Writing by Nick Stamoulis in SEO
Just the other day I was speaking with a website owner that wanted to know how I was going to guarantee that his site would be in the top 10 in Google within six months of launching an SEO campaign. He said he was willing to pay whatever it cost to make it happen, but he wanted that guarantee that his money/time would be worth the effort. I had to be honest with him about his “guaranteed SEO” request—as a white hat SEO practitioner I cannot in good conscience guarantee anything. Based on my experience I know that just about any site should start to see a little bit of movement in the right direction after 6 months of solid link building, content marketing and social media marketing, but I can’t guarantee anything. There are too many variables at play that we can’t control to make that kind of promise.
Google even spells it out in their Webmaster Guidelines
No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google. Beware of SEOs that claim to guarantee rankings, allege a “special relationship” with Google, or advertise a “priority submit” to Google. There is no priority submit for Google.
There are 200 some ranking signals that the Google algorithm uses to determine where a site falls in the SERPs. While we know and understand plenty of them, there are plenty we don’t know about or know how much weight is given to each signal. It’s often the sites that try to turn SEO into a numbers game (X links from X sites with X keywords and I’ll be at the top of page 1!) that land in hot water with the search engines and get whacked with a penalty.
Just like no SEO company can guarantee SEO results, there is no guaranteed SEO plan that will automatically result in a boost in search engine rank and a traffic jump. Each website is unique, with different assets, issues and online marketing goals. While many tactics work for just about every site across the board, how those campaigns are implemented varies from site to site. What worked for one site may not work for another; even if they are operate in the same industry! That’s why it’s so important to not let competitor actions dictate your SEO. Being an SEO copycat is no guarantee of SEO success. At some point, you have to do things better and different from your competition if you want your website to surpass them.
Anytime you see an SEO consultant or company promising “guaranteed SEO” it’s probably a good indication that their black hat (or clueless). Think of it this way—do you hold your PR team to a guarantee? They can write the most brilliant release ever crafted and it still might not get all the attention you think it deserves. Your ad agency might create a commercial that wins all kinds of awards but there is no guarantee it will make your sales increase by 50%. Why should you hold your SEO to different expectations?