The truth about your SEO agency is that it’s probably not who you think it is.
The truth is, you’re more than likely overpaying for your search engine optimisation without even realising.
Disclaimer: We’re not here to bash, or belittle agencies who do this, or the white label company themselves. We’re here to expose the truth, the facts and the information small business owners need to know.
In fact, we ourselves are a white label company. We do the work for other agencies and report directly to them. Most in-house specialists will offer something along these lines offering a slight discount.
Let’s face it, SEO is a high ticket item service, you (the business) pay an agency a “service fee” to maintain and service your rankings within search engines. Prices can range from $300 to $2,000+ per month depending on a variety of variables from business size, industry and focus keywords.
Like many other industries, high ticket services offer businesses a huge profit. Offering these services can be very profitable for a web design or marketing company.
Your agency should be sending you some type of regular update, an email or report at the beginning or end of each month. Constant communications are essential to ensure they’re meeting targets and providing results.
Thankfully, it’s unlikely they’re just pocketing your money and doing absolutely nothing.
More likely, they’re taking your fee, and paying what is known as a “white label” or “private label” agency to do the work on their behalf for a much lower fee.
The easiest way to explain this is thinking about your power bill.
Technically, it doesn’t matter who your bill is with. The power all comes from exactly the same place. In this case the white label. The company who sends you the invoice or bill is simply a pretty logo on an invoice header.
They typically don’t provide you with the power, just handle the billing and report.
So what is wrong with white labelling?
Nothing is “wrong” with white labelling. However, as a small or medium sized business, you’re potentially overpaying for a service you can get for far lower cost (just like your energy bill).
You’re essentially paying a middle man instead of going direct.
In saying that, I’m not advising to go direct to the white label agency either, there are many reasons why I tend to advise against this.
- They don't understand your business: They work in bulk so you lose out on niche relative marketing and quality. You're treated the same whether you're an Electrician or a Cafe which would normally have a very different strategy.
- The communication between them, and yourself is few and far between: With discount comes loss. You're paying them to do a very basic task. Customisation, negotiation and understanding don't exist because you didn't pay for it.
- Notorious PBN’s otherwise known as “Private Blog Networks: These are blog based websites owned internally made up of hundreds of blogs. Built for hundreds of industries to build “niche backlinks”. This means you and all your competition (in the same industry) get the same or similar links which ultimately, is valueless.
- Reporting either doesn’t exist or limited: Meaning unless you have given very clear and precise instructions, you won’t know if work is being done or not.
How do white label SEO agencies work?
White label SEO agencies work on a B2B basis, in a bulk order manner. A middleman will order backlinks and content in bulk and distribute them across various clients.
Let’s lay it out: For example purposes, I’m a florist. My marketing company is 009Marketing and the private label doing the work is ABCDigital (All hypotheticals).
I as the florist pay $1,000 to my marketing company who sends $400 to ABCDigital and for that $400 I get 2 links and 1 article. 009Marketing pockets the remaining $600 as profit.
An order comes in for 2 links and 1 article at ABCDigital. The account manager looks at the industry in this case flowers and assigns the order to an “expert”. This “expert” is sitting behind their desk waiting for new orders.
Once a new order comes in they will write and submit a small 400-600 word article about flowers. They then look at their database for relative niche websites such as home decor, and in relationship advice. They then publish that 400-600 word article with a link to your business on both websites and it’s done.
Once the order is completed, an email goes to the account manager who then emails 009Marketing who then reports to the client.
Disclaimer: They’re not all like this. But for the most part, what I’ve seen, what is available online and the results I’ve seen. This is what happens for the majority.
Outsourcing Link Building & Content Creation
Outsourcing is completely separate.
Outsourcing is the term used for sending speciality work out with clear precise instruction.
This is far less common and used by search engine marketing companies who want more control over the results, content and link building strategies.
Outsourcing content creation
sitecentre personally uses content writers who are outsourced. We do not have an in-house content writer or a creative author.
The main reasoning behind this is the writer commonly experiences “burnout”. Burnout is when the writer has written about the same topic far to many times and is now repetitive. Because the writer has written about a subject so much the ideas have all been used.
Here is an example: A writer writes weekly for 3 plumbing businesses in 3 states around Australia. That’s 3 articles per week about various plumbing related topics.
There are only so many things you can write about before you circle back and it becomes repetitive. At this point, the content has been done, and it’s starting to match content on the other sites.
At this point using another writer becomes valuable because new writers offer new ideas, new styles, wordings and variations.
To hire a full-time employee wouldn’t make sense because once this burnout happens, we cannot simply look for another.
That’s where outsourcing content creation can be valuable but allows the Search Engine Marketing company control over the content. Here are some great places to find quality writers:
Outsourcing of backlinks is not exactly ordering 20 links and distributing them like white label link building is. It’s not a bulk purchase. It’s a speciality order.
Occasionally a client will come along in a small niche, or a new not yet established niche that finding relevant links is few and far between.
To outreach linking of these backlinks can be an extremely long process. But very valuable, because although it’s a small or underdeveloped niche that means you’re not the only one struggling to get new quality links.
Hiring someone far cheaper to do the dirty work, in this case, is essential. We can spend 40-60 hours attempting one link for a tough industry or pay someone for 40-60 hours and get the same link but far cheaper.
We still control the link, what the link points to, what it’s anchor text is, what content it’s in, but we acquired it far cheaper and within budget.
Search Engine Optimisation Profit and Margins
This is going to be the controversial section that no one wants us talking about.
How much money we make selling the SEO service. We’re happy to talk about it because this is actually one of our key points of difference.
White label SEO services aside, as a web designer, graphic designer or digital marketing agency selling themselves as an SEO expert is easy. Whether they do the hard work or use a third party to do the work for them.
The margins can be huge.
Put this into perspective: Your budget of $1,000 can either be sent to a third party for $400 and it’s a 60% profit for being the name on the invoice. Or they can do the work themselves and spend 2-3 hours billed at $300 an hour to write an article or two, create 2 average links and call it a month.
On the other hand, you could get an agency that is passionate about business growth. Works with you and your brand, and works for a far less profit margin.
You simply don’t know, ultimately, all SEO companies are going to tell you that they can get you first page results. There is a maximum of 10 results in Google Organic Search. Not everyone can be on the first page.
The issue here is you really don’t know what you’re getting for your money. It’s even harder when looking for a company to take on the marketing efforts. One company offers it for $799 and another for $1,499 and they both tell you that you will get the first page.
Here is the truth
The price has nothing to do with your results. That’s a fact.
The $799 company could spend $600 of that on really good content, and get some amazing links for you. They could be backed by a really talented team. Where the $1499 company could spend 3 hours of work or use a white label service and make a great margin.
This is where margins come in and can work to your advantage.
Simply asking what that money ACTUALLY gets you and work out the math yourself. If they tell you 2 articles and 3 backlinks and some on page SEO for $1,499 that’s some expensive content!
If they’re not willing to disclose this information, odds are they don’t do the work and simply don't know and you should keep looking. If they do disclose but the math doesn’t add up, question it.
That’s why we’re different
When we order content, when we spend time on your SEO campaign then it’s logged, recorded and reported on. Each month, your invoice is itemised with labour, and costs associated and justified. This includes our hourly rate, and who worked on your campaign.
We work on low-profit margins as we know that SEO requires countless hours. Your investment needs to drive results, our results will ALWAYS dominate our competition. Not only because we’re passionate, data-driven with a very talented team but because your budget goes a lot further.
So who are these white label sellers?
If you’re still interested in these online marketing, link building, private label SEO companies. We have a list for you.
Disclaimer: We don’t use, nor recommend any of the following. However, we’re not here to dictate your choices, we’re here to provide you advice. We recommend doing your own research before using any of the following.
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