Cheap SEO Services – 12 Good Reasons You Need to Avoid Them

While they may seem like a good deal, cheap SEO services often don’t deliver the results you’re looking for.

Too many times, cheap SEO companies take advantage of business owners with their low price points and lack of accountability. They’re only interested in getting the first payment and will then let the contract run without any thought to the success of the campaign.

Their main purpose is to generate revenue fast and use the old SEO excuse of, “Sorry, but it’s a long journey and it will take time to see results.” They know it will take the client at least 3-6 months before they realize they have wasted their money. By then, they will have another gullible client signed.

Cheap SEO packages often use black hat techniques (keyword stuffing etc.) to get quick results in website traffic; however, the quality of this traffic will be low (it never converts). In addition, any results are temporary and are likely to cause Google to lose trust in your site.

Here are ten reasons you need to avoid cheap SEO services:

1) They won’t deliver results.

Before we dive into explaining this, let’s first define what results we should expect from SEO done properly.

If you care about your business and have an understanding of how SEO works, your results expectation will look like this:

  • I want to increase my traffic over time, and I expect a healthy growth of 25%-35% over the next six months.
  • I want to target the top of the funnel of those who are not aware they’re having a problem and slowly get them to believe in my service.
  • I want to focus on conversion by targeting bottom-of-funnel keywords, long tail, and high intent with high cost-per-click (CPC) value from keywords relevant to the service pages or products I want to promote.

None of the goals stated above can magically happen by paying <$500/mo for some agency that promises page 1 ranking.

Page 1 ranking is nothing if it doesn’t lead to conversions or lacks a clear goal behind getting there.

2) It’s a total waste of money.

What is the point of doing SEO if nothing gets done? If you look closely at cheap SEO companies’ promised deliverables, you will see that it’s without content, without a clear link-building strategy, and absolutely zero insights from analytics.

SEO without an always-on plan that utilizes content and links is a total waste of money as it can never work. You might see traction early on, but that is about it.

3) They don’t cover content. If they do, it’s pure BS and AI rubbish.

Content is king — it is also expensive.

Any quality content that is based on research and written by an expert in that subject will cost a lot. Cheap content can’t compete with good content.

If you are paying for cheap SEO, it won’t be covering content. If it does, I suggest that you carefully look into that, because it is probably poorly written or AI-generated

A good agency will tell you upfront that they won’t be covering content, but they will advise and guide your in-house content writers and prepare a content calendar plan with a clear brief on what to write and how to write it.

4) They don’t cover building quality links.

The most expensive part of any SEO is building links. It’s a very resource-intensive task with a very thin line.

Link building, if done right, is a process just like sales. It involves pitching topics, negotiating with editors, vetting sites so only quality links are built, and monitoring the live links over time.

With cheap SEO services, that part is always a black hat technique. They often use cheap PBN (private blog network) farms that they own. The links are spammy and easy to detect (fake ads on the site, no company profile, not a legit blog or site, spanned content, or AI-written content).

These cheap SEO agencies use many tactics, but they’re super easy to detect if you look carefully.

5) It’s a pure scam designed to increase MRR for agencies.

If you look into this from a business point of view, you will see right through it.

Most of those selling cheap SEO services rely on the lack of knowledge that many business owners have when it comes to complex topics like SEO.

To them, your lifetime value is three months max before you realize it’s a scam. That’s time enough for them to get your money and sign someone else, and it goes on like that. They put their effort into selling and marketing, exploiting the pain point that most business owners face.

6) It’s 100% black hat SEO that can put your business at risk.

Back hat SEO methods are illicit and deemed as such by Google guidelines. Unfortunately, these actions often lead to a permanent penalty for your site that can be difficult — if not impossible — to come back from.

You want to avoid having a negative reputation with Google at all costs because it reflects poorly on your website optimization progress.

You can be pretty sure that any agency that sells cheap SEO services is using black hat tactics that violate Google guidelines.

If you care about your business’s future, you won’t want to get mixed up in any of that.

7) Automated reports are done by AI, not real humans.

From a business perspective, to make a profit, cheap SEO agencies need to reduce time spent as much as possible — that’s why they rely so much on automation.

Irrelevant and confusing data is included in many automated generated reports tools. These tools are designed to overwhelm you with information so that you believe more work went into compiling them than in fact happened. 

8) Inexperienced accounts managers who know nothing about SEO.

The company will assign you a so-called “account manager” who is really just a glorified customer service representative with no significant SEO knowledge. These representatives are trained to give you false hope and mislead you, so be wary of their promises. If you keep pushing them for answers, they will eventually slip up and reveal their ignorance.

9) They never touch on analytics and fail to answer difficult questions.

True SEO requires in-depth insights and careful analysis of user behavior — if you’re only looking at traffic data, you’re missing out on a lot.

We often use Google Analytics (GA), Google search console (GSC), Hotjar, or Mouseflow to analyze user behaviors and a bunch of other tools to gain more insights that help in shaping the strategy.

The SEO strategy should be ever evolving.

10) They only work on a bunch of keywords.

Your keywords target should be aligned with your business objective, and it should be a realistic target.

If you work with a cheap SEO provider, you will notice that they limit their package with the number of keywords they target. The more keywords you want, the higher the cost.

That’s wrong on many levels because your SEO should never be limited by a number of keywords.

A good SEO plan covers more than just keyword ranking. It also includes choosing the right keywords for your business, aligning them with your content plan, and making sure they fit with your overall objective.

11) They over-optimize for SEO and stuff keywords.

You can easily tell if the person working on your SEO is knowledgeable and experienced or not from how they recommend content optimization.

If you notice keywords repeated many times, stuffed in the meta tags and in every heading, that is bad SEO practice aimed at manipulating the algorithm.

Cheap SEO content will always have that footprint — over-optimized to the point that it’s hard to read and offers little to no value to your site visitors.

12) They report on vanity SEO metrics.

Vanity metrics are those measurements that give you a positive outlook but do not help you understand your own progress in a way that guides future plans.

Because the entire package that they sold you is a scam, they can’t afford to report on business metrics that are important to you. Vanity metrics provide them with more room to trick you into believing everything is working when it’s not.

Here is what they report on

  1. Keyword movements without mentioning anything about the page 1 ranking movement.
  2. Clicks and impressions from GSC reports.
  3. Site engagement metrics like returning visitors vs. new visitors, and time spent on site.
  4. Number of links built this month without mentioning the site metrics.

A good SEO agency will report on real metrics that are linked to revenue

  • Traffic growth QoQ (quarter vs quarter) with insights on how to improve for next quarter
  • Overall traffic growth trend from a bird’s-eye view (month by month across a 2 year timeframe)
  • Keywords added to page 1
  • Keywords added to the LHF zone (low-hanging fruits)
  • Keywords added to the red zone (pages 5-10)
  • Traffic from the blog and what % of that reached the thank you page (conversions)
  • Top keywords that resulted in conversions
  • The actual number of sales this month attributed to organic traffic

Now you know why to avoid them, let me show you how to catch them.

The red flags of cheap SEO packages

  1. Cheap price guide (<$500 a month is cheap).
  2. Advertising that uses set packages and bundles designed to trick you.
  3. Guarantees #1 ranking (the top 10 spots, as if it’s that easy).
  4. They say they built links, but no one shows you the source (they often use PBN networks).
  5. Promotes heavy use of anchor texts and low-quality content.
  6. No website audit or strategy discussion that explains what’s wrong and how to fix it.
  7. They send over automated reports with lots of data without a proposed explanation or insights.
  8. They won’t say who will be working on your accounts and what their level of experience is.
  9. No case studies or where there are, it’s just a bunch of fake numbers.

Questions to ask any SEO agency or freelancer that offers cheap SEO services

No one can cheat a well-educated client, especially if they know all the red flags and ask the RIGHT questions.

Here are a bunch of questions to ask any SEO agency to throw them off balance:

  1. We would like to prioritize conversions from organic search — how do you plan to help us with that?
  2. Show me a recent case study where you helped a client not only rank for some keywords but how the ranking impacts their traffic growth over time.
  3. What type of links did you build for similar clients from the same industry? Can you share samples?
  4. What will you include in the SEO audit? And can you share samples of what the final report will look like?
  5. Will you cover competitor ranking and provide us with a full analysis of their SEO?

Conclusion

Think of SEO as an investment in terms of ROI (return on investment).

If you pay an SEO agency a high price tag (>$1000/mo.), that is a total of $12,000 USD a year as an investment. Will that result in enough sales to at least put you on the break-even point?

If the answer is yes, you did your due diligence about that agency, and they provided you with a full audit with a strategy on what they will do with full transparency, then it’s worth it.

Better than paying half of that for a cheap SEO agency and getting absolutely zero value.

If you want to explore working with us, we offer a free assessment that comes with a full strategy and full transparency, packed with case studies and testimonials, and it’s totally free. Request it from here.

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