Anyone who has ever run a small business can truly sympathize with those who try to save money wherever they can. There are very few business owners in general who start out with a huge budget, so often slimming budgets by cutting a few corners where you can makes sense.
However if your business relies on an online presence in any way – and that is most businesses these days – then opting for cheap SEO may actually end up costing you a lot of money rather than saving it. Here are just a few common ways cheap and dare we say it, underhand, SEO tactics can backfire, both in terms of financial cost and your company’s reputation.
What People Do: Sign up with a super cheap ‘link-building’ service to save time and cash while still getting those backlink things that they have heard that Google is so keen for websites to have. What They Get: A visit from a grumpy penguin.
It is very true that Google still likes websites to have backlinks. But only those that are of good quality and are relevant. Google hates spam links though, and has, over the last several years, been pretty hard on websites that harbor them, imposing penalties on offending sites that can be very hard to recover from. In fact they created an whole algorithm update to seek them out; Google Penguin.
Even though Penguin has been around since 2012, and as of 2016 is a full time core element of the overall Google algorithm, some people, especially those who own linkbuilding services, will still try to convince less informed business owners that their links are OK. Which they very rarely are.
Good, genuine link-building takes time. Google likes links that are built via blogs, via great static content and via actual engagement. Therefore, that is what you should strive to provide and then usually the actual link building takes care of itself.
What People Do: Start a blog, throw up any old content, as long as it has the brand’s keywords in it who cares? What People Get: A visit from a disapproving panda
Google Panda has been around for a long time as well now too, but he (or she or it) is still making its rounds on a regular basis. What this Panda is on the lookout for is poor, over optimized content that adds no value. But it is more than just Google Panda that poor quality content will annoy.
Keyword stuffed blog posts have no value for users either. They just sit there until someone stumbles across them and then clicks away just as quickly because what they have found is just so awful.
Take the time to create – or pay a good writer to create – original engaging content. Maybe that will mean you can only afford to post content once a week or maybe only a few times a month. But that’s OK, as if it is really great content that is far better than posting keyword infested nonsense every few days.
What People Do: Run a haphazard social media marketing campaign and buy a few cheap fans and followers so it looks better. What People Get: Nothing, except possibly banned accounts.
Social media is all about relationships, not numbers. There is very little point in having 10,000 fans if none of those fans are actually interested in what your business does or what you have to say. People who are paid to ‘like’ and ‘follow’ have accounts full of random likes and follows and eventually that becomes very apparent to the social media sites – and to any real person who happens to come across your profiles.
This is something you should be aware of if you hire someone to run a social media marketing campaign for you too. Cut price services tend to promise they can get you 1,000 followers in a day and you know what? Very often they do! But they do it by going to one of the many cheap ‘fans for sale’ sites and then just hope that you are too busy to notice that although yours is a very local business based in say, Kansas City, most of those fans seem to be from other countries and really don’t have a lot of friends either (but they sure do like a lot of things.) However, even if you don’t notice, the social media sites eventually will and they won’t be happy..
There are no short cuts in social media marketing. Someone has to actually take the time to plan a real strategy and then create some real engagement with real people or you really should not even bother at all. However, with a little planning, self education and proper organization it really can provide a bottom line boost as well as a visibility one for almost any business.
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