How SEO is Like a Very Bad Tattoo

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Lawyers–otherwise the best critical thinkers I encounter–go into a manic state, abandon all rational thought, and throw money at their websites when they aren’t getting the website traffic they think they deserve.

We read the solicitations on fiverr.com, start salivating, and risk cutting our fingers on the sharp edge of our titanium credit card as we whip it out so we can enter the numbers.

Here’s some of what I found on Fiverr

I did a search on Fiverr and found 10,089 offers for a range of services. Many of them are available for as little as $5. Others cost more, when you tally up the various add-ons, supplements, and extras. None of them ever hesitate to promise HUGE results. It’s like magic.

“I Will Create 100 Swiss High Da Dofollow Up To Pr9 Link Seo Backlinks To Rank High”

“I Will Do Pro1 SEO Package And Explode Your Ranking”

“I Will Do 5000 Plus Tiered Contextual SEO Backlinks”

Most of these offers are accompanied by reviews from satisfied customers. It’s very persuasive. Cheap, quick, effective, and it can be done overnight. What’s not to love?

So many scammers, so little traffic

The services you buy on Fiverr, and on other sites, are unlikely to work out for you. They might bring you more traffic but it’s likely the wrong kind of traffic. Bots from Russia don’t buy legal services, click farms in India don’t hire lawyers very often, and if that $5/hr team in the Philippines could get literally anybody to the top spot on Google, they would be charging more than $5/hr.

These cheap search engine optimizers don’t have the magic bullet. They don’t have anything magical. In fact, they’re the opposite of magic, and undoing what they do to your website will certainly cost you more than you spent on their attempts to move you up the search engine rankings.

Removing a bad tattoo is easier

I’ve never had a tattoo. It involves needles, looks painful, and I’m not sure what kind of art I’d want to be stuck with for the rest of my life.

I have, however, spent considerable time with lawyers who have bought bad search engine optimization services.

Some lawyers are pleased with the SEO results. They’ve spent money on professionals who reorganize their website, add interesting, useful content, and solicit links back to the site from other respected professionals and services. Their sites see a small bump in traffic which results in more clients.

But other lawyers are unhappy. They see a negative impact from their SEO expenditure. They get no additional traffic, sometimes lose traffic, get penalized, and often disappear from the search engines entirely. These lawyers spent a little money, got nothing for it, and are outraged to have been suckered.

It might be easier to start over with a new website

The lawyers hiring cheap, spammy, scammy SEO services find that the services actually do a great job of creating cheap, spammy, scammy links. The Internet ends up covered with your website name and address.

But when Google, or any other search engine, reacts negatively to those links, it’s necessary to clean things up. The links need to be removed, page by page, link by link. That’s next to impossible when you’ve purchased the $50 “I Will Do 5000 Plus Tiered Contextual SEO Backlinks” package.

The problem is so common that Google even has a tool for “disavowing” bad links to your site. Unfortunately, using it is tedious, and even then it’s not a sure thing.

There are many services in the business of SEO repair. They follow these cheap SEO services around and clean up the mess. They attempt to remove the links and get things back to normal. They charge substantially more than the original SEO. Most of the victimized lawyers I’ve encountered have fixed the problem by starting over (with zero traffic) on an entirely new domain.

That cheap “SEO” package becomes the name of an ex-lover you would now be willing to cut off your arm to forget.

Don’t do it

I’m not a huge fan of SEO services. I’ve never hired one, and I took my site from zero to 100,000 unique visitors per month. It took me a very long time. I worked hard, creating great articles, videos, forms, and calculators. We earned links naturally from other sites that found our resources useful. We didn’t need shortcuts because we committed to taking the long route.

But I recognize that some lawyers are going to hire a SEO firm. Most of us are looking for a shortcut. We want a quick path to lots of traffic and many new clients. It’s incredibly tempting to buy SEO services when the price is right, the promises are big, and the reviews are glowing.

But hold off. Move carefully. Apply your critical thinking skills.

When you buy SEO services, approach it like you would a tattoo. Consider the long term impact, check to be sure the needles are clean, spend considerable time understanding and researching the references, and don’t commit until you’re sure.

You can get a tattoo in one drunken hour on the Las Vegas strip. Removing that same tattoo will take anywhere from six to ten sessions.

Use your critical thinking skills before you buy SEO.

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