You could argue that high quality search engine optimization (SEO) is more important than ever in an increasingly competitive online marketplace in combination with the high ROI of properly done SEO. You would think knowing the increasing challenges and the proven rewards would be enough for marketers to place more value on professional SEO services and be willing to invest accordingly. Yet, not a day goes by that you don’t see a promotion or company offering “affordable SEO” services with packages as low as $29/ month but more commonly in the $200-$500 range.

We’d recommend avoiding “affordable seo” companies as you should be wary of any business transaction that begins in a parking lot outside a white van and the phrase, “Pssssstt, hey buddy…you looking to buy some speakers…”

Here are 5 reasons to avoid “affordable SEO.”

 1. Affordable SEO lacks the required time.

SEO requires hard work in the form of good old-fashion time when done correctly. It takes time to do strategic keyword research, properly map on-page optimizations, write original long-form content and facilitate quality link-building on high authority sites. There is NO short cut.

Assuming the affordable SEO provider intends to turn a profit, how many hours can they put in for $29 - $500 a month? If the average hourly rate for SEO services in the U.S. is $150, that puts the range of actual effort between 10 minutes and 3.3 hours. That paltry amount of time is not enough to implement SEO basics in even the least competitive industry, let alone create a sophisticated strategy specific to your company and industry for both now and the long-term.

2. Affordable SEO lacks the required capital.

Affordable SEO companies get by on small one-off transactions from a large volume of clients prone to extremely high turnover. Given this dynamic, it’s safe to say affordable SEO companies do not have the capital of partnering agencies and are required to do things on the cheap to maintain profitability. This includes:

  • Inexperienced employees - Experience is key for SEO since so much of what you learn happens in real-time. Nothing can replace that time. That said, experienced employees are not cheap, and therefore agencies with skilled talent will not be cheap.
  • Cheap content creation - Your content, one of your greatest assets for long-term growth, will be poorly written, unoptimized, duplicated on numerous sites or spun up with a scraper software at the expense of structure and grammar. All these issues work directly against both user experience and SEO.
    • Cheap backlinks - Often spammy or gray/black-hat and can get you penalized.
    • Bad Service / Support - Affordable agencies will be unresponsive because they do not have time to communicate.

3. Affordable SEO is cookie-cutter.

No two business are the same and, while online is increasingly more competitive, some industries are more competitive than others. What that means is that every company looking to make gains online has a large number of variables that have to be taken into account when creating a winning strategy.  There is no clear “formula” that can be applied across the board.

Affordable SEO agencies are laser-focused on sales and securing a high volume of clients to drive profitability. They cannot afford to have an interest in a long-term partnership that will require cultivation, communication and accountability. 

A typical affordable SEO provider offers set options and pricing to all potential clients, without a detailed discovery of the client, their needs, their web technology or even the client’s ability to fulfill on products / services if they end up with hundreds of new leads.

4. Affordable SEO makes promises it cannot keep.

Along with bare-bones price, affordable SEO companies also tend to offer both the untrue and/or impossible. These claims should make you run the other way, and often include:

  • Guaranteed first page placement – Nobody can guarantee first page placement in even the least competitive of industries.
  • #1 Rating – There is no officially sanctioned SEO rating system in SEO.
  • 100% client satisfaction – This is not possible. What a professional company should have is a Net Promoter Score which is a statistically valid management tool that can be used to gauge the loyalty of a firm’s customer relationships.

In the end, much like “affordable SEO” as a whole, if it sounds too good to be true, you can bet it is.

5. Affordable SEO is a misnomer.

What exactly is affordable SEO? Is it simply a low monthly cost or is there more to the equation than SEO provided for a fee small enough to fly under the radar from critical review?

At Forthea, we would argue that SEO is truly affordable when it provides a positive and proven return on investment regardless of what the actual monthly cost is.

In many ways, an SEO provider with a low monthly fee is not only not affordable since they rarely produce results but can potentially do more harm than good when you take into account quality of services and the effect they can have on both user experience and site rankings.

Does Forthea Offer Affordable SEO?

If you define affordable as “cheap,” then the answer is no.

If you define affordable as offering search engine optimization services with a high level of commitment, skill, quality and service that delivers a positive and provable return on investment, then we should talk about your company and goals for 2020 and beyond.

Contact us today at 713-568-2763 for a free consultation.

About The Author

Jon has been in digital marketing longer than the term has existed. When he's not helping clients create winning strategies based on ROI, he leads the charge to get terms like "ninja", "rock star" and "guru" taken out of marketing vernacular. His non-marketing interests include films at the Alamo Drafthouse, Liverpool football, having the best lawn in the neighborhood, and spending time with his wife, Alexa, four kids (William, Colton, Eliza Scout, and Alana), and two pets (Sassy the Cat + Nux the Puppy).

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