Why you get ripped off over and over again by a SEO

While you are reading this article, there is someone, somewhere getting ripped off by some dodgy/dishonest SEO professional/agency.

If you, as an SEO professional, wonder why so many dodgy SEOs take away your business then this article is for you.

If you as a webmaster/business owner wonder why you get ripped off over and over again, then this article is for you.

Do you really think SEO can be done cheap?

A lot of businesses don’t understand the ‘value’ of getting the desired rankings, especially in competitive markets.

It takes real money to displace real money.

Websites that are in the top 10 for highly competitive keywords have been spending a shit load of money in content creation and marketing for years. They didn’t just come up on page 1 of Google, overnight and certainly not on a shoestring budget.

What that means is, if a business is spending say $5000 a month on SEO and has been doing it for the last 3 years, then it has spent $5000*12*3 = $180000 so far to get/remain in top 10 for a number of competitive keywords.

And if your idea of replacing this $180000 worth of rankings with a total budget of say $500 then you need to wake up.

Businesses which don’t understand the value of getting desired rankings often fall in the trap of SEO noobs who sell them their dream rankings for $5000.

The SEO noobs themselves don’t know the value of desired rankings and the amount of effort and skill required. So they make any promises and place the lowest bid on every type of project, irrespective of the industry and competition.

Whereas experienced SEOs know that getting the desired rankings will require a lot of effort and budget. So they place the actual bid for the project. Businesses being unaware of the real value of desired ranks opt for the lowest bid.

Now if you attack $180,000 with $5000 then what is going to happen?.. you won’t see results.

Takeaway –Understand the value of getting desired ranks in your industry and pay accordingly.

You are not ready to pay the actual fees

The entrance threshold for becoming an SEO is very low. There is no minimum qualification requirement, no certification, and no regulatory body.

Anyone can read ‘something somewhere’ and start selling SEO services. This has resulted in a population explosion of SEO noobs (often dressed up as SEO experts) around the world.

With so many dodgy SEOs out there, it is hard to find the genuinely experienced SEOs. But even when you find them, you don’t want to pay them their fees and look for cheaper/cheapest alternatives which often results in being ripped off as explained above.

Takeaway – Find a genuine SEO and pay their actual fees. 

You have unrealistic expectations

Many webmasters have unrealistic expectations from their online businesses.

They set up websites with little to no industry knowledge and budget, and then look for SEOs who can make them a millionaire overnight, or get them rankings for keywords that are worth millions of dollars, at rock bottom price.

Experienced and genuine SEOs estimate the true value of ranks and don’t accept the project. This gives dodgy SEOs the opportunity to cash in on the unrealistic expectations of business owners. Since their only aim is to collect money and move on, they are ready to promise the moon.

Takeaway – Gain industry knowledge and understand competition. Get basic knowledge of SEO and how search engines work before you start any marketing campaign or hire a SEO

You can’t differentiate between marketing risk and a scam

You hire an SEO. He worked on what he agreed to work upon and bring your site in the top 10 for money keywords. Nothing much happened sales-wise and you screamed ‘rip off’!.

There can be ‘N’ reasons for top rankings and negative ROI.

  1. Your product sucked to begin with, it has no market value or just no market at all.
  2. You are overcharging for your products.
  3. You are expecting more sales than the actual market.
  4. You have a bad reputation in the market, and the list goes on and on.

All these factors are beyond the control of an SEO and therefore you can’t accuse him of scamming you. If you want an SEO to also share your marketing risks then you are looking for a business partner and not SEO.

Takeaway – SEO is a marketing risk just like any other form of marketing. You as a business owner must be willing to take this risk and accept the consequences.

NOW THE MILLION $$$$$$ QUESTION:

How to spot an SEO expert

Look for his/her contributions and reputation on SEO forums, blogs, and industry events.

Often he likes his ideas to be scrutinized and challenged by other SEOs and has an overwhelming urge to heavily contribute to the SEO industry.

Often such guys are known to other well-known SEOs. These guys really know what they talk about. Another good way is to ask for references from credible sources.

How to spot an SEO noob

These guys are rarely found on SEO forums or blogs. Even if they are found, they are generally busy spamming there.

Another good way to spot them is through their bid on your project. If you know the true value of your rankings, you will find out instantly that the bidder has no knowledge of your industry and competition. They are often reluctant to sign any SEO contract as it will make them legally responsible for their deliverables.

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Himanshu Sharma

Digital Marketing Consultant and Founder of Optimizesmart.com

Himanshu helps business owners and marketing professionals in generating more sales and ROI by fixing their website tracking issues, helping them understand their true customers' purchase journey and helping them determine the most effective marketing channels for investment.

He has over 12 years of experience in digital analytics and digital marketing.

He was nominated for the Digital Analytics Association's Awards for Excellence. The Digital Analytics Association is a world-renowned not-for-profit association that helps organisations overcome the challenges of data acquisition and application.

He is the author of four best-selling books on analytics and conversion optimization:

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