Why You Shouldn’t Pay for SEO (From an Ex Black Hat SEO)


Every now and then I will receive a call that goes “Eh Raymond, how much you charge for SEO ah?”. Just a couple of months ago, I will quote him the price, wait for money to come in and then place an order for some “SEO Package”. Part of me knows it will work, part of me knows that its just a fad. So I’ve decided to come clean, buying SEO doesn’t work. Do not spend another cent on “SEO Package”.

Here’s why.

hackerMethods Used Are Not Sustainable

SEO use to be about link building. Who builds the most link wins. Oh they have to be of certain quality too. Black hat took this the wrong way and started to building large amount of spammy links. These includes spamming comments, creating fake internet profiles, hacking into unsecured university sites, etc. More sophisticated black hats have their own blog-networks, builds tiered or link cycles. The problem with these methods is that they are not sustainable. Sure you might see results in a month, but it won’t be staying there for long.

How Google work is simple. It provides everyone with the best search result. It serves the reader relevant, and quality content. Every algorithm update worksin that direction. If the method used to ‘optimise’ a site is not achieving either of that, it’s not going to work.

dont-knowMore Often Than Not, Your SEO Doesn’t Know What He’s Doing

I will receive email from Syed Sania, Mahi Dev, Avinash, and you-name-it, everyday. They are all business development consultant from India based Web Design Firm specialising in a couple of web-technology, including SEO (which has nothing to do with web design). They pitch to me on how they are the cheapest, most effective, and experienced SEO agency.

You might have guessed, that is how some agencies or SEO consultant in Singapore work. They buy the service from someone else and sell it to you at a much higher price. These consultants hardly knows what needs to be done to get your ranking up. So if you ever consider paying some SEO firm, below is a list of some places you can find cheap-but-not-guranteed-to-work SEO services.

List of places you can get black hat SEO from:

Go ahead and try them if you are looking for quick fixes. However, if you are serious about SEO, try it anyway to be convinced that they won’t work.

pew-pewThey Do Not Know (or Care About) Your Business Enough

SEO is about creating valuable content for your audience in essence. Who is in the best position to do that other than you (or your marketer, slave worker, intern, etc)? Definitely not the SEO guy you met a week ago.

You know the best about what kind of value that your business brings to people.

  • Why is your product is better than another product?
  • Why are people facing certain problem?
  • How can these people help themselves?

These are what people are searching for. These are the questions that needs to be answered by you, on your website. These are the content that brings value to your audience. Write them. Post them. Share them. Do not hire an SEO consultant who doesn’t know the answer to the above questions and is ready to bill you.

If you don’t believe it can be as simple as that, here’s an example.

I’ve written a post about improving customer loyalty a couple of days ago showing the various metrics, how they are important to businesses, and how to calculate them. Within days, it’s ranking 5th for keywords relating to customer loyalty. Mind you, that is on my personal blog that I blabber about anything. Google knows if you are proving real value to your readers.

blehWait. Now what?

If you really care about SEO, start with content creation. Show they world what you know that they don’t (but will be better off if they had known)! You can write a blog post, start an discussion, build a presentation slide, write a white paper/ebook! Then, share them with your friends and existing customers through your website’s blog, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Slideshare, etc.

That being said, not all content are created equal. You have to create compelling content that people love. That, I will leave it to another day.


Not all SEO consultants are like that. Some of them are genuinely helping you to improve ranking by designing better content strategy. Some wants to help you get attention from press and other blogs. Discern between the real guys from the cheap ones by asking them how are they going to help. If the first thing you hear is link building, high chances you are with the wrong guy. But of course, do your part, do not ask “How much is it to do SEO”. It doesn’t come cheap because it is not easy.