Brands who are interested in reaching a broader online audience can easily confuse SEO consultants with SEO packages. The word “consultant” might even be more intimidating, since it implies that your own business will be doing most of the work. In reality, SEO packages can, at best, only promise superficial results. SEO consultants are happy to pick up most of the marketing work, but they work together with their clients in order to meet business goals.
In short, SEO consultants are genuine marketers. SEO packages are content mills with little concern for real marketing. They have to be, because the promises they make aren’t based on your business goals, or even knowledge of the search engines. They are merely based on meeting a set of predefined requirements.
1. Packages Are Unnatural, By Necessity
When you buy an SEO package, you are buying a set of links. You pay for a specific number of links every month. You pay for a specific number of each kind of link each month. Perhaps you also pay for some other kind of promotional service as well, but once again, you’ll pay for some set quantity every month.
In what universe can such a package create a natural link profile?
A natural site attracts links from a wide variety of sources. The kinds of links you get from month to month are going to change. The number of links you get each month are going to change.
When you work with a reputable consultant, they aren’t going to guarantee a certain number of links, because any reputable consultant should be making some effort to help you build natural links. Natural links are outside of your direct control, so asking for a specific number of them is nonsensical.
Yes, even reputable consultants may manually build links, but they will only do so from high quality sources. And the fact of the matter is, links from top tier sites are hard to get. If you can be guaranteed a specific number of links every month, the links just aren’t hard enough.
Some packages promise that they only do “hand built” links, or that all of their links are of the highest quality. It’s undoubtedly a good thing that the links are created “manually,” rather than from some automated piece of software. It’s also encouraging to hear the word “quality,” but it’s not enough.
Serious link building involves more than just “hand built” links and guest posts from “quality” article directories. Long-lasting, genuine links are built on relationships and reputation. Since there’s no cookie-cutter process for building relationships and reputation, there’s no way to promise a specific number of serious links each month.
A consultant, on the other hand, can promise a certain number of hours spent on outreach, relationship building, and content creation, and report the results.
2. Packages Are Bad for Brands
When you visit a site that sells an SEO package, what do you see? Do you see a promise to learn about your company and your space in the market? Do you see any discussion of your target audience and what they care about? Do you see any talk of your business reputation, customer retention, or word of mouth?
Of course not. How could a package do any of that for you? As soon as an SEO package makes any promise to learn something about your brand, it ceases to be a package and it becomes a consultancy.
Packages are “hands-off SEO,” a phrase that is practically meaningless. SEO is all about building an online reputation that boosts your visibility in the search engines. Does it make sense for a brand to hand their reputation over to an SEO package that won’t even speak with them about their business goals?
No SEO knows your business better than you do. They simply know SEO better than you do.
For SEO to work, you need links from high profile sources. That means the content is going to be seen by quite a few people. In that context, a link isn’t just a link. It’s a place to build exposure and make an impression on your target audience.
An SEO package can easily end up sending the wrong message or appealing to the wrong audience, because they have no idea what your business goals are. All they know is that you want to rank in the search engines. And that’s all an SEO package can possibly “care” about.
3. Packages Can Only Promise Superficial Results
SEO packages are built around very simplistic goals. If an SEO package promises 100 links, that’s what you get: 100 links. If an SEO package promises 10 links from sites with a domain authority higher than fifty, then, well, you get 10 links from sites with a domain authority higher than 50. And so on.
These are not business goals.
SEOs who work for package companies have no incentive to measure the success of their efforts. They have no incentive to measure traffic, conversions, engagement, or social media activity. Very few of them will. There’s simply no reason for them to. Their only goal is to build a certain number of a certain kind of link. That’s it.
Yes, some of them will offer additional services like website audits, a specific number of on-site pages, and so on, but these are approached in the same way. You will get the number of pages they promised, and they will audit your site, but what’s the point? Will they test your landing pages for conversions or engagement? Will the audit be customized to your business needs?
The only goal an SEO package has is to meet the requirements of the package. They have no interest in your business goals and they will not design campaigns around them. The only results you can be sure to get are the results promised in the package.
Imagine a traditional marketer that tried to sell you on the benefits of their package: 10 classified ads, 5 magazine ads, and 1 radio spot each month, no questions asked about your business. You wouldn’t accept that. You’d ask for estimates of ROI or the number of people who would encounter the ad, and you’d want to talk to them about your business strategy, target audience, and brand image.
That’s how digital marketing works. Don’t let SEO packages suck you in with the allure of easy to keep promises. Hire an SEO consultancy and meet your real business goals.