Churn and Burn SEO – Why Cheap SEO Sucks

I was speaking to a client recently who I was recommending SEO (Search Engine Optimization) services to. He informed me that while he trusted me, he was concerned why my prices for SEO services seemed so expensive. He said that he is called or emailed every week about this, and the few times he bothered to get a price… the prices were significantly cheaper than the approximate price range I was quoting him. He went as far to explain that one was $25/month. My explanation to him, along with the realization that spam for these services is so common has shown me the urgency in explaining cheap SEO services and why they suck.

The Spam

The spam is generated by software which automatically harvests email addresses from the internet or spams contact forms on websites. It can take many forms, but in a nutshell it is an email from someone you have never heard of… sometimes it says that a person was browsing your site and noticed you were not ranking well in search engine results. They insist they can guarantee top results, and ask you to reply for a free quote. Most of the time, it doesn’t even come from a legitimate company email… it comes from a generic free email service such as hotmail or gmail.

Link Building

Before I talk about the different cheap seo techniques, I want to speak briefly about link building. Attracting inbound links to your web site from other web sites is an important part of SEO. Search Engines look at an inbound link like a vote. Like the person who placed that link is personally recommending your web site, and therefore your site should rank higher. Saying that, you also want to attract the RIGHT links. Over time, Google will recognize the difference between a link generated by automated software which adds no value to the internet community as a whole, and a legitimately placed inbound link from a web page with relevant content. This means that even though you can often see a rise in your web site rankings with the cheap seo providers, this will be corrected over time. Even worse, Google has also been known to remove sites from their index entirely who are not playing by the rules.

So why are the Cheap SEO Companies so Affordable Anyways?

The cheap SEO companies will typically use automated software to generate large quantities of inbound links to your web site, which give it the temporary high ranking you are hoping for. Think about this logically for a moment. If I am offering you SEO services for $25/month… how much work am I really willing to do? However, this isn’t the only technique that cheap SEO companies try to use to get a quick buck.

Cheap SEO Techniques – Inbound Links

So what are the link building techniques used by cheap SEO firms?

  • Commenting – Automated software spam the comment section in various article sites and blogging sites. They send out thousands of these comments that are not even relevant to the article, and hope that some of the articles and blogs allow these spam contents to post. While you will inevitably attract some inbound links, what is the cost? The comments appear after information that is probably irrelevant to your content. Everyone reading the article knows it is spam, so now your company is building this reputation online. Even worse, if reported to or noticed by the search engines… you can be removed from the index for violating their terms of service.
  • Forum Links – Forum links are similar to the above commenting links. In this case, the automated software automatically posts to thousands of forums who use pre packaged forum software, where a security gap is found that allows them to automatically start new threads in the forum. A new discussion is created that talks about your web site. Yes, again you will attract some inbound links… but as with the commenting software, you must think about the overall consequences of this action.
  •  Directory Submission – Automated software submits your web site to multiple directories, providing inbound links to your web site. I am not sure if the owners of directories view this as spam or just another submission, but these links are essentially worthless. With the vast amount of directories that exist and how easy it is to submit your site to large numbers of directories… how much IMPORTANCE do you think a search engine would really place on these votes? Yes, if I haven’t made it obvious already… they do not consider all links to your site equal. If you want to submit to a directory, submit to DMOZ or Yahoo. Also, if you know there is a strong and reputable directory in your industry, manually submit to that directory.
  • Link Farms – Link farms are web pages that are created for the sole reason of providing outbound links to dozens if not hundreds of seemingly random web sites. Like a directory, receiving a link from a link farm essentially carries no value. It is sometime easy to confuse a directory with a link farm, depending on their organization and structure.
  • Link Pages –Automated software sends spam emails to web site owners encouraging them to link to your web site. While most business owners and web masters will delete these emails right away, some may choose to provide you with a link. But yet again, you are building an online reputation as a company who sends spam (or unsolicited if you want to be nice) emails, and this reputation will eventually be noticed by the search engines, which will negatively affect your rankings.

Cheap SEO Techniques – Black Hat SEO

Black Hat SEO is a term used for people who claim to work in SEO, however they use techniques that are clearly banned by search engines to achieve artificially high results that are usually corrected over time, if not banned all together. The above link building techniques are black hat, and so are the following examples which cheap or unethical SEO companies use.

  • Keyword Stuffing – Keyword stuffing is not delicious. It is a technique used to put your preferred search phrases into the content of your web site in a frequency that helps the search engine understand what your page is about. HOWEVER, it doesn’t read very well when a human is reading it. As with most of the techniques I will mention, the search engine will eventually notice, and they will penalize you for trying to trick them. Note: You certainly want to include relevant key phrases in your text… just be careful that it Is written and reads in a way a human would normally write.
  • Hidden Text – Hidden text is blended into the background by using a font colour that is the same as the background colour. In some cases you can read it, but the font is so small it is obviously not meant for a human to read it. Again, while it gives the search engine’s automated algorithm a very good idea of what your site is about which can cause an increase in rankings… they will eventually notice and realize what you are doing. This is another way to get on the black list.
  • Doorway Page Redirect – This is the practice where the first page of your web site is created ONLY for the purposes of writing well optimized content with tons of relevant keywords… however within moments, it redirects you to the ACTUAL welcome page the owner/webmaster wants you to see. By default, the search engine sees this first page as the content of your home page. The Search Engines might first see this page and a high level of relevance for certain phrases… but as with the previously mentioned, they will eventually figure out what you are doing and penalize you for it.
  • Scraping & Spinning – Scraping and Spinning is what happens when you use a software program to automatically pull content form one site, automatically rearrange the content a bit, paraphrase and spit out content that seems new. These new articles are then posted on article sites with inbound links to your own site. While this technique can occasionally attract good links, there is also the risk that Google will figure out the article is plagiarized. Yes if caught, Google can and will ban you for posting plagiarized articles.

As you can see, using automated software to achieve the results you are looking for because it is cheap to do so may work at first… but not unlike diet pills, they simply won’t sustain long term results. You need to hire an SEO expert who truly understands SEO. They understand the actual effort involved and the fact that it is a long term effort. They need to understand that while immediate results are a nice to have, the goal is to attain top rankings for a long period of time which will be an ongoing effort. They should want to work with you long term.

I would also be weary of a person who guarantees number one results. Nobody can tell the search engines what to do… they can only use their expertise to show search engines what your web site is about in the most optimal way. After that, it is ultimately up to the search engine to decide what they want to do. I would suggest that most people who guarantee number one results plan to do something unethical because they can collect their pay cheque, and disappear once the results are achieved… leaving you to bear the responsibility for whatever techniques were used to get you there.

If you have any feedback or questions, I am always looking forward to hearing from you.

About The Author

Derrick

At LOWD Media, we specialize in supporting entrepreneurs. We understand inspired entrepreneurs and business minded individuals. We then use this understanding to learn about your business and help you create a look and feel for your business – your brand identity. Our business startup packages provide everything you need to begin marketing your business effectively and at an affordable price. Once you begin marketing and growing your business, we strive to support you and grow with you. Long term success for your business means long term success for our business. Let your brand be heard loud and clear with LOWD.

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