SEO Northern Va – The High Price Of Low Cost
I come across this almost daily. People committing the fatal mistake of making price based decisions when it comes to choosing who they will use for Internet Marketing services. I suppose our society has trained many of us that it is wise to look for “bargains”, “sales” ,”inexpensive”….ect Now I do think that there are scenarios where this does make good sense. For example, I drink a good amount of spring water….the 16oz individual bottles(less glasses to wash!) So when it comes time to stock up on more water, I tend to look online to see what grocery store nearby is having a sale on the particular brand of water I drink. Now in this scenario I really cannot identify a significant risk in going with the cheapest store. I mean, we are talking water here….pure commodity. Each store has identical products.
Now, let’s move on to the topic of Web Design Northern Va, SEO Northern Va or Internet Marketing in Northern Virginia . Making a price based decision in this arena can mean significant financial loss, loss of reputation, lawsuits, complete removal from Google, potential irreversible damage to company standing, ect… Ok, ok, I know….nice try at scare tactics! However after working in the internet industry for my entire career, I have seen all of these things happen to companies.
Let me explain a bit further so as to shed some light on how some of these situations can happen….and from my experience, they typically happen when a “cheap”, “affordable”, “guaranteed first page on Google” “inexpensive” web company provides services. I know, I know, how seductive “First Page of Google $299 Guaranteed or money back!” I mean, how could you go wrong with this offer? “Guaranteed” “Money Back if not in page 1″ Let me explain specifically how this can go VERY wrong. The company you use ends up using shady SEO tactics that violate Google Acceptable Use policy. Now some of these tactics will get you ranking on page 1 of Google…and quickly. Great right? Well as soon as Google identifies that a “BlackHat”, meaning unethical tactic has been used they severely penalize your site. What does this mean, well you go to bed and you are on page one for your selected keyword. You wake up and your website has disappeared off of the face of the internet. You went from Rank #3, to Rank #30000 overnight. You call your “bargain” “Guaranteed” SEO provider, but they won’t return your calls…..turns out Google has penalized every site that is associated with them…yours included. Now you have to scramble in a panic and find a specialist to fix this problem…and quick! You are losing hundreds, or thousands a day. You find out that, yes, there are experts that can fix the problems created by your last SEO, but it will take 6 months to a year to even start to recover. The cost for an agency to fix an issue like this will cost you anywhere from $15,000 to $50,000. Ok so you accept you will have to pay this to fix things, then one day you receive notice that you are being sued for Copyright infringement?!?! What…huh?? Yep, turns out the images that your “cheap” web services company used on your site violate copyright laws. At this point you are thinking “what next!?!” Next are further lawsuits for stealing content off other sites and using it as SEO content on your site. At this point you decide that there is no way the business can continue to exist, so you close up shop and file for Bankruptcy.
Admittedly, this is pretty much a worse case scenario, but it does happen. Now let me tell you what the more typical outcome of dealing with a “cheap” Web services company is,
Nothing happens…nothing at all. No results. No revenue increases. No Increased Brand Awareness. No traffic Increases. No Stable Ranking Increases. No Calls. No return on investment(ROI).
The other very common thing I come across with these “inexpensive” SEO organizations are shady “Blackhat” link building schemes. I spoke with a local business recently and they said they had a company doing SEO for them, and it was inexpensive. So I was curious…as I always am…what specifically were they doing? I mean the clients website from a visual perspective was horrendous, and when I looked at the sites coding there were no elements in the code that are necessary for on-page SEO. There was no Social Media, no onsite blog, site structure was a mess, no 301’s, Canonical issues, no Robots, no XML Sitemap, was not even submitted to the search engines correctly, an I could go on and on…. Then I analyzed their link profile…. A HA!! They had a bunch of links coming from a “Link Farm” just the type of thing that Google will de-index(remove) your site for. So, let me explain the work that was required for their current “Low Cost” SEO provider to do. Cut and paste the customers business info onto 10 separate pages in their “BlackHat” Google Terms of Service violating, unethical “Link Farm” business directory. The total time required to complete this work. 15 minutes one time. Now the client is at risk of having his site de-indexed and if he wants to recover from that, spending thousands and thousands and never really fully recovering.
So that is just one example of what typically happens when a “cheap” SEO company is used.
Now I do want to clarify…I am not trying to insinuate that if you simply go with an expensive SEO agancy that you will get amazing results. This is certainly not the case, but the reality is….an effective and ethical SEO campaign is not cheap. The simple reason for this is….SEO done correctly, professionally and ethically takes significant time to implement.
When I talk to a potential client and they are somewhat shocked by the price I present to them and clearly state that there is no way they can afford that. What I tell them is….if you do not have the budget for what I just presented to you, then just do not do SEO. Any other reputable Agency in the area charges atleast 30% more that what we charge. SEO is not the right fit for every business and I have no problem telling a potential client that the $500 a month they have budgeted for SEO would be MUCH better spent on Yelp or AngiesList. A business is much better off just lighting $500 a month on fire and watching it burn instead of handing it out to some manipulative, shady provider that gives the entire SEO industry a bad name. At least this way they will not be enraged by the fact that they got scammed and their expectations will actually be met.
Until next time,
Peter S. Gerardi | Chief Web Strategist | Webby Nabler