Performance based SEO services have all the indications of a good deal. You pay nothing upfront until there’s proof your website is ranking higher in search engines.
This pay when you rank structure kills from a marketing standpoint – because who doesn’t want to work with an SEO company where you pay nothing in advance?
However, it’s when you dig a little deeper, that you discover how dangerous and costly pay per performance SEO can be.
SEO Shouldn’t Be Centered Around Rankings
Thinking of SEO as just rankings is backwards. It’s silly and it makes little sense. Let me explain..
Let’s say I could get you to the #1 spot for your most valuable keyword by tomorrow.
Would your website stay there? Probably not. Here’s why:
Google measures your bounce rate, average time on page, and dozens of other important metrics to determine if you truly deserve to be where you’re placed.
Getting there is only half the battle. You also have to have a website that’s worthy of staying there.
Chances are, if you’re this concerned about getting to the top spots and earning revenue, you’ve probably completely surpassed all of the more important components that heavily impact your results.
By Focusing on Your Content, Results Follow
It is and always has been about your content.
Do you provide the searcher exactly what they intend to find when they perform their query?
If your answer is yes, and then some, then you’re heading in the right direction.
The goal is to completely shock-and-awe your audience by providing so much value, they are overwhelmingly impressed when they land on your website. This is the only way you can guarantee long-term success in search engines.
Just as it will show search engines your website deserves to be ranked highly – through a low bounce rate and a lengthy time on page – it also sends all the right signals from the very beginning:
- Long-form content that thoroughly covers the topic at hand and is valuable to your audience.
- Keyword density is on-point because you’re not trying to manipulate the results by injecting keywords into your content, tag spamming, or doing other harmful practices.
- Links to helpful and relevant resources, particularly .edu and .gov sources.
- Added images, videos, infographics, pdf files and anything else that may assist the reader.
- Well optimized because you took the time to ensure it was.
Not to mention, the content is share-worthy. It’s the best piece anyone could possibly produce on the topic at hand so it naturally attracts shares on social media, inclusions in newsletters, and gets featured on relevant blogs.
Good SEO Emphasizes The Right Things
A good search engine optimization service will emphasize these points, focus on your content, and work on improving your search engine rankings for the long-term.
SEO isn’t an overnight battle and this is why. Great content takes time and energy, and that’s why SEO costs money. To do it right, you have to blend several different strategies and refuse to cut corners.
Once you have a fully deserving on-page masterpiece (which is how you should be looking at it), you then have to promote that content in a way that provides links, and the exposure necessary to obtain them naturally.
Just as you spent a great deal of time ensuring your content was perfect, you then have to spend even more time to ensure the promotion is done perfectly.
Pay Per Performance SEO Providers Don’t Care
Content quality is rarely a concern, and the promotional methods and link building strategies are whatever will provide results the fastest.
These are often dangerous and risky behaviors that get your website penalized by search engines, or potentially even de-indexed entirely.
You can see how this is a disaster waiting to happen.
Neglecting Content Quality Means No Long-Term Focus
If your pay by performance SEO company is willing to neglect content quality, that means they aren’t concerned with your long-term results.
Your content should always be the priority, even for off-site promotion. By always using the best content to represent your brand, you never have to worry about how you’re being represented or perceived.
Link Network Usage is Very Likely
Pay for performance SEO companies are likely to use link networks to boost your rankings – a practice Google and other search engines are highly against. If their network were to be discovered, every website within it would be de-indexed, and this would significantly damage the search engine presence of your website.
Link networks are really just a large group of websites, usually low quality ones, that are being used to link-out to other sites and boost their rankings. The sites within the network can never be linked together, as this would create a footprint that could be used to discover it.
Once you stop paying for their SEO service, your rankings will drop – a clear indication that they have removed the links from within their network that were once inflating your rankings.
Many pay by performance SEO companies own these types of networks or have access to them, and they use them for all of their clients. This is a very risky move because it bases the success of their business on their network remaining undiscovered.
Automated Link Building Tools Are Used
Every SEO service automates what they can, but some try to take it too far. A pay for performance SEO service is likely to be in that second category.
Many use link building tools that automate the registration and content submission process to websites that use a content management system (CMS). These are sites powered by platforms such as Joomla, Drupal, WordPress, etc.
By using a tool to signup and add links to these types of sites, they can build backlinks by the thousands – albeit very low quality ones. The only links that get through are on sites with open registration and poor management.
Today, these tools have mostly lost their significance because Google and other search engines continuously devalue the types of links they build, making their use far less effective and risky.
However, pay by performance SEO services don’t have the ability to provide genuine, higher quality link building services to all of their clients. They often result to what is the easiest for them to do at mass – automated links.
The Negative Impact Can Be Costly
Just when you think you’re getting something for nothing – there’s a catch.
Pay for performance SEO might advertise a free price tag, but the negative impact an SEO company can have on your website can be costly.
Don’t think you can sign up to multiple performance based services to “test the waters.” Once you commit to a provider, you’re locked into whatever practices they start using to increase your rankings and unfortunately, illegitimate SEO practices don’t just go away. If they are building low quality links, they will stick with your website and negatively influence everything you do going forward.
Overcoming a shady link profile can take months, sometimes years. It’s so difficult, many businesses choose to re-brand and change domains.
Google does offer the Link Disavow tool, a handy way to tell Google “we don’t vouch for these links and don’t want them to hurt our rankings,” but it’s up to them to honor your request.
You have to be really careful with who you hire to do your SEO and pay per performance providers are among the most risky. Consider the long-term negative impacts of low quality SEO before you make any decisions.
A pay for performance SEO service like RankPay could be the last option your business has, and I understand that. Maybe you’ve tried freelancers, SEO companies, or agencies, but you have continuously gotten mediocre results or nothing at all. Maybe your boss is coming down hard on you and refuses to accept anything that doesn’t guarantee some level of performance. It’s frustrating when you’ve already spent money trying to get results and things aren’t working. SEO is a patient man’s game and it’s possible you just didn’t give it enough time. Nevertheless, if the budget calls for decisive action and you’re not ready to throw in the towel with SEO, I could see how a business might lean toward the performance-based model.
However, before you commit – make sure you do your research.
While there are companies that seem to be doing pay by performance fairly legitimately and have been around awhile, all of them are likely cutting corners in one way or another. It’s an impractical model that pretty much guarantees some level of search engine manipulation in order to stay in business.
SEO is an industry where results are dependent on creative effort. If your SEO service is offering results without any creative effort and at no upfront cost, there’s plenty of reason to be skeptical.