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To Anyone Who’s Listening – Low-Cost SEO Is Not Your Friend.

I get it – your marketing budget is low. You don’t want to spend thousands of dollars each month for six to eight months straight on a marketing strategy you don’t know much about. Sure, you want to rank higher on search engines; but you don’t want to invest much. 

You’re looking for cheap SEO services – something in the range of $100 – $300 per month. So, you begin looking up cheap/affordable SEO agencies on Google. 

You find a few. Many of them promise you to deliver results-driven professional SEO services for less than $300 or so. They even guarantee 100% results. You’re excited to get started. So, you get on a call with them.

They use all the complicated industry jargon and try to sound all-technical to make you think that they know their thing. So, you decide to hire them.

You’re thrilled.

Two months pass. Nothing!

Three months! Nothing!

Six Months! Nothing.

The agency asks you to have patience.

Twelve months pass, and there’s a slight spike in traffic. But not much! People are landing on your website. But there are little to no conversions. They’re bouncing off immediately.

You get on a call with the SEO agency. You’re frustrated. But they blame it on you.

They tell you things like:

  • “You didn’t give us the creative freedom.”
  • “Your website design isn’t attractive enough.”
  • “You didn’t provide us with enough information about your target audience.”

So, you decide to part ways with them. Now you think SEO isn’t worth investing in. So you ditch the idea of investing in SEO altogether.

I’m sure millions of businesses will be able to relate to this story.

Low-Cost SEO is a BIG Problem!

To find the right SEO agency, you’ll probably begin your hunt on Google. Over there, you’ll find people using the words “results-driven,” “100% results,” “we know our stuff” and more. 

And in a world where everyone holds the right to use such words to describe their services, you’ll find it incredibly hard to differentiate between a good and bad SEO agency.  And chances are you’ll prefer hiring low-cost agencies over high-paying agencies, considering you have a limited budget.

We get it.

But there are a few problems with low-cost SEO.

If you look up keywords like “low cost seo,” “cheap seo,” and “affordable seo,” you’ll come across dozens of SEO agencies that supposedly offer their services at cheaper rates.   

What if I told you that such low-cost SEO services can do more harm than good?

And I’m not talking about these SEO agencies locking you in a six-eight month retainer contract.


That’s not even the worst part.

There’s a really high chance that such SEO agencies will use shady black hat SEO tactics – which can end up putting you in Google’s bad books.

Wondering what black hat SEO is? Read my White Hat SEO vs Black Hat SEO post where I’ve covered them both extensively.

Let’s dive a bit deeper.

Let me present three reasons why businesses should not hire low-cost SEO agencies.

3 BIG Reasons You Should Not Hire Low-Cost SEO Agencies

So many businesses in my network have engaged with low-cost SEO agencies in the past. And every single one of them I interacted with shared their experience in four words, “It was a mess.”     

Why should you not hire low-cost SEO agencies? Here are five reasons:

  • You’ll Get Nothing But Generic SEO Services
  • You’ll Waste Countless Hours
  • You Can End Up Getting into Google’s Bad Books

You’ll Get Nothing But Generic SEO Services

Just imagine how many businesses a low-cost SEO agency is working with to be profitable. If they’re charging you $200 per month, then it’s highly likely they’re working with dozens of businesses just like yours to cover the costs of their employees, infrastructure, tech stack, and more.

And since these low-cost SEO agencies work with dozens of clients at once, they don’t have the time to study your business, competitors, and industry thoroughly and tailor a custom strategy for your unique needs. 

Instead, they implement the same copy-and-paste strategies for all their clients.

But here’s the thing – if you genuinely want to drive SEO results, you need to build a custom-tailored SEO plan that takes into account your business goals, industry, target audience, and competitors. 

And considering the price you’re paying them, it’s highly unlikely they’ll spend hours studying your business and industry, among other things, to build a personalized SEO plan for you.

You’ll Waste Countless Hours

We work with local businesses in Boise. 

And we understand that you may not have a gigantic-sized budget to invest in SEO. 

But if you choose to collaborate with a low-cost SEO agency, you’ll not just get generic SEO services, but you’ll also waste hundreds of your and your team’s hours. 

The first big problem is low-cost SEO agencies don’t really offer good customer service. So, if you want to interact with them, it’s highly likely you’ll have to spend hours getting in touch and trying to schedule a meeting with them. 

Also, it’s important to note that SEO is a long-term game. If you’re just getting started on your efforts, you’ll see results in six-eight months’ time. However, the results from the same old generic copy-and-paste tactics will not be satisfactory – which you’ll only realize after a time period of six-eight months or maybe more. 

This means you’ll be wasting six-eight months or maybe more. And let’s not even talk about the time you will have to spend trying to fix the mistakes or mess made by the low-cost SEO agencies. 

You Can End Up Getting into Google’s Bad Books

The last thing you want to do is get into Google’s bad books. 

Working with low-cost SEO agencies can get you there. 

The problem is – implementing generic copy-and-paste strategies is not enough to drive actual results. 

But still, these low-cost SEO agencies want would want to extend the contract with you. To do that, they’ll have to show you instant results – which is when they’ll resort to black hat SEO tactics.

If there’s one thing I have learned throughout my career, don’t try to fool search engines. It always goes bad.

Black hat SEO tactics are tactics that SEOs use to fool search engines. Some of the most popular ones include sneaky redirects, content automation, hidden links, or text cloaking. 

Even if you take all the preventative measures, it’s highly likely you’ll get caught. 

It’s never a good idea to implement black-hat SEO tactics. If Google catches you, they’ll penalize your website. They can even remove you from the search engines (which means every dollar that you spend on your SEO will be a waste). 

Why Running a Low-Cost SEO Agency Doesn’t Make Sense

We’re not saying that SEO specialists at these agencies are not good at what they do. They may be good, but since they may be working with dozens of clients at once, they may not have the time to give their 100% attention to you.

Well, you may think that such low-cost SEO agencies can always reduce the number of clients they’re working with or increase their workforce, right?

For them, it doesn’t make sense.

Let’s Do the Math!

The average salary of an SEO specialist is $60,000. Now, you need at least a team of three or four SEO specialists to focus on different aspects like on-page, off-page, link building, technical SEO, and more.

To build a team of four, you need to spend $240,000 each year.

Now, if the average price of your SEO services stands at $400 per month, you’re securing $4,800 from a single business each year. To cover the costs of your employees, you need to work with at least 12 businesses. 

This means a team of four people is working with 12 clients at one time – which is a LOT. It’s not humanly possible for them to give each of their clients the individual attention required to help them meet their goals.

And BTW – we haven’t even taken into consideration costs associated with infrastructure, technology, as well as other overhead costs. 

Let’s Hear From the Experts!

To back my claim, I reached out to a few experts in my network for their input on low-cost SEO. Allow me to share them with you:

1.Ben Pines, Director of Content Marketing at Wordtune

Testimony from ben pines "The challenge with low-cost SEO is that companies think they can just pay someone a few $k, and results must follow. What these companies fail to understand is a crucial first step- aligning on strategy with a properly experienced SEO professional. Why does the company turn to SEO in the first place? The CEO usually already has an unsuccessful blog (with infrequent publishing) and is investing somewhat in content, and that SEO thinks that by spending some dollars in SEO, it will complete the successful process. This is farthest from the truth. The low paid low experience SEO person may not have a deep understanding of content and strategy, or a comprehensive understanding of SEO. The key to success is to focus on strategy. Analyze your business goals and target audience, and determine the best approach to reach them. This will help you build a solid foundation for your business and achieve growth at a steady pace, without relying on quick fixes."

2. Oyinkansola A. Ogunyinka, Content Marketing Manager at Animalz

Oyinkansola Ogunyinka testimony "When you hire low cost SEO agencies or content writers, know that you're taking a risk that could potentially hurt your content quality and ability to convert that in the long run. They use unethical or 'black hat' tactics to help content rank, from keyword stuffing to blog comment span and hidden text. Even if the articles win the search engine results page for a while, they tend to be clunky and inadequate to meet actual search intent. Readers won't get value from the piece, they won't convert and search engines may flag your site and de-rank it. Tl;dr, it's not worth the long-term hassle and damage-control expense.

3. Klaus-M. Schremser, Co-Founder at Usersnap

Klaus Schremser testimony "You would not like to build a cheap foundation and house for your family, and the same is true for SEO. Organic traffic is often one of the main sources of leads for digital companies, and cheap SEO can punish their assets like their blog and website. It's a long-term game. Don't hurt your business with cheap, short-term SEO tactics."

4. Ryan Williams, Senior Demand Generation Manager at PhoneBurner

Ryan Williams testimony "Low-cost SEO, like anything else that is cheap, will get you short-term gains. But that's about it. It's like buying a cheap pair of shoes. They'll get you by for a year or two, and then you'll need new ones. Focus on long-term, sustainable SEO that's driven by high-quality content, intentional strategy, keyword focus, and do it right from the start."

5. Elie Daccache, SEO Consultant

Elie Deccache testimony "The tools I use for my clients' campaigns cost me more that $2000/month. The average writer I work with charges me $300 per article. I won't mention the cost of working with developers on technical issues- both in time and money. So when someone claims they can rank you in Google for $300/month (and still make a profit), run so far away that you'll only bump into them again when you'd completed your "Tour Du Monde." More often than not, clients hire me to 1-clean up the mess of previous cheap agencies, and 2-only then start the actual growth-driving work."

6. Harry Boxhall, Freelance SEO Specialist

Harry Boxhall testimony "Low cost SEO can at first be appealing for small businesses or individuals with limited budgets- however, it's really important to understand that the quality of services provided. In some cases, low-cost services may use unethical tactics that can result in penalties, ultimately causing more harm than good. It's important to thoroughly research providers and their practices before making a decision. The best SEO results often come from a combination of high-quality content creation, technical optimization, and a long-term sustainable approach."

7. Harsh Shah, SEO Specialist at Databox

Harsh Shah testimony "The use of unethical or black hat tactics such as keyword stuffing, link farms, duplicate content, and cloaking by low-cost SEO agencies can ultimately do more harm than good for a website. Generic copy and paste techniques are not only ineffective, but they can also result in penalties from search engines like Google, damaging the website's reputation and ranking in the long term."


Don’t Be Afraid to Spend Your Money on a Good SEO Agency!

Low-cost SEO is not your friend – it never has been and never will be. Offering top-notch SEO services at an extremely low cost doesn’t make sense for agencies. Don’t settle for copy-and-paste and/or black-hat SEO tactics. Trust me, it’ll do you more harm than good.

Don’t be afraid to allocate a higher budget for SEO. When planned and implemented right, SEO will deliver outstanding and long-lasting results.

But, that doesn’t mean all expensive SEO agencies are good. I highly recommend being selective and doing thorough research while vetting SEO agencies. To help you with the vetting process, I wrote a how-to choose the right SEO agency guide in 2022. 

And if you’re looking for a reliable and results-driven SEO agency in Boise, Idaho, look no further. We’re Redfox Visual, an SEO agency in Boise focused on long-term results instead of quick wins with black hat tactics. 

We’ve been helping businesses rank higher on search engines for years, and we let our success stories speak for ourselves. Click here to review our work. 

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