If you are a small business owner this has happened to you. You are alone. It may be 6 AM before the office has woken up, or it may be 8 PM after the office has gone to bed. You are deep in thought; working hard. Then, suddenly, the ringing of a phone breaks the reverie of work. There is a voice on the other end of the line, “Hi Mister So-and-So, my name is Slim Shady, and I am with an internet marketing firm.” This is the first note of the siren’s song.
The rest of the song goes something like …“Yes, you can have it all. You can be Number 1 in Google, have tons of likes on Facebook, and thousands of followers on Twitter … for the low price of $200 a month. Just sign up with us; the first month is free.”
And you think to yourself, maybe, just maybe I should … I mean, how bad can it be?
The Song of the Siren
According to Homer (the Greek Epic Poet, not Simpson), the Sirens were beautiful creatures that lured sailors to their death. They were stunningly beautiful and possessed magical voices that would carry a tune filled with seduction for miles across the open seas. When lonely sailors would hear the song of the Siren they would heedlessly turn their ships towards the music. The ships would be dashed against a rocky shoreline and the sailors would drown. The tale of the Siren is the ultimate embodiment of something that is too good to be true.
The island of SEO has its fair share of Sirens. They stand out on the rocks, preying on small and medium sized businesses, offering outlandish results at a price point that would make Walmart blush. They make big BIG promises. Want to get on page 1 for 20 keywords in 90 days? Sure. Want to see a 50% increase in traffic in 60 days? Heck, that’s easy! More social engagement? Why not!
The Sirens of SEO will promise you the world, and, like the temptresses of Homer’s Odyssey, they will very often lead your business to doom and destruction.
Here is why.
Go grab a piece of paper and draw a triangle. Done? Awesome. At the top of the triangle write “Good”. At the right of the triangle write “Cheap”. At the left of the triangle write “Fast”. Now form a straight line. You can only pick two points, right? Which two points do you choose? Fast and cheap? Good and fast? Cheap and fast?
It is a basic fact of life. Something that is good and cheap is not going to be fast. Something that is good and fast will never be cheap. Something that is fast and cheap will never be good. Something that attempts to be all three will likely end in a gigantic mess. When it comes to search engine marketing these rules still apply.
What cheap SEO companies offer most clients is fast and cheap painted in a veneer that looks good. They will build 5,000 links in 60 days … but those links mainly go to spammy sites or low quality Web 2.0 profiles. They write content … but that content is thin, irrelevant, and sounds like it was written by a 5 year old riding a sugar high. They may even get results … But in six months those results all fade away because your site has been whacked with a Google penalty that will take more time and more money to clean up.
How much money did you really save? Exactly. So, when you hear the Siren’s Song of super-cheap, affordable SEO do what the veteran sailors of the Bing Seas and Google Oceans do… Plug your ears and turn the boat around.