The Idiom “If You Pay Peanuts, You Get Monkeys” – Why It Pays To Avoid Low-cost SEO

There are plenty of ‘Digital marketing companies’, or ‘SEO agencies’ in Auckland. I think you’ll find that there are easily over 100 companies all competing for ‘SEO Auckland’.

A large percentage of the companies out there offer ‘SEO’ as a package. This is regardless of the niche or competitive nature of that niche.

We’ll explain here why it’s best to avoid low-cost SEO agencies and those offering SEO packages.

What Other Words Are Synonymous To ‘Affordable’?

If you were to build a house from scratch to live in, would you search for any of the following combinations of synonyms to find the ideal builders:

  • Cheap
  • Modest
  • Bargain
  • Economical
  • Budget
  • Low-cost
  • Inexpensive

If you did proceed to build your new home using a building company that used those words to advertise, you might find that the house was really built after, say, 12 months. However, don’t be surprised if you started having the following issues after 12 months: subsidence, leaking, faulty electrics, no heating, badly-fitted windows and dampness.

If you decide to look for a cheap house builder, then expect to have fundamental issues in a short space of time after the building work had been completed.

This is a hypothetical example; but if you were to choose an SEO agency offering ‘cheap SEO’, or ‘affordable SEO’ services, would you expect to have hundreds of keywords ranking on page one?

We’ll leave you to think about that one…

SEO Packages, When Everything Is Unique – That Doesn’t Make Sense?

We are aware of our competitors and any publications of ‘SEO Packages’ and how they state that you will receive optimisation for ‘x’ number of keywords.

Take two different businesses in two very different niches; a local gardening company covering North Shore and a large Law firm based in Auckland. They both opt for a package of $900/month targeting 30 keywords.

How can you say that the law firm will be able to compete with other law firms in Auckland that spend around $5,000 month on SEO? How can both packages produce identical results? They cannot; it simply makes no logical sense to offer ‘SEO packages’.

One niche might be highly competitive, requiring hundreds of referring domains. The other niche might be straight forward to rank and only require a few directory links.

The way we price our SEO is a bespoke package for each client.

A Set Number of Keywords – Not If You Set Up Your Websites Correctly!

This is another aspect of pricing to consider looking at before committing to an SEO company.

This is another fallacy; Google will index each webpage. Provided the on-page has been conducted correctly, it will rank that page for several different phrases that are related.

Take the main phrases ‘air conditioning Auckland’; if you were to set up the pages correctly, you would create a page that ranks for any of the following phrases:

  • Aircon Auckland
  • Air conditioning company in Auckland
  • Air conditioning company Auckland
  • Air conditioning services in Auckland
  • AC installers in Auckland
  • Air conditioning installation Auckland
  • Air conditioning firm Auckland
  • Auckland air conditioning
  • Commercial air conditioning Auckland
  • Domestic air conditioning Auckland
  • Air conditioning services Auckland

Each of the above phrases could lead to a new client for the air conditioning company operating in Auckland.

If you were to use our SEO services, we look to rank your website for as many commercially viable keywords as we can find. There is no limit; it will be factored into the pricing.

Provided the website URL has been constructed correctly, a website will rank for hundreds of targeted phrases.

The process involves some human thought of an SEO expert that understands your niche well.

When You Build A House, What Materials Do You Want to Be Used?

We like to keep SEO linked to an analogy as best as possible and constructing a house is one that fits the analogy very well.

You will want the house to be constructed of solid materials that will not fall in a strong wind, or leak during heavy rain.

When you build a house, you’ll want to have the best materials and resources to ensure that it remains stable for the lifetime of you living here.

When you start an SEO campaign, the foundations can be the links that are sent to the website. The more powerful links there are, the more solid the website becomes.

Remember ‘The Three Little Pigs’?

For those who are not familiar with this short fable – read about it here on Wikipedia. We recommend that you quickly read up on the tale to get an understanding of why it pays dividends to ensure you build your house with the strongest and most durable material.

This is a very good analogy to building a website for SEO, but we’ll get to that later on. First, let’s recall the story. We’re sure that you’ve heard of this before and certainly would have heard this from your childhood. If you’re not familiar with the story, here is a synopsis:

3 little pigs are advised by their mother to “seek out their fortune”. Each little pig has their perspective of life, and they must construct their own homes to survive. The first little pig decides to build a house out of straw, a quick house that can provide some protection from the wind but isn’t particularly strong or durable.

The second little piggy decides to try harder and spend a little bit longer searching suitable sticks that are going to be transformed into his house. This is a stronger house; it provides better shelter for piggy number 2 compared to piggy number 1.

Piggy number 3, however, wants to build something that lasts the tests of time. He decides to construct a house out of bricks, with a good roof to keep out the wind and rain.

As you can imagine, everything starts fine, but things start to go wrong with the piglets who created a straw house and a house made from sticks. They may be able to keep themselves dry and free from the wind, but along comes a wolf.

He wants to eat the piglets. Wolfs are predators; they have a habit of killing small and defenceless animals in poorly designed homes.

“Little pig, little pig, let me come in.”
“No, not, by the hair on my chinny chin chin.”
“Then I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’ll blow your house in.”

The wolf comes along and wants to blow down the houses of the first piglet, who made his house from straw. Guess what happens? The straw house collapses, and the tiny little piglet must make a run for it to the piglets’ house made of sticks.

The wolf chases the first piglet and reaches the house made from sticks. Although this house is a little bit stronger than the first house made of straw, it eventually gets blown apart by the wolf’s powerful blowing.

The two little pigs escape and run off to the house made of bricks.

The wolf gives chase and tries and tries to blow down the house made of bricks – he fails. The house stands and remains.

(The wolf tries to enter the house via the chimney; he falls into a cauldron over the fire and is eaten by the pigs. The analogy stops here, Google will not be eaten!)

Perfect Analogy to SEO

We wanted to give you this example of why it’s important to carefully consider the amount you pay for SEO.

If you read about our off-page SEO services, you’ll realise that any SEO campaign is dependent upon a solid foundation of links. This acts as the infrastructure of the SEO campaign.

If you start an SEO campaign with flaky, rubbish spammy links that have been constructed with automated software, Google (the wolf) will blow it out of their search index (de-indexed). Their algorithm is advanced and can spot spammy links very easily now.

If you try to build a website with average links; some spammy, some not-so-spammy, then guess what? Google finds you again and may not remove you entirely from the search index, but might lower your ranking positions.

What is needed is to construct high-quality links to your website. Google will find those links and deem them suitable and authoritative to glance over the website and links and raise your website higher in the search engine ranking positions (SERPs).

We all want our houses to be built of the best materials and not collapse when a strong wind comes along, don’t we?

Google will eventually discover if you’ve got weak foundations and blow your website away…

Why It Pays to Avoid Low-cost SEO & SEO ‘Packages’

By now you’ve probably realised that choosing the ‘cheapest’ SEO company might not be the best option for your business. In fact, by going cheap, you’re more than likely going to cost your business two critical aspects:

  • Time
  • Money

Let’s consider two possible examples:

The first is where you decided to use an overseas SEO company who promised page 1 rankings for $250/month – a steal, you think, and a bargain!

The second option is to use an SEO company you found based in Auckland with a set-package option for $599/month. Again, this appears to be a good-value package which is relatively cheap.

Surely it cannot be that hard to rank a website for a set of 20 target keywords, you think?

Option 1 – Overseas Automated Link Building

At this price level, what do you expect to achieve and receive? The overseas agency will only be able to provide very low-cost links, if which it’s highly likely that they will be generated from automated software.

If you have a brand-new website, then you’re likely to never see any rankings at all – your website will stay placed on page 5-10 indefinitely. You may have to wait, say 6 months, before stopping the campaign. You’ll feel that SEO simply doesn’t work and resort to paying Google Ads to appear at the top place.

You may then consider contacting another SEO company. You find out if they might be able to do anything different, but will only want to try using one slightly more expensive this time. Perhaps $499/month? After six months, you’re not further up the rankings.

Why so? Google has placed a nice penalty against your website and put it in the ‘penalty box’. Your new website will stay there for roughly 18 months before the algorithmic penalty is lifted and the links have expired.

Overall, you will have wasted nearly two years and possibly 12 to 18 months of SEO payments.

You see, we’ve been around to witness the changes in SEO over the past 10 years. We’ve noticed how the algorithm has adapted to eliminate low-cost link building options, and we’re fully aware of what to expect in that scenario.

Option 2 – You Choose $599/month to Compete in a Bigger Niche

So, how will you fare if you pay slightly more for SEO? Is it enough?

Look at it this way, what can $599/month of SEO investment bring you?

Not a lot. You won’t even get a single article published on some of the most popular NZ websites. Some of them charge you $3,000-$10,000 for a single permanent post/link on their websites!

After 6 months of using this method, you’re going to find that you will not be competing against those on page 1, especially if the niche is of average competition or higher. You will have a collection of mediocre links, but they simply aren’t sufficient enough to entertain page 1 rankings. You try another low-cost SEO agency and find that, after another 6 months, they are not on page one at all.

In this scenario, you will have wasted slightly more money and about a year in the process.

Realistic Costs for SEO Requirements

Every SEO niche is unique, and we know that. If you’ve read enough on our website, you’ll realise that we treat each business differently, and each niche requires different links and content.

There are, however, minimum costs involved to create content and source links.

It depends on how competitive the niche is and the different costs involved, but here is a rough guideline for costs:

  • Low-level competition: Minimum spend for the first 3 months, circa $3,000 to $6,000.
  • Medium-level competition: Between $6,000 to $15,000 needs to be spent to create a highly powerful campaign.
  • High-level competition: You need to be looking at spending $15,000 to $30,000 on SEO over the first 3 months of the campaign, especially if the niche is E-commerce and competitive.

And all these options are far more effective and cheaper than choosing alternative traditional advertising, such as radio and television ads.

Caution – Some Reasonably Priced SEO Services Also Need to Be Avoided!

Although we will not directly mention other SEO agencies or other company’s SEO services, we will mention that we’ve seen the work conducted by a company that is synonymous with the colour of particular citrus fruit.

They were charging $1500/month for SEO for a year to a potential client. The client approached us for an overview, and our findings were startling.

For that budget, we had expected to see a substantial website with over 50 pages and at least 100 referring domains linking to the website.

Guess what we found – NOTHING…nothing had been done, whatsoever!

The website’s design had not been changed either.

There are other factors to determine which SEO agency you should work with. More information can be found on our page about what makes a good SEO company.