Alternatives to Cheap SEO Services


I hate the idea of “cheap SEO,” because in my experience there’s nothing cheap about SEO…at least not good quality SEO.

Whether you hire someone or do SEO yourself, it’s time consuming work that requires attention to detail as well as an understanding of how search engines work. If you hire someone, they need to be compensated for their skills and their knowledge. If you do your own SEO work yourself, you need to be prepared to invest significant amounts of time.

Still, there are companies that provide so-called SEO services on the cheap. Some companies sell “SEO” for $39 a month, promising top rankings for dozens of keywords at a price that’s lower than your cable bill. The thing is, if you know even the basics of SEO, you know that $39 a month really doesn’t come close to covering the costs of real work.

Think about it this way: SEO can make or break a business. If you rank #1 for your target search term on Google, you’re going to get hundreds of website visitors and (hopefully) dozens of calls and emails. Generally speaking, dozens of calls from potential customers are worth far more than $39 a month…and we all know that you usually get what you pay for. If you buy $39 worth of SEO, you’re going to get something that – at best – offers $39 of value.

Still, there’s no getting around the fact that some businesses can’t afford to budget more than a handful of dollars to SEO. If this is your business, the following is for you. I’m going to talk about good alternatives to cheap SEO companies.

First, a definition: A cheap SEO company is any company that’s willing to perform SEO services for less than $100 a month. While I won’t say that these companies are bad – sometimes, they can be a good deal – I will say that the lower the cost, the more likely you are to buy something of negligible value.

Cheap SEO Alternative #1: Read

If you are looking for low-cost SEO services, I suggest you bust out your reading glasses and review the following sources of information:

  1. Basic SEO Infographic: A quick, visual guide to SEO that’s perfect if you just want a basic overview.
  2. Google’s Beginner’s Guide to SEO: All the basics explained very nicely, as well as some more in-depth info that will give you a good understanding of how Google and most other search engines function
  3. Beginner’s Guide to SEO by SEOMoz: I’m a huge fan of this guide, and I refer clients to it regularly. Everything you need to know about SEO is here, and quite frankly if you read and understand the guide beginning to end, you’ll know more about SEO than some SEO consultants (sad as that is).

When you’ve read all of the following, you’ll know more than enough about SEO to get your business website some search engine visitors. Depending on how competitive your market is, you may even be able to rank #1 for your target terms. All it takes is time and a little effort.

Cheap SEO Alternative #2: SEOMoz Membership

I’m a huge fan of SEOMOz, not only because of their awesome SEO beginner’s guide, but also because of their Pro Q&A forum, a great place for beginners to get answers to specific questions. You can also take advantage of the SEOMoz campaign tool, which will guide you through the optimization process step-by-step.

Membership is $99 a month, but you can get a free trial by clicking this link. So check it out for free and see what you think.

Free SEOMoz Trial

Cheap SEO Alternative #3: Save Up Your Pennies

I’m of the opinion that paying for some cheap SEO service is very often a waste of money. Therefore, why not put away the $50 or $100 you were going to spend on on cheap SEO and save it up to spend with a professional? Most SEO consultants (myself included) can help you out quite a bit for $500.

At Spork, $500 would get you a nice report that lays out how your site compares to your competitor’s sites, as well as some good advice and a list of specific steps to complete to improve your rankings. It would also include about an hour’s worth of phone consultation time so you could ask your most important questions.

Bottom Line

Avoid cheap SEO services. Not because they’re bad, but because it’s hard to get good value. Most quality SEO professionals charge $125-$400 per hour for their services, which means that a $39/month SEO service buys you 20 minutes of a professional’s time (at most). There’s not a lot anyone can do to help your business in 20 minutes.

Instead, take the time to educate yourself. You can do quite a bit on your own, and when you’re ready to hire a pro consultant, you’ll know how to find a good one.

Good luck!


  1. Thanks for the honest SEO assessment and the links to additional Web sites on the subject. An educated client is a good client to work with.

    As a consultant I can appreciate what you say. The old adage, you only get what you pay for is true with just about anything you buy.


  2. Was looking for a step by step way to optimize my website and your website showed up. You have some really interesting articles. Its nice to see a professional’s thought on the business side of SEOs. I now know I should try SEOMOz and get myself all the basic knowledge.

  3. This has to be one of the stupidest and most useless blog posts I’ve read in quite a while. Congratulations!

  4. Henry – Awesome! Thanks!!

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