Is it just me, or are most agencies outsourcing to SEO resellers and white label providers these days?
You have seen it, online marketing packages $299 a month!
Wait, how can they price at only $299?
One practice that you may have heard about is white label SEO or reselling.
It may seem attractive on the surface with flashy sales materials. It is affordable but appearances can be deceiving.
I call it the bait and switch of the online industry. The victims are unsuspecting business owners.
In this article, I am going to explain what white label search engine optimization is and how it works. Separate the experts from the boiler room salespeople who are tarnishing our industry and are merely reseller partners.
I will also help you distinguish the differences between hiring an SEO reseller and the real thing.
How many times have you seen this offer?
Fell for an email offering cheap SEO packages? Meet your agency partners.
What is White Label SEO?
A white label product is manufactured without a brand. It is made by one company and sold by another.
The company that sells it:
Puts its name on the product
Takes credit for the work
Sets the price
Pocket the profits (above what they paid for it)
In other words, the company that created the product works in the background.
They are not credited and often not known by the public. The second company is the one that sells the product.
White label products are sometimes referred to as private label.
What does this mean when we talk about a white label SEO service? The product is not a tangible one.
Many SEO agencies are also using resellers; you just don’t know who is doing the work anymore.
The above facebook post describes about 90% of the “SEO” industry. You know, those guys calling and emailing you all day.
Differences of White Label SEO Services and Traditional Services
There are key differences between white label resellers and what I consider higher quality legitimate providers.
The most important difference you are likely to notice is quality. After all, you are working with one size fits all marketing company.
Traditional search engine consultants do the work themselves. They take pride in it. They know they must answer to their clients. For that reason, they do high quality work. They can answer questions about it. They are unlikely to resort to shortcuts or black hat SEO methods.
Individuals or agencies that resell SEO services are different.
They are not providing the services themselves. In some cases, they are not even reviewing it and merely pass on fancy reports to clients via a seamless reseller dashboard.
They accept what they get at face value. Their primary goal is profit, not helping their clients or building a business.
Sure they will provide rankings for long tail keywords that do not drive buyers like “marketing services in North Dallas next to 7-11”.
If quality is important to you, you should be wary of resellers.
It is unlikely you will get the kind of high-quality search engine optimization that will bring you long-term results.
Professional SEOs know their business. Heck, I have been doing this before Google existed and I am still learning every day.
They understand how Google and other search engines work. When a client has a question, they can answer it. Ranking websites is their business.
Sometimes, their only interest is in finding a product to resell. They do not care what the outcome is. That creates a real problem as your best interests may not be served. You are dealing with salespeople, not ethical professionals.
Private label SEO companies may not have the expertise you are expecting. If they do not, you may find that you have no support if a problem arises. You cannot rely on them to help you if the need arises.
Below is a screen capture from a training video that is used by those reselling SEO services.
When you hire a provider using white label services, who can answer your questions?
As a result, you may not get the communication you want, when you want it.
When you pay for online marketing solutions, you are paying for SEO results or ROI.
You are putting your trust in the SEO company you hire. When you outsource your SEO, they may not provide the level of service you expect. You are likely to get boilerplate reports and perfunctory support.
Does this mean that there aren’t some SEO reseller services who take their business seriously? No.
What it means is that in many cases, you are paying a middleman who may not know much about internet marketing. That can be a big problem. And, unfortunately, it can negatively impact your company.
Could You Already Be Working with an SEO Reseller?
The point of white label products is that you do not know who does the work. The company or marketer that sells them puts their name on the product. From all appearances, it is a product they created.
The issue with private white label SEO is the same. Most people who are resellers will not tell you that is what they are doing. An SEO reseller company will try to market themselves the same way an SEO expert would.
This creates a problem for you. You might be working with one and not know it. They will not tell you.
That does not mean that there aren’t some warning signs that might tip you off.
Heck don’t worry about ranking, just outsource it!
You might be working with an SEO reseller if…
They do not offer a free consultation on the phone.
When you call your online marketing company with a question, you must wait for a response. This sign is common if the SEO reseller does not know and has to search for answers. They may have to call the actual provider to get the answer.
They miss regional nuances in their keyword research. It is common to outsource overseas. Local search services require knowledge of local language and terms. If things aren’t matching up, it might mean your digital marketer is a reseller.
They shift the blame regarding a lack of results. If someone is not delivering and they blame Google, it is a sign they do not know what they are doing. That might mean they are using reseller services.
They control your data instead of you controlling it. It is common for resellers to rebrand reports from sites like Moz. They might be good products. If you are relying on your provider to give you data that you cannot verify though, it is a bad sign. You want information that’s verifiable with Google Analytics so that you can check it out yourself.
The content is sub-par and fails to implement basic SEO strategies. Because a lot of the actual work comes from outside the United States, there’s sometimes an issue with the grammar of content. There are telltale signs that the writer is not a native English speaker. If you notice odd spellings (realise instead of realize) or poor grammar, it might mean that you are dealing with a white label SEO reseller program.
No social media presence. Do your homework and surf all of the major social media sites. Look for reviews, a history related to the industry, and overall proof they are who they represent to be. If you find them selling a variety of services online from web design to software development, this is a bad sign.
On their own, none of these things proves your provider is reselling services. If you notice several of these things, though, you might want to dig deeper.
If Internet marketing was easy, every one would do it
The reason you hire an SEO Expert is to improve your site ’s visibility, ranking on Google and drive leads.
You probably know that more than 75% of clicks go to sites on the first page of search results. You want your site to be as high as possible on the SERP.
It is possible that a white label search engine reseller could get the results you want.
However, it is more likely that you will end up running into a brick wall.
There are some genuine risks involved when you do not know whom you are working with.
Content is king.
Many white label resellers source their content overseas. That means it may be written by people who do not speak English as their first language. That is not an automatic indicator of lousy content. However, it does increase the chances that you will get misspelled content with poor grammar.
Backlinks are one of Google ’s most important ranking factors. Ideally, link building should be on trusted, quality websites and not low-quality guest posts or spammy press releases. Sure, press releases do have a small place in online marketing, have to be used carefully.
More than once, I have had clients come to me with after disastrous lin building campaigns with spammy backlink profiles. In most of those cases, the issue was that their digital agency was outsourcing to a low-quality link builder.
Instead of building contextual links naturally, they often take shortcuts to save time and money. Thus creating an obvious unnatural linking profile.
Google’s algorithm scrutinizes backlinks, period.
Receiving a penalty can impact your online business, if not bring it to a screeching halt.
Reseller Services Selling SEO can guarantee one thing
Here are some fantastic examples that I have seen in the last few months:
Keyword stuffing used to be commonplace. Now, it can earn you a ranking on the 14th page. Google prioritizes sites that have quality content. They do not want to see content that tries to trick their algorithm.
Hidden text is another low grade common practice that. Sometimes, they have even resulted in using the same-color text to add keywords in an attempt to rank. The problem is that Google sees right thru this in 2018.
Scraped content is frowned upon and could violate copyright laws. Google’s Pirate update scans the net for duplicated or plagiarized material. Sometimes, white label companies do not bother to check the content they are reselling. If it ends up on your site, you could be liable for it.
If you think you may have a Google penalty, use an SEO penalty checker tool to identify the problem. Of course, that is a waste of your time and can be avoided by using a reputable provider, not an SEO reseller program.
Google Ranks Based on Reputation and Authority
Not all risks associated with using white label SEO programs can be easily defined. Perhaps the most harmful aspect of dealing with any reseller is that your reputation and authority may take a hit.
The content on your website is how you introduce yourself to prospects. It is likely to be the first thing they see when they hear about your company.
Having sub-par content on your website makes you look like an amateur. You have only one chance to make a first impression. If you do not know whom you are working with, you are running the risk of taking a hit to your reputation as a result.
If your user experience is great, then they are likely to fill out your opt-in form, subscribe to your list, or pick up the phone and call you.
What happens if it is terrible?
The worst-case scenario is that they will dismiss your company and move on. They will simply hit the back button and go to the next company on their list.
Your online reputation has a direct impact on your bottom line.
If people do not trust you, they will not do business with you. That is not a risk you want to take.
Benefits of Partnering with an Experienced SEO, Not a Reseller
You know the risks of working with an SEO agency that uses white label services.
Now, let’s talk about the benefits of working with someone who understands quality SEO.
Here’s an example of what you should expect from an SEO Consultant:
Dedicated project team manager with multiple resources
Full audit with Website Analysis of your site’s performance and link cleanup
Real contextual backlinks built by an experienced link builder
Content marketing strategy, such as targeted blog posts or updated pages
White hat tactics including on-page SEO
Social media marketing to build your brand
Transparent monthly reports
Website developer available to handle technical issues and web design tweaks
First, you will have access to an experienced expert who genuinely wants to help grow your business.
Their reputation is on the line if they do not deliver the results you want. It is in their best interest to provide quality work that helps you improve your visibility and rank.
Second, you know who you are working with. It is possible a legitmate company may outsource part of a project. For example, they might hire a freelance writer to craft the copy for your site. That is to be expected, and you can ask to see samples of their work ahead of time.
Third, you will be a partner in the process. You can set expectations, create milestones, and require updates. You will not be in the dark, wondering what’s happening with your site. The marketer you hire should work closely with you. You can ask questions and expect answers.
Fourth, you can ask for references. Even if they provide recommendations, they may not be legitimate so be sure to check. With a reliable SEO provider, you can talk to people who have worked with them. You will get real references and reviews. And, you can find out if they delivered on their promises.
Finally, working with a knowledgeable online marketing professional is the best way to get the results you want. Someone who understands Google and adheres to white hat practices can help you earn a spot on the first page results.
That will translate directly to:
Organic rankings that are sustainable long-term
Improved conversions with conversion optimization
Increased sales, you know, the bottom line
Real lead generation
Online review and reputation management
ROI on your campaigns
Working with an experienced search marketer who cares about your results is the best way to improve your ranking.
Final Thoughts on White Label SEO Reseller Programs
There’s no question that a digital marketing strategy is essential. But, take your time before hiring an SEO company.
Appropriately done, online marketing can help you grow your business.
Do not fall for an SEO reseller package that is merely a front for an affiliate program. You are talking to a slick salesperson.
Too many times, I have seen the damage that poor services can do to companies like yours. It is just not a good idea to throw your money away if you are not sure who’s doing the work.
But, the costs of shoddy or sloppy work can be astronomical. Penalty recovery is not cheap.
Let’s get started today. Pricing is available upon request.
I will contact you personally to see if we can work together to build your business. For the record, I personally handle 99% of the work myself. I outsource citation/directory listings for local SEO and link building outreach. Once a link prospect is identified, I handle evaluation and placement.