I was driving home from the gym here in Albany, New York when I overheard a commercial I have heard quite a bit in recent months. The commercial pitched a media company’s SEO and Reputation Management services.
While the commercial didn’t stand out to me, the add-on blurb at the end of it certainly did. This particular company touted “Local Businesses get on the first page of search results in 90 days“.
There are a few things you should likely avoid when shopping for SEO Services. Operating an SEO Company of my own, i’m not going to pitch you my services. Yes, I would love your business, but the point of this article is to help you understand some things to take into account when shopping for an SEO company, especially a company with a firm guarantee.
It’s key to understand a guideline instituted by Google and by almost every single search engine out there. Something that has been in place for years.
Any links intended to manipulate a site’s ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme. This includes any behavior that manipulates links to your site, or outgoing links from your site. Manipulating these links may affect the quality of our search results, and as such is a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
That is taken right from Google’s guidelines page about Link Schemes but there is one credo that is consistent in most, if not all, search engine guidelines; Search Engines Will Police Any Attempts to Manipulate Their Search Ranking Results
So how can any SEO Company guarantee search results within a given period of time?
The truth is it’s unlikely at best! This also may suggest a company may be incorporating methods that search engines like Google explicitly outline as being frowned upon to get you said fast results.
While they may get you there in 90 days, what happens after that? What happens if a Search Engine penalizes or bans you for these methods? It’s not to suggest they are definitely employing these negative methods, but it should make you do some additional investigating.
SEO is a unique industry, an industry unlike any other. It’s an industry which is mostly void of any true guaranteed results and if you have a basic understanding of SEO, you know why.
From a business perspective I understand why this sounds appealing. Guaranteed results. Instant R.O.I. I get it.
But what good does this do if these very methods end up putting your company or brand in a worse place than when you started? Only now you are out some cash because you bought into guarantees from companies peddling a guarantee.
SEO isn’t and shouldn’t be like operating a light switch. A company shouldn’t be paying an SEO company to “flip a magic switch” to provide favorable search results.
In fact a company should get to know your brand, the service or product you offer and the unique industry you are in. A Restaurant is in a different niche and industry then a Hair Salon and therefore should be treated as such. Your SEO Company needs to view you and your SEO campaign the same exact way.
The sad thing is that many SEO companies know that businesses don’t know SEO. They also know that companies may not want to know or understand SEO. And for those reasons they swoop in and take advantage.
I have turned away numerous clients who have intimated to me “I need results by this date” or have pressed me to make guarantees. Although I would like their business I cannot risk my brand or my clients by operating in a climate that would satisfy customers who want instantaneous results. More often than not, it forces specialists to use tactics that, if caught, could lead you to search engines purgatory. Then you are essentially doing a major disservice to your client and their brand.
Local businesses are usually the targets. They know they need to compete online and with corporate brands that have ten-fold the budget they have. But don’t let fear and panic push you towards making a bad decision. Do your research about the methods the SEO company in question employs and weigh that against Search Engine Guidelines. Ask questions so you understand what exactly you are getting involved with. Test the knowledge of the company you are interviewing.
Additionally, go to an SEO Company that solely handles SEO. These days newspapers and radio networks like to push SEO services to their listeners. Would you hire a Barber to fix your plumbing? Chances are you want a plumber to handle your plumbing. The same should be said about newspapers and radio stations. SEO is a delicate process and should be handled by people who solely specialize in or offer SEO.
Again, this isn’t intended to be arrogant or to lead you to my company. I think that every business is unique and needs to find the right SEO Company for their specific needs. Each SEO company is different so while i may not be a good fit for your brand, it doesn’t meant that another SEO Company or competitor can’t deliver you what you need effectively or efficiently.
At the end of the day you can take the bait of a guarantee. But judging from how many clients i take on that have taken that very bait before, damaged their website rankings/standings, chances are you’ll be hiring myself or another SEO company in the future to fix the issues that guarantee caused.
Hopefully by then you aren’t run out of business or overtaken by a competitor that “didn’t take the bait”