Have you ever been reeled in by low prices, and then discovered the hidden fees?
You’ve heard it hundreds of times. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. I’m sure that you’ve heard the phrase, “you get what you pay for,” too.
Recently, my sister asked me to help her find the best price for round trip flight online. During my search, one airline’s low prices caught my eye.
Then, the memories of my encounter with this discount airline came crashing in. Two years earlier, I had taken the bait of an alluring deal only to be left utterly frustrated in the end.
Are you wondering what this has to do with SEO? Please stay with me, and I’ll explain.
Picture this: Image it is a frigid winter day and huge snowflakes are piling up outside. The weather forecast warns that temperatures will be plummeting to subzero depths, and you would like nothing more than to escape the frozen tundra. Sunshine and warmth are calling your name, and you begin your Internet search for last minute flight deals.
At last, you find a fantastic round trip flight deal for a three day weekend to head south. You scramble for your credit card and book the flights online before the deal disappears.
That is exactly what I did.
SEO Deals – Lures
In the same way, there are some SEO companies that offer seemingly fantastic deals. You may have searched online for a company offering search engine optimization or web design. Or, perhaps you received an email solicitation from a SEO company with the promise of first page search results on Google.
As with “too good to be true” flight deals, here are two words that are now branded into my memory: buyers beware.
Buyers Beware: Look for Red Flags
As with any purchase, whether it is for a product or service, we should keep our radar on full force for red flags. The first red flag with the discount airline ticket purchase was when the airline required that I become a member and provide my email address in order to check in online and get my boarding pass. Then, I was asked to purchase my seat online.
Hadn’t I already purchased my ticket?
Red flags for SEO companies include a promise that the company can achieve first page placements on Google. No one can promise first page results on Google and in Google’s own words, “No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google.”
Google is very clear about SEO companies that contact you out of the blue in the company’s Search Console Help – Do you need an SEO? The warning: “Be wary of SEO firms and web consultants or agencies that send you email out of the blue.”
Read the Fine Print
To be fair, the airline does disclose additional fees on the company website. These additional fees include paying for carry on luggage and for checking bags. In my rush to purchase the discounted tickets, I did not read all of the information about the extra fees.
When considering an SEO firm, be sure to do your research and ask for a written agreement of what the firm will be doing, and know where your money is going before you embark on your SEO journey.
My airline adventure reminded me of a few of the stories that I have heard over the years from clients that had negative experiences with SEO companies. There have been unethical practices by so-called SEO professionals that have given the industry a “black eye” – as Google puts it. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Beware of offers too good to be true
- Watch for red flags
- Read the fine print – Be sure to ask for a written description of all services that will be performed.
- Realize that we get what we pay for. The least expensive option is not always the best.
Have you ever been reeled in by an alluring offer only to discover hidden fees? I would love to hear about it. Please share your thoughts in the comments below.