Cheap SEO packages: how to get the SEO results that you really want.

  Written by Matt Press

 Last updated: Feb 23, 2017

 2 Comments

 

Have you ever looked online for SEO help?

Ever felt completely flummoxed by all the different SEO packages out there?

If so, then I’ve got good news…

… this article is all you’ll need to work out the direction you should go in.

Tell me if this sounds familiar:

You know that search engine optimisation is crucial to the long-term health of your business.

A strong digital presence is vital because all of us are constantly going online and searching for stuff.

This is happening all over the world, 24-7.

If you could be on page one for the keywords that your audience is searching for, that would be amazing, right?

It would mean a steady, reliable stream of fresh new leads hitting up your website every day.

But here’s the thing: I'm guessing that you find SEO totally confusing.

It wouldn't be surprising.

There’s so much jargon in the strategies you find online.

And if you’re not a techie person, I bet you're struggling to pin down exactly what you need to do in order to hit page one.

[Don’t worry, you’re not alone.]

Often, when someone meets this kind of roadblock, the next logical step is to consider hiring someone else to take care of their SEO.

Surely that'll make life easier, yeah?

Except it won't.

Far from it, in fact.


Ironically, the process of outsourcing your SEO usually starts with a search, so you fire up Google.

You’re keen to check out all the different options and packages out there, but budget is an issue.

You're not totally convinced about SEO just yet. Initially at least, you’re not prepared to part with much money until you start seeing results.

Again, this is a completely understandable and perfectly normal mindset to have.

So as a result, you head to a search engine and enter something like “cheap SEO packages” or “affordable SEO packages”.

But

… when you do this, you’re met with loads of results. 

You've absolutely no idea who to contact.

To make things worse, whilst they all promise the same thing, there are some huge differences between them.

In price points, branding, approaches, reputation, accreditations…

... you name it.

What should you make of the sheer myriad of answers?

Which SEO package should you plump for?

It’s a minefield.

It’s a big decision for you to make.

Huge.

One that’ll shape the future of your business…

… but how on Earth are you supposed to make this decision?

Your original problem has just become even more complex.



How to pick the best SEO package for your business.

This is where your SEO pain ends. 

Right here, right now.

Today, I’m going to help you decide the right path [the one that’s right for you].

This post will show you how to evaluate all the different SEO packages out there, so that you don’t have to rely on instinct or luck.

Moreover, it’ll also help you decide whether you should even be considering outsourcing SEO in the first place.

[Because perhaps you don't need to contact anyone. It might be easier than you think to design the perfect SEO strategy yourself.]

Now, this is a comprehensive guide to SEO packages and search engine optimisation services. So, as a result, I’ve broken it up into different sections.

If you prefer, you can use the links below to jump straight to the part that interests you the most.


Looking for an SEO agency? For starters, ignore all the paid ads.

What are the different types of SEO packages? What are their strengths and weaknesses?

The big dilemma: how much does SEO cost? What should it cost?

9 warning signs that you should run a mile from an SEO agency.

Do you actually need to use an SEO agency? Can you do SEO yourself?


 

Looking for an SEO agency? For starters, ignore all the paid ads.

Let’s get a quick win under our belts.

For me, this is a no brainer.

Why choose an SEO package from a company who can’t even reach page one organically themselves?



 

This is a point of principle.

As you know, the first few options on a set of results are ads. But don't worry, because the vast majority of searchers don’t click on PPC ads.

It’s a trust thing; companies who appear on page one as an advertisement have paid to do so.

They’ve jumped the queue. 

In some industries, that doesn’t matter.

Many companies, particularly product-heavy ones, can make a pretty penny with PPC ads.

But SEO?

PPC ads just don't wash.

Not with me, anyway.

Surely, the proof is in the pudding?

If an SEO agency can’t get their own website on page one for their most important keywords, then why would they be able to do it for you?

Why would you invest money in them?

Every marketing strategy is a risk of sorts, including SEO, but let’s stack the cards in our favour, eh?

What are the different types of SEO packages? What are their strengths and weaknesses?

 

Some SEO companies offer guaranteed results.

Knowing what I know about SEO, I’d recommend instantly avoiding any pitch that contained the word ‘guaranteed’.

Search engine optimization is a bona fide marketing skillset.

A skill that can be trained and improved.

But no matter how adept someone is at reaching the top of the search engines, one thing never changes: 

We can’t control Google.

[And we never will.]

We can, through research, analytics and testing, work out SEO best practices, but it’s Google’s ranking algorithm, no one else’s.

As such, nothing can be guaranteed. Ever.

Meanwhile, you may see a few companies that offer ‘pay on results’ deals. 

I would avoid these too.

These types of agencies tend to specialize in black hat SEO techniques.

They do whatever it takes to get short-term gains, then they down tools when Google works out what’s going on.

However, the overwhelming majority of SEO companies offer packages that work on a monthly retainer.

This is the most common scenario, so this is the one I’ll look at in the most detail.

The relationship with a company that works via a monthly contract usually plays out like this:

Step 1: The SEO agency performs an SEO audit of your website. 


After you contact an SEO agency, they'll usually run an audit. They should be able to clearly tell you the technical aspects of your website that need fixing.

My take:

Assuming the audit is reliable, this is both a correct and important step.

You don’t have to worry about a lack of technical SEO knowledge, because the audit can be passed on to a web developer.

Step 2: They’ll suggest some keywords to target. 


Keywords are crucial; they make or break any SEO campaign.

The keywords you decide to target will dictate whether this relationship is a huge success or doomed from the start. 

My take:

Let’s assume for a moment that the SEO company you’re sounding out knows how to perform proper keyword research.

The issue with this part of the SEO strategy is that they agency you’re working will probably not be truly aligned with your business goals.

They may suggest keywords that are easy to rank for, but won’t offer much commercial value. It’s important to ensure that they know your long-term business goals.

Ultimately, SEO only counts for something when you’re on page one for keywords that your target audience is searching for.

SEO has to deliver a ROI.

If you’re only on page one for random, unrelated keywords, you’ll get website visitors, but it'll be the wrong sort of traffic.

You won't be attracting potential customers.

Step 3: SEO agencies will then start working on an ongoing link building campaign.


Does your SEO agency use white hat, black hat or grey hat techniques to get links?

Come to think of it, do they even know the difference between the different approaches?

My take:

Here’s some context...

Google has publicly announced that the 2 biggest things that they care about are authority and content.

[And for ‘authority’, read backlinks.]

Backlinks are links on an external site that point back to your website.  

Link building work is done continuously, hence the monthly fee.

In theory, this sounds the right play, but we’re actually entering dangerous territory.

Your SEO success will largely depend what the agency is generating links to and where those links are coming from.

Poor quality SEO companies will do one of two things.

Either they’ll generate low quality backlinks from spammy websites, or they’ll achieve links by creating and submitting awful content to low quality PR directories.



Thing is, Google will analyze the quality of your backlinks link.

If they consider a link to be of poor quality, that’s bad news.

You could be doing more harm than good. You could be looking at incurring a penalty.

Ask your SEO agency about their link building campaigns.

Get them to explain the details.

Are the links pointing towards your home page, a service page or product page?

If so, then this is far from an optimal optimisation strategy.

Links are like references on a CV. They’re a recommendation.  

They’re the digital equivalent of someone holding their hand up, risking their reputation and saying ‘go here, this site is great’.

I've done it in this article.

I've added some links that I think add value to the subject matter.

Therefore, links only work when there’s a genuine reason to link to something on your site.

Which authoritative websites are going to link to your home page, your service page or any product pages?

Exactly… none of them.

This strategy is a complete disaster.

[Not least because these links can mysteriously disappear as soon as you decide to end your contract.]

Nope, proper links are earned in an authentic manner.

It might surprise you, but blog posts are easily the best and most effective way of generating links.

[Remember: content is one of the 2 most important things for Google.]

Blog content can add huge value to a website if it’s engaging, interesting and useful enough. 

There are a million and one reasons why a good website would want to reference a blog article.

It could be data that supports an author’s perspective on something.

Or a case study that would interest the website’s audience.

It doesn’t really matter. The point is, the whole link building context changes when we incorporate blog posts.

All of sudden, it’s not shady.

All of a sudden, we’re talking about two-way value [something that’s close to Google’s heart].

 


In summary, a reputable SEO company will know that link building is a logical process.

Quality content needs to be created, while authentic links must be generated. 

What about extra services like SEO copywriting?

Some SEO companies offer additional SEO copywriting services, where they might suggest improvements to the existing copy on your website.

The trouble is, very few SEO agencies actually employ copywriters with a genuine background in writing.

And, much like it is with creating content for backlink campaigns, this is a huge issue for these companies.

You can often receive pretty sloppy copy.

At best, we're talking about copy that’s unnaturally crammed with keywords and messages that alienate potential customers.

At worst, you could be left with gibberish that might tarnish your brand reputation immeasurably.

Don’t forget that you should always be focused on writing for humans, not robots.

Funnily enough, Google places a lot of emphasis on user experience and a website’s ability to cater for its audience.

For instance, dwell time [the amount of time that someone spends on a web page] is fast becoming an important ranking factor.

In layman’s terms, it means that the longer someone spends on your web page, the better it is for your SEO.

If your website copy is annoying and jarring, people will just leave quickly. That will, in turn, have a negative impact on your ranking position.

[Which obviously defeats the purpose.]

Anything else?

Yup. In general, don’t be swayed by the promise of a personal search engine optimisation consultant, a dedicated account manager or monthly reports.

Bespoke attention is the least you can expect.

Also, it's common for SEO companies to charge a setup fee.

I would be reticent to pay one.

SEO firms claim to put in a lot of work early on in a campaign, thus charging a something as compensation.

There's slightly more to do at the beginning of a working relationship, such as keyword research and competitor analysis perhaps, but realistically, it's nothing untoward.

If you find an SEO package you like and you don't mind paying a setup fee, make sure it's not a lot.

What's more jarring with setup fees is that many companies can wind down their efforts as the months go on [but still charge a fortune].

So just be clear on what their monthly workload will look like.

In summary, a reputable SEO agency should keep things simple. The crucial word here is communication.

This is a partnership. You need to be clear on your goals and they must be able explain every aspect of their strategy to you, regardless of your level of expertise.

If they can’t, or they try to fudge any of your questions, avoid them like the plague. 

The big dilemma: how much does SEO cost? What should it cost?


Ah, the big question.

It would be nice to be able to hand you a number, but in reality, this is where SEO gets really messy.

What should you pay for SEO?

I’m in the UK. Regardless of the country you’re in, when you research SEO packages, one thing is for certain:

You won’t see any conformity when it comes to SEO pricing. Charges are all over the place.

When I had a quick look around, in no particular order, I saw £69 per month:

 

 

$49 per month:

 

 

£79 per month:

 

 

£29 per month:

 

 

£129 per month:

 

 

I could go on…

The point is, they’re all charging something different.

These prices are just from the page one results, too. I dare say that the inconsistency would continue.

Not very helpful, is it?

It's like even they don't know what to charge. They're not sure what SEO is worth.

It doesn’t help us answer the key question here:

What’s a fair price for SEO?

Well, my opinion is that the value of SEO is different for everyone.

Guess what?

When I enter these terms into a search engine like Google:

  • “cheap SEO packages”
  • “affordable SEO packages”
  • “SEO packages for small business”
  • “low cost SEO packages”

… I get an almost identical set of results as when I enter:

“best SEO packages”

Essentially, you're choosing the same services from the same range of companies.

There is no definitive list of cheap SEO packages, affordable SEO packages or best SEO packages.

Life isn’t that simple.

We can’t order things neatly.

I don’t know what cheap SEO is for you.

Just like I don’t know what cheap copywriting is, or cheap marketing.

Instead, pricing up search engine optimisation fairly is an individual process.

SEO agencies can charge what they like, but it’s up to us to work out what’s suitable.

As always with marketing, we assess risk v reward.

This all boils down to how we approach the issue of SEO.

Is SEO just something you want to dabble with and test out?

Is this a whim or a long-term commitment? 

It’s not for me to say SEO is worth £X per month.

It completely depends.

The value of SEO will be different for a blogger who wants to drive some extra traffic than for a small business that craves regular leads.

But ranking on page one has helped Splash Copywriters grow, so my perceived value of SEO might be bigger than yours.

[At least until you top the SERPs and witness what effect ranking highly can have on your website.]

However, sometimes it can take a while to see any results from SEO, so think more in terms of a block commitment [both time and money].

Over time, you'll be able to build up a better picture of the value of SEO to your business.

For instance, let's suppose your company sells a product that costs $100.

You can work out how much traffic your website is currently getting, how many sales you're making and what your conversion rate is.

If you wanted more traffic and you were to go down the PPC route, it would be pretty easy to see how profitable it is for you.

You'll be paying a certain price per click and, depending on what your conversion rate is, you'll either be making money... or not.

If you're making a profit from PPC advertising, then your strategy should be to scale up your ad investment and test whether your revenue increases.

Meanwhile, SEO has the greater potential to increase your website traffic.

And as the number of people hitting your website increases, so should your sales.

It's all fairly straightforward.

But with SEO, there's the opportunity to get these results for free [if you can get to page one yourself]. 

Furthermore, your ability to scale is greater. You can create high ranking blog posts every day if you wanted to. However, with PPC you're going to constantly face competition.

Competition that will drive up your ad costs.

And if you multiply the number of keywords that you want to target, you can multiply the expenses. 

9 warning signs that you should run a mile from an SEO agency

 

Maybe you’ve found an SEO package that’s passed the initial eyeball test.

Or perhaps you’ve already take the plunge and outsourced your SEO, but something’s not right…

… you’re not convinced that they’re doing things right.

Well, when it comes to shady or incompetent SEO companies, there are a number of warning signals.

Here are 9 of the clearest signs:

Run a mile if the SEO consultant you’re talking to:

  1. Asks you to sign a long-term contract.

  1. Asks you to pay some sort of large ‘set up’ fee.

  1. Refers every technical question you ask gets referred to a certain person or department.

  1. They guarantee certain results in a certain period of time.

  1. They mention article submissions, keyword stuffing, blog networks, directories or link farms.

  1. Have no genuine case studies or testimonials to show you.

  1. Don’t rank highly for any SEO-related keywords themselves.

  1. Can’t explain exactly how they do simple procedures like keyword research, on-page optimization and meta data creation.

  2. Have a poorly designed website with a terrible user experience.

Do you actually need to use an SEO agency? Can you do SEO yourself?

 

Now here's a question: do you really need to hire anyone to impress the search engines?

Well, not in my opinion.

I think that every website owner is more than able to do SEO themselves.

There's no reason to gamble and rely on someone else to take you to page one, particularly if you're not 100% convinced of their optimisation skills.

This is something you can do yourself.

And besides, don't forget, SEO is a long-term commitment.

If you’re paying someone to handle your SEO, even if they are good at what they do, that’s going to be quite an outlay, no matter how much they charge.

I’m a business owner and when I created my company in 2012, I knew absolutely nothing about SEO.

I always knew that having an SEO strategy that works was going to be important for the growth of my business, but I couldn’t wrap my head around the topic.

SEO was a bit of a mystery.

It all seemed a bit cloak and dagger.

 

 

Those who knew what they were doing either couldn’t or wouldn’t spell out their system in an easy step-by-step fashion.

At first, because I had a million and one jobs to do, I tried using a couple of companies to handle everything.

Both times, it proved to be an expensive disaster.

After the second time, that’s when I decided to learn how to do SEO myself.

I’m not a technical person.

Never have been, never will be.

But I spent countless hours wading through all the SEO strategies out there.

I tested through tears [well, almost].

And the more I learnt, the more I realized 2 incredibly important things.

Firstly, I learnt that very few people actually know what they’re talking about. 

Secondly, I learnt that SEO has been grossly over-complicated over recent years. 

It’s actually quite simple.

I managed to design my own search engine optimisation strategy that works.

Anyone can do it.

Yes… even you.

I developed what I call my Stealth Marketing System.

I called it that because my incredibly simple system doesn't just deal with SEO; it also accomplishes all your social media, content marketing and PR jobs in one hit.

Click here to get more details.

 


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 Comments

Colin Steele-Perkins

All very very true Matt, Everything you write on this page is exactly correct. I have been in web design & SEO for 18 years and had to basically fathom it out myself. I would stay away as far as possible from SEO Agencies ( over priced and not knowledgeable ) and also not buy any links from anywhere. All your links should come perfectly naturally to your articles and posts.

Matt

Thanks Colin, much appreciated. I guess you must have seen many changes in the industry, having worked in SEO for 18 years? Yeah, my take on SEO nowadays is not to trust anyone who can't explain a strategy to me in a way that I understand [and in a way that makes logical sense from a strategic point of view].


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