Imagine you are a small business owner who just finished a brand new website. You have heard something about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and thought your website should get some of that done. Since you considered yourself somewhat tech savvy and having got your website done by a contractor hired through Elance or Odesk, you thought you could just hire someone through those sites to take care of SEO also.
So you post a job and bingo!! 50 SEO experts who are willing to do the job for $1 / hour rate!! SWEET!! or is it?!
I must confess I was just like that several years ago before I emerged myself into the SEO world. I thought SEO was all just about building links. As I dug deeper, and two major Google updates later, yes it is still about building links but in a much more sophisticated ways than most people think. Here are 5 reasons why hire someone cheap to build links is a bad idea that I learned the hard way.
Reason 1: They just want to build links in a short period of time – because they want to get paid FAST!
In most cases, when you received a proposal from someone who is willing to do SEO cheaply, you would likely to be bombarded by the number of links they would create for you. “Affordable link building with 300 directories, 200 bookmarking, 100 web 2.0 links etc”. However, building too many links in a short period of time will only raise suspicion from Google.
Ask the SEO contractor how many links should be built in one week for a site. If you get an answer “more the better” or “I can do several hundred no problem” you better stop talking and start looking for someone else.
Reason 2: Relevancy matters
With the two most recent major Google updates (Penguin and Panda), relevancy becomes a very important factor. If back links are coming from irrelevant sites, Google knows you are manipulating the system and will penalize your site.
Watch out for SEO contractors who do not care about where the back links are built. Ask them to choose the websites carefully, categories and tags even more so.
Reason 3: No filtration of sites – quality matters
They do not discuss with you how the links are built but rather just tell you where the links will be built. “I can do Web2.0, article directories, Wiki, social bookmarking, blog commenting etc”. These are all good source of links but a site (or a target page) can have 1000s of back links but not showing up on Search Engine Result Ranking (SERP) because the quality of the links matter. Choose the sites that will link directly to your site carefully (let’s call these sites first tier links). Ideally these first tier sites should be of high quality links. Then you might want to build some second tier sites linking to these first tier sites.
Ask how the links will be built. If the answer is “everything will be linking directly to your site”, think twice of hiring that contractor.
Reason 4: Only using the same keywords
You probably have a target keyword in mind already when you are ready to hire someone to build back links. The problem is once you tell the SEO contractor what the target keyword is that is going to be the only anchor text they will use to link back to your site.
Ask the contractor what keyword variations they would use.
Reason 5: Automation
Even with all these factors, you might wonder how these SEO contractors can provide their service so cheaply. I kept asking this questions myself, until I came across the black (or white?) magic of SEO – AUTOMATION.
It’s quite simple. They use software to build links for you. There is nothing wrong with that if it is done correctly, but sadly it is not.
In summary, you get what you paid for, even though sometimes you get lucky and find someone reliable for a good price. I certainly did, but the process almost felt like buying a lottery.
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