SEO Can be (VERY) Confusing & Shady! Read This Before Buying Services. SEO can be a double edged sword sometimes. You know you need it.. you want it.. but if you chose the wrong service your website can be ruined. No SEO is safe. I preach it all day long.. but there are some things that you can do to protect yourself (and your site) to the best of your ability. If you have been around the forum for a while you can probably name dozens of services that have come and gone. Fancy names, outrageous claims, and shit lists that saw "reputable" members run off with money.. or blame their "partner" for controlling the money. It's pathetic and sad at the same time, but there will always be SEO clowns around! I want to address some key points that I think will help some people (especially noobs) understand SEO a bit more. Not how it works.. (I've covered that a lot already in my other threads) but the business behind it. BHW gets so much traffic from non members and I think it's important we try to educate everyone on how it really works. False Promises & Crazy Claims Will NEVER Go Away Even in 2015 we still see services launched with ridiculous claims: Rank #1 Rank improvements guaranteed Penguin, Panda and Hummingbird proof (my favorite) 100% safe 100% private network Orly? Rank #1 This claim is still LOL funny. Most SEO providers aren't going to be honest with you when you have your credit card out eager to purchase their service. Instead, they will wait until you complain and then say "well it is almost impossible to outrank Amazon for your keywords." Being upfront from the start sets the expectations. Ask a provider where they can realistically see your website reaching (after time of course.. SEO takes time) as long as everything goes according to plan. I can't stand seeing these claims because it's just a lame marketing gimmick to lure in the noobs. Rank Improvements Guaranteed There are a lot of things that are out of the SEO providers hands that could royally screw up a website. A competitor neg-SEOing, buying spammy links without the provider knowing or even something as simple as installing a plugin that crashes the website over a long weekend, causing the site to be offline for days. As a business owner I am telling you that the "ranking improvement or refund" line is not a wise business move and most likely just a line of BS that is covered by a 10 page "terms" clause that basically makes the guarantee worthless and impossible to claim. Penguin, Panda and Hummingbird Proof (my favorite) There is nobody.. I repeat.. NOBODY.. that can predict what Google is going to do next, let alone guarantee that what they are doing is 100% safe. This is just another gimmick to pull in the noobs that just read an article somewhere about how Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird are bad.. then they see 100% safe from the zoo animals and think "ahhh, this must be a great service" until their site disappears because the service was crap. 100% safe Nothing is 100% safe. Wait, I take that back. Put up your site.. don't buy, build or create any links.. and you MIGHT be safe. Understand that there is a risk anytime you buy SEO. When done the right way the reward is usually greater than the risk.. but that is something you have to evaluate. I've told countless number of clients to NOT buy some of my services because they had a website that was the bread and butter of their family business.. if they aren't prepared to walk on the wild side don't get SEO. Some businesses CAN NOT afford to put their site in ANY kind of danger.. and that is understandable. Just know there will always be a risk involved with SEO. 100% private network PBN's have been the rage around the forum (and offline) for the past year. There is no such thing as a private network unless you own all the sites and not a single person knows about them. Otherwise, they are public networks and they expose you to a huge danger. When Google finds them they torch everything connected.. gone.. See ya later! The REAL Reason SEO Services Range From $200 - $5,000 per Month.. SEO prices range from a couple hundred dollars to several thousands a month.. but when it comes down to it they are pretty similar. Wait.. wut??? Yup, I am here to tell you that a $200 SEO package you find here on BHW is identical to some services that agencies charge $5,000 for. I am 100% right and I should know.. we provide the service for several agencies that resell our packages for 10-15X the price. Good for them.. I'm not here to bash it or knock their hustle.. heck, we love resellers. But for a noob that comes to BHW and sees something for $200 and then talks to an agency that tries to sell them on a monthly $3,000 contract they are going to assume the quality and results will be very different. Most of the times they won't differ at all. Don't assume that the resellers are making huge profit margins because of the markup.. because most aren't. They are making it up because they have to in order to stay in business. The forum is able to offer such discounted services because: You are coming directly to the source. There are no markups and no middlemen involved. Any time you can buy direct you are going to save money. You aren't absorbing the advertising and promotion cost. I buy banner space and stickys.. and that costs quite a bit.. but its possible to sell here with just a $30 marketplace thread. That is an insane value SEO agencies have to mark their prices up 10-15X because: They are spending money out the ass to find customers. BHW has thousands of people landing on the forum every day that are interested in SEO and can easily visit the marketplace. SEO agencies have to spend money on PPC and offline advertising.. which is not cheap at all! They have to pay for their support staff.. and I don't mean the staff that is actually doing the SEO work.. that is the outsourcer.. I mean the receptionist, the book keeper, the sales reps, etc. This is a huge amount of money that all comes from the price of the monthly service. They have to pay for an office space. This can be a HUGE amount of money, and even more in large US cities. Think about a SEO agency is a major city. They might pay $5,000 just for the office. Then you have the internet, phone system, electricity, security system, computers, etc. etc. etc.. it all adds up. So, as you can see the customer isn't receiving a higher quality SEO service by paying 10-15X offline. They are simply paying for all the expenses that a SEO agency has just to keep their lights on and doors open. There are several sellers here that can probably tell you the same thing.. that they supply large agencies with the very same service that you can buy from them for a fraction of the cost. Price doesn't always dictate quality when it comes to SEO. The agencies will have good sales people on the other line of the phone (as they should for the $$ they are paying them) and they will throw out fancy words and stress "content is king" and "you need to focus on quality" when they don't even do the work or even audit the work. They are glorified sales reps packaged with a fancy bow and called an agency. Rest assured you can get the same quality here on BHW. After all, this is where the largest agencies source the work they resell and package as their own. Understand WHO is Doing the SEO and WHERE They Are Doing It I just explained why there is such a huge price variation when it comes to SEO services. Most agencies aren't even doing the work. In fact, some SEO companies don't know how to rank and have no idea what SEO even involves! Wait.. wut?? (again) Yeah, that is right. There are plenty of US based agencies that will tell you they do the work but again, they are just order takers. The real work happens overseas. So, what happens if shit hits the fan and Google unleashes a new penalty tomorrow and your site drops from the SERPS? If you notice one thing around here.. news spreads fast. BHW breaks algo updates and SERP changes faster than any SEO news website because this is where some of the best SEO minds are. They are here daily. If you are paying a huge company thousands to do your SEO work you would expect them to be able to tell you what's going on at all times right? Especially if there was an update rolled out. But no. They are clueless. They are panicking just as much as their clients.. reaching out to their outsource providers hoping for answers.. or logging onto the circle jerk SEO websites to see what the tribe of clueless idiots have to say. All of their reporting is automated. They aren't really studying the SERPS.. they are worried about where their next huge paying customer is going to come from. They have to keep the pipeline full of leads because so many companies drop them.. the cost is too much with no return or their rankings don't move up as quickly as promised (remember these are sales pros.. not SEO pros.. so they will say anything to get the sale closed). So, if you are worried about working with a SEO provider from BHW that is overseas and not local to you.. guess what? Even if you sign up for service with an agency around the corner from your house there is a VERY good chance that the actual work is still going to be done overseas.. and you are going to pay a huge premium to be able to call and chit chat with a local company. Read reviews in the sales threads.. speak to past or present customers.. just don't be scared of buying SEO service from a forum. Some of the biggest agencies are reselling the same exact services that you have access to in the market place.. believe me on that one! Only 3 Slots Left (LULZ).. Don't believe the Limited Spots Pitch When it comes down to it SEO involves creating content and building links. This is something that will never be scarce. There will always be content writers available and SEOs to build links. Don't be pressured by the sales tactics of "limited spots" and "ohhh we can only take 2 more clients".. that's all a bunch of crap. Any SEO provider worth a damn can easy scale their operation to take on more clients. You mean to tell me you wouldn't want more business? Take a step back and think about your business. What if you sold sneakers online and you bought direct from all the manufacturers. If you ranked #1 on Google for a lot of terms and you were selling out of sneakers every day wouldn't you increase your inventory purchase so you could handle all of the orders without delay? ..or would you say "ohh sorry.. but we are happy selling just a few pairs of shoes per day. We don't want to make more money. Go buy from our competitors because we like helping everyone else make money!" Logical thinking answers this. Don't be fooled by the high pressure BS. SEO is all about strategy. It is a highly valuable skill.. but the tools required to make it work aren't in short supply. You Need to Do Some Work Also!! I just got done telling you that you shouldn't be scared of buying SEO services on the forum. You need to not be scared of something else.. and that is work. Yes, work!! Talk to your SEO provider and ask them what you can do to help make your site better. Add new content on a schedule? (weekly, monthly, etc) Change your site layout? (are you responsive bro?) Build some new pages to target keywords? 99% of SEO customers will never ask this. They just order a service and sit back expecting money to fall from the sky. I wish it was this easy. If you just communicate with your SEO provider and tell them you are willing to do whatever it takes to improve your site they should be willing to give you some suggestions. If they tell you not to do anything that's a red flag. Yeah, you don't want to be out buying shitty Fiverr packages.. but if you wanted to post regular blog content that isn't going to interfere with their work. It could actually help. Little things like sharing your content on social media is something that can help as well. Talk to your provider.. this is also a good way to test their real knowledge. TL;DR Don't be afraid of forum SEO services. It is often the same stuff being resold for 10-15X the cost. Do your due diligence and work with a provider that is going to shoot straight with you! When you do start SEO actually work with your provider - the more you work with them the better the results tend to be... As always I hope you all enjoyed the read.. Any questions? Fire away.. Until next time.. Ciao for now!