With thousands of videos and articles exploring search engine optimization (SEO) best practices available for free on the web, the number of SEO “experts” has skyrocketed over the past few years. Many of these providers promise results for surprisingly low rates. Unfortunately, when it comes to SEO, “cheap” isn’t always good.” SEO focuses on the quality of a web page. It is the process of enhancing a page so that it becomes easier to find on platforms such as Google. The higher the quality of a webpage, the better the ranking! And as we all know, higher rankings mean more website traffic.
When looking for an SEO provider, it can be tempting to go with the least expensive option. However, cheap SEO providers often have hidden costs. There are no shortcuts to good rankings in the search engine results pages (SERPs), and cheap SEO providers often use poor SEO practices when optimizing your website. This can ultimately diminish the quality of your pages without you realizing it.
Reviving a website that has been crushed by poor SEO practices can be difficult. When choosing an SEO provider for your law practice to invest in, make sure to consider these costs before it’s too late.
Cost 1: Google Suspension
Many cheap SEO consultants will employ unethical practices to deceive the search engines. One common tactic is by uploading content written for search engines instead of people. These pages are stuffed with keywords and are overtly verbose, taking something that could have been said in two paragraphs and turning it into 12 paragraphs. The goal here is to make Google believe you’re offering valuable information around specific keywords, ranking your website high for certain search queries. Practices like these are against Google’s guidelines and can put your website at serious risk. Penalties can be suspended for up to 30 days. That means a full month of zero website traffic. If your website is suspended, your reviews will also be removed. In this case, you may be forced to rebuild your entire online reputation — a costly and time-consuming process
Cost 2: Poorly Written Content
Low rankings are often a result of low-quality content. Outdated, false, or confusing information can diminish the quality of an entire page. No one wants to read content that isn’t interesting, and Google knows that!
Bad content isn’t just detrimental when it comes to your firm’s rankings, it can also be a major deterrent for prospects. Inaccurate information and poorly worded articles can instill doubt in your audience. It may also lead to ethical concerns — we have yet to encounter a fly-by-night SEO consultant who has read the Model Rules of Professional Conduct!
It’s important to note that poorly written content also includes duplicate content. By working with a cheap SEO provider, you cannot be sure that what they give you is original content. If you have duplicate content on multiple pages, it can be considered spammy and may also get your site flagged.
Cost 3: High Bounce Rate
Don’t let the word “high” fool you. Your bounce rate is the rate at which users immediately click out of your website. With bad content and a poorly-designed site comes high bounce rates. It is important to engage your audience so that they stay on your website longer, thus increasing your traffic and quality of visitors.
Each bounce notifies Google of a low-quality website, and lowers its rank. Law firms, for example, have an average bounce rate of 80%. If your cheap SEO provider even tracks your bounce rate, it’s unlikely that they will be able to improve it. A full-service marketing agency is better equipped to not only help improve traffic to your website, but also engagement once a visitor lands on it.
How To Avoid These Costs
Investing in a cheap SEO provider can cost you your reputation, time, quality leads, and money. You can avoid these costs, and more, by doing your research. When looking for an SEO provider or training, ask yourself these questions:
- How do their reviews sound?
- Is their strategy straight-forward?
- Have they demonstrated results?
- Does the plan include a dynamic content component?
- How do they measure success?
Remember, SEO and an improvement in the SERPs can take time (when done correctly). If your website has recently launched, it can take 3-6 months to show up in Google’s top spots. The key to success is consistency, so stay the course and invest in building a site that delivers value to visitors and the search engines alike!