If you're thinking about venturing into the treacherous territory of SEO and your wallet's as thin as a razor, you should reconsider. In this dark and murky world of online rankings, the unsuspecting often meet a gruesome fate.
See, there's a particular breed of businesses out there, those that need to learn about the intricacies of SEO, but they sure understand one thing - MONEY. Beware of them. They're the kind who'd sell their soul for a quick fix like a desperate man trades his last coin for a sip of rotgut whiskey.
I'm no lawyer, but when I need legal advice, I don't scavenge for the cheapest legal mind in town. No, siree! I march straight into the office of a lawyer I can trust, knowing it'll cost me an arm and a leg. Do I fill out a hundred request forms, desperately hunting for bargain-bin legal advice? Hell no.
And let's take another scenario. Imagine I need heart surgery. I'm not a heart surgeon, but if I were to go the private route, I wouldn't be haggling over the price tag for a surgeon to crack my ribcage open. That's a dance with the devil you don't want to cut corners on.
SEO, my friends, is a professional craft. Anyone can slap a "professional" label on themselves these days, but only a rare few can genuinely deliver on the promises they dangle before your desperate eyes. So many charlatans haunt the corridors of this industry, peddling their snake oil solutions. How many of these cheap SEO magicians lurk in the shadows, you ask?
Well, the industry's birthed a breed of low-ballers, where SEO businesses engage in a mad scramble to outdo each other in a race to the bottom. They're too blind to see it, but it's ugly.
Who in their right mind would want fifty clients, each shelling out a measly $99 a month for SEO? It's a slap in the face to the profession. (The truth is, I have done that in the past, assigning a couple of hours per week per client and praying that is enough to make a difference.)
The truth is that good SEO doesn't come cheap, and it indeed only happens after some time. It costs even more when you repeat the same mistake a hundred times, jumping from one SEO resource to another like a demented jackrabbit.
"Sorry, we've decided to take our SEO in-house," they say, three months into an SEO campaign. That usually translates to hiring a greenhorn SEO junior fresh out of school for $20k a year and trying to squeeze blood from a stone to get the budget for those elusive £50 backlinks and directories.
Then there's the classic line, "Sorry, Barry, we're not seeing results. We're pulling the plug on the £250-a-month SEO retainer." That's right, they expected miracles after just one month.
In this lawless realm, there's no sheriff in town. It's a wild, untamed landscape where rules are mere whispers in the wind.
Now, I know my rant won't change a thing. The SEO industry will carry on as it always has:
It'll keep duking it out for low-value clients, deploying low-value skills on a massive scale to make a few measly pounds per project.
It'll maintain a culture that revels in cutting prices to the bone.
It'll keep spinning clients on a merry-go-round, hopping from one SEO expert to the next, whether from an agency, a consultant, or the company's internal team.
And, of course, every SEO outfit out there will swear they're "unique" and focused on getting results for their clients, unlike the other million SEO businesses.
So, what can we do to clean up this mess?
First, steer clear of clients who are hell-bent on spending as little as possible. They're a surefire recipe for disappointment.
Don't take on work if the budget is tighter than a hangman's noose. It's the "window gap" exploit – taking money until the client finally realizes it's a lost cause. Stop this madness.
Value your expertise like it's gold, and charge accordingly. Don't waver or budge. Legitimate businesses won't blink an eye at your rates.
Lay it out straight for prospective clients from the get-go. Even if it scares them off, honesty will always be the best policy.
To avoid the low-ballers, set a minimum budget you're willing to work with. Spare yourself in the agony of endless inquiries and detailed responses. Just quote a top-level price based on a preliminary analysis of the business, its organic presence, and what you bring to the table. Consider it a litmus test for seriousness.
In this SEO wild west, my friends, it's time to be the gunslingers who restore order to the chaos.