Three reasons why you should never hire a cheap SEO agency (and what you need to do instead)

SEO is essential for any business that has a web presence. It is how the right people find your website, and builds trust in your brand.

But SEO has a reputation for being complicated (if not indecipherable), time consuming and expensive. And for people who don’t understand SEO properly, it can be hard to justify the learning curve, time and money good SEO can take.

So it is no surprise that many businesses either neglect SEO completely, resort to risky black hat shortcuts, or hire cheap SEO agencies to do it for them.

All of which are potentially expensive mistakes.

Why it is a mistake to ignore your SEO

If you don’t invest time or money in your SEO, you risk losing customers and market share. Or your business not taking off at all.

Today we use the internet to find things we want and need. From local restaurants and other businesses, to where to order products and services. And we don’t just use it to FIND businesses, but we research which brand to trust with our money.

And if you aren’t ranking on the first search engine results page (SERP) for the right search terms, potential customers and clients won’t find you. Instead they will find your competitors, and may well decide to spend their money with them instead.

So, if you are a local business, not investing the time and effort in building your local SEO is pretty much the kiss of death.

Why you should never shortcut your SEO

But what if you get that SEO is essential, but you can’t justify to yourself investing much time or money in it? Perhaps you don’t fully understand WHY SEO is essential, you just know you need to do it.

In this circumstance we can see that it is possible to be lured into shortcuts (also known as black hat techniques) or hiring a cheap SEO agency who promise you miraculous results for little money.

Both of these are a big mistake.

Why? Because trying to trick search engines like Google never pays off in the long run. And a cheap SEO agency will be trying to do just that, usually with black hat strategies. They can also damage your brand. Let’s look at three reasons why.

1) A cheap agency may pretend to be you… badly!

This article was actually inspired by an email I received this morning. It claimed to from the co-founder and CMO of a large global telecoms business, and even had her name, photo and website in the email signature.

But there were two things wrong with this email. Firstly, why would the CMO of a multinational company be emailing me asking if she could personally write for my website? Surely she has more important things to do!

And secondly, the email was terribly written, and clearly not by a native English speaker (as the CMO is). Here’s how it started:

“I know you probably hear this every day, but you’ve indeed got a great website. The articles are downright imposing, with comprehensive information on the topic.”

I don’t for a second believe this email came from the woman it purported to be from. But it does reflect very poorly on her business, because clearly someone who works for it has decided to go with a cheap SEO agency. And this is exactly the kind of technique they employ.

A cheap agency will blast sites like mine with obviously cut and paste emails, pretending to be from a business owner. They will be insincerely flattering and badly written.

High quality site like ours won’t respond to these emails so they won’t achieve the intended aim. However, low quality, black hat sites, the type that risk falling foul of Google algorithm updates, will respond.

So that cheap SEO agency you hired will just use your money to place links to your business website on sites that may ultimately damage your SEO. And in future you could find yourself paying more money to another agency to attempt to remove these damaging links.

2) A cheap agency may attempt to blackmail publishers

Another risky tactic used by cheap SEO agencies is to attempt to blackmail publishers like us into add your links to our site – yes really! Here’s an example of an email we received recently:

I working for [name] SEO company in Bangladesh. My client needing backlinks urgently. So sir, I requesting that you give me a do follow, permanent backlink on your blog. When you are done, please sending me email to confirming. Plz also creating a 5 star GMB and Trust Pilot reviewings too.

If I do not seeing a backlink in one week, I am create million toxic blog comment spam and redirect backlink to and you can saying goodbye to your Google rankings for 1 year or more.

I trust you making correct decision Sir. I giving you 7 days. Best wishes from sunny Bangladesh

It’s not the most professional email in the world, and is highly unethical and unpleasant. But surprisingly the company they are demanding a link to is a reputable US business. They obviously maintain high standards in their products and customer service, as their website shows numerous industry accreditations.

So it is odd that they have clearly decided to go VERY cheap when hiring an SEO agency. Either that or the SEO agency they did hire has outsourced to a very dodgy company.

As I have already explained above, this kind of strategy is unlikely to work out well. It’s incredibly damaging for the company’s reputation, and the only links it will generate will be low quality and risky.

3) A cheap agency will produce poor quality content

Emails to publishers aren’t the only thing cheap SEO agencies aren’t good at writing. From experience, the lower quality (and therefore cheaper) the SEO agency, the worse the content they produce.

This reflects incredibly badly on your brand, as your name is possibly in it, and you are linked to from it. These kind of blogs are also only likely to be accepted by poor quality websites, which comes with risk in the future of penalties if these sites fall foul of a Google update.

Good writers cost money. So if an SEO agency promises miracles in return for a low fee, you can bet they are paying pennies for cheap writers who produce badly researched and written content… with your name attached.

Like most things in life, you get what you pay for when it comes to SEO. So if you have the budget (as both companies I reference above do) then hire a decent SEO agency. And if you don’t have the money for an established, reputable company who uses white hat techniques, then learn how to do your own SEO properly.

Why SEO needs to be done regularly – and how we can help you

There are two big misconceptions about SEO that put too many businesses off doing SEO properly. The first is that SEO is complicated and difficult.

The reality is that SEO is incredibly simple to understand, and when you get what search engines like Google are looking for, it is easy to do SEO effectively and see a difference in your ranking.

The second misconception is that SEO is a once-and-done activity. All you need to do is build an SEO friendly website and that is it; you can just sit back and wait for your page one SERP ranking.

The truth is that you should be doing SEO activities every month. SEO is always evolving, and your backlinks ageing (and even being removed). So you can never rest on your laurels.

The good news is that when you have an SEO plan you can just take simple actions every month to maintain and build your SEO. It doesn’t be hard, time consuming or expensive, and is quite easy to manage yourself.

If you’d like help planning an easy SEO strategy for your business, check out our SEO Kit specially designed for small businesses and freelancers like you.