I was always taught that “you get what you pay for” and with the mega big and bad brands, the opposite might actually be true in SEO land.

When we started Red Palm Marketing in 2012, we were on a shoe string budget to match all shoe string budgets – and so were our initial clients. They, nor us, could afford the high rates many “highly trusted” brands were charging to build them links so their automated phone number based reports would show that they have their company listed in all the appropriate sites.

So we did, what most businesses do when money is tight…. we rolled up our sleeves and pulled some all-nighters! We did all the linkbuilding manually, recorded our efforts and got smarter over time. Now that we’ve grown, and have clients who can afford to pay those sites hundreds of dollars a month to add links to the appropriate directories and even more on emerging sites, here’s why it’s a very bad idea.

The first thing we noticed in comparing our existing clients, to new clients who have been self-proclaimed refugees of overpriced SEO firms or auto-placement firms (like Yelp and SuperMedia), is that their listings either DISAPPEAR after they stop paying the monthly fees, or as what we learned in most cases, is that those listings weren’t even verified listings.

Why did those listings disappear?
A very good initial question, and the answer is quite simple. For one, the big bad auto-placement firms do not understand SEO very well, and they are banking on the fact that their potential SEO clients know even less. These firms are first, and foremost, sales organizations whose main goal is to make sales – and lots of them. Operations are secondary, and when you are dealing in such large numbers as theirs, the only solution is automated ASP systems that feed “partner” databases with data. Once you stop paying, you are no longer in those data feeds, and may soon lose placements.

What is a VERIFIED Listing?
When the auto-placement services place your listings for you, they are merely feeding new data into a database, say “www.directory.com”. If for some happenstance, your listing was already listed in www.directory.com, you will most likely now be listed twice. And neither are verified. To verify a listing, in most cases, you must “claim” an existing listing or create-and-claim a new listing. Either way, this is a MANUAL process and cannot be automated and thus verified listings are “locked” down. The verification is very important, especially in the big sites (ie: Yellowpages.com) because just anybody can claim an un-claimed listing. If I can, you can bet your competitors can!

So, long story short, if you don’t care about the survivorship or the ownership of your listings – then by all means opt for an auto-placement service. If however, those things do matter, then only elbow grease (yours or ours) will get the job done.