The Cost of Bad SEO

Putting money in piggybank - Don't waste money on bad SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) has grown as a major marketing technique for businesses, politicians, and just about every person and industry in between. If your marketing department is looking to shift focus to SEO, know that bad SEO can carry a big price. As I began looking at a new client, I noticed that there were a few low quality pages. There were a few that I noticed had very similar and very poor content. This prompted me to run a Screaming Frog crawl, only to find that the problem was much worse than a few pages. There were hundreds of pages that were low quality, unoptimized, or duplicate content. They clearly had someone working on the website that was either inexperienced, or had created these pages a long time ago when SEO tactics were very different. I wondered to myself what this would cost the client, not just in their traffic loss, but also in dollars. SEO is important, but only if it is done right. In this blog, you will learn what the cost of hiring the wrong SEO can be.

The Cost of Not Keeping Up With SEO

The only thing that is constant in digital marketing is change. Google is constantly updating their algorithm and a large part of my job as an SEO Specialist is keeping up with the changes. Sometimes representatives from Google, like John Mueller, are nice enough to let us know what they have changed. Most times, it is up to SEOs to run tests and find it out ourselves. 

One major issue that I find when I start with a new client that has had another marketer working on their site is out of date tactics like hiding links. In the earlier days of SEO, adding pages for all keyword synonyms was considered a best practice. If you wanted to bring users to get their car serviced at your dealership, you would make a page for “Car Service Center”, “Car Maintenance Center”, “Auto Service Center”, and any other variation you could think of. Now, adding that many pages will hurt Google’s ability to crawl your website. 

The new client I started to work with had the same problem. They created a “Schedule a Test Drive” page for every town around them. They used a similar tactic trying to attract “for sale” queries as well. All of the pages that were created had duplicate content in the body of the page, and the content was weak. None of these pages worked. The only thing they did for the client is to make it harder for Google to crawl their entire site and effectively hurting their traffic. This is just one example of out of date tactics. There are many that will have a small effect on your traffic, but some can be much more detrimental.

The Cost of Black Hat SEO

If you’ve spent enough time working with SEO, you have likely heard of the dreaded black hat SEO. These SEO tactics make it easy to build up some quick traffic, but can get you a big penalty from Google. Most black hat SEO tactics were normal SEO strategies at one point. For example, buying backlinks was an easy way to quickly build your backlink profile and boost your traffic. Eventually, Google realized that these large-scale linking strategies were not putting the best content in front of users, so they started punishing webmasters who were paying for them. Now, if Google believes that you are buying backlinks to cheat the system, they hit you with a penalty. This can mean that your page or site will be removed or forced to the bottom of the search results. Either way, your audience won’t be able to find you. And making it easy to find you is really what you’re trying to achieve, right?

Getting hit with a penalty is easily one of the worst things that can happen in the SEO world. Nothing is worse than not being seen at all. There is a possibility of getting back the traffic you had, but you will need to solve the problem first. I have been lucky enough not to have a client that has used black hat SEO or recieved a Google penalty, but it still happens. Unfortunately, some people still participate in Black Hat tactics in order to get a big boost quickly and impress their clients early in the relationship.

The Cost of Hiring a Better SEO

So far, we have talked about the price that bad SEO can have on your site traffic, but what about on your finances? If you have an agency or person working on your SEO, it costs you money to hire them. If their strategies are hurting your site, that money is being wasted, and your customer relationships could be negatively impacted. When you hire a new agency or employee, they are going to have to undo the work that your previous SEO did. That means spending more money just to get your site back to the point that it was.

This is where I find myself with the client. Luckily, this isn’t as major of an issue as it could be. It will cost them the better part of a month to fix, but it could be worse. This month could have been used to build their traffic up instead of just getting to a base level. Throwing money at issues that have yet to be fixed will negate any serious competition in the search results.

Sometimes, the cost of hiring a good SEO is a lot, but the cost of hiring a bad SEO is much higher. It’s important to research your options, ask potential SEOs questions, and find out what their tactics are.

Sometimes, the cost of hiring a good SEO is a lot, but the cost of hiring a bad SEO is much higher. It’s important to research your options, ask potential SEOs questions, and find out what their tactics are.

If you are interested in finding out what our SEO strategies look like, contact us or give us a call at 847-297-1700.

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