7 Reasons Your $250 a Month SEO Isn't Working

7 Reasons Your SEO Is Not Working

Cheap SEO and marketing packages are a dime a dozen. There are quite literally millions of agencies designed for just that; to provide inexpensive, low cost SEO and marketing packages aimed directly at small business. Unfortunately, these packages take advantage of your lack of SEO and marketing knowledge, and often cost you more in the long run. Low cost SEO has many pitfalls, including long-reaching effects that could cost your business thousands of dollars to repair. Let's take a look at why your cheap SEO package isn't working, and why you should consider focusing your hard earned dollars in a custom-designed marketing plan. By the way, the term #growthhacking is a buzzword. It means nothing. It delivers nothing. You're welcome!

$250 A Month SEO Depiction

Marketing Agency Structure is Based Off Quantity, Not Quality

Agencies that focus their efforts on maximum return only care about one thing, lining their pockets. If you have called multiple agencies pricing SEO and marketing for your business and gotten high quotes there may be a reason. If you came across a company that was significantly cheaper, there is also a reason. True SEO packages that build up your brand and increase your ranking are in-depth. There is no "simple and easy" way to increase your ranking, albeit many companies (and clickbait blogging sites) would like you to think so. Ranking your online identity higher in search engine results is a carefully planned combination of local and nationwide directory submissions, backlink building, content building/creation/marketing, social popularity and indicators, and data analysis.

"You were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win." Zig ZIglar

Inexpensive SEO packages are designed to package the least amount of hours and amount of services, all wrapped up in an enticing package for your consumption. These types of packages are designed to make it seem like you are getting a lot for your money, and in some cases it may be true (at least in the advertisement). You may see items mentioned such as:

  • Complete Site Evaluation
  • Weekly Traffic Reports
  • Increased Ranking in Search Results
  • Location Listing Management
  • Regular Phone Communication
  • Custom Link Building Campaigns
  • Site Enhancement for Search Engine Performance
  • Guaranteed First Page Placement
  • Content Marketing and Creation
  • No Annual Contracts

On the surface, it sounds like a pretty good deal. Increased ranking? Alright! Guaranteed first page of Google? Whoo hoo! No annual contracts? Sign me up! All these services in a perfect world would provide increased business and operating capital for your company, allowing you to expand and eventually dominate your industry. What could go wrong? Well, a lot. These marketing plans are designed to sign up as many people as possible, keep them on board and profit for a few months, then wash, rinse, repeat. It is a fundamental principal built directly into the structure of their business. For every 20 people that get smart and leave, there will be 100 to replace them, all getting suckered into the same scam. "What about all the testimonials you see on their site that include photos? They have such great reviews." You might want to do a quick Google image search. Most are fabricated testimonials, that use stock photography posing as real people. (I'm looking at you bad marketing people)

Not Enough Time for Proper SEO

Not Having The Labor To Optimize and Analyze

As the saying goes, "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is". The sales pitch sounds great. You get a lot of services for a small amount of money. Any business owner wanting to increase their online business would be foolish to pass on such a bargain. Sadly, the simple facts are; the labor to complete what you need is not available at that price point.

Citation submissions, quality content creation and establishing backlinks takes time. SEO agencies have to analyze your existing online company relationships, see what citations exist in your local market, target national citations that are within your industry, target your content to your area of focus and set up a short and long term marketing plan that falls in line with your goals and expectations.

Too Many Useless SEO Reports

Too Many Reports, Not Enough Action

Many of these low-budget SEO and marketing companies prey on the fact that you don't know anything about SEO and Marketing. The idea is simple; provide enough company-branded reports that show a ton of data, and it will look like your campaign is successful. We recently had a company come on board that was using a $400 a month SEO package from another provider. In the entire year that they stayed with the service, they received an analytics PDF report each month. No punch line, that's the story. They paid $400 a month for a whole year, waiting for results. The analytics account was not set up for the client, and they had no access to the analytics account to verify the claims. They also received a keyword report the first month to get them excited, on board and looking forward to improvements, which unfortunately for this client never happened.

Understandably, the client should bear some responsibility for not looking into the issue further once they didn't notice an increase in new traffic, but why should they? As far as the client was concerned, they hired a company to manage the online traffic, and they expected to be provided with results. They were busy managing the business and not with babysitting the marketing company's efforts. There was a slight increase in rankings (Google page 3 to page 2) over the year period, but this could also have been related to a Google update, increased domain age, or other external factors. The owner started setting up his own citations across a variety of profiles. It was definitely not enough of an increase to recover a $4,800.00 annual expense. When he decided to cancel service he had no logins to any of his accounts, no links to any new profiles, no nothing. Oh wait, he had 12 months of analytics reports which he could have gotten for free.

Too Many Marketing Efforts at Once

Too Many Marketing Efforts at Once

As any business owner knows, the busier you get the harder it is to focus on any one given task. Most companies begin online marketing for two reasons; either they are at a low point and need more business, or they are doing quite well and have the finances to begin the expansion of their business. In either situation, the business owner is going to be spreading their efforts across many different platforms. The poor company in need of new clients is going to begin investing in a variety of media to attempt to drive more sales. The rich business is go to do something similar either through evaluating existing sources of advertising to entice return business or beginning new marketing campaigns to attract new clients. Again, in either situation it's going to be much harder to analyze the success of any one advertising effort when you have your hands in so many.

Businesses that focus their marketing efforts in low-cost SEO and marketing packages are at a greater risk of falling into this trap. The primitive idea revolves around the thought of: "We want to attract new business. How can we diversify our budget of $XXXX a month into as many avenues as possible?" I can only think of one saying that fits here. "Jack of all trades, master at none." A better short and long term strategy would be to have an agency analyze your existing efforts and clearly define what works for your industry, where you have the most opportunity for growth, and what platforms are just wasted expenditure. DON'T spread your marketing budget across multiple platforms and hope for the best success. DO look at your existing marketing efforts and see where you can stand to make the most improvements from your increased investment. If you don't have any investments, have an agency worth their salt see what type of advertising works for your industry. Most importantly, have them show you examples of their past success using the methods they are trying to sell you on.

Unreasonable Expectations vs Spend

Unreasonable Expectations vs. Spend

"I want my brand to compete with the big boys. I want to be bigger, have more clients and be feared by my competitors." Sounds like a great goal. When your company begins showing up higher in search results you should be proud. You should be proud when things are going well and you are getting additional sign-ups, contact requests, and conversions. You should also be willing to invest appropriately to get there. Below you will see a great quote from Jill Whalen of HighRankings.com

You can't convince people to pay for SEO who don't understand SEO or its value. You can certainly try to educate them, but it's likely you'd be wasting your time because this client seems to be basing his decision on price alone. It sounds as if the client might not be a good fit for you if he's prepared to go with an extremely low-end solution...believe me when I say that they will likely end up costing you much more than the $250 a month you would charge him -- in both time and aggravation. - Jill Whalen

This ties into everything else listed on this page. When you begin looking for a new marketing company, take a few moments to see what you are getting for your money. Read between the lines of the distracting graphic design elements and long line-itemed lists of all the things included in your marketing agreement. Questions you need to ask yourself should contain:

  • Do you REALLY need social media marketing?
  • If so, do you REALLY need an external company to handle that for you?
  • Do you need additional reporting besides the free reports available from Google?
  • If so, is this type of reporting included (and actually useful) in your marking agreement?
  • What is included in their "link building campaigns"?
  • What keywords are "Guaranteed First Page"? The most competitive, or just low-competition, long tailed queries no-one searches for?
  • If setting up backlinks and citations, will I be provided with a full list of who, when and how often?
  • Will I have full control and logins for all my online entities and profiles?
  • What happens if I decide to discontinue service with this marketing company?
  • Should I have to pay for someone just to look at my current online status?
  • If considering signing up with a big brand like YP or Yelp, how large of an audience will your ad or featured profile actually reach?
  • For platform-based marketing: Do people actually shop for my services or products within this platform?
  • How long is the required commitment? Am I going to be locked into an agreement for an extended period of time?
  • THE BIG ONE: Am I getting everything I need from this "marketing package" to fully accomplish my goals?

Focusing Your SEO and Marketing in the Right Places

Focuses Only on the Little Things (That Don't Make A Difference)

Before typing this section, I did a quick search for "SEO providers", and came up with 2,780,000 different links. That is a lot of results, many of them claiming to be experts in the field. A brief blurb: I have been doing online marketing for over 12 years, at many professional levels, for over 500 different clients with thousands of keywords on page one in first position...and I still would not consider myself to be an expert. Does that mean I couldn't get a site to page one quickly and keep it there? No, it just means I'm still learning new things every day about Google and the search engine infrastructure. In my opinion, only the masterminds at Google and Bing that create and control the rules behind search engine optimization are true "SEO Experts". Think of it like a car engine. Just because you are a mechanic and can fix an engine, you will never know as much about that motor as the engineer who designed it.

The success of a page should be measured by one criteria: Does the visitor do what you want them to do? - Aaron Wall – SEObook.com

Tying back into the "Quantity over Quality" rule, every company has its own set guidelines and procedures for optimizing a brand or website. Cheap SEO is focused on the elements that sell easily and quickly, with little to no regard to any elements that fall outside of their work scope. For example, almost all the SEO companies I researched offered some type of "Local Optimization" service that included citation setup and creation, along with submitting your domain to various "Highly Trusted Directories."

What concerned me is that what if you already had listings that were incorrect? What if I moved my company or changed the name? What if I had been working on our company's SEO for the past 6 months and seen no results and had no idea why? Under the packages I found most just seemed to approach this element from a position of "What old listings? You will have brand new ones! The old ones won't matter!" Not true. Having accurate, consistent, and well cited information about your business is key to having search engines "trust" what you say on your site. This particular example applies mainly to local SEO, but can also be applied to national or worldwide SEO in the existence of blacklisted directories or exorbitant amount of backlinks. You have to know what problems exist or areas to fix before potentially adding to the problem, something that most budget SEO packages never address. Why? Because there isn't enough labor available. (remember "Not Having The Labor To Optimize and Analyze?"). Scale the items mentioned in this section across your whole internet presence and you can see how quickly cheap SEO can create more problems than it repairs, and often result in more expensive fixes needed down the road.

SEO Bait and Switch

You Got Baited into a "Good Deal"

We are all guilty of it. Impulse buys, quick decisions made in the heat of the moment, uneducated purchases. It happens. It's a bit easier to absorb when we are talking about a silly purchase at Walmart because the end cap was eye-catching, but not when you commit thousands of dollars to a destined-to-fail marketing agreement. Simply put, there is a reason many of the successful marketing companies charge upwards of $1000 a month for marketing services. Because that is what is needed to make your SEO plan work. It is also because they want to make sure if anything needs additional adjustments or there are forks in the road that the labor is available to quickly address and repair when needed.

Even the best SEOs are not magicians. They can't simply place a site at the top of the engines when there are hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of others that offer basically the same thing, and provide basically the same information. If they could, you'd see a whole lot more millionaire SEOs.

"Good deal" SEO services can be compared to that end cap in Walmart. Cleverly designed to make you take notice, and take the desired action. (It's marketing!). These types of packages only offer the reporting just so you, the busy business owner, can feel confident in your purchasing decision and that things are being done to improve your ranking in search results. The reality is that little to no work is being done to improve your site, or at the very least, work that could have the opposite effect of what you are trying to achieve. The one question to ask should be: Would the SEO provider use this package to promote their own business or product? Probably not. They would use an in-depth optimization and backlink campaign to allow for the best success in search engine results. The big question to ask is, then how come they aren't offering that to you....?

SEO People Working Together

Keep these things in mind when deciding what route to go with your SEO and marketing and you can't go wrong. We hope you enjoyed reading this article, and if you did please don't forget to share!

Posted By David Kley - June 4th, 2015
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