SEO is one of those business expenses you just need to plan for. It’s not something you can get away with doing on the cheap. It’s important for any online business to make use of search optimization for maximized exposure, but the price tag an be enormous if you’re not doing the work in-house.
If you’re looking for an SEO company to manage your site, you’re very likely going to run across a wide range of sites, from the expensive firms catering to Fortune 500 companies to the ultra-cheap overseas outsourcing. Neither is a great option, but the latter is far more dangerous. With an expensive company, it’s possible to get great service, but the price tag may be too much. With an overseas company, your risk is much greater.
Link building is very important for modern SEO, but it’s also incredibly easy to do poorly. One of the biggest names in search algorithms, Penguin, was geared specifically towards penalizing sites with poor link profiles. If you’re hiring an overseas SEO company, chances are the techniques they’re using to build links are going to be out of date. In the worst case, the SEO company may even use automated tools to post your link in places it shouldn’t go; unrelated blogs, spam blogs, irrelevant blog comments and the like. A dedicated, experienced SEO company has a much easier time building legitimate links through prior relationships with past clients.
The tricky part here is that it’s difficult to know when your link profile looks poor without knowing enough about SEO to monitor it. When you’re hiring an overseas company, chances are you’re trying to have as little to do with it as possible.
Along with spammy and outdated ides about building links, it’s always possible that overseas outsourced SEO companies will have old ideas about other aspects of the industry. For example, maybe they put an emphasis on keyword density and shoehorn long-tail keywords in places they shouldn’t go. If they’re really out of the loop, they may try to stuff keywords in places typically used for spam, and earn your site a penalty.
Along with using outdated or penalized techniques, out of touch SEO companies may not take advantage of modern means to improve your search ranking. They might not pay attention to Google’s Authorship, for one thing. For that matter, they might not use social media at all, or use it in an overly promotional way. You may not be paying much for their services, but you aren’t getting a lot in return either.
One common promise from cheap SEO companies is the ability to rank you instantly on Google. They may guarantee a top spot in a short amount of time, or they may guarantee the number one position. Neither is legitimate.
It takes time to do SEO. It’s a long, organic process involving a lot of measurement and reaction to the way your audience interacts with your site. No SEO site can guarantee a top spot, no matter how good they are.
Any site promising quick or instant results is likely using farms full of people or fake accounts to build links, comments, social shares and traffic in an artificial manner. These techniques may rank you highly quickly, but they don’t last. When Google discovers the fraud, they will penalize your site for using it. You’ll end up worse than where you started, and out the money you spend on the company.
These days, the largest part of an SEO program is the content stream. Your site needs to be producing valuable content on a regular basis, whether that’s once each week or seven days per week. Many shady overseas companies don’t know or pay attention to this fact. Among those that do, many have issues.
Among those issues is the lack of English language fluency. It takes a native speaker to truly convey ideas in the best way possible for a given situation. Without that kind of native fluency, you’re going to end up with content that looks like it was created by a robot, not a fluent human speaker.
Readers can spot and get annoyed by even small errors in spelling in grammar. Imagine how much of a problem it would be if you looked at your site one day and saw dozens of blog posts and very little value – or readable passages – in each.
In addition to the fluency issues that come with outsourcing content production to an SEO company that itself probably outsources to cheaply paid writers, you have the basic issues of communication. When the company you’re working with is based halfway around the world, you end up struggling to find a time when you’re both available to talk about issues, techniques, tactics and direction.
When you’re able to communicate with your overseas SEO company, you’ll run into other issues. With a low level of fluency, you’re going to have miscommunications and other issues that come from speaking different languages. You may think you have clear instructions, only to find they have been carried out poorly, incorrectly or not at all. It’s a persistent problem that only gets worse when more people are involved. Of course, the company you’re hiring might themselves outsource to an even cheaper entity, which adds a whole new layer of trouble and confusion.
If you’re hiring a small overseas SEO company, chances are good that you’re not a huge corporate entity yourself. This means it’s highly unlikely that the company you’re outsourcing to has ever heard of you. They’re completely ignorant of your brand reputation and history. If you have none, this may be fine, but if your company has been established for several years, it’s important to keep reputation in mind.
This can be particularly dangerous if your overseas company manages your social media profiles for you. They don’t know what topics are sore spots in your corporate history, or what issues are most relevant to your audience. The last thing you need is to have your social media manager accidentally put you on the wrong side of a controversy.
Cheap SEO companies make money in two ways; they charge you for more than their services are worth and they take on as many clients as they can manage. They are based overseas where expenses are lower and a little money goes a long way.
The problem here is that these SEO companies are trying to take on clients more than they’re trying to maintain current clients. Even if everyone severs their contract after a year, the company has had time to load up on expensive optional extras. They don’t care about turnover; they care about volume.
Avoid the scammy overseas SEO companies. Pick a domestic company you trust or take the time to learn SEO yourself. It’s easier and cheaper in the long run.