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The World of Five Dollar SEO

Tom Howlett

by Tom Howlett on 23rd February 2012

SEO SphereThere has been a recent spate of sites where users can offer services for a specific sum of money. One of the most popular examples is Fiverr, where users can advertise something which they would do for $5. Since its release there have been a few similar platforms and Fiverr clones go live and offer the same service.

These sites do not offer anything particularly new; web users have long been able to advertise products/services online with platforms such as EBay, Gumtree, Craig’s List and other similar classified ads websites. Fiverr and other similar sites have just come up with a unique way for people to advertise services online and this has proven to be popular.

Five Dollar SEO and Marketing

As you can imagine, these sites have seen lots of weird and wonderful services and offers being advertised, including a fair number of marketing, SEO and Social Media jobs.

Here are some common examples:

Paying for a number of Backlinks, this can be anything from 10 to 1000’s of ‘guaranteed’ links to your site.

Thousands of Backlinks

Then there are listings which sell a number of high Page Rank or .edu backlinks, or links from websites that claim to be of a high authority.

.edu Backlinks

You can also get listings which are more related to Social Media, many offering to Tweet out something relating to you, others offering to Bookmark your site to a specified number of places.


Aside from link building and social media, some users offer to carry out keyword research for the site. They will look for apparent ‘niche’ keywords for you to use on your site.

Keyword Research

These are just some examples of the kind of listings you will find on sites like Fiverr. Similar adverts can be found on sites like Ebay and Gumtree, with a myriad of similar services on offer, albeit for a variety of prices. I previously wrote a Blog post titled ‘Why you shouldn’t buy links on Ebay‘, this discussed the issues that you may come across if you buy links through EBay.

So should or shouldn’t you use these services?

The short answer would be no. Most of the services are likely to be genuine and could potentially offer some quality backlinks for the site, however the lack of control over the link location and placement could potentially have a negative effect on your website.

There are a number of reasons why this could have a negative impact for your website:

  • You could end up with lots of links from websites all on the same IP. This look a bit manipulative to search engines and it can result in a penalty.
  • The links could be site wide (on every page of the website) and this also can be seen as a manipulative practise.
  • You have little control over the type of site and having a link on a site completely unrelated to yours will likely have no positive effect.
  • A sudden influx of links can also look suspect and can result in a penalty within Google, you will have to remove these links to remove the penalty.

Good uses of these platforms

Taking the above cautions into consideration, I would like to say that not all services on these platforms are bad. You should be wary of what exactly you are getting for five dollars, this is a tiny amount of money compared to what some people spend on services to benefit SEO and you should consider that you may be getting little in terms of value as well.

If the service is advertising a link package of some sort and you have little control or influence as to where these links will go and the types of links, I would generally avoid these.

Here are some positive uses of the platform that may benefit your SEO progress:

  • Design services – Even if this is a logo or image on a new Blog post, a visually appealing website will definitely improve the user experience. This may also increase the number of subscribers, followers or conversions, depending on your aims for the site.
  • Video services – Some people will create videos for you. This can be a good promotional tool for use on various video platforms or your own website.
  • Article or Blog post services – It is unlikely you will get a quality article or Blog post written for five dollars, but you may be able to use a service which may help you along the way (in one way or another, this is completely open).

So be creative with this platform, just don’t use it to cut corners because it is more than likely going to do you more harm than good.


There are not necessarily any direct alternatives to sites like Fiverr that don’t offer a similar service or collection of services. There are many SEO tools available online, some are free and some ask for a bit of money or a subscription fee. These tools come with many different functions and help with keyword research, finding links, analysing your website and more (see the Google Keyword Tool, Link Dex and SEOmoz tools for good examples). Tools can essentially cover every aspect of SEO and it then requires you to take action on the findings. This is a much better strategy as opposed to paying for a few services that you will have little control of.

Image Source

Hand Holding A 3D SEO Sphere via BigStock

Tom Howlett

Tom Howlett

If you’re looking for information on Link Building then read Tom Howlett’s posts. Tom has a specialist insight into link building strategies designed to improve website’s visibility and ranking. He will help you become a master in finding new link sources.


  • Dean Marsden

    Dean 23rd February 2012

    Always good to go by the rule of if ‘something seems to cheap to be true’ its not worthwhile or genuine. Unfortunately many people new to SEO don’t really know otherwise and are cautious about investing much money in SEO so these services seem like a good idea to ‘test the water’.

    The reality is that they could potentially permanently damage your websites reputation and performance even with better quality SEO work performed at a later date. I’m not saying don’t use any of these services just be fully aware of what you are getting for your money and its key benefit.

    Reply to this comment

    • Tom Howlett

      Tom Howlett 23rd February 2012

      Yeah I agree, for this money you are unlikely to get anything that is worthwhile for most of the services. It would be better to pay more and have much more control over what you receive.

      Reply to this comment

  • Keyword Eye 23rd February 2012

    Is $5 the hourly rate for a member of the Koozai SEO team? :)

    Reply to this comment

  • Mike Essex

    Mike 23rd February 2012

    Nice post Tom. I’ve given some of the items on Fiverr a lot of stick before, as some of the items people offer on there are unbelievable and prey on naieve people. Thankfully people often leave bad reviews, so you can avoid some of the worst offenders.

    Reply to this comment

    • Tom Howlett

      Tom Howlett 23rd February 2012

      Thanks Mike. Yeah the review feature should definitely be checked out before proceeding with the service. It is worth noting that some people give a good rating based on the fact that the service was delivered within a certain time-scale rather than delivering good results.

      Reply to this comment

  • Oliver Ewbank

    Oliver 29th February 2012

    Great post Tom. Cheap SEO can also focus more on quantity rather than quality. 1,000 backlinks may not be as strong as one high PR link.

    Reply to this comment

  • Michael Rolfe

    Michael 7th March 2012

    I heard that someone bought a few ‘high quality’ links off Fiverr, from a seller with good reviews… and all the links were Korean.

    Reply to this comment

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