You might have heard a great deal about SEO and how essential it is to grow your business’ online presence. Probably you even tried some online classes to try and get the gist of it, with not many results, and then you realised that you needed to hire a professional to help you out.
That’s when you started being targeted by suspicious emails by sketchy-looking agencies that promised you to be ranked as #1 on Google.
Now, not only is SEO an extremely complicated task to master: it also takes a lot of time to show the expected results, even when it’s done by hyper qualified professionals. That is why you might be tempted to seek out agencies that offer guaranteed rankings in exchange for an exorbitant fee.
But no matter how good these promises seem, it’s inevitable that agencies that promise guaranteed rankings are just trying to scam you.
Let’s be honest, in business, as in life, the things that you get faster and more easily tend to be the most unreliable ones, and you certainly can’t rely your business on those.
We understand that this might not look good enough to motivate you, and that’s why we’ve decided to tell you why SEO agencies can’t guarantee rankings, but first…
SEO: How Does It Work?
This is my favourite metaphor for SEO, and it’s perfect if you only have a general idea of what Google and Algorithms are but need a more practical understanding of it all.
So, it’s Christmas, you are a child, and you write Santa a letter asking him for a specific present. Santa receives it, puts his elves to work, and they choose the right present for you based on what you asked and what they have in store. Santa then proceeds to deliver it directly in your stockings.
Can you see where this is going?
Santa is Google, and the Elves are the Algorithms that wrap the present you had asked for in a nice box.
You google something, and the algorithms instantly choose what you need to receive based on their criteria.
Well, of course, there is much more to that, but it’s a solid start. And it can help you have a better understanding of what agencies are trying to promise you and why they are doomed to fail.
Rankings: Do They Really Matter?
Now, let’s start by stating the obvious: it’s not the ranking that matters. Instead, it’s how you use the position they give you.
But again, when trying to expand one’s business’ online presence, you might think that being #1 is the only thing that matters and that should be pursued.
After all, who doesn’t like showing up as the first result?
While having high rankings is undoubtedly something that you want to achieve with time -and, let’s be honest, it’s psychologically gratifying-it’s not the only reliable metric for your SEO performance.
There are other, more important parameters to take into consideration when it comes to judging your success, such as:
You post something on your website, and someone finds it attractive, so they put a link to your post on their own platforms. This is what it’s called backlinking. So it’s not hard to see why it’s one of the main factors taken into consideration by algorithms when it comes to ranking websites.
A reputable backlink is proof that a piece of content is relevant.
Of course, one backlink from a more extensive website with higher domain authority will affect the algorithms more than several backlinks from more minor and unrelated websites.
Rather than being just a way of calculating the actual volume of traffic that goes through your website, it’s a reliable tool to analyse the effectiveness of your keyword strategy.
And it’s something that cannot be achieved without proper planning and professionality -unless you start using unethical methods, which we’ll talk about better later.
#3 Bounce Rate
You’ve probably experienced it many times before. You google for something, find a link that seems suitable for your research and click. Immediately after that, you realise that it’s not what you were looking for, and you close the page to go back to your research.
This is called bouncing.
Now, it’s no mystery that this is not something that you want for any of your websites. Idealistically you want your user to spend a more extended amount of time browsing through your page, right?
Well, let’s say that while, of course, you should optimise your keywords and content so that it gets to whoever is actually interested in it, but at the same time, a more prolonged presence on your page isn’t always a guarantee of a healthy website.
The thing is, what if your website pops up, someone is looking for something to buy on it, but they spend a lot of time trying to find it?
One of the main things you have to think about when designing and developing a website is user experience. If you spend time optimising the content, think about doing the same to the features that allow your customers to find what they are looking for your platform.
A conversion is when a prospect or a customer takes an action you want them to do. For example, if you have an online clothing store, you can say you have a conversion when a visitor on your website buys one of your products.
Naturally, these should be one of the most critical parameters to consider when analysing your SEO success.
Conversions don’t always equate with money. Conversions can mean something broader, depending on your website and the business’s purpose. But profit does. Profit means hard, cold, cash.
And that is why profit is the most crucial parameter.
How much profit did you make from your sales and activities? And how many of said profits come straight from using the right SEO strategy?
As you can easily see, while rankings can somehow be faked and tweaked to scam people, profits are not. And, quite frankly, they should be the first of your goals.
Why SEO Agencies Can’t Guarantee Rankings And How They Work…
As we saw, there’s no way of guaranteeing high rankings. And, even if it were, it wouldn’t necessarily mean much in terms of success and profits.
But how can you recognise these agencies and quickly avoid them?
This is usually pretty easy since many of them try sending automated emails that almost always end up in your spam folders.
But when they don’t, they might have put some serious effort into building their online presence, and you might be able to see traces of their existence on Google.
Funnily enough, they probably don’t have high rankings.
The Harsh Truth: Why No Agency Can Guarantee Rankings
There are several reasons you should avoid any agency that approaches you with the promise of guaranteed results. The first one being, obviously, that rankings can’t be guaranteed. But if we take a closer look, we might have a broader idea of what this means…
#1 Rankings Are Not The Only Thing That Matters
We said this in the previous paragraph, and we feel like reiterating that rankings aren’t a guarantee of success. There are many other components to a business’s online success, and reputation and rankings are just one of the many. But even in the isolated occurrence where they were the only thing that mattered, nobody could guarantee you this kind of result. So don’t get fooled by promises of quick success and start investing in something that could actually work.
#2 Google Specifically Warns Against It
Did you know that Google itself spoke against this kind of practice? As they state on their 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 submission for Google. In fact, the only way to submit a site to Google directly is through the URL Inspection Tool or by submitting a Sitemap, and you can do this yourself.”
Do you still think that hiring an agency that claims to give you better rankings -that are assigned according to algorithms- by doing the exact opposite from what Google says is a good idea?
Personally, I doubt it.
#3 Rankings Are Extremely Unstable
Rankings are unstable. Parameters change in the matter of a few miles (if you don’t believe us, try Googling something here and then driving to another location), and there’s no way of guaranteeing that you can maintain the first position for longer than a couple of hours.
#4 These Agencies Often Use Black-Hat Tactics
When offering to deliver this kind of service, these agencies use tactics not allowed by Google and are highly unethical.
One of these is better known as “black hat tactic”, but it’s far from classy.
It implies the substantial violation of Google’s terms and conditions to obtain higher rankings, and it’s often done by buying links or hiding keywords in your content simply using invisible text.
The worst part is that if you get caught -and believe us, with nowadays’ algorithms, you most definitely will- you can say goodbye to all of the results you have had so far.
Not only are you likely to be subject to penalties, but you could also stop showing up on google altogether.
If it isn’t a fantastic result for an agency that guaranteed the best rankings…
#5 SEO Is Not A Cookie Cutter
One of the reasons SEO is so complex and takes a lot of effort is that it’s not something that you can apply to all of your clients without a strategy. There is no cookie-cutter for SEO. Each strategy must be developed according to the client’s business, goals and even their brand’s tone of voice.
Now, tailored solutions take time and, most importantly, can’t be used as a parameter to judge someone else’s success. Moreover, not every business has the same goals, and conversions don’t mean the same thing to your clients.
#6 The Wrong Strategy Could Destroy Your Business
We said it before, we’ll say that again: Google warns explicitly against using specific tactics to try and have higher rankings. And if they detect any suspicious behaviour, they might issue a penalty or wipe away your name from search results altogether. Not that good, right?
#7 It’s A Scam
When you guarantee something to someone through a contract, you must be able to provide what you promised. And the fact is that, as we saw before, nobody can guarantee high rankings.
In other words, the only guarantee that you are receiving is that you will be awfully scammed, and you could suffer nefarious consequences of your poor choices.
To Wrap This Up…
SEO can appear like an undefeatable feat to businesses that are looking to improve their online presence, and you might find the perspective of guaranteed rankings in a short period of time extremely appealing.
Many problems come from that. The first problem is that nobody can offer you said guarantee, and whatever it is that they are offering you is a scam and not a promise of success.
The second problem is that the very same Search Engine you are trying to Optimise in your favour warns you against this kind of agency and might decide to issue a penalty if you get caught doing black hat SEO. And, just to be clear, it is you who will be penalised, not the agency that you hired!
The third problem is that even if it were possible to work rankings in your favour, they are not perfect indicators of success. They are not the only parameter you should look for when evaluating the results of your SEO strategy.
So, don’t fall for the promises of scammers and find the right agency for you…
Choose The Right Agency…
At this point, you might be thinking that no SEO Agency is not capable of offering any kind of guarantee of success, but that is extremely untrue.
The right professionals can offer you many guarantees much more critical than high rankings…
#1 A Personalised Strategy
When hiring the best SEO agency, you must ask for a personalised strategy that can help you and your brand fulfil all of your goals.
And the right professionals will be able to do that and focus on what truly matters for you, giving you relevant results.
#2 A Team Of Experts
No more improvised SEO experts. Find an agency that knows what they’re talking about! And no SEO expert in their right mind will ever dream of scamming you through a “90days #1 Rankings” guarantee.
#3 A Wide Portfolio Of Clients That You Can See
A reputable SEO agency will be able to give you examples of clients they’ve worked with. Most will have – at the very least – testimonials from happy clients on their website. They’re also likely to have a portfolio showcasing examples of brands they’ve worked with and the results they achieved for them. This is a way that will help you see the experts that you hired at work and see if they are the right match for you.
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