When you eat rice, are you able to tell who grew it by the taste? Of course not! Unless you are given more information, it’s impossible to say. Rice is rice. It’s a commodity. Like wheat and oil and copper, rice doesn’t change based on who produced it, and because of this, its price is determined by the market as a whole. Some people believe that this is true of search engine optimization (SEO) as well, that SEO works the same way regardless of who produces it, but this is far from the truth. SEO is not a commodity and if you treat it as one, you could be putting your company and its website in great danger . . .
Why SEO Is Not a Commodity
Contrary to the opinions of some, SEO is not a commodity. Far from it, in fact. Talent, experience, and expertise matter immensely in online marketing and if you choose the wrong person for the job, your company could pay the price.
You might be nodding your head right now. Of course, of course, you’re thinking, I know that SEO is not a commodity. I know that one marketing company might garner great results for my company while the other will give me lackluster improvements. Of course. Talent matters in this field . . .
But while it’s true that some SEOs can greatly increase your website’s exposure, traffic, and conversion rates and others will only do so-so, the situation is more serious than that. When you work with a second-rate SEO firm, the worst-case scenario isn’t paying the firm and receiving unimpressive results. No, it’s paying the firm and finding that the consequences are actually negatively affecting your company. If you begin working with a second-rate SEO, you aren’t simply risking your money; you’re risking your company’s online presence. If things go badly, your website could be penalized—or worse, de-indexed (i.e., removed from Google’s search results entirely).
As you can see, quality SEO matters, and if you don’t realize that SEO is not a commodity, your company’s online presence could be severely damaged. This isn’t a service that you can trust to just anybody.
Some people seem to think that if you throw a few keywords around your website, it will show up at the top of Google’s search results. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Online marketing is tricky. It’s both a science and an art. Great SEOs not only implement time-tested strategies like optimized meta tags and quality links, but they stay on top of up-and-coming strategies and techniques. If you don’t find someone with the experience and ability to get you the results you’re looking for, you’re wasting your money – and that’s if you are lucky.
If you aren’t so lucky, an SEO may use dangerous optimization practices, such as over-optimized anchor text, blog comment spam, or other forms of “spammy” automated link building techniques that generate low-quality, untrustworthy links pointing to your website. This is actually worse than just wasting your money, because these types of practices can cause your website to be penalized – or worse – de-indexed by Google. Even if you avoid penalty, these kind of dangerous practices often result in a customer paying an SEO firm to have them actually reduce their exposure online.
This is why it is so important to realize that SEO is not a commodity. When evaluating providers, don’t just evaluate them on price. Understand your goals, and then ask them to provide a detailed plan to reach them. Judge how well they understand your problem, and be prepared to discern quality of there proposed solutions.
Bottom line: quality SEO services aren’t equal across the board.