Is there such a thing as cheap, affordable SEO?

Understanding the importance of quality over quantity when link building

As a search engine marketer, having been involved in the internet industry for over 20 years, I’ve seen a great deal change in this business. Having started life as a website designer and front-end developer, creative styles have evolved, development languages have moved on, devices have increased in power and capability, search engines have come and gone but one thing has always remained a constant issue – organic search ranks.

Back in the day, the search sphere was shared by a number of platforms and various folks used different options dependent on their personal preference. Yahoo, Metacrawler, Excite, Alta Vista, Lycos, MSN and AOL to name a few. Oh how times have changed.

Today, the search world is pretty much dominated by one giant of the internet in the form of Google, which enjoys over 85% of market share. Back in the 90’s, the SEO game was about ranking on sites across the board and ironically, it was a great deal easier to get ahead of the game back then. Just a few tweaks here or there, some keywords stuffed in appropriate places and hey presto, your site was rocking the search world. Not so anymore!

Nowadays, Google requires a great deal more than some keyword stuffing, invisible anchors and text boldening to make your mark. Yet I find it incredible that there are still website owners out there who believe that the search engines rank sites in the same way back then today. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve received enquiries from prospective clients saying that they need their site looked at as their ranks dropped. They had added all the meta tags, jammed them full of keywords, placed a ton of references to search phrases in their website verbiage and hired an SEO or two over the past couple of years to build them a ton of directory links for a few bucks. Seriously, do these people not ever read the free and informative information that’s out there on the web? Five minutes work will tell them just how foolish they’re being.

It still baffles me that business owners think this is the way that SEO is performed and that the search engines, built on highly sophisticated artificial intelligence that receives multiple software updates, has never moved on or improved its algorithmic framework. It’s the technology sector for Pete’s sake, of course it will have evolved!

Yet time and again, I receive emails from business owners who state that they need the help of an SEO to get their ranks back but can’t afford to spend much. It’s like the famous saying Einstein penned: “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing again and again, yet expecting different results”. Yet this insanity goes on in worrying abundance!

The fact is, SEO is about quality and authority and you do not get that from building a house of cards amassed from low quality spammy links, directories and blog comments. The only type of affordable SEO is the kind that works – period. The kind of SEO that works is devised by knowledgeable search marketers who takes the time necessary to fully analyse every aspect of your website from the ground up. The source code, the markup, the content quality, the link and social signals, citations, domain and page authority… in fact, a whole array of factors that highly influence your website’s appeal to Google’s very stringent ranking algorithms. Not just how many millions of links you can acquire in the fastest time.

So is there such as thing as cheap affordable SEO? Yes. Is there such a thing as cheap SEO that works. Absolutely not. Sadly, there are still many misinformed or ill-judged business people left in the world who are willing to risk the very long term future of their businesses in favour of a quick and cheap option instead of realising what the real meaning of affordable search marketing really is.

Gamble with your business and expect to get burned. I say good luck to these people but I seriously doubt they’ll get any if that’s where they’re headed.