how to evaluate a digital marketing agency

Is Cheap SEO the Right Solution for Your Toronto Business?

As a small business, you may struggle with limited resources for marketing. Investing in SEO can be daunting with so many other priorities for growing your business. However good quality SEO delivers one of the best ROI for small businesses.

With many digital marketing priorities, there can be very little money left over for SEO services. However good quality SEO delivers one of the best ROI for small businesses.

There are a few reasons a small business might seek cheap SEO services. A cheap SEO company may seem like a viable option to increase your online visibility without making a significant financial investment. A small business owner might believe that any SEO is better than no SEO, hoping to attract more website traffic and, subsequently, more customers.

Unfortunately, these businesses are not fully aware of the potential risks and long-term consequences of using a cheap SEO company. They may be willing to overlook the poor quality of work thinking this is all they can afford at the moment.

The promise of quick results at low costs can be so incredibly enticing for small business owners, but low cost does come at a cost.

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Let’s take a look at the hidden costs of cheap SEO services.

Today’s business environment is highly competitive. You as a small business owner know that better than anyone. Sadly, a cheap SEO company will not help your business grow today’s competitive online landscape.

Regardless of industry, every business is surrounded by competitors big and small. Many of these are established companies that have been at the SEO game much longer than you. Some of these competitors have already learned to avoid cheap SEO companies, and instead focus on affordable SEO services that show results.

The risks of cheap SEO are significant. They have the potential for damaging your website’s reputation and your search engine ranking in the long term.

Choosing the right SEO agency for your business is an important decision. But when comparing the various SEO services offered, it can be difficult to assess what you need.

If you’re not an SEO services expert, knowing the difference between the services is challenging and confusing. Often speaking with the SEO agency can only add to the confusion. We’ll explain why later in the article.

Like almost everything in life, so too it is that SEO services in Toronto (or anywhere else) are not created equal. If you plan to invest in improving your SEO rankings, it’s important to ask yourself the following questions:

·      What is the difference between affordable SEO and cheap SEO?

·      What is the right amount to spend on SEO services, especially if you are a smaller business?

Keep on reading. You’ll discover the difference between high-quality SEO services and cheap SEO services, and what to expect in each case.

What Are Cheap SEO Services?

Cheap SEO services typically refer to low price and a promise of enhancing a website’s visibility on search engines like Google. However, this that promise is misleading because it’s too general. Of course you want increased online visibility!

What is missed is that cheap SEO services often use outdated or black-hat SEO tactics. Google is improving its search algorithm constantly. As a result, these methods can violate search engine guidelines.

Cheap SEO aims for quick gains rather than sustainable growth. Practices can include keyword stuffing, invisible text, and backlink schemes from low-quality sites. We’ll get into that in greater detail below. While the initial costs are lower, the long-term consequences can be detrimental, potentially resulting in penalties from search engines or even complete removal from search results.

Essentially, cheap SEO services prioritize short-term visibility over the quality website traffic. This is a huge problem: you can harm a business’s online reputation when you send irrelevant traffic to your site. You also interfere with your potential success by slowing or stopping your website’s ability to do its job for you: grow your business.

It’s crucial to understand that effective SEO requires ongoing effort, quality content, and adherence to best practices, aspects often overlooked by cheaper solutions. Effective and affordable SEO strategies are those that build a solid foundation for a website’s future growth.

When the focus is on producing a good user experience, sharing relevant content, and maintaining ethical optimization practices, you are building the strength and value of your website as a business asset. Here are 9 steps you can take to find affordable SEO in Toronto.

More Reasons to Avoid Cheap SEO Services

Cheap SEO Services Deliver One Size Fits All SEO

Have you wondered how the cheap SEO companies can offer their services at such low prices? They use a cookie-cutter approach that increases efficiency and maximizes their profits, not yours.

Every business hiring them will get the same strategy and approach. But can you use the same SEO strategy to help a large manufacturing company rank on major search engines as you would help a small chiropractic clinic reach new customers in their local area?

The answer is no.

SEO is not a one size fits all exercise. Every business is unique. Each business has its own ideal customer, branding, web design, value proposition, deal win history, organizational strengths, and business culture.

For SEO to be effective these differences should be reflected in the SEO strategy.

Instead, your company will benefit from tailored SEO services designed specifically for your business, your industry, and most importantly, your goals.

Here at Asset Digital, who’s earned the position as Top Toronto SEO Company, we will want to understand your company, industry, and business in depth. Our SEO experts will help your marketing team figure out the demand, weigh the competition, and advise on the best approach to dominate the search results.

Cheap SEO Services Deliver Weak Customer Experience

Cheap SEO services translate into a weak customer experience. And no one needs to tell you this is both frustrating and a waste of your time. Cheap SEO companies do not build accountability and communication into their business model. When you hire a cheap SEO company, you’re hiring a company that focusses more on customer acquisition than on retaining existing customers.

They are notorious for providing their clients with poor customer service for this reason. Your business represents short term revenue (because of the high churn rate built into their business model) which must generate profit.  Their one size fits all approach means your business will not get personalized attention, and your questions go unanswered.

If an account manager has been assigned, they are a junior resource with limited SEO knowledge or experience. They won’t know much about your specific SEO needs, and you may find that it is almost impossible to get your questions answered. And if you’d like to discuss strategy, don’t even try! They won’t understand what you’re asking.

Cheap SEO companies are not focused on building long-term relationships with their clients. To them, it’s all about the transaction. You continue to pay month after month, so they continue to use their templated approach month after month until you get tired of not seeing any measurable benefits.

Monthly reporting may not be provided, or the reports may be meaningless to you. The long term value of your website authority and ranking is not being strengthened because they are not invested in the success of your business.

Quality affordable SEO in Toronto can be found. Asset Digital’s focus is delivering measurable value to smaller businesses. Our business model ensures you’ll get high-quality service and reliable results month after month.

By creating a meaningful connection with your team and fully understanding your business, we establish a strong foundation which we then build and strengthen. Your website’s value as an asset grows, measured by the leads and market share you gain in working together.

Cheap SEO Services Deliver Inexperienced SEO Teams

As a small business who is trying to understand SEO agency services, how can you even start to know if your cheap SEO services team is inexperienced?

Here are some signs that the SEO company has an inexperienced team:

  • They offer guaranteed keyword rankings for your business, which should be a big red flag for you
  • They lack clear communication with you, leaving you in the dark as to their activities
  • An absence of regular reporting on progress, or meaningless reports that don’t tell you much
  • An inability to explain how their efforts align with your business goals
  • They are focused on quick fixes
  • They fail to prioritize or understand the importance of content quality, user experience, and mobile optimization
  • You see long outdated techniques like keyword stuffing
  • They lack transparency about the strategies that they are deploying
  • Not adhering to Google’s Webmaster Guidelines suggests use of risky black hat tactics

An inexperienced SEO team can pose significant risks to your business using tactics that may deliver some short term “perceived” gains, but in fact, over time you are putting your business growth in potential jeopardy.

The harm to your online reputation and visibility can be in some cases permanent and cannot be easily undone or reversed.

In contrast, professionally trained SEOs will never work for a cheap SEO agency. They would not tarnish their own professional reputation with the association.

The best SEOs love the challenge and complexity that the practice can offer and choose to work with an agency to practise their skills across a wide spectrum of businesses and SEO challenges.

The delivery of top quality SEO services is not the work of a single SEO, but rather it is a team effort that includes strategists, technical experts, professional writers and website developers.

Our SEO Experts Can Improve Your Website SEO

Cheap SEO Services Deliver Black Hat SEO

Let’s start by explaining what is black hat SEO.  Black hat SEO refers to optimization practices that violate search engine guidelines to boost a website’s rankings in search results. These practices are considered “unethical” and are not condoned by Google.

The reliance on black hat SEO is eventually discovered by Google through their crawl activity, and when discovered can result in penalties by Google. The penalties eliminate any online gains and additionally, if serious enough, can result in and long-term damage to a site’s credibility.

Here is a list of some of the worst black hat SEO practices:

Cloaking: Showing different content to search engines than to users, misleading both for higher rankings.

Invisible Text: Placing white text on a white background to include additional keywords without being seen by visitors.

Doorway Pages: Creating low-quality pages loaded with keywords to rank well, then redirecting visitors to a different page.

Link Farms: Participating in networks created solely to increase the number of inbound links to a site, disregarding the quality or relevance of the links.

Content Scraping: Copying content from other websites to use as one’s own without permission or adding value.

Keyword Stuffing: Overloading webpages with irrelevant keywords to manipulate a site’s ranking.

What Are The Risks to Your Business?

Black hat SEO techniques can seem to work at first, with website traffic enjoying a nice boost. However, the search engines are crawling websites everywhere all the time. They may not detect the black hat tactics at first. But over time eventually these tactics will be discovered.

So then what happens? Once discovered, your website will be issued a penalty. The penalty can be a downgrade in your website – its traffic and authority. You’ll see your website traffic collapse.

With a penalty from Google, the level of traffic will fall, even being lower than when the black hat SEO tactics were started. The website may be permanently banned from the search engine.

These unethical practices risk severe search engine penalties, such as lowered rankings or complete de-listing, leading to decreased website traffic and sales.

This is a steep price to pay for cheap SEO. The reliance on black hat SEO will ultimately hinder the development of a sustainable and trustworthy online presence, vital for long-term business success.

The quick gains promised by black hat SEO will collapse, leaving lasting negative impacts on a business’s financial and online standing.

Cheap SEO Services Don’t Deliver Quality Content

Cheap SEO services are not able to produce good quality content which is an essential part of the Google E-E-A-T guideline for helpful content.

Google’s E-E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness, and Experience. It’s a set of criteria used to assess the quality of content on websites, with a recent emphasis on the creator’s experience.

High E-E-A-T scores help ensure that content not only comes from a knowledgeable and reputable source but also reflects a depth of personal experience, making it more useful and reliable to users. This framework guides Google’s algorithms in prioritizing content that meets these standards in search results, aiming to provide searchers with accurate, helpful, and trustworthy information.

Let’s face it. You get what you pay for. Not much.

To offer marketing services at very low prices, companies have to hire writers who often lack the language, writing skills, professional training and experience needed to create high-quality content.

Instead of getting the interesting articles you were expecting from the cheap SEO company, you’ll get poorly-written articles. These will not pass muster on the search engines.

And of course if a customer reads them, your integrity and professionalism will be undermined. Bad content is a bad idea.

Poor content translates into a poor user experience. Rather than establishing your business as an authority on the subject, these poorly written articles hurt your reputation instead.

Do you realize that your unique, quality content are assets that you own and which grow in value over time? Top quality articles can attract a significant number of website visits and can generate new enquiries to your website. Yes, good content will generate leads. Investing in great content is part of a strong SEO strategy.

The art of writing good content requires industry expertise along with professional training as a writer and experience in SEO. If you are lucky enough to have great writers on your team, that’s great.

As your SEO agency partner, we will integrate their involvement into our SEO work. As an agency, Asset Digital, has an expert team of professional writers for most industries.

Cheap SEO Services Deliver Lost Time & Money

Most importantly, low-quality SEO services waste your two most valuable resources: your time and your money. While you’re waiting for results to materialize, you’ll see your competitors grow past you.

Along with faster growth in market share, it’s your competitors who will get the greater share of available new business leads. Another approach is to find an affordable SEO agency, where every dollar you spend is converted into visible, measurable business growth.

What if my business can only afford cheap SEO Toronto services?

High quality SEO services can be affordable even for smaller businesses. A mistake is to think that you have to risk your business to cheap SEO. Instead find a solution that is affordable for your business.

When you choose quality affordable SEO, you’re investing in your business. As you begin to see results and your business grows, a competent and committed SEO agency will build on the strong foundation it has established for your business putting any additional budget you can afford into accelerating the benefits and growth.

Asset Digital has a range of SEO services and price points specifically for smaller businesses.

What should I pay for SEO?

An important consideration for any business is what is the right amount to invest in SEO. Affordable SEO services are tied to ROI. We have created a tool to help businesses determine their marketing budget. Click the link below to use the tool

Marketing Budget Calculator

We developed this tool as a resource for businesses like yours. There is a great blog we’ve written that provides the background rationale.

Taking the right next step for your business may mean you want to understand further the difference between cheap SEO and affordable SEO services.


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