Every time I hear a prospective client ask, “Do you guarantee rankings?” I cringe.
In fact, every time this question pops up my brain starts reciting lines from 90s movies… “Why do they put a guarantee on the box? Because they know all they sold you was a guaranteed piece of shit. Hey, if you want me to take a dump in a box and mark it guaranteed, I will. I’ve got spare time.” SEO guarantees aren’t any different.
Some SEOs will even forgo payment until they’ve achieved their goals. To many small business owners this seems like a win-win situation. Either the SEO delivers or the website owner gets to keep their money. The catch is in the fine print. Don’t fall for this trick. In reality they’re simply targeting obscure keywords that generate little to no traffic.
I’m sure I could rank my blog #1 for “Alligator Skin Moccasins,” but that’s largely because no one is searching for that phrase. Low competition key phrases usually mean low search volumes. Beware of SEOs that focus on long tail keywords with little or no traffic volume. It’s a dead giveaway that the SEO you’re working with is only interested in their objectives and has little concern for your business’s welfare.
Every once in a while an SEO will guarantee you top position rankings for a relatively competitive keyword. If this happens to you, run! While just about anyone can rank for low competition keywords, ranking for high competition key phrases takes a considerable amount of time, effort, and of course money. If someone claims they can get you on page one or guarantee you a position in a short time frame or for a highly competitive keyword you can almost be certain their strategy involves “blackhat” techniques.
Blackhat is a term for SEO strategies that violate Google’s terms and conditions. These types of strategies include things like placing white text on a white background to trick the search engine spiders into thinking your webpage has more valuable content than it does, keyword stuffing, and paid back-links (deceitfully paying other websites to link to your site to bolster authority). The problem with blackhat tactics is that if the tactic is uncovered your business is the one that will suffer the consequences. Is one week at the top of Google worth having your website permanently banned from Google’s search results?
No SEO can really guarantee you rankings. While you might have visions of guarantee fairies running around in your head, it’s just as likely the guarantee fairy is a crazy glue sniffer… I’ve seen it a hundred times (Tommy Boy). SEO is a long term marketing process and if you’re desperate for immediate short term results your money would be better spent on paid search. The bottom line is if a company claims they can guarantee you specific ranking positions your best bet is to turn and run. In the end it will save you a lot of time and heartache.