Can we get straight with you for a minute and say what needs to be said?

These so-called Affordable SEO Services are ruining your business! And if you think we made that bold statement just to put you in a state of panic, you’d be wrong.

You SHOULD be alarmed, but you should also start undoing the changes needed to make your website prosper.

But if you’re asking why you should avoid affordable SEO agencies or what is affordable SEO in the first place, then worry not because we’ll answer your questions here.

Let’s begin!

What do we mean by “Affordable SEO Services”?

Short answer: anything that sounds too good to be true. Since there are various degrees of “affordability,” a quote from an SEO company that seems to be more attractive than what you could imagine is something to stay away from.

For example, for a company bringing in millions per month, a price of $10,000/month is “affordable,” however the same cannot be said for a startup just getting their foot off the ground. Since affordability is a relative term, there’s no exact price we can state as an example.

What we can say is that good SEO never comes cheap. That’s just a fact.

If you go with an agency that promises to get you on the first page of Google for a price that’s significantly lower than others, that’s a red flag. They either don’t know what they’re doing or will probably use cheap, spammy methods that are likely to get your site banned.

Let’s get more into the details of why you should avoid such services.

4 reasons why Affordable SEO Services are a bad idea

1. It takes money to make money

Probably one of the oldest sayings in the book, we know, but it holds true today and will likely be true forever. You cannot get quality SEO work if you’re on a tight budget because the two most important factors that drive growth– content and backlinks– cost money. Sometimes, a lot!

You may have heard that technical SEO such as on-page optimization, page speed, and keyword research are vital, and they don’t cost a lot of money. While that might be true, they’re not the only factors that drive growth.

SEO agencies selling affordable services fail in the long run because they lack capital, which usually results in the following:

• They don’t have the ability to invest in quality content that users would love to read

• They cannot hire experienced SEO personnel to manage the campaigns

• They cannot afford quality link placements to give your keywords the boost they need

Without quality content, you risk tarnishing your brand’s image, and without good backlinks, there’s no way for a website to rank. If it comes to the worst-case scenario, the company may use blackhat methods to boost rankings temporarily, which will get your website penalized later on.

We’ve seen it happen many times.

2. You’re not going to succeed in the long run

There’s no feeling worse than realizing all the months of work you’ve put into a venture has led you to nothing. That’s precisely the type of trap you’re falling into when you pick the cheapest SEO company rather than a legit one.

The worst part is that you lose money in the long run and the precious time that could’ve been spent on growing your business. Since SEO takes time to show results, the consequences of working with a bad agency aren’t immediately apparent.

By the time you realize what’s happened, it’s usually too late. Many penalized websites cannot be recovered (depending on the extension of the penalty); however, if you’re one of the ‘lucky’ ones, expect to spend a lot more money with another agency to recover iy.

So, you’re essentially spending twice just to keep your website online when you could’ve been making money if you had chosen a reputed SEO company.

3. Your growth will be stunted at best

If you’re looking for exponential growth, cookie-cutter strategies just won’t do it. Even if the “affordable” SEO agency you’re working with does a decent job, they won’t be able to do anything out of the box with a limited budget and experience. That’s just not feasible.

SEO is dynamic, more so now than it has ever been due to Google continually rolling out updates. And if you want to stay ahead of the competition, creativity is the one thing you’ll need to succeed–which obviously the affordable SEO agency won’t be able to provide.

Most of these agencies operate on volume, meaning they accept more clients (than they should) to hit a yearly revenue figure. So, as a result, their effort and attention are divided into many different directions. This is contrary to the approach premium SEO agencies take.

With a premium agency, you can rest assured that your business is in safe hands and help is just a call or email away. Premium SEO companies also don’t spend excessive amounts of time on their front end sales because they know the clients they’ve got will stay for good.

‘Client Retention’ is the metric quality companies focus on, and to achieve that, their main goal is to improve the results they’re getting for their clients. If you want quality service, you’d have to work with an agency that knows their worth and isn’t afraid to charge for it.

4. You’d be working with inexperienced people

Experience is priceless, and no amount of money can buy that overnight. Most “affordable” SEO companies can offer lower prices because they employ inexperienced people. And those inexperienced people are paid entry-level wages to perform repetitive tasks at scale, requiring no independent thought or creativity.

Even if the company brags about employing over 100 people, know that quality beats quantity every single time. So, 1 expert SEO with years of experience can get better results for your business than 10 people with no experience in ranking websites.

The defining factors that get results are experience, skills, and tried and tested strategies, not entry-level SEO workers (read: VAs).

How to spot bad SEO agencies

It can be hard to differentiate good SEO agencies from the bad ones if you’re new to the industry, especially more so when you’re under the temptation of “getting more done for less.” Don’t worry; we’re here to teach you how to spot a few telltale signs that give away their game:

1. They refuse to show previous results

Bad SEO agencies often use the excuse of ‘client confidentiality’ to weasel out of presenting proof. We’re not saying that all SEO companies can reveal the results they’ve got for all their clients, but they should be able to show some at least. Preferably more recent ones.

If the company you’re talking to is unwilling to show any proof of their expertise, don’t work with them. You’re likely going to end up in their churn and burn list in the end.

2. The proposal contains ‘big’ corporate words with very little meaning

It’s ridiculous that even in this day and age, people get away with misusing corporate jargon! Bad SEO agencies make full use of technical jargon by including as many as possible within their proposal to make it seem like they will do a lot of complicated work.

In reality, the work they’re going to do is probably meaningless as it would have no impact on the rankings. Stay clear of these companies by all means.

3. They don’t mention anything about content and backlinks

Like we mentioned before, the two most capital intensive parts of SEO are content and backlinks. Yet, affordable agencies hardly mention anything in detail about these two aspects. Why? Because they neither focus on producing good content or getting authority backlinks.

These companies likely focus on spammy methods such as blog commenting on scale, acquiring forum links, posting on directory sites, etc., all of which have little to no value.

How to get SEO solutions on a limited budget?

It’s not the end of the world if you have a limited SEO budget and cannot afford the prices of premium, reputed agencies. For example, Art of War SEO is a premium, DFY agency that charges higher rates, but has the experience to bring ROI that makes the price worth it.

You might not be able to afford a company like Art of War SEO if you’re on a slim budget and your condition is less than ‘ideal,’ there are a few workarounds:

1. Learn the basics yourself

There’s no replacement for self-education; that’s why we think everyone willing to invest in SEO should take the time to learn the basics themselves. We’d argue that doing some of the less capital-intensive tasks yourself, such as on-page optimization, keyword research, etc., is better than passing it on to an affordable agency.

There are many resources available online if you want to get started; however, you will need to put real effort into learning from those resources. You will make mistakes as you go along, but there are no shortcuts here.

One of the best resources to get started happens to be this blog by Ahrefs. Bookmark it for later reference, you’ll thank us later.

2. Delegate different parts of SEO to freelancers

If you don’t have the money to invest in agencies providing end to end service, it’s better to hire different freelancers to take care of certain aspects. For example, you can hire a decent non-native writer and pay them up to $20/hr to write content and hire a VA from The Philippines to build links at $5-8/hr.

Be warned, though; the principle of “you get what you pay for” applies to hiring freelancers as well, and you must have a pretty good knowledge of what to look for to make the ideal hires.

3. Wait for the right time

It’s okay if your business is not yet big enough to afford an SEO agency; you can always wait till the time is right, and you have accumulated the funds. At least now, you don’t risk wasting time and money on futile efforts.

Final words on affordable SEO companies

The purpose of this guide was not to portray all “affordable” agencies in a bad light; we’re sure there are a few diamonds in the rough if you’re willing to find them. However, your time is better spent on doing what you do best.