Why Retainer-based SEO is Usually a Ripoff

Tips from Cuppa SEO Web Design Madison WIIf you’re a business owner, or a marketing professional, there’s a good chance you’ve been solicited for — or actually signed up for — SEO services that have a monthly retainer attached to them.

If you happen to be considering signing up for a service like this … RUN.

Speaking plainly, I have never seen retainer-based SEO that does any good for a business.

Here’s why …

1. I’ve had dozens of clients come to Cuppa SEO Web Design who were paying another firm anywhere from $500 – $1,500 a month for “ongoing SEO work,” and most of the time they didn’t even know what they were paying for. These were intelligent business owners and professionals, but they didn’t have the proper SEO knowledge to know if something was legitimate or not. So they trusted the professional. Once they began to realize that their website traffic was remaining flat, and they weren’t attaining additional leads from the SEO work, they came to us.

2. When done well, SEO is something you do once, you do right, and you leave it alone. So, when an SEO firm tells you that they are going to “freshen up your SEO” on a monthly basis, it’s the equivalent of changing your phone number every month.

YES, you need fresh content, but it’s not from freshening up the content on your homepage and subpages. Here’s an excerpt from my book, A Holistic Guide to Online Marketing, that explains this a bit more …

“Freshness is an important factor in how well your website ranks in natural search results on Google. But where you add that fresh content to your site is just as important as how rich, relevant and useful it is.

Many novice SEO practitioners will tell you that the best way to inject new content into your site is to “freshen up” your homepage and subpages with new copy and keywords — sometimes on a monthly basis.

Taking this approach on a well-optimized site will most likely backfire.

Why? Because once your site is well optimized, changing the SEO on your homepage or subpages is similar to changing your phone number every month: It makes no sense. Just as your customers depend on your phone number as a means to reach you, Google is depending on your optimized content to find you and connect you with individuals who need you. Once you change the SEO on a page, the result can often be going back to square one — losing some or all of your page authority (credibility) with Google.

In other words, unless something changes — like a service or product — or one of your pages starts to perform poorly, you’ll want to leave well-optimized content alone on your home page and subpages.
So, if you need fresh content, where does it come from?

Fresh Content Comes from Your Blog
Use that blog of yours to generate the fresh content Google — and your viewers — are looking for. Adding a minimum of one blog post per week can do wonders for your “freshness factor.” Why? Because every time you publish a blog post, Google notices and gives your website credit for having some new, fresh content.
And, by the way, each blog post is excellent fodder for your social media efforts, too.”
— Chapter 1, page 14

3. I’ve often seen firms who practice retainer-based SEO deliver keyword ranking reports where their client was ranking first for dozens of keyword phrases. At first glance this seems like a good thing, right? The problem is that that NOBODY was searching with these keywords. I’m talking ZERO searches a month.

As you can imagine, this is a very upsetting reality to grasp when you’ve been paying a firm month-after-month to take care of your SEO and help build your business.

I hope these insights help!

And if you have questions, feel free to get in touch with us anytime.

Posted in SEO
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