“SEO Guarantee” and Why Should You Avoid SEO Companies That Offer It
You may produce the best product or offer the best of a certain type of service in your area, but without a website and a web presence, it’ll be hard for your brand to spread further past the familiar streets. Search engine optimization or SEO is a key component of building that website and web presence. SEO consulting agencies are equipped with the skills to help you enjoy broad web appeal and success but, unfortunately, the best ones can’t offer SEO guarantees.
This, undoubtedly, is going to make you scratch your head. “No SEO guarantees? Then what am I paying for?” you undoubtedly ask. After all, every other service you likely pay for will come with some type of guarantee that you’ll see results — at least when you’re buying from a quality brand. But SEO is different and as counterintuitive as it might seem, the best SEO agencies won’t guarantee results (although you are likely to get them) and the following is a look at why:
3 Reasons Why Great SEO Consulting Firms & Agencies Can’t Offer SEO Guarantees
#1 Yesterday’s SEO Guarantees Started the Fire
How does a law come into existence? Almost always it’s because someone did something that made people realize there needed to be a law to prevent that something from happening again. For example, Florida has a law on the books that if an elephant is tied to a parking meter, that parking meter has to be paid. Why? Because Ringling Bros. Circus had taken advantage of the previous nonexistence of such a ruling to use their animals as parking space holders throughout the 1920s.
When it comes to SEO, individuals are known as black hat marketers and black hat SEO agencies used and continue to use tactics that aren’t technically against the rules but have the effect of causing new rules to come into play. These black hat marketers came into vogue back in the mid-’90s and used scams to guarantee high search engine rankings and traffics. Such tactics included things like keyword stuffing in which they would fill a website with desired keywords that would force search engines like Google to rank that website to the top. But by frequently using nonrelevant keywords or using keyword stuffing to promote an undesired or unworthy product, such high-ranking websites were irrelevant to Google users and Google, seeing its users unsatisfied with the results, brought down the hammer.
Today, Google is constantly evolving to prevent black hat marketers and black hat SEO companies from trying to abuse the algorithms to promote nonrelevant or otherwise undesirable websites. The good news is that means if you are a business selling a quality product or service, you will enjoy the benefits of Google and other search engines laying down this framework that only promotes quality content. The bad news is that there aren’t easy, quick-fix SEO guarantees that quality SEO companies can offer you.
#2 Quality Results Take Time and Commitment
So, if keyword stuffing and similar black hat marketing techniques won’t get those to-the-top results, what do today’s SEO consulting firms do? Well, the answer is a lot, but it depends. Since fast tactics like keyword stuffing no longer can get you to the top of search engine results (and can, in fact, hurt your website’s rankings due to some of Google’s algorithms), experienced SEO companies instead use organic solutions. The problem here is that they will take time and will depend upon factors like how long the client business has been in business, what their previous reputation was, and what type of competition exists within the industry. When hiring an SEO consulting firm, they have to take all of these factors into consideration and some of those factors may not be fully understood until months after they get started. As such, great SEO consulting firms can’t offer upfront guarantees, at least not until they are in the trenches.
For example, in his book So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, author Jon Ronson works with a net reputation company that utilizes SEO campaigns to improve the search engine rankings of individuals and businesses who were hurt by an influx of bad press. One of the companies he interviews spends well over a hundred thousand dollars in manpower and a year of gradual SEO tactics, such as writing expert blog articles and linking positive news pieces, to hide the thousands of bad articles associated with their client and instead ensure the positive pieces about their clients hit the front pages of prominent search engine results.
While most businesses who employ SEO marketing techniques aren’t mired by bad press, this example is an important one to underscore that boosting a search engine result will not happen overnight. It also requires a mix of different strategies, like incorporating a YouTube channel, keeping an updated company blog, and aiming for a positive industry news piece. No one tactic will improve a business’s search engine rankings. That said, which ones will be most effective are also varied and cannot be predicted.
Take, for example, you own a small natural food store in Jacksonville, Florida and have a good reputation in your immediate neighborhood but want to go bigger. To get yourself on the top ranking of engines like Google, Google Map, and Yelp, you’ll want to optimize not only the phrase “grocery store” but also phrases more specific to your audience like “organic produce” and “local butcher”. After all, in Florida, you’re competing against big chains like Publix, Winne Dixie, and now ALDI. You need to be more specific to stand apart. So, a consulting SEO firm will work with you to determine all of the relevant keywords associated with your brand and audience and then gradually implement a strategy to boost both the obvious keywords and the non-obvious ones. How that looks and how long that takes can’t be truly understood until results from initial campaigns are studied.
#3 Good Rankings Don’t Always Mean Good Performance
Finally, most guarantees are tricky to quantify and even if a company could meet them, it doesn’t mean that what they did was beneficial. For example, even if an SEO consulting firm gets that aforementioned natural food store in the top three results for the search term “where can I find a local butcher”, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your target audience is searching for that key phrase.
In fact, it’s a shady black hat SEO marketing agent who will promise you that number three spot by their deadline, deliver it, and then bounce out. Even Google warns against SEO guarantees
“No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google. Beware of SEOs that claim to guarantee rankings…. If they guarantee you that their changes will give you first place in search results, find someone else.” is Google’s official position about this matter.
and reminds us that quality service takes time and commitment
“Be committed to implementing the recommended changes. Making the changes recommended by an SEO takes time and effort; if you aren’t going to take the time to make these changes, it’s not worthwhile hiring a professional.”
A good SEO company won’t offer you quantitative guarantees, but they will promise to work with you to achieve qualitative results. What this means is that you hire a partner. A partner who will take the great business that you do and fulfilled customer feedback you get and broadcast it. If you’ve ever played on a sports team, you know that your teammates could never guarantee a win, but together your team can practice, hone your skills, and create the best conditions for a win. This type of partnership and team success is what great SEO consulting firms bring to the table.
Dessy Angelova is an SEO specialists and a freelancer, founder of SEO DOT. Having her digital marketing career started in 2010, Dessy has worked for a startup companies, small businesses in Europe and in Australia. She is also known as being an active blogger for International Women in Sydney and an editor of IWC magazine.
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