Three Downsides of Cheap SEO

In South Jersey and Philadelphia, you can find at least 50-60 companies or local SEO experts that offer monthly SEO/Internet Marketing services. Each one may offer something a bit different, from services, packages, etc., but there’s always one main factor that customers and clients use to make the choice of which SEO Agency they ultimately decide to work with.


While price is important in deciding to hire an SEO company, keep in mind the old saying “you get what you pay for” will always ring true. If you went to a mechanic and one place charged a significantly lesser price for services, would you be suspect? How about a house that’s $400,000 versus on that is $50,000? Which would you expect to be the better property to live in?

According to a survey on SEOMOZ (now, the average SEO company charges in two ways: by the hour, or a monthly retainer. The average going hourly rate ranges from $55 to $250 an hour, and up, and monthly costs can be all over depending on varied factors. So, let’s say we’re at $100 and hour, and you’re paying $99.00 a month. What could you do for an hour a month that would be worth it?

Here are 3 downsides to Cheap SEO.

Quality – The SEO agency in the city charges $1500 a month just for the basics. The other guy on Craigslist will do it for $250 a month. Then there’s all the “yellow book” related services that offer introduction packages starting at $99 a month. Forget the $1500 a month agency, who are they kidding?

Actually, it’s the other guys that are kidding you, out of your money. How much do you make an hour? Now multiply that by the amount of hours you work a day, week or month. Now what if your boss came to you and said we found someone to do your job for a quarter of what we pay you, would you be happy? Also, what if you were a boss and someone made that offer, but said instead of 40 hours a week, they’d work for less money, but also only put in 2 hours a week? Not exactly enticing, is it?

When you cut costs, you cut the amount of time that goes into your site. On the other side, it can also mean outsourcing the work to a lower cost worker overseas. So, now you’re site is being handled in the Philippines or India and the quality is all over the place. Sure your costs are down, but so it the quality.

Results – Let’s stay on time for this one. So, you’ve went with the cheaper SEO company because they have a great price. They’re now doing a whopping 3 hours of work a month on your website. That includes the time it takes to email you (logged and deducted), time to run reports (logged and deducted), maybe a phone call or two (logged, logged and deducted) and where does that leave you with actual Search Engine Optimization and Internet Marketing work done? 1-1.5 hours? I know I have phone calls with clients that take up 3-4 hours a month added up, so would that be fair to pay just to talk to your SEO company?

This means little to no results happen for anything significant. Oh, don’t worry, because the “cheap SEO” company already built that into their sales pitch, with the promise of landing 1 keyword in the top 10 in 9-12 months, or “it can take up to a year to see the top 50 even!” – Your results are going to reflect what has put in to the work. Low quality work means low quality results.

Cost – Yes, we mentioned price being a factor, but we’re talking cost. The salesperson at CHEAPO SEO sold you a great SEO plan for $250 a month. Much cheaper than the other company offered for $900 a month, or the other who wanted $1500. You just saved a ton of money!

Actually, no, you didn’t.

Let’s take $250, add 12 months. That’s $3000. You were sold something on price only, not features, certainly not benefits or results – but it cost less. You even negotiated a better price to get that $250, which was easily met by the eager salesperson wanting your business. Now, the other company outlined everything they would do, how many keywords, Google and Bing, all the right words. $900 a month, and 3 months in those clients are seeing leads, clicks and calls because they put the time into local listings, Google+ and Places, great new website content and new on-site SEO.The other company?

That isn’t even part of your services package!

In the long run, cost isn’t measured day 1. Internet Marketing is a continual process. SEO is a daily task to either do or monitor. What you save now, you may lose tomorrow. What you put out today might be returned 10 fold in a few months. Be sure you’re paying the right price for the right services, not something that just sounds good and doesn’t cost much. There’s a reason SEO costs what it does, and that’s mainly because it’s a skilled industry with people who should be informed and experienced in what they do, and in an industry that changes almost weekly. SEO in 2012 is vastly different in 2013, as it will be in 2014, 2015 and so on.

Penny wise, dollar foolish.

Your website, and your business, is your livelihood, and you should keep it in the best hands and with the best company managing it that you can afford. If you can’t afford SEO, then you probably should be trying to do it on your own, or not doing it. Search Engine Optimization and any Internet Marketing, Pay Per Click Campaign, Social Media Marketing all take an investment to do right. Many businesses small and large invest 1-2 hours a day on their Internet Marketing. Some companies, in many cases, have a team of dedicated in-house staff working with management and other departments to implement strategy.

SEO isn’t something that’s done cheap or that should be done cheaply. More damage can come from cheap, bad work than is worth the perceived savings. If you can’t afford to pay a dedicated SEO Expert or Internet Marketing Agency to handle your business, it’s better to invest in some good books on Amazon, or use your money wisely elsewhere, or hire an SEO Consultant to educate you on best practices so you can maintain your own projects and efforts efficiently.