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The True Cost of Low Quality SEO and The Adventures of Offshoring

Our clients often get bombarded with email spam from India and even domestically here in the US offering them amazing SEO rankings guaranteed for very little money. Our clients sometimes ask, “why should I pay more for a US based agency like GlowHat to handle our SEO campaign?” Yes, it’s true just like momma said, if it sounds to good to be true it probably is, this also applies to all the amazing offers you might receive about offshore or cheap domestic IT labor, and esp. for such a critical customer facing marketing activity such as SEO.

With IT tasks such as programming you might be able to get away with using cheap offshore labor, but often even that is a major headache for companies as the work output is often low quality poorly commented buggy code. SEO is not just an IT activity it encompasses every aspect of your online presence and is not something you want to give to the lowest bidder. Many of our new clients actually are those damaged by choosing price over quality of SEO work, and we end up spending months undoing the damage done to their site and it’s rankings. It’s better to think of SEO as the optimization of your entire online presence and is more a marketing activity then an IT activity.

Their are two main different approaches to SEOs, once you understand this you’ll be able to understand much better what type of SEO vendor you’re dealing with.

  • SEO quantity based, i.e vendor focuses on providing you with hundreds or thousands of spammed links, claims quick results, is suspiciously cheap, guarantees you’ll be #1 in a couple weeks etc
    • Very risky, often get sites penalized or worst yet de-listed from the search engines, all it takes is one automated or manual review of your site and all your efforts and organic rankings can be erased. The low quality SEO Spam that the India type vendors do can cause more harm then good.
    • Looks un-natural and is easily detected and flagged by the search engines. Keep in mind search engines like Google have the best and brightest minds working for them, they know what you’re doing with your site, trust me, any spammy low quality SEO efforts will be easily detected.
    • Very low priced campaigns, but the real cost damage in terms of lost opportunities, brand damage, search engine penalties far outweigh any actual possible benefit. To pay someone any amount of money to harm your site’s SEO and organic rankings would not be a wise choice.
    • What is the real cost of the lost opportunities that your not getting because your rankings are marginal or phrases nobody uses?
    • Can damage your Brand online when you spam the Internet, spamming the Internet with poorly written English grammar, which results in very little traffic being driven to your site.
    • Brand can be effected by poorly written content being syndicated out.
    • Can get you permanently banned from important sites and services.
    • Complaints from other site’s which where spammed by your vendor
    • Often called “BlackHat” or “GreyHat” SEO by most experts
    • Focused producing certain volumes of links, i.e we’re going to get you 500 directory links, and 500 article posts etc Spammy approach that focuses on volume over quality
    • Goes against the TOS Terms of Service of the search engines, and their guidelines.
    • Ranking will be unstable and in the long run will lose rankings over time. It’s not uncommon to see some initial ranking improvements with spammy blackhat SEO tactics, since the search engines see a sudden flurry of activity, but once their full algorithm and scoring really analyzes your site over time, your rankings will fall back down again.
    • Totally ineffective for competitive phrases i.e your main key phrases that would drive the most traffic
    • Spammy SEO is becoming less and less effective as the search engines get better and better at detecting plainly obviously attempts at artificially posting a site’s rankings.
    • Offshore SEO groups do not build relationships with quality sites which would greatly improve your rankings but simply spam low quality easy to get links, they approach SEO as they would a technical programming problem, vs. a critical marketing activity.
  • SEO based on quality, vendor focuses on quality of effort, and most importantly high rankings that are stable, and for phrases that matter most to make a difference for your leads or sales. The practice whitehat SEO and follow the search engine guidelines. Like a good piece of internet real estate, they focus on quality, quality, quality!
    • Considered “Whitehat” SEO which the search engines actually encourage
    • 1x quality authoritative link can be more powerful then hundreds or thousands of typical low quality spam links, esp. for your most important and competitive search phrases. It’s not the volume of links you build but the quality. I have sites that have 30 back links we worked very hard and took months to get and we outrank competitors that also worked hard at spamming with 1000+ sites but yet we rank higher then them and our position is stable where they aren’t even on the 1st page of the search results half the time.
    • Quality based SEO, will keep your site out of trouble and avoid getting penalized
    • Quality SEO is much more effective in producing high rankings
    • Search Engines actually recommend you do whitehat SEO on your site, because it often makes their jobs easier of understanding what your site is about, and making it easier for the search spiders to crawl and index your site.
    • Quality based SEO does not go against the search engine’s TOS
    • Search Engines Love quality sites and reward them with ranking them first, they do everything in their power to look for low quality sites and filter them out. By using a offshore low quality SEO vendor you’re basically flagging your site and letting
      the search engines know, that quality is not your first concern.
    • The search engines really could be better called “quality engines” looking for the best sites out there to display first. Effective best practice SEO focuses on quality, that’s why there’s things like the Adwords “Quality Score” and “Page Rank”, “Trust Rank”, “Authority” etc.  So it makes sense to have your SEO campaigns efforts and goals in alignment with quality efforts.
    • Quality efforts are much much more future proofed, meaning your organic rankings will more stable and reliable, with spammy SEO it’s not unusual for a new Google algo update to totally wipe out entire businesses that where doing low quality SEO, once the search engines made a better way to filter for the latest and greatest blackhat spam techniques these site’s meager rankings where gone.
    • GlowHat’s multilingual capabilities also are not something easily outsourced to India
    • For many client’s we also handle their PPC campaign, we synergistically combine our interactive marketing efforts to create a fully aware and integrated SEO/PPC campaign.
    • SEO isn’t just about spamming links out on the Internet, or stuffing hidden keywords into a site, it’s about adjusting and tweaking many different elements of your entire online presence, not something you want done in broken English, low quality cheap SEO vendor, who in most cases is just a data enter level worker that doesn’t know about design, usability, programming, content writing, information architecture, HTML, web server and database administration. You really need a very intelligent team who are experts at all the key website duties, as SEO is about “optimizing” everything not just one isolated activity.

Conclusion

To get quality SEO work done you need really do need native English speaking, writing, culturally aware team to get the the desirable and harder to achieve higher quality links that will give you stable, long term rankings vs. the “India shuffle” where they spam the Internet, google sees the velocity of links increase, you perhaps get a little bit of increase in ranking, but it’s temporary as your rankings slip back down because they links they build are non-authoritative spam links based on quantity vs. quality. What we’ve noticed is that all of the offshore SEO groups do not build relationships with sites, but simply spam them, they approach SEO as they would a technical programming problem, vs. a critical marketing activity. If you want to get a super hard, but super valuable high quality link that will really help towards the site rankings, it often requires making phone calls, and emails written in perfect English, that offer value, and intelligent and not automated spam that the India people send out. We have people doing guest blog and article writing, optimized press released, intelligent blog commenting etc. all of these tactics require English speaking SEOs can offer that critical value you need to win over authority sites and outrank your competitors. If you want to get a super hard, but super valuable high quality link that will really help towards the site rankings, it often requires making phone calls, and emails written in perfect English that offer value are intelligent and not automated spam that the India people send out. We have people doing guest blog and article writing, optimized press released, intelligent blog commenting etc. all of these tactics require English speaking SEOs can offer that critical value you need to win over authority sites and outrank your competitors.

Stijn Amundsen is the Founder and Principle at GlowHat of Scottsdale Arizona. He enjoys sharing his passion for internet marketing and helping others reach their true potential in business and life. Stijn has been helping clients market high performance web sites for over 10 years, generating millions of dollars of business through high ROI strategies.

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