hardly anything more important than SEO. And that’s why there are so many new SEO companies popping up every single day. They know that companies need to optimise their sites but that they don’t exactly know how.
But this isn’t to say that all SEO companies are created equal. In fact, there are some companies that know very little about how the process works but manage to get customers by charging well below the industry standard. While this may be a great business model for the “SEO company,” this usually works out terribly for the brand that needs assistance.
You see, these cheap companies usually offer basic SEO packages for a couple of hundred dollars. The brand hires them and after a few months, chooses to hire another cheap SEO company because they aren’t seeing any results. And the cycle continues, that is, until the brand realises that it’s time to work with a reputable SEO company. In this article, we talk about what goes into SEO as well as why it’s not worth working with a cheap SEO company.
What goes into SEO?
When you mention search engine optimisation, one of the first things that come to mind is ranking for certain keywords. Every company wants to achieve the highest ranking possible in Google. Sure, ranking is a big part of SEO, but this is not all there is to it. In general, SEO requires you to improve your site’s content, technical structure, and marketing with the goal of attracting quality traffic from the search engines.
This process includes on-site technical audit, customer research, content, keyword research and mapping, link building and PR, and reporting. While cheap companies may offer different combinations of these tasks, they ultimately do not deliver quality results. Let’s take a deeper look at how cheap SEO measure up in each task.
1. On-site technical audit
The most basic part of SEO is reviewing your site, title tags, content, and etc. The problem with working with low-cost SEO agencies is that they don’t do a thorough audit. They take shortcuts. Why is this? Well, the average audit for a simple website can take as much as 10-15 hours to complete. That’s because much of the audit is done manually. Sure, there are tools available to help the process along, but for the most part, the SEO expert has to go through each page, one by one.
Why are links broken? Do you have 301 redirects? These are questions that experts must ask when performing a thorough audit. However, cheap SEO service providers will rarely ask any of these questions because it’s not cost-effective to take the time to find the answers. This is especially the case if the site they are working on is larger. Some of your problems will take a bit of digging to find, and the truth is low-cost services are not going to be willing to do this. In fact, in certain instances, many will leave your site to rank worse than it did initially.
2. Customer research
Another important aspect of search engine optimisation is customer research. If you would like to maximise your profits, then you need to know as much about your target audience as possible. Luckily, you don’t have to break the bank to get market research about your customers. However, you do need to work with a company who knows how to conduct basic surveys and create buyer personas.
And this is something that low-cost service providers can’t do. This is a complex and in-depth with requires high-level strategy. Not only do you need to know who your target audience is, but you need to develop an actionable marketing plan to better convert these individuals. Cheap companies have neither the skill nor the desire to perform this type of research. And this is unfortunate as this knowledge is what leads to qualified traffic.
3. Keyword research and mapping
Keyword research varies from company to company depending on their level of expertise. Simple keyword research can either take 20 minutes and in-depth keyword research can take hundreds of hours. However, what separates the pros from the low-cost agencies is that the pros are more diligent.
What many low-cost SEO service providers do is create a list of 10 major keywords. They then find out which matches each page and then adds them to your content and meta tags. Can this help your ranking? Of course, however, it is still missing a crucial piece of the puzzle–user intent.
Let’s say that you own a construction company. The cheap SEO company may throw in the phrase “Best construction company in Singapore” in your title tag, make sure that it appears in your homepage, and then build a few links to the page. However, what if users search for this phrase in hopes of finding a list of the best construction companies in Singapore? If you perform a quick search for this phrase, the top three listing will show you that most users are looking for lists.
The more reputable SEO consultants understand that in order to get the most out of a strategy, they must focus on user intent behind every search query. Low-cost SEO service providers don’t have the time for this. And in many cases, they will often miss out on the longer keyword phrases that make up most of the search traffic. It’s just not efficient to only optimise for just 10 words or so.
Intent also affects the way you create content. While reputable companies will study user intent and help you to create blog posts that match, cheap agencies will not do this. Your site requires more than just content, it requires content that is actually relevant to your audience. And this takes a significant amount of thought and planning. This is more than what cheap companies are willing to put into your project–especially for only a couple of hundred dollars per month.
5. Link building and PR
In order for low-cost SEO service providers to get the most profit, they are forced to build links that are scalable. They often cannot afford to use advanced skills to build links and improve PR. Instead, they leave blog comments, write guest blog posts for low quality sites, build directory links or place your links on their own blog network. Some claim to have relationships with website owners that can offer backlinks to your site.
Unfortunately, this is an ineffective way to build links. You see Google is most interested in promoting content that is highly relevant. In other words, they want to give users what they’re actually searching for. When cheap companies try to game the system, it often results in your site being ignored. And it also leaves you open for penalties.
Metrics reports are a big deal, no matter what industry you’re in. However, companies will measure their results differently depending on their goals. Unfortunately, cheap agencies rarely ever set goals for your company nor do they attempt to measure the goals you currently have. Most of their reports include a list of links that they built to your site that month or even calls that you’ve supposedly gotten.
A great SEO strategy can make a world of difference for your brand. And in many cases, these strategies come from reputable SEO agencies. While cheap companies may seem appealing at first, it’s a good idea to keep the big picture in mind.