With so many SEO businesses coming up, all seem to be saying the same thing and giving the same old SEO services, and the need to stand apart is increasing. Pay for performance SEO services, also known as Pay per performance SEO, are one way to do so. The pay-for-performance SEO approach is seen by many business owners as a realistic way to perform Google marketing.
Why should you pay if you don’t receive the outcomes you want? Not totally, at least.
The landscape of SEO is rapidly evolving as Google continues to change and develop to better comprehend the intentions of millions of users who use search engines every day. To keep up with it all, marketing professionals are compelled to become permanent SEO students. As they research this ever-complicated process, they discover some painful truths about SEO that call into question not only what they thought they knew about it, but also how it might be used to give paid services.
In terms of pay-per-performance, many firms, both respectable and not, guarantee to optimise and highly rank a submitted site in Google. Furthermore, they inform the consumer that they will only have to pay for their services once (once their goals are met). Isn’t it too good to be true?
Let us begin by saying that we adore the concept of performance-based SEO services, but some things that sound great in principle have awful implementation repercussions; performance SEO is one of them.
The following are some of the reasons why hiring a performance SEO agency is a bad decision.
1) The dark truth behind Performance SEO
The unfortunate truth about performance-based SEO is that it hurts businesses in the long run. Only one side of your business is really being represented, and that’s the only piece that matters. Google represents everything that happens on their search engine to help determine where websites rank, so the only way to truly understand your rank is by focusing on what Google knows about you.
It’s near impossible to weigh a website’s success in pure numbers when it comes down to a single metric that doesn’t account for every single search that gets performed, and there are other things that can affect your rank besides just getting links.
2) Using traffic as a success metric
The truth is, they really don’t care about your website. They are there to make money through advertising revenue. Using traffic per month is only counting the number of times your site gets visited by real people, not how many people saw what you had to offer with their ad dollars. While there is a correlation between the two, that doesn’t mean that success in search engine optimisation can be boiled down to merely getting more visits.
3) Using rankings as a success metric
Another trap performance-based SEO companies fall into is using rankings as a measure of success. In reality, selecting keywords and creating content around them for one’s website has very little to do with the ranking ability or actual placement of your site on Google or any other search engine.
It doesn’t matter if you’re #1 if no one ever sees what you have to offer unless they know exactly where to look. Paying based merely on rankings yields many problems for those who take this route, and it’s much easier and more effective to look at factors such as click-through conversions to determine how you’re really doing.
4) Targeting poor keywords
One way pay-for-performance SEO companies typically find their websites rank higher is by using the idea of a shotgun approach, aiming for keywords that have low competition but high traffic volume.
While this may produce results fairly quickly, it’s not a great practice to continue over a long period because it lacks focus on your target audience and search intent. You should be looking for something for which you would want to do business if you were the consumer, rather than trying to aim for those with high traffic volume but little opportunity in terms of conversions or business development.
Paying someone else to create content around these keywords only hurts your long-term goals, and could lead to negative consequences when you start to use that content in the months or years to come.
5) The focus is not broad
Another way these SEO companies make money is by keeping their clients narrowly focused. They typically require you to sign away all rights to your website unless your contract states otherwise, meaning they can do whatever they want with it without consulting you. This often includes copying existing content, creating low-quality spun articles, stealing images, and automatically generating links (and not disclosing when/where they’re building them).
Once this type of content gets published on the internet, good luck trying to get rid of it or taking it down since no one will ever really know about what’s out there once it’s been opened to the public. A little focus goes a long way, so it’s best to hire someone who can help you define your goals and strategies before they start working on anything.
6) Confusing pricing structure
One reason pay-for-performance SEO is ineffective and generally not a good idea is because of how these companies structure their pricing plans. There really isn’t anything wrong with this, as an unlimited number of keywords can be used as part of any contract or plan, but some actually charge separately for each one as opposed to basing it on volume (which would make more sense).
Separating things by keyword means that those who search for something specific will end up paying more than those searching for something less specific, which can lead to confusion.
7) Secrets in SEO
One major problem with performance-based SEO is that the companies using this model are often not transparent about their practices.
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They claim all kinds of things to justify charging you high fees, but it’s up to you to figure out if they’re true or not. This leads back into how different keywords should affect pricing, and also affects other important factors such as who will be doing your link building, what types of links they’ll be obtaining (such as do follow vs. nofollow), how many resources will be used on various projects, etc.
8) Google penalising for malpractice of SEO
While performance-based SEO sounds like a great way to get more traffic and get everything done quickly, there’s actually a dark side that can really hurt your business in the long run. The fact is that many SEO companies practice black hat techniques without knowing it, and while some (if not most) of them will go unnoticed by Google and other search engines, it doesn’t mean they won’t happen again in the future.
Because of this, you need someone who uses safe practices when helping you improve your rankings regardless of whether that means taking years or just months to accomplish these goals since penalties have been known to carry on indefinitely until something is done about them.
Safe practices are also beneficial since Google has been known to go after sites that are receiving unnatural links, regardless of whether they were paid for or not.
9) Highly competitive area
One problem with pay-for-performance SEO is the lack of knowledge about what you’re getting into. All it takes is running a few free reports using ahrefs or SEMRUSH, and any decent SEO who knows what they’re doing will be able to spot brands paying $3000-$4000 for these services on a monthly basis (which is typically how much these agencies charge).
While some link building campaigns may be completely safe, there’s no way to know which ones are working unless each campaign uses only one keyword phrase in order to determine if rankings are moving in the right direction.
10) Look above rankings
While it’s easy to convince someone that you can get them to the top of Google or whichever search engine they’re using, the reality is that rankings are only part of what good search engine optimization entails. It doesn’t take long for people to realize this when it comes time to pay up because the service provider isn’t finding anything new about their industry or audience since all they were focused on was increasing traffic and driving sales.
Unfortunately, once these businesses learn more about SEO they’ll start looking for an SEO company in Sydney or a consultant who provides better advice than just focusing on rankings.
11) Reading in-between the lines
Even if you do, find a digital marketing agency willing to give you everything you want at a price you’re comfortable with, there’s still the possibility of not getting your money’s worth.
This typically occurs because of things like insufficient reporting that doesn’t provide insight on how well (or poorly) each project or campaign is going, the delivery time and frame for services and/or reports, incorrect pricing structures (for example, using an agency model rather than per project), etc.
Unless you know exactly what you’re looking for and only want those specific features and benefits provided to you as part of your link-building strategy (which can be difficult if no one in your industry has this information readily available since most companies aren’t thinking about ranking websites when talking about their business goals), it might be better to hire someone else.
12) SEO is a marathon and not a sprint
The reality is that making money online (and offline) takes time, whether you’re paying for traffic or investing in SEO to get your site ranking higher.
For example, someone who’s trying to reach the first page of Google by working with an agency or consultant only has to pay once … but they still need to give them enough time to provide results (i.e., rankings). If you hire an agency and they promise rankings within 30 days, don’t expect units on the first page like David Ogilvy was able to accomplish when he wrote ” Confessions of an Advertising Man “, even if your strategy will be different.
Why? Because it doesn’t matter what industry you’re in or how well-optimised your website is; it takes time to reach the top of Google.
13) Focus more on content than keywords
You’ve probably seen ads on your favorite blogs, social media sites, or other parts of the web that appear to be offering SEO services (or something similar) but aren’t really focused on rankings.
The reason is that they’re more interested in helping you create content for your site in order to provide value rather than just building links in the hope of increasing traffic and sales. Now, there’s nothing wrong with promoting a company that does both since not everyone has the resources to invest in taking their business online or getting their current website ranked higher via search engines.
However, if that sounds like something you need then you should probably hire a firm that’s willing to work with you on this, too.
14) You can achieve rankings easily
It would be wonderful if getting your website ranked higher was as easy as doing a few off-site link-building services and putting up some content to attract visitors from social media sites, but that simply isn’t the case.
The reality is that getting noticed by search engines requires a lot of hard work, whether it’s implementing a solid link-building strategy where all links are nofollow or writing great blog posts that rank high in SERPs. In fact, you could end up spending thousands of dollars per month on advertising while trying to get more traffic from Google without realizing that there’s very little chance for success because the competition for keywords is just too high.
15) Queries as a whole
In addition to providing information that shows how well every campaign or project has been performing from both a quantitative and qualitative standpoint, you should also make sure the person in charge of your SEO efforts is able to look at all of your search engine rankings together in one spot.
This is important because it means they’ll be able to determine whether or not there’s a gap between where you currently rank and where you could/should be based on the competition surrounding each keyword phrase.
If this isn’t done, then it might take months before anyone realizes that there’s an opportunity for improvement when it comes to breaking into the top three spots since lower-ranked sites won’t usually show up on the first page of Google.
In the end,
When you pay for SEO results, you’re usually paying for an unpredictable consequence. If you hire an SEO service provider, make sure you thoroughly vet them. Also, bear in mind that if they are respectable and have a proven track record, they can only advise you on how to preserve or improve your traffic flow and search engine rating. They won’t be able to make this happen for you because they aren’t as familiar with your industry as you are.
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