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Ali Husayni

White-Hat SEO is Dead

VILLA PARK, CALIFORNIA – For years, I’ve been trying to stay true to the promise I made to myself and my clients to master Google SEO. In almost nine years, only a couple of our customers have gotten penalized or banned from Google. We stayed truly white-hat and the work paid off.

Our clients consistently rank very well on Google and continue to reap the benefit of achieving top of Google ranks with the help of our team of experts.

But since Panda and Penguin updates, it is becoming increasingly difficult to achieve the same results and it takes longer to rank a new client at the top of Google. On average, our project time-frame has increased by about 30 percent while our cost has grown by almost 100 percent. We expect for this trend to continue.

For many of our new prospects, this means they cannot afford a sustainable long-term investment in SEO.

When you add “trust” issues and previous “bad experiences” with SEO companies to the equation, it increases the likelihood of a business considering other forms of online marketing before looking into SEO.

We know that Google’s popularity has increased tremendously and is only going to grow more with time. Business owners realize that if they’re not found on Google, their competition will leave them in the dust.

This dilemma is a problem that I’ve been trying to solve for some time now. And the solution came to me while I met a sales rep from a lead generation company at SMX Advanced in June. He told me they charge their customers per lead. I asked them how they generate leads and his answer was Adwords.

Since leads generated through organic SEO is less expensive in the long-run, creating a lead generation service through SEO makes a whole lot of sense.

We met with our team and decided to sign up a few clients and partner with them to focus solely on generating leads. In other words, you only pay for leads and not for any other marketing program such as SEO, SMM or SEM.

We are still developing our process and need your feedback.

What are your thoughts? Would you be interested in a service like this? How much are you willing to pay per lead if we only charge you per lead?

White-Hat SEO is Dead was last modified: September 1st, 2018 by Ali Husayni
14 thoughts on “White-Hat SEO is Dead
  1. denish says:

    Dear, i do not know how i believe this but according to your points, SEO is dead over all. You are saying this because when white-hat SEO is dead then SEO is also dead. Then what is left? Only PPC. I am little bit confused.

  2. yunesh says:

    PPL seems like a logical step however it is going to be very challenging.

  3. Ali Husayni says:

    Mark :
    Ali, that is not your only concern right?
    I read that Google already started to erased organic results from its pages in some niches.

    No. That\’s not my only concern. The other day I saw that for one of our clients\’ keywords, there were THREE Yelp results before the organic results started. Add 5-6 rows of Adwords ads, that made the organic results start \”below the fold\”.

    If Google doesn\’t do something about this, they\’re going to lose big times as another better search engine will evolve.

  4. Mark says:

    Ali, that is not your only concern right?
    I read that Google already started to erased organic results from its pages in some niches.

  5. Maria says:

    You are right that before Google Panda and Penguin update it was very easy to get good ranking position in SERP and you can give deadlines to your customers but now it is unpredictable that you will get ranking on first page or not and if you get then when? SEO is totally unpredictable now and that thing destroyed lots of outsourcing companies because you have to spent more time and client are not ready to invest too much.

  6. Carl says:

    QUOTE:
    “Setting up and running an Adwords campaign is a daunting task. It requires understanding of keywords, Adwords campaigns, writing effective ads, and many more factors. I don’t know many good business people who can run effective Adwords campaigns.”

    I could not agree with this more.

    What is interesting is our conversion rates with Adwords has dropped precipitously since the Penguin/Panda updates, making the costs of these campaigns essentially not worth the cost.
    My best guess is the poor quality results makes Google searchers less likely to spend much time on any one site (as per our tracking software), as they have so many sites to view, most with poor content and so even when good content is found, they spend little time on the website

    See: cstrohmeyer.wordpress.com/2013/08/31/google-search-seo-penguin-panda-matt-cutts/

  7. Ali Husayni says:

    Greg Gillespie :
    The lower the cost the more attractive that source becomes.

    How about the quality of the lead? Does that matter in this equation?

    Now how do we charge for the leads? Is it a calculation based on Adwords CPC divided by 2 (like SEO used to be) or would you recommend another method?

    I\’ve done some research and it seems on average our customers currently pay about $45-$200 per lead (based on how many leads we\’re able to generate for them via SEO). So it depends on the market and this method may not be right for many who do not make lots of money on each customer (i.e. e-commerce).

    Mike Glover :
    I have followed (and commented) on your blog for a while. You definitely have always been spot on with your state of SEO assessments going back quite a few years now.

    Thanks Mike.

    However, the average agency will not have the expertise, the capital or the resources to handle this pretty complex business model.

    I agree. This model only works for the types of businesses you mentioned above.

    Raul Rios :
    Al, that is not your only concern right?
    I read that Google already started to erased organic results from its pages in some niches.
    Seems like SEO and organic results will be dead soon and Google will have the entire page for their paid ads?

    Funny you say that. The other day, I was looking at one of my clients rankings who is #1 on Google organic and i saw that in reallity he\’s #6 after all the adwords and ad extensions. That\’s not including the maps and all the other \”stuff\” google has added to the ads section.

    Why charge customers per lead? Must of them run their own Adwords campaigns, they get their own leads unless they do not have a way to obtain the opt-in. Most of them base their success on the contact form or the telephone call the prospects make to the company.

    That\’s a very good question.

    Here is my thought:

    1- Setting up and running an Adwords campaign is a daunting task. It requires understanding of keywords, Adwords campaigns, writing effective ads, and many more factors. I don\’t know many good business people who can run effective Adwords campaigns.

    2- Adwords is effective, but expensive. Leads generated through organic SEO have historically been a lot more cost-effective.

    3- Why not get leads through Adwords as well as SEO and SMM?

    Thanks guys for all of your feedback.

  8. Behzad Jamarani says:

    SEO techniques are going to change and we all have to adapt ourselves otherwise we lose our rank and probably get banned, we have to shift our work toward making valuable links and bring more traffic to their site which running an Adwords on google is just one of them.

  9. Gurjit Singh says:

    Hello Dear Ali,
    You are definitely right. I\’ve also seen that new updates have changed SEO totally. The strategies and working tricks of old times are just SEO myths now. Your idea of providing leads instead of any rankings or other services sounds great. I think clients would love that as in this case they have to pay only if they got some benefit. And about the time span, i was thinking that it is only for small bloggers like me to rank a new website or blog on Google becomes it\’s so hard but I am surprised to see that it also has affected big SEO firms. I hope some definitive tips and guides will come out of experiments that are going on by pro SEOs.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I disagree with what you say about white-hat SEO, I agree Google Algorithm Panda & Penguin has effected many websites who violate Google guidelines. I believe content is still king and there are some white-hat techniques that are still working. Thanks a lot for your article!

  11. Jamil says:

    Hello,

    Can you pls explain about duration in here ??

    Jamil

  12. Raul Rios says:

    Al, that is not your only concern right?

    I read that Google already started to erased organic results from its pages in some niches.

    Seems like SEO and organic results will be dead soon and Google will have the entire page for their paid ads?

    Why charge customers per lead? Must of them run their own Adwords campaigns, they get their own leads unless they do not have a way to obtain the opt-in. Most of them base their success on the contact form or the telephone call the prospects make to the company.

  13. Mike Glover says:

    Ali,

    I have followed (and commented) on your blog for a while. You definitely have always been spot on with your state of SEO assessments going back quite a few years now.

    And I also agree 100% on your view about the current state of SEO. It seems Google is pushing EVERYONE they can into Adwords. I did not want to believe for years, but this summer has pretty much driven the point home with me. The SEO industry as a whole HAS to change or die. Is SEO dead? I don\’t think so. But as you stated, it is a very long and expensive investment that most small businesses will not bother with.

    To answer your question though…Here is my experience. If you are working in a niche market, say Auto Sales, Education, Lawyers, etc. and you have the resources and in house talent to cost effectively buy Adwords traffic, then yes. This can be an effective business model. However, the average agency will not have the expertise, the capital or the resources to handle this pretty complex business model. If you do, then GREAT! Go for it! The PPL industry will grow now more than ever.

    Cheers!

  14. Greg Gillespie says:

    This is the next natural step in our industry, when after all it is leads that the client is looking for not really concerned where they come from. Cost per lead determines the validity or attractiveness of a lead source. The lower the cost the more attractive that source becomes. SEO has increased in difficulty and time frames as you have pointed out and the risk factor to a company\’s brand is also making things more difficult.

    Great idea to shield your clients from any of this, and send the leads instead.

    Now how do we charge for the leads? Is it a calculation based on Adwords CPC divided by 2 (like SEO used to be) or would you recommend another method?

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