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Caution: The purpose of the following breakdown of packages commonly sold under the umbrella of SEO, digital marketing, internet marketing, etc is not an effort to discredit, criticize, misrepresent, or offend any individual or company that supports and advertises this type of service. However, it’s expected that someone will be offended… but at least the matter has been addressed and for those of you on the fence about the motivation behind this article won’t have to assume…
With that said, let’s get into the good, the bad, the ugly of Search Engine Optimization packages currently being sold and offered to website owners.
The Good: SEO Packages can actually work!
That’s right! For many businesses and website owners, they’ve experienced the results they were initially looking for when purchasing their SEO package. In all honesty, some websites simply need a continuous drip fed package applied to their website on a consistent basis to help them improve both their current rankings in the SERPs and their brand awareness.
On plenty of occasions, there have been companies looking for assistance with their digital marketing, and all they need is a simple or more advanced cookie cutter marketing package. Instead, they’re sold everything under the sun by the company or contractor they’ve decided to delegate this task to.
If you’re wondering how to determine whether you need one of these SEO packages or something more customized for your website… consider asking the agency or individual that’s trying to get your buy in for the following information:
Item #1: Proof The Package Will Work
Unfortunately some search engine marketers will take offense to being asked for proof that a product or service that they’re offering will work, and at times that can be understandable. There is a difference between asking “So how do I know SEO REALLY works?” and “Can you provide clear data on why you think this particular service that you’re offering is going to help MY website in MY particular industry?”
Anyone willing to take the time to do the research to help you see why their search engine optimization package will in fact work for your website, will help you clearly see the difference between someone simply trying to get you on a recurring payment plan and someone trying to help your website succeed using the services they provide.
Item #2: Clear Projections
This may have been provided or advertised on the website or in a presentation, but are the projections real or are they estimates of what this type of SEO service is “supposed” to do. At the end of the data projections are just that, assumptions of what could possibly happen; but if they are not based on YOUR industry and YOUR website… they have no value at all.
For example… suppose you have a small business like a used car lot and you’re looking to be one page one of Google for organic searches. However, in your city there are only 100 searches for used cars per month. When you get a projection that says your traffic will increase by 100s or 1000s of visitors each month, in your industry that’s not possible since only 100 people search for used cars in your area per month.
Basically, any projects that you are given, make sure they’re accurate an honest. Finally, if you haven’t been provided with a clear projections or goals for this type of online marketing, it might be in your best interest to do so BEFORE purchasing an SEO package like this.
Item #3: Live Examples
Asking for live(aka real) examples of sites CURRENTLY succeeding with a package that is being offered provides an additional level of assurance that it just might be a good idea to invest in this form of marketing for your business. Keep in mind that some companies have NDA agreements in place with their clients and cannot provide the exact URL of their client that they’re working on, but they should be able to provide the specific keywords or industry the package is being applied to.
The Bad: They can hurt your business!
In short, time and time again companies are looking for an expert to help them undo a shady, blackhat SEO package that was applied to their website. Unfortunately, there are still countless websites online offering SEO packages that clearly go against the TOS of many of the search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc. However, the people offering those packages are more concerned about increasing their number of clients paying for this “service” than actually taking the time to improve their offering to make sure it’s both safe and impactful.
The reason why so many internet marketing packages still damage the SERPs 1,000s of websites each year is because they include shady tactics that a piece of software performs, so that no real work is involved. Sure many of these services worked back before 2010, and to be quite honest some of them still work since blackhat SEO is dedicated to coming up with new ways to take shortcuts and game the search engines, but almost all of the algorithmic updates Google releases is to fight these types of SEO methods; yet this is what many “SEO companies” are trying to sell as a package; yep… pretty ugly.
Just because an SEO package being offered looks good on the website it’s being sold on, or the graphs and graphics of what appear to be increases in something shown on the website selling the service, or the pricing and associated costs are in line with your budget… it doesn’t mean it’s a good investment. A better investment might be to do nothing at all, instead of not applying what was mentioned; it could save you the future of your business and your bank account.
If you really want to try purchasing an SEO page because it’s cheap or within the allotted budget you have, the best advice available is for you to remember what was mentioned above. Doing so will ensure that your investment is well spent, and you get the types of results you’re looking for.
Listed below are some of the types of packages that have had the greatest positive impact for a variety of businesses historically:
– Local: Since local businesses often times need to simply improve their listing in Google places, or have keywords that are not as competitive as much larger industries, the right SEO package can go a long way. The other reason why these often succeed is that at present, July 2015, Google seems to be using a much less regulated algorithm than it does for broader larger terms; basically many of the old blackhat and shortcut tactics still work quite well.
– Small Business: Due to the fact that their target audience is quite specific, the SERPs aren’t as competitive as it is for terms that large corporations are trying to rank for; so a simple package might be all that is needed to get on page one of Google.
– Social Media Optimization: Many businesses these days don’t even need SEO to succeed online these days, due to the fact that their social reach is so massive and their brand is already recognized and supported. Having an SMO package applied to an existing social media campaign could do wonders.
– Link Building / Backlinks: Often times the difference in ranking on page 1 of a search engine or not comes down backlinks and domain/page authority. When talking about authority, it’s not the one that Moz has made so popular; but it’s referring to the literal authority search engines assign to a specific website; Google used to call it PageRank, but as you likely know… that metric is no longer shared with the public. Purchasing a backlink package could be there difference between ranking at the bottom of page 2, and having the #1 spot on page 1.
– Content Marketing: For some businesses, they rank pretty well already in the SERPs, but their audience doesn’t use the search engines to find the companies they want to do business with. Or possibly your brand or business has some negative listings on page 1 of Google, and you want to push it to page 2 or 3. In either case, as well as in other situations, a content marketing service may be all that’s needed.
– Social Media Management: Some companies do not have the staff or the time to manage their own social media accounts, and at the rate in which this type of marketing can grow… sometimes it’s just better to delegate that task to an outside vendor. Or it could be that your brand isn’t doing much in the social space but some of your largest and most successful competitors are… you consider buying a package or service that can take care of this are of digital marketing for you.
– On-Page Optimization: This is probably one of the most misused, misapplied, and misunderstood areas of SEO… on-page optimizations. Due to the level of understanding and experience needed to properly apply this SEO tactic, it’s in the best interest of some companies to outsource this piece of their digital marketing campaign. However, if you decide to do so… tread with caution. SEO is one of the few industries that is not regulated or graded by way of a certification, schooling, or some other training. These days anyone can call themselves and search engine optimization expert or guru. Also, just because a person says they’ve been doing SEO for 5 years doesn’t mean that they’ve been doing it right for 5 years. Ask yourself AND ask them, “If you’re soo good at SEO, then why are you trying to do it for other people and not your own website?”.
Anyway, despite the length of this article the occasional rank… hopefully there’s at least one thing that will be useful to you and/or your brand when it comes to SEO packages. Hopefully it’s not that they’re all bad, because that wouldn’t be true… they be quite helpful. It’s just that the whole SEO package business can be ugly… some of them are good and some of them are bad. Nomvo!