Don’t even think about doing SEO before reading this

So you’re looking for an SEO agency with the promise of getting your website on the first page of Google.

Getting in front of your potential customers who are searching for your products/services is a wonderful thing, and you might be tempted to think that with these "Guaranteed SEO Packages", you can rank on the first page and dominate your competitors. We are sorry to burst your bubble, but the real world of SEO is not as simple as you think.

SMEs like yourself have been lied to and cheated by SEO companies more than we can ever remember. Very few companies recoup their SEO investment. How do we know this? Simply from our years of being in the industry, information obtained from industry insiders, and having seeing the work done by unethical SEO agencies ourselves.

1. The 3 Dirty Truths that SEO Companies Don’t Want You To Know

Dirty Truth #1: Nobody can really guarantee results

Why? Because the only person who controls the search rankings is Google. Anyone who says they can guarantee rankings might as well start a different business and get their websites ranked up the first page every single time and make millions.

All these guarantee sales pitches are rubbish, and is simply a desperate tactic agencies use to get your money quickly. If you see an SEO agency who guarantees results, please run away. I personally know of digital agencies who faced lawsuits because they guaranteed results and did not deliver. Clients were angry and sued the agency. And this leads me to my next point…

Dirty Truth #2: Proper SEO does not come cheap

In order to execute a proper SEO campaign, one that can bring you long-lasting results, an agency must have a good SEO plan and do a lot of things. These things are:

  • Writing high quality content on a regular basis
  • Getting high quality backlinks to point to your website
  • Having an active social media presence (yes, social media and SEO are linked)
  • Fixing your website structure and design to be more SEO-friendly
  • Optimizing your website load speed (the faster the better)

and many more. Doing all these things require A LOT of effort. There is no way a proper SEO company can do all these work for $500 – $1000 per month. They would be making a huge loss at this price point.

So the only way to do SEO at this price point is to take short cuts. What they do is use blackhat methods (methods that try to cheat Google and game the system) that might get you banned from Google, or help you rank for easy-to-rank keywords that nobody is searching for.

For example, if you sell furniture, you can easily get the top spot on Google for a keyword like “antique furniture shop singapore ang mo kio”. But this long obscure keyword doesn’t even have any searches on Google. That means no one is searching for this keyword. Take a look at the screenshot:

 

This data is pulled from Google Keyword Planner. It is a free tool that provided by Google that shows you the number of searches per month for your keyword research. So yes, you got your keyword to the top, but that keyword literally gets you ZERO new customers because nobody is typing in those long useless terms.

Ranking for these obscure, no-searches keywords are super easy, and doesn’t require much effort on the SEO agency’s part. That’s how they keep the cost of your SEO packages low. If you want to rank for the most popular keywords, keywords that many people are searching for, then be prepared to pay around $1,200 – $2,500 per month, depending on the number of keywords you’re trying to rank and the competition you face.

Dirty Truth #3: Most SMEs are not suited to do SEO

Just take a look the search engine rankings yourself for any industry. Google favors brands over normal small-sized SMEs. Say you’re in the retail business. Brands like Zalora, Osim, Fortytwo, Zara, CottonOn and etc. They usually occupy the top spot for most keywords. This is because consumers trust big brands more than SMEs.

And Google’s mission is to provide it’s users with the most relevant and useful search experience; and these bigger brands are usually able to provide the most relevant results that the mass consumer market is looking for. This means that unless you become some sort of a brand name in your industry, you are fighting a long, uphill battle to reach the top.

Medium-big sized companies have full time writers, social media team, and in-house SEO experts executing proper SEO techniques for them every single day.

Do you think you have the budget to compete as a smaller sized SME for local SEO in Singapore? The likely answer is no. Having said that, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do SEO. Not all SEO companies are bad. In fact, there are many great SEO companies out there who do honest, legitimate SEO work that can truly help your company grow.

But make no mistake, they will not be your cheapest option because of the high quality work they do. You can do SEO if you have a decent budget and the ability to wait a longer time for sales to come in.

In other words, you should view SEO as a long term investment that will only start to pay off many months down the road, especially if you’re in a competitive industry. And besides, for SEO in competitive industries (i.e. finance, education, retail, health and beauty), there is no guarantee if you can ever reach the top spot (or first page) unless you truly have a big budget.

2. In a nutshell, is SEO right for your company?

If your company falls under any of these categories, don’t think about doing SEO:

  • startup
  • small business with limited funds who are in the finance/education/retail/health and beauty industry
  • need sales fast
  • need to test your idea

If your company falls in any of the above categories, then SEO will not be the solution for you. And please erase the idea that SEO is free traffic. It is not. It is a heavy investment that will only pay off later.

3. So if you want to grow your sales fast in a more affordable way, what’s a better alternative?

If you look along the digital marketing spectrum, you have Google Adwords, Facebook and Instagram, LinkedIn (for B2B), Youtube, and etc. The most cost-effective way to grow your company’s sales from our experience, is Facebook marketing.

With click prices as low as $0.05 per click (compared to a few dollars per click on Google), Facebook poses an extremely huge opportunity for SMEs to reach out to their target customers, BUT only if you know how to use it effectively. The screenshot below is a campaign that we did for one of our clients who runs a baking business. We got $0.05 per click (agencies usually get $0.25 – $0.45 per click) on the ad. On the first month, this client got 48 sales from their Facebook marketing campaign alone, with a $1,000 ad spend.

Imagine if they were to use Google Adwords to advertise for their baking class. How much would it cost them to acquire 48 sales? Let’s take a look at Google Keyword Planner’s data.

These are some of the keywords for baking classes. The suggested bid column shows the average price you have to pay per click for each of the keywords on Google. Let’s take the average click to be $1.50.

For every 100 clicks, client has to pay $150. The average conversion rate for a landing page is 2.35%. That means, for every 100 clicks, client will get 2.35 customers.

To get 48 customers, there needs to be 2,042 clicks to the landing page. 2,042 clicks X $1.50 = $3,063. Client would have to pay a whopping $3,063 for 48 sales from Google, compared to just $1,000 for 48 sales from Facebook marketing. Obviously Facebook marketing is the more cost effective option.

And that has been the case for most of our clients. They get immense ROI from the Facebook marketing campaigns that we run for them. At Heroes of Digital, we have been successfully helping SMES generate as much as $2,500,000 in sales from Facebook marketing campaigns.

Want to know how we do it?

Free free to contact one of our digital marketing consultants at Heroes of Digital and get an SEO audit done for you.

19 SEO Factors For Ranking on Page 1 of Google for Any Keyword

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Shane Yuen
Co-Founder, Managing Director

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