Why Is SEO Expensive?

by Jim July 27, 2016

Welcome back Rankers!

Still buzzing about officially being made a Google Premier Partner this week. Nothing to do with SEO; it’s all down to the great work of our AdWords team. So if you need your Adwords looked after by a Google Premier Partner. Just saying.

Now last week we had the SEMrush pizza Thursday, which was awesome. If you don’t know what that is, well SEMrush are doing awesome stuff with their blog and their outreach program and everything to do with SEO at the moment. They’re conducting weekly sessions where they deliver pizza around the country, or the town, or wherever they’re doing the webinar, to the various participants where you can sit and eat a pizza and talk about SEO. Two of my favourite things actually! It was great fun and a big thank you once again to SEMrush for organising that. If you want to watch the replay you can do so here

SEMRush Pizza & SEO
SEMRush Pizza & SEO

Time is Money

One of the things that came out of that webinar was that I explained how we were moving away from the smaller type of client because it’s increasingly difficult to make a profit from smaller clients because the cost of SEO now is quite expensive. Now we obviously field this question on a regular basis: Why is SEO so expensive? I’d like to explain why.
The first reason is that Google has changed a lot over the years. It now means having to be increasingly forensic, spending longer amounts of time on sites, and creating quality content costs a lot more money. So all these factors come into the equation.

The second reason is that as many sites now become massive, more cumbersome, with more things involved, and there are a greater number of eCommerce sites out there than ever before, and we handle many of those types of sites which consume a lot more of our time than say a basic WordPress site. Therefore, these things mean a greater expense. So for consulting, working out where a client should be positioning their brand in the marketplace and the like, you just can’t get to those things with a smaller client because they can’t afford it. If they were all selling big-ticket items, they could, but it’s the value they have to equate to it.

We have different buyer personas. Leanne is our entry-level client, followed by Connor, then we have Ashley and Noah. We want to focus on Ashley and Noah. Ashley is usually a Chief Marketing Officer, while Noah is more of a C-level executive as well. So they are our two buyer personas we are focusing on, and the reason for that is that very quickly the Leannes and the Connors become unprofitable because there is so much work that needs to be done but you just can’t charge for.

The Hidden Dangers of Cheap SEO

So recently we pitched for a job, but unfortunately didn’t get it. The feedback we got from that was price. It was a corporate client and they made a decision based on price. That surprised me. The reason the company they went with is a lot cheaper is because they’re basically, and this happens a lot with cheap SEO, it becomes a very formulaic, backlinking to the Third World, using a third-party backlinking company or similar, and you end up getting stuff like this.

backlinks from an Indian blog post to a Melbourne private school
backlinks from an Indian blog post to a Melbourne private school

This is an article on an Indian website, “Which is the best type of school for your child?” and it has a backlink pointing to private schools in Melbourne. That’s an unnatural backlink. An Indian website about schools, which contains a link to a private school in Melbourne. The language of the article is horrible, and if you feel like reading it aloud, it sounds terrible. Sorry folks, but it’s what’s known as junk. This is what Google would describe as an unnatural backlink, and it’s the same with this site.

Slovenian holiday site discussing African safari and linking to a Melbourne company = unnatural backlink.
Slovenian holiday site discussing African safari and linking to a Melbourne company = unnatural backlink.

Slovenia holidays: Everything you need to know about holidays in Slovenia, with an article below entitled, “4 Activities to take part in while on a safari in Africa.” What? You can’t go on a safari in Slovenia? But I just booked my tickets. Hidden in the copy is a link to a Melbourne-based, African safari company. Unnatural backlink alert!
One of the SEO participants on the SEMrush webinar claimed he hadn’t seen the types of backlinks I was talking about. Well there they are. When Google Penguin comes along, all of these sites are going to be hit. Entire sites will be smashed, and the sites they are linking to will also be smashed. And that is why we don’t engage in this sort of activity, because bad things happen.

Watch Your Own Back (links)

One of the ways you can determine whether you’ve got ordinary backlinks, or whether you think you’ve bought cheap SEO, is to utilise a couple of these tools. You can check your backlinks using the SEMrush tool or Majestic.com can also help you out. Another easy way to do it is on your Google Search Console, under “Search Traffic,” click on “Links to your site.” This particular site has 14 million links, which I can assure you none of ours will! You can check your link numbers and export it as a CSV if you wish. From there you can check the quality of the links, and if you have bought cheap SEO recently I would strongly suggest you keep an eye on your links. You can always tell your cheap SEO company that you don’t want certain backlinks in which case they may say removing them will cause your rankings to drop. I can assure you that not removing those bad backlinks will guarantee a ranking drop at some point.
Hopefully that’s helpful. If you have anything you’d like to share, let me know. Until then, I’ll see you next week. Bye.

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