There is much debate online about guaranteed search engine rankings and there appears to be a war of words between firms that do, and firms that don’t. We like to leave it up to the client to decide on who they would prefer to deal with, but here’s my two cents worth on the subject.
Why is this such an issue?
There is a massive amount of confusion and misinformation out there about Guaranteed rankings, due in part to the three main players in the industry, those who do, those who don’t, and those who pretend they can purchase links.
The biggest misunderstanding is that the firms who don’t guarantee results believe that as no SEO firm owns a search engine, they can’t possibly achieve the desired results, therefore the guarantee is worthless, unless a firm uses unethical techniques and the firms who DO guarantee results believe that the firms who don’t are just greedy, lazy and have no confidence in their own abilities.
So who are the main players?
The SEO firms who WILL guarantee their work The SEO firms who WON’T guarantee their work, and The SEO firms who WILL guarantee their work but use unethical or deceptive methods, both in their approach to SEO and in their client acquisition strategy Let’s touch on the last one first.
The firms who will guarantee their work but use unethical methods.
Unfortunately, there ARE many SEO companies who use a client acquisition strategy that is entirely deceptive. They will make sweeping claims about their abilities, offer wild guarantees on their work, and use unethical SEO techniques to ‘trick’ search engines into listing websites higher than they have a right to be. Make no mistake, any SEO firm who uses such unethical techniques WILL do more harm than good. They can effectively have your website banned from Google and other search engines altogether. Unfortunately, they may actually achieve the desired rankings for a little while, in which case they will want payment from the client at this stage. No matter to them if the website gets banned at a later stage; they got the (temporary) results, they got paid, and they are out the door to hit their next target. There is no doubt in ANY firms mind that ‘Black Hat SEO’ (unethical, cheating methods of SEO) are bad. So how do you spot the firms offering Black Hat SEO? Ask them what they intend on doing. If they cannot give you firm, definitive answers, move on. It also pays to contact their clients and ask them. My recommendation is to ask them for the details of a client that they have performed SEO for as far back as 2 years, who is still a client. That will be a dead giveaway.
What about SEO firms who don’t guarantee results at all?
My opinion is that SEO work is largely considered as money-for-jam if SEO companies are allowed to take money from clients without having to demonstrate any level of success. It is another deceptive client acquisition strategy. They can sprout on about ‘unethical SEO firms offering guarantees’ but at the end of the day, it is because THEY don’t have confidence in their own abilities. If an SEO firm is not prepared to put their money where their mouth is, then perhaps they should find an easier, less demanding line of work. There are many ‘bodies’ that exist to provide a place for SEO companies to gather and spruike their wares, but even these bodies have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo of no guarantees. Let’s be clear, ethical SEO firms who DO offer a guarantee are a clear and significant threat to non-guaranteeing SEO companies’ way of life. They threaten the very foundation of easy money for SEO firms.