Businesses that need to generate leads online need to invest in digital marketing.
Search engine optimization (SEO), for instance, helps improve visibility to attract more organic website traffic. However, SEO costs money even as a small business marketing strategy. So it is natural for many businesses to seek cheap or affordable SEO packages.
Finding the best search engine optimization company is not easy. For one thing, there are too many of them. Also, many agencies offer cheap SEO packages but do not provide much detail on crucial aspects such as human and knowledge resources, SEO and other advanced tools needed.
At any rate, the most important thing for a business when finding cheap SEO services or low-cost marketing for startups is getting results that, unfortunately, can take weeks to several months.
Cheap SEO Packages vs. Affordable SEO Services for Small Business
Cheap and affordable, in most cases, denote the same things. But in digital marketing and local search engine optimization services, there are connotations that businesses need to know.
• Cheap SEO services. Agencies provide SEO and digital marketing for startups and small businesses at low prices. Usually, they cannot provide customizations in their SEO strategies that do not address the nuances of a business.
• Affordable SEO packages. SEO and digital marketing are broad fields comprising many services. So what an agency can do is recommend personalized services that fit the budget of a company.
Why Cheap SEO Services Are Not Worth It
Some people may say that a low cost does not mean it is terrible in the same manner that a premium cost does not mean it is good. But the truth is that cheap SEO packages are too limited.
On freelance marketplaces, “SEO specialists” offer their services for less than $10. Searching Google for “local search engine optimization services” often yields hundreds of SEO agencies. But many of these agencies are one-person shops. Usually, they promise to provide an extensive audit and cheap SEO packages costing under $500 using free SEO tools.
“We often advise against small SEO budgets not because we are trying to inflate a quote but because our marketing consultants and SEO experts can define what SEO efforts will equal real success for your unique website and its audience. When we sell you short, we sell your success short,” said Hannah Garon, Thrive’s Director of SEO Services.
Here are the risks companies face if they choose cheap SEO services.
1. Poor Quality SEO Services
Often, cheap SEO services are cheap because the services provided are generic. However, the main reason it appears sophisticated is due to the technical nature of SEO, which many do not understand. So what is essentially a basic and limited service may pass off as complex processes.
2. Unreliable Metrics
Premium SEO tools are necessary for forming an SEO content strategy and digital marketing for startups. Consider, for instance, Ahrefs – one of the world’s most advanced SEO tools. Top SEO agencies use the Ahrefs enterprise plan, which starts at $999 per month.
Free tools cannot compete as they only provide some keywords and other performance metrics necessary to implement a comprehensive SEO strategy.
3. Not Enough Resources To Implement a Full SEO Strategy
SEO content strategy calls for creating and publishing pages and blog posts. But cheap SEO services can only do so much without tools and specialists.
Content, for instance, must be of high quality and deliver insightful information. But cheap SEO packages only include content subcontracted to content mills that create generic posts. So while they may be crawled and indexed by search engines, cheap content does not rank high, thus receiving little to no organic traffic.
An effective SEO content strategy also requires an effective link-building strategy, usually provided by affordable SEO services for small business. Its goal is to generate high-quality inbound links that help boost SEO rankings.
Unfortunately, a cheap small business marketing strategy may not provide the desired results.
4. Generic SEO Strategy
At the very least, SEO must improve page loading speeds and indexability of pages/posts. But at this point, the website is unlikely to attract organic traffic unless more advanced and customized SEO strategies are implemented.
Customized SEO and small business marketing strategy are necessary as each business has nuances and unique needs. One example is local SEO, which includes creating profiles and submitting business listings in hundreds of business directories, review sites and other aggregators. Other strategies to improve visibility are lead generation and conversion rate optimization strategies.
Unfortunately, the above-described services are beyond cheap SEO agencies’ capabilities.
5. Risk of Being Penalized by Search Engines
The best search engine optimization company will never compromise its reputation and the interest of its clients. So all SEO strategies and digital marketing activities they create and implement are guaranteed to be white hat.
Unfortunately, when dealing with cheap SEO providers, there is no guarantee that they will use ethical practices. Some may cross the line trying to generate quick results that appear to be effective but are harmful to the company. For example, they may build hundreds of links that look impressive on reports. But in reality, they bought links from dubious third-party providers that violate search engine guidelines.
Such dubious SEO practices, also called black hat SEO, result in a website getting penalized or banned by Google and other platforms.
6. Reputational Risks
Any SEO and digital marketing activity that crosses the line and irritates users casts a negative perception of the company. Cheap SEO providers do not have the resources to form critical client partnerships. Hence, their activities are not fully integrated. And the more they act independently with disregard for standards, the higher the reputational risks.
7. Full of Excuses
One of the main complaints against cheap SEO services is that the provider does not take full accountability for the results. So whether their strategies work is not their concern, as long as they get their money.
How Much Do Affordable SEO Services for Small Business Cost?
SEO, to be clear, does not provide quick results. Businesses that need to increase organic website traffic and qualified lead acquisition may look into PPC (pay-per-click) advertising packages.
At any rate, the cost of SEO services varies due to various factors. From a simple one-person operation offering cheap SEO services to a full-scale agency with teams of specialists in different SEO and digital marketing disciplines, the cost ranges from $10 to $20 per hour to thousands per month.
Large organizations have unique needs compared to the usual businesses and may require Enterprise-level SEO. So apart from scaling up the digital marketing campaigns, they also need to consider local SEO in multiple locations.
One perplexing issue, especially for businesses that have never invested in digital marketing, is determining how much they should budget. As a general rule, half of the total marketing budget should go into SEO and digital marketing.
How To Spot Affordable SEO Agencies
Affordable, in this article, refers to reasonable rates offered by legitimate SEO agencies. While the tips provided in this section are no guarantee of high-quality service and reliability, they should eliminate many of those unreliable SEO companies.
• They do not promise the sun, moon and stars. Any SEO agency that offers to get pages to rank on page one of search results is lying. Google’s ranking algorithm is impossibly sophisticated and will rank only those that offer value and fulfill user search intent. While a content specialist may create a high-value SEO-optimized post, no one can predict if it will rank high on its chosen keywords.
• Reputable SEO companies with years of experience have well-designed websites and high-quality posts. Usually, they would have hundreds, if not thousands, of articles published. A quick look and it is easy to see the quality level of their work.
• Inbound links are critical to improving search rankings, which is why they are usually recommended or a part of affordable SEO packages. During the discussion, reputable agencies would explain which sites they will try to build links from, and they would all be trusted and reputable sites, not some never-heard-from websites. Beware of private blog networks (PBN). If inbound links come from those sites, they will cause more harm than good, such as getting penalized by Google.
• The most successful SEO and digital marketing agencies have over 10 years of experience. Usually, they have long-term clients whom they have worked with for years. So when they offer affordable SEO packages, one of their focuses is long-term cooperation.
The points mentioned above are some of the most important things to consider when looking for affordable SEO services. But, of course, there are other things to think about. For example, SEO agencies that promise guaranteed rankings, have connections with Google, and other outlandish claims should be avoided.
Start With Affordable SEO Packages and Scale Up Later
Cost should not be the main criterion when looking for a partner who can provide reliable and effective SEO services. Other more critical considerations are credibility and a proven track record of reliability. Then, depending on your needs and budget, the agency can create customized SEO packages that help you grow your business.
Usually, reputable SEO agencies can scale up their services. But, more importantly, they can integrate other digital marketing services if the client approves. So scalability is one of the unique selling propositions of successful SEO companies.
For more information on customizing affordable SEO services for your company, contact us at 866-908-4748. Our specialists can discuss specific SEO services that you need and marketing strategies to boost your brand reputation and customer acquisition.