Is Offshore (India or Philippines) SEO a Scam?

Have you been looking for quality, white-hat SEO? Are you trying to save money on SEO or your internet marketing campaigns? Maybe you’re considering trying an offshore SEO company in India or the Philippines and you’re concerned that the SEO services provided by offshore companies might be a scam.

Is Offshore SEO a Scam?

I’ve talked to countless clients just like you, that have considered using offshore SEO services for internet marketing. I’ve even hired some offshore SEO companies to work on some of my own domain names in order to test of the effectiveness of their SEO tactics. As a result of this, my suspicions have been confirmed time and time again –- offshore SEO companies may position themselves as being just as good as domestic companies, but in the end they’re often not. I’d like to share my experiences and give some advice on when offshore SEO is useful and when it is a waste of time and money.

The Biggest Problems with Offshore SEO Companies

Though there may be numerous drawbacks to working with offshore companies, the top three issues that I’ve experienced have been:

  • Language Barrier
  • Culture Differences
  • Difference in Quality Expectations

Language Barrier

Language Barrier

The language barrier isn’t necessarily something that should sway you from using an offshore company for SEO. The world is getting smaller thanks to the internet and communicating with people across the globe for valuable services is part of our new world. It is often interesting and fun to talk to people with different dialects and accents. I, for one, cannot resist chatting with someone that has a British accent.

When you’re considering paying good money for a high quality SEO plan, however, it is important to make sure the communication is clear in order to keep expectations in line with your SEO budget. In my experience with offshore companies, I usually run into someone that barely speaks English. I struggled with this because I didn’t want to judge their work based on their ability to speak English, but these initial communications are very telling of what your relationship will be like with the company going forward.

Good SEO comes from high-quality content, backlinks, and a whole lot of research. If there is a language barrier involved with a foreign SEO company, you are likely to end up with oddly-worded anchor text in your backlinks or content on your site. This might look fine to another Indian, but it will look unprofessional to your audience in America. I have seen horrible (and hilarious) emails from foreign SEO companies trying to solicit business. You’ve probably seen them too. Do you want that type of message sent to your audience? I know that I don’t.

Cultural Differences

Culture differences make this world an amazing and exciting place. Cultures should be celebrated often and there’s nothing more interesting than learning about people in a different part of the world. But when it comes to SEO, you should be aware of the culture differences when you consider hiring an offshore company. What you expect from an American company will vary somewhat from what you get with an offshore company.

Difference in Quality Expectations

Difference in Quality Expectations

If you want white-hat, quality SEO, you will be hard-pressed to find it offshore. I like and admire the cultures and people of India and the Philippines, but their attention to detail and level of expertise in SEO is just not up to par with most SEO companies in America. In fact, what I’ve learned from my experience is that they’re consistently behind on new and innovative techniques for SEO.

I am easily able to spot SEO done by Indians or people in the Philippines. They typically spam keywords in title tags and generate content that is easily distinguishable as being written by someone that speaks English as a second language. I am not intending to be rude, simply honest. I have rarely seen anything new or innovative in the world of SEO coming from India or the Philippines. They often use outdated tactics and gray-hat techniques.

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The Biggest Benefits to Working with Offshore SEO Companies

Of course, working with offshore companies does have it upsides as well. The biggest advantages of working with these companies tend to be:

  • Cheap Price
  • Fast Workers
  • Minimal Oversight

Cheap Price

Cheap Price

Sure, going offshore might save you some money. Often you can pay less than $300/month for SEO services offshore. What are you really getting for $300/month, though? Consider the fact that a true SEO expert would charge at least $75/hour for work and, according to an SEO Moz report done by SEO experts, some charge up to $250/hr. After all, a real SEO expert has to know how to program for the web, network with others, write good content, design websites and banners, and entertain clients with social media. Good SEO experts have extensive skill sets.

I will be blunt about cheap SEO services –- cheaper is usually not better. Getting the most expensive SEO you can find is probably a waste of money as well, though. There are ways you can save on your SEO campaign without cutting corners and spamming your site to death with offshore SEO. In fact, I am so adamant about refusing cheap SEO services that I’d go as far as to say that cheap SEO will probably hurt you in the long run because the likelihood of a Google penalty is much higher.

Fast Workers

As for being fast with SEO, of course you want your work done as quickly as possible, but “fast SEO” can often be a bad thing. Beware of any SEO company that offers “quick results” or “fast rankings”. This is a sure sign of black-hat or gray-hat tactics and penalties and loss of rankings are sure to follow.

SEO is a marathon, not a sprint, and it should be regarded as a long-term investment in your business. Would you turn your hard-earned money over to someone that offered an easy, quick, and handsome return on your investment? You wouldn’t, because if it sounds too good to be true, it often is.

Minimal Oversight

Minimal oversight might seem like something that is a benefit. Communication with the client, in my opinion, is extremely important. After all, the site goes through a variety of changes, so keywords and topics that rank can also change in a matter of days. I require my clients to be active in their SEO campaigns. If the client isn’t engaged, the SEO campaign will probably suffer.

Should You Use Offshore SEO Services?

Would I use offshore SEO services for my website? No. Unfortunately, the low costs are appealing, but the price you pay in the long run proves that this isn’t an ideal option.

Can I vouch that offshore SEO from India or the Philippines is a scam? It isn’t necessarily a scam. I’m sure some “scam” SEO companies do exist offshore, but I prefer to assume people in other cultures are good at heart. The issue is that there are major differences in communication and expectations when you use an offshore SEO company and many people that have used these services do wind up feeling scammed.

If you’re considering SEO as an investment for your website, it is important to understand that “quick” and “cheap” SEO companies are not going to win in the long run. When you hire SEO Hermit for your SEO needs you will get a real SEO expert. Contact us today for a free SEO evaluation for your website.