Cheap SEO Singapore: Are They Worth The Risk?

Singapore businesses should think twice before hiring a cheap SEO company.

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?

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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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Content

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.

  • 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.

  • Reporting

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.

How to Go About Enterprise SEO in Singapore

Implementing enterprise SEO in Singapore is vital, primarily if your business website sells a large number of products and services locally.

Most people cannot differentiate an enterprise company from an enterprise site. An enterprise business is essentially a big corporation. An enterprise site, on the other hand, is less about the company’s size and more about the number of indexed pages.

It is quite challenging to stand out at the enterprise level.  First, Google is continually making search more intricate – last year, the search engine made over 3,200 improvements to its algorithms. Moreover, marketers have to deal with large volumes of content, site restructuring, product launches and sunsets, and numerous site migrations, and so on.

Despite the challenges, enterprise SEO is a worthwhile investment for any company in Singapore. It is no coincidence that the majority of marketers in the country use SEO to increase the organic reach of their brands. Organic search accounts for more than 50% of the traffic received by enterprise sites.

Another metric that makes enterprise SEO worth the effort is the number of searches on Google. Currently, the search engine processes 3.5 billion search queries daily, twice as much as it did a decade ago. A sizeable portion of these searchers show commercial intent, and Google is usually their first resort when they are researching products before a purchase.

In response to these developments, companies, especially e-commerce sites, are increasingly adopting enterprise SEO. If your company is yet to embrace this strategy, you risk falling behind to your competitors.

The key to implementing SEO successfully at the enterprise level is having the right people and using proven tactics. 

What Determines the Success of Enterprise SEO?

Managing an SEO campaign at an enterprise level is a challenging task, whether you use your in-house team or hire an SEO services company. You have to be proficient in testing, learning, and scaling what works to achieve success on this front. Fortunately, customer data is easily accessible nowadays.

Besides the input of a creative team and implementing the right strategies, you also need an excellent platform for your enterprise SEO campaign to thrive. To achieve the primary objective of outperforming your competitors, you have to find the ideal balance between talent and technology.

Employ an Agile, Creative and Technically Gifted Team

Your enterprise SEO team does not have to be big – a maximum of five individuals is enough. This applies to all businesses, whether you have a handful of employees or thousands. Also, you have to invest a substantial amount of money to have a successful marketing campaign.

To ensure the success of your SEO campaign, it is vital to define the responsibilities of each member of your team. You should also inform them of your expectations regarding their performance.

For instance, in my case, I hired a team consisting of individuals with excellent analytic skills and a leadership mentality. Before anything, I made them aware of their task – to make my company the top digital marketing agency. After this, I made sure that they had all the resources needed to accomplish this challenge, including unwavering support from the company’s executive leadership.

It is worth noting that implementing SEO is not a task that exclusive to the designated team. Instead, you should take my company’s approach by educating every employee on its importance. This way, everybody in your business will support your enterprise SEO campaign in impactful ways.

Implementing Enterprise Level SEO

The implementation process of enterprise-level SEO varies from one company to another. However, if you want to scale, you can observe the following steps that worked exceptionally well in my case.

Firstly, document the entire process. Make sure that you have a practical strategy for on-page optimisation, off-page SEO and technical SEO.

The next step involves making your SEO campaign based on real-time insights or something close. You should also consider your consumer behaviours and use the data you collect from the market to shape the strategies you execute for your enterprise SEO.

As mentioned above, enterprise SEO can only be successful if all departments within a company are working together. Make sure that the SEO team works closely with the individuals in charge of social media, graphic design, web development, content marketing and paid search, and so on.

Above all, your enterprise SEO campaign’s primary focus should be achieving your organisational goals. It should follow your business model and work towards attaining your sales objectives.

Keep in mind that challenges are inevitable even if you follow the steps that worked so wonderfully for my company. These include geographic restrictions, procurement issues and regulatory challenges, and so forth.

Alternatively, you can use the Market Maturity Assessment tool from Gartner to improve your enterprise SEO process. This tool evaluates the maturity of a company by considering its resources, commerce, operations, programs, innovation, and social presence, and so on.

The assessment tool covers more aspects than a typical SEO campaign. As we have seen above, SEO teams can benefit significantly in their efforts by working in partnership with what others consider as unrelated teams.

The most significant advantage of the Market Maturity Assessment tool is identifying the strengths and weakness in your digital marketing strategies. Moreover, it helps in initiating conversations with principal stakeholders and creating initiatives for your marketing disciplines. After evaluation, the tool also recommends the tactics you should employ to attain the next level of marketing maturity.

The Significance of Automated Platforms

With the rapid advancements in technology, SEO teams need to understand how to embrace emerging platforms. These platforms can effectively automate tasks, make smart decisions by analysing data, and more spectacularly, implement optimisations in various aspects of SEO.

Platforms are all-in-one solutions that contain several tools and functionalities under a single interface. They also have user permissions, integrated reporting and other crucial enterprise features.

Before the advent of these platforms, SEO teams had to make do with disparate tools and implementing workaround strategies to scale and automate their SEO campaigns. Nowadays, marketers have an abundance of automated SEO platforms to choose from, with some incorporating advanced technologies such as AI and machine learning.

Another significant advantage of these platforms is facilitating the easy monitoring of technical issues and page speeds. They also keep up with the latest algorithm changes, as well as offer accurate insights based on real-time performance data.

When looking for a platform to automate the enterprise, I ensure that it has security-enhancing features. These include ISO/IEC 27001 accreditation, high-level encryption, and data privacy compliance, and so on. 

Possible Challenges of Implementing Enterprise SEO

The expansive nature of enterprise sites means that SEO teams often have to overlook some areas to focus on the top performers. While this approach is fine, it can result in the neglect of areas that have the potential to improve. A comprehensive site audit can prove useful in identifying these loopholes.

Another challenge of implementing enterprise SEO is monitoring the many pages of an enterprise site. High-value keywords and quality internal links and backlinks can easily get lost in legacy pages when an enterprise site gets an upgrade.  I usually scour old pages to check for content that needs rewriting or re-optimisation. This tactic helps to curb website bloating and prevent keyword cannibalisation. 

Lastly, most brands over emphasise on SEO and forget about optimising other channels. Although SEO is useful, it is impractical to rely on it entirely to meet the marketing goals of your organisation. You should also invest resources in other strategies such as paid search and social media marketing, and so forth.

How Do You Gauge the Success of an Enterprise SEO Process?

In a recent study seeking to identify the most critical technical SEO and ranking factors, both in-house teams and SEO companies had differing opinions.

The two sides identified page speed and indexation as the most vital factors. However, they were divided over the significance of other factors such as broken links, Meta tags, missing content, schema, and status or response codes, and so on.  The survey also indicated that technical SEO gets the highest allocation of resources, closely followed by content development.

As of now, there is no consensus as to what a successful enterprise SEO process looks like. This makes it difficult for SEO professionals to prove the worth of this marketing strategy to the high-ranking executives in a company.

Make Sure Your Singapore SEO Agency Provides These

Search engines are very particular with the manner they rank websites for Yoast optimization. It is not known to many especially business owners that, packing your website with keywords is not the key to high ranking on search engines by SEO Agency.

However, organizing your site’s individual pages in a way that each page has a sufficient pulling power help in giving your entire website enhanced visibility on SERPs.

Therefore, this article will enlighten you on the factors you should prioritize on when contracting services of an SEO agency to do to an on-page optimization for your website.

  • The Process of On Page SEO

On-page SEO is the best practices you employ on each of your web pages. The practice is aimed at improving how fast search engines avail your websites and its pages to users so that they can utilize it for the purpose they intended to use it.

It is possible to enhance how your site appears on search engine result pages (SERPs). However, without recognizing the components to optimize on your website’s pages, all this will be fruitless.

CMS like WordPress is equipped to enable you to measure the performance of your site on SEO.

Log into WordPress portal and navigate to the Privacy tab. On the Privacy tab ensure you enable ‘Allow search engines to index site’ icon on the Site Visibility tab.

To countercheck, under the settings, access the Google Webmaster tools. Select the website you would like to measure its performance. The Webmaster Tools field for that website will appear. Tap on Health to display Crawl stats. On this tab, you can view the frequency crawls access on your site.

However, there are technical features on a page that can be optimized further to secure the enhanced effectiveness of your pages. The features include:

  • Body

The website you are designing is meant for human use. Therefore, you should arrange the layout of your site in a way that flows and is legible.

Stuffing your site with keywords is not recommended anymore. Over-using a particular keyword can affect the readability of your content.

Ensure your content is not too long and not too short. Long content tends to bore users while short material tends to lose the gist of the content.

A disorganized page is one of the main reasons for experiencing high bounce rates on a site. Therefore, it is essential to organize your page in a way that encourages your clients to stay on your page longer.

  • Images

Images are vital for enhanced user experience. They are critical for optimizing your pages on search engines by embedding your keywords on images. Attaching a keyword to your image help web crawlers access your content fast to display to the user.

Adding images to your pages also improves users’ experience by making your material easy to remember.

  • Page Title

A page title is the lists of names that appear on your SERP for your users to choose which website best solve their problem.

The page title should contain the keyword accompanied with the link to your website.

The characters used for the page title should not exceed 60 words otherwise Google will truncate portions of your page title and jeopardise your SEO endeavours.

Therefore, make your title brief and enticing to your users.

  • Meta Description

They are displayed below the title page on the SERP.

An excellent meta description help in optimisation of your page on SEO and offers your clients an overview of what to expect in your content.

A sound meta description enhances the traffic of your site. Hence, ensure a keyword is present in your meta description, not more than once and the descriptions do not exceed the maximum of 156 characters.

  • H1 Tag

Conventional CMS like WordPress automatically updates your title page with h1 tags.

Embed your keyword, not more than twice on your h1 tag to give your site’s layout a distinct name and enhance navigation within your website.

  • Rel Canonical

Rel canonical is best described as a unique marker on your site that prevents people from copying your work.

It recognises the real owners of sites and credits them for their work.

Ensure your work is not pirated by setting up Rel Canonical to help search engines acknowledge you as the legitimate owner of specific content on the internet.

  • URL

Having your keyword on your URL slug is crucial. It optimises your websites and helps improve its ranking on SERPs.

WordPress simplifies inserting of keywords on your URL by automatically setting up your h1 title to be your slug.

The slug is easy to alter. Tap on the slug icon and edit your slug to any form you want it to appear.

It is important to note that standard characters like numbers, letters and hyphens replace spaces on your URL.

Keep the characters of your URL to a maximum of 76 characters. Any number surpassing 76 characters will be trimmed to a sizeable number by the search engine provider.

After launching your blog and you realise it is not working as expected, you can re-edit your URL to retarget your market of choice.

  • Linking

Internal linking and Linking your site to reputable sources help direct users to your site for the material they are searching for. It also helps portray your website as a reliable source for relevant information.

Excessive use of external and internal links can portray you as overbearing and trying too hard to be visible on SERPs. It is prudent to seek the services of a consultant to help you avoid overlinking.

Ensure you add the keyword your webpage is enhanced for on the hyperlink to direct your users to their destination on the website.

Are Favicons Important For Digital Marketing And SEO?

For those who don’t understand what favicons are: A favicon is a small icon, usually 16×16 pixels, used to represent your brand. These pieces of graphic are put in a file known as a favicon.ico and included in the stem directory of your site.

It was first supported by Internet Explorer 5 by Microsoft that was released in 1999. Later, it was adopted by the World Wide Web where it was intended for only bookmarked URLs. But there are many occasions where favicons are utilised today and get regarded as user-friendly. They can be used for usability and branding in different ways.

Favicons appear next to the title of your website if the browser contains a tabbed interface. They can also appear in your bookmarked URL listings. In Google Chrome’s browsing history section, it is the favicons that make it easier for you to locate a particular link to a website. Favicons also appear on the search engine results, like in DuckDuckgo.

Bing is experimenting the use of favicons in the results pages. In the past, Google used to show favicons in the ads, but they stopped. However, it has been reported that Google Ads are working on restoring favicons in their upcoming ad formats. If your company site uses a favicon that is easy to remember, you have scored big with just a small component on your site

What Are Favicons Used For?

A favicon is like a small id of your website. They assist users to remember your website when surfing through various URLs. The reason behind this is that people perceive visuals better than text. Here are some of the uses of favicons:

  • Saves Time for The User

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A favicon saves the time used by the user to identify a website in the history, bookmarks, or any other place where the browser positions the favicon for swift recognition. It makes it more convenient for your audience to identify you.

  • Return Visits

Let’s say, for instance, your website user was in a rush when they first came across your website and decided to add it to their bookmarks for a revisit. It is evident that individuals respond to graphics better than text. When they decide to revisit your website, they will visit the bookmarks page in their browser. If you have a recognisable favicon, it will be easier for them to identify you and connect to your site. Lack of a favicon can even result to your site being removed from the list of bookmarked pages.

  • Trust and Credibility

A browser displays a blank document if your website does not contain a favicon. That is not good, especially if your site is shown next to that of your competitor because it will make you lose trust and credibility. Most consumers judge online services and vendors grounded on the expertise employed in their web design. A tiny component like a favicon can impact negatively on your credibility, particularly when consumers compare you with your rivals.

  • Prevent 404

The browsers ask for a favicon.ico file whether it is contained in your website root file or not. If the file is not available, it results to a 404. For this reason, you must include a default .ico file folder even if you utilise .png files because not all browsers are compatible with .png files.

Do Favicons Have Any Benefits To SEO?

You might be partially correct when you say that favicons are not beneficial to the SEO of your site. Favicons don’t affect your website’s SEO directly. However, they have indirect benefits, and they are highlighted below:

  • Bookmarks

    Websites that have favicons get favoured regarding keeping and saving them in browser’s bookmarks. Google’s search engine receives some ranking factors in their algorithm from their Chrome browser for bookmarked websites. You may lose out if your site does not contain a favicon because it enhances your website’s user-friendliness.

  • Enhanced site usability

    The usability of your website is connected to its ranking on the SERPs. So, if you have a favicon for your site on various browsers, you help the consumer save time, which plays a significant role in SEO.

Favicons for Various Browsers

Currently, all the digital marketing strategies employed to desktop sites must be applied to mobile website versions. You need to specify the icons for various websites and mobile. You require to understand the various codes for specific browsers, and you can learn them from the internet.

What File Format Should I Use?

In the past, all browsers displayed only the favicons in the .ico file form. But most browsers these days allow .gif and .png files too. Most of them accept the .ico formats even if they take other file formats. Opera and Firefox only recognise .png favicons while Safari and Chrome accept both .png and .ico formats. IE displays .ico formats only.

Favicons are also beneficial in mobile devices in that the user can add them to their home screen. If you have not specified your favicon, the browser’s icon will appear instead, which is not good. That can make your website get deleted from the consumer’s home screens. That also applies for bookmarks in mobile browsers.

Crafting Favicons for Your Website

You can try using some of these free favicon generators:

It is a free online generator that offers you different customisation options for your favicons. Alpha transparency is also supported by this tool.

This tool enables you to make favicons that are compatible with most of the browsers. This tool also offers you a brief report about your current favicon. It shows you the compatibility of the icon in different browsers and devices.

This generator allows you to make any file format of a favicon. The tool also supports the addition of transparency to your icons.

Other favicon generator tools include ConvertIcon, Favikon, ProDraw, and Favicon From Pics.

Final Verdict

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.

That said, enterprise SEO mistakes are almost inevitable. The vast size of enterprise sites makes it easy to commit errors. To ensure that your campaign remains on course, take a proactive approach to identify the gaps that cause the mistakes and fix them before they wreck havoc. 

Get in touch for professional SEO services in Singapore.

Author Bio

Tom Koh is widely recognised as a leading SEO consultant in Asia who has worked to transform the online visibility of the leading organisations such as SingTel, Capitaland, Maybank, P&G, WWF, etc. Recently he was instrumental in consulting for a New York-based US$30B fund in an US$4Bn acquisition. Tom is a Computational Science graduate of the National University of Singapore. In his free time he performs pro-bono community work and traveling.
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June 13, 2018

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