SEO is not cheap – let’s get that one fact established right now. A random search for SEO services will show you SEO packages that cost a few hundred to a few thousand dollars monthly. Of course there are some ridiculously cheap options, but going that way comes with its own set of risks, none of which you can afford to take. There are many SEO service providers, but what’s good for your site will be very specific and in most cases, quite costly.
Your investment in SEO packages will be the difference between landing an agency that has a good track record and experience, genuinely interested in building your brand over the long-term, and landing some SEO consultant who will just do the barest minimum to collect your money and run.
Understanding that many business managers don’t know the nitty-gritty of running a successful SEO campaign, below are a few costs that SEO companies regularly incur, which will shed some light on why you’re paying top dollar for your own campaign:
- Site and link audits are expensive
The first step of any campaign is to conduct a thorough audit of the site as it is, including backlink profiles, onsite elements and offsite signals. This requires a comprehensive list of automated tools for which SEO agencies pay an annual license fee to access. However, these tools are not always accurate, and therefore someone has to be manually assigned to go through the results – hundreds and thousands of them – to assess each link/element and judge it as safe or detrimental to the site. This alone can cost thousands of dollars.
- Link clean-up is even more costly
If your audit above shows a lot of toxic links, they must be removed. Google provides a way to disavow any toxic links, in case contacting webmasters to remove their links proves futile. So your SEO packages provider has to assign someone to talk to the webmasters from all those sites to see if they will remove those toxic links, since a disavow file takes months before it is assessed by Google. This is worse if you have been slapped with a penalty for unnatural linking, whose cleanup can cost as much as $20,000.
- Penalties can kill off a site overnight
There’s a big risk involved when selecting your SEO packages provider whose track record isn’t proven. Google is very wary of unnatural ways of rising up the search rankings, such as link buying or offering rewards in exchange for links. While link buying in its old definition has reduced drastically, there are still SEOs who acquire links by offering some reward to other sites in exchange for backlinks, or making reciprocal arrangements with them.
If your site is found to be full of links acquired in this way, you could be looking at a penalty that will completely drop you off search rankings, until your site is fully audited and toxic links are cleaned out – a process that could take months. Now picture what would happen to your revenues if your main source of traffic is shut down.
- Site de-indexation can completely ruin your brand
If your site is found to contravene any of Google’s guidelines, you will be de-indexed from Google’s listings – you won’t even show up if a searcher looked for your business by name. Imagine what this could do to the brand you have built. What if you’re a fully e-commerce business – at least bricks-and-mortar stores will still attract walk-in clients.
Rebuilding a ruined reputation with Google following de-indexation will also take months of hard work – putting in thousands of dollars in high quality SEO for months before you see an improvement in your results. Wouldn’t you be safer just investing those thousands in a good SEO provider before the penalty?