Is Cheap SEO Bad?

Cheap SEO has the potential to cause more harm than good for your business. It can produce favorable results and rankings initially, but eventually can lead to penalties from search engines that reduce your website visibility. This harm to your rankings will take time to earn back. The reality is that those offering these services often have limited expertise and cost your business time, money, and reputation in the long run. In this article, you will learn about the dangers of cheap SEO, how to identify these services, and why it is worth it to invest in a quality SEO company.

cheap seo services

What Characterizes Cheap SEO?

The main characteristic of cheap SEO is that it aims to accomplish the task of improving site visibility quickly and unethically. Suspiciously affordable SEO providers oversell and over-promise on results that may seem to work in the short term, but the companies they were supposed to help end up penalized by search engines. These companies do not deliver quality work and you get what you pay for with these SEO services. That is a short-term gain in rankings with long-term consequences in reputation and black-listing. Generally, cheap SEO companies employ inexperienced providers, use black hat SEO methods, and generalized packages that do not provide desirable results for the individualized needs of each client. 

5 Traits of Cheap Search Engine Optimization

#1: Inexperienced Providers

High-quality, data-driven work is skill, time, and labor-intensive. Most cheap SEO providers cannot provide this due to the large volume of clients they are trying to service in a short period of time. For example, these companies cannot afford to hire employees with experience because they will demand higher pay and thus it would negate the entire platform of cheap SEO services by driving up prices. The poor quality of work is reflective of the low price. The risk of these services is the lack of results because they are working on a large number of projects with little investment in each of them. Your business will pay the price of poor quality work, which is not worth the time or money when it could have been spent elsewhere.

#2: Black Hat SEO Techniques

Black hat SEO includes tactics that search engines look down upon so much that they could penalize and black-list your business for a certain amount of time. These tactics include keyword stuffing, hidden text, poor-quality links, and spam comments. While these methods do generate traffic, they are deceitful and lower the quality of the website. That is why they are against search engine guidelines – they decrease the quality of the user experience. The result of this happening to your business from a low-quality SEO provider is more trouble than it is worth. It can possibly have devastating consequences that could impact company growth online in the foreseeable future. 

Black hat SEO and cheap SEO go hand in hand because they focus on quick, easy ways to make an impact online and financially. These exploitations flag search engines and punish those websites to reduce the amount of online clutter versus thoughtful, quality websites. This could cost a business future profits that could have been avoided with the employment of a reputable SEO company that uses legitimate tactics to boost online visibility, rather than risk the potential consequences from search engines.

cheap search engine optimization

#3: One Size Fits All Packages

Each business is different and requires a specialized approach in order to succeed online and stand out amongst its competition. Individual tailoring for SEO utilizes the best possible strategies rather than standardized methods. Inexpensive SEO providers do not take the time to find out what methods are best for the client. The reason these providers use a one size fits all package is because they are trying to get the largest number of clients while investing the least amount of time and effort. A one size fits all package cuts time, money, and effort out of the equation. However, these are necessary investments in order to create meaningful outcomes for each client. 

#4: Outdated Tactics

Inexpensive SEO agencies cannot keep up with algorithm changes from search engines. This is thanks to the fact that they often use inexperienced employees, black hat techniques, and generalized SEO plans. Their methods to boost rankings ultimately do not succeed because they do not keep up with the technical changes of proper SEO. Search engines constantly update their platforms to weed out improper SEO techniques and keep rankings competitive. The reason why these affordable SEO companies cannot keep up with the changes in algorithms ties in with the previous characteristics and thus makes them a poor choice to work with. 

#5: Questionable Responsibility

After a business realizes their initial rankings boost has plummeted, the company will not fix this for you. This creates no accountability for their poor work. It is then up to the business to either fix themselves or hire a reputable SEO company. These inexpensive SEO agencies’ goal is to make money quickly from a large number of clients. That’s why they cannot give each one proper customer service and attention. These SEO businesses know that they are utilizing techniques that go against search engine guidelines that will end in penalization. Due to this, affordable SEO companies are not trying to build long-standing relationships with the businesses they work with and are not concerned with being accountable and having good customer service.

cheap seo

Why are Cheap SEO Services Not Worth It?

The main argument against cheap SEO services is that the risks are not worth the reward in the low likelihood these methods pay off. Hiring a legitimate SEO provider saves time and money in the long run. Using legitimate methods to boost website visibility helps your business instead of harming it. 

When hiring a low-priced SEO provider, a business loses out on working with a legitimate digital marketing company. It is not worth it for a company to cut corners using questionable providers and have their rankings harmed. The amount of time (months to years) and money to gain those rankings back ultimately make these services a disservice. Inexpensive SEO companies are a hassle to deal with after they have provided you a service with little to no accountability for the poor quality work performed that could be detrimental to your business.

What Cheap Search Engine Optimization Actually Costs

Cheap SEO mainly involves opportunity cost. During that same period in which your business utilized these services, you could have hired a quality, reputable marketing company. The reputable company could have actually helped your online presence grow and lead to more recognition on search engines. Using affordable SEO services costs your business time and money, which are two valuable resources that could have been spent elsewhere. These services negatively impact your relationship with search engines by using short-cuts and exploiting loopholes to increase rankings and unable to provide proper technical SEO. Your company will have to spend the time to fix the poor quality SEO which again involves a loss of time and money.

cheap seo agencies

How to Identify Quality SEO Services vs Cheap SEO Services

When you choose a reputable company, the provider generally aims to build a long-standing, mutually beneficial relationship. Meanwhile, cheap SEO services are focused on packaged projects that increase profitability from a multitude of clients and generally are not aiming for repeat business. In order for these SEO providers to make a profit, they have to have a large number of clients. This results in less attention to detail to the tailored needs of each individual client and thus poorer performance online. Quality SEO services will work with businesses and their specialized needs. Cheap ones will have a cookie-cutter package that does not guarantee success for all companies. Reputable SEO agencies will want to build a good relationship with the businesses they work with. Legitimate SEO agencies use authorized tactics and cheap ones use unsanctioned tactics for self-serving purposes.

SEO Design Chicago Can Help You More Than Cheap SEO Services

SEO Design Chicago has an experienced team of SEO consultants that will tailor strategies to help your business grow online and succeed. Our company works with a variety of businesses and has the expertise to help you rank higher through creative, customized tactics. The methods SEO Design Chicago uses have been shown to work and cooperate with search engine regulations. This means that your company will grow and thrive instead of ending up penalized. Since we work with a diverse group of businesses, we have the skills and experience to create a plan that is designed with your needs in mind. Quality SEO requires experience, time, and skills which is everything cheap SEO companies lack and we provide. 


  • What is cheap SEO?
  • How can cheap SEO hurt you?
  • Is cheap SEO a scam?
  • What are some examples of bad SEO practices?
  • Why are cheap SEO packages bad?

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