Some companies make SEO promises that sound too good to be true. That’s because they often are. Once you’ve decided to hire a team of professionals to handle your company’s SEO, it is important to choose that team wisely.
A respected and trusted SEO agency will focus on improving your business’ performance on search engines and your overall ROI. This takes time, there are many good reasons why the best SEO agencies out there do not use lines like “guaranteed #1 ranking” or “immediate results”. (I mean, Google itself has said multiple times that no one can guarantee a #1 ranking)
When it comes to deciding who to trust with your company’s website and SEO, knowing what questions to ask, as well as having transparent communication and aligned expectations are the keys to success.
Let’s take a look at the top three important points to consider when hiring a partner to improve your search engine ranking.
The False First Place Promise
This might be the most common (empty) of all SEO promises out there. SEO practitioners who promise to get your website ranked as the first result for every single keyword chosen is a huge red flag. Here’s why.
The offer sounds great at first – after all, “isn’t ranking first the whole point of SEO?” Well… not exactly. Yes, winning the first page of Google for certain keywords is indeed very valuable, this in itself should not be the immediate goal of any SEO campaign. And if an SEO agency tells you otherwise, run for the hills.
SEO is about driving high-quality traffic to your website, improving brand awareness (by improving online visibility) and ultimately generating more conversions and profit to your business. While a good keyword strategy is indispensable, it should be seen as the means to an end – and not the end itself.
A well optimized page should contain the most relevant keywords. However, trying to rank for too many will make your content sound unnatural and you’ll end up with none. In other words, being #1 for only some of your chosen keywords might actually be more beneficial than ranking for all of them.
No One Can Control Google’s Algorithm, except Google
If an agency promises you not only #1 place for any keyword, but also that after they are done you’ll stay there forever… It is again time to run. The reason for this is simple: search engine optimization is not an easy fix, and Google is constantly evolving.
Search engines are getting smarter every day. Google even tailors results specifically to users and their search history. Your website could rank in position #1 for one person, and #4 for another based on their personal preferences and various other factors.
There’s no knowing what the next Google algorithm update will be. Unless you maintain consistent SEO efforts combined with up-to-date content, other websites who comply better with the search engine’s rules will definitely steal your thunder.
For this reason, the SEO promise that “once we are done you’ll be all set” is not only misleading, but simply untrue.
SEO Is a Marathon, Not a Sprint
We all want fast results. However, optimizing for search engines can’t happen overnight. It takes time to fix existing issues, create optimized content and build authority. There are various factors that play a role in signaling to Google that your webpage is the most relevant for users queries. Some of them are known, such as keyword usage and up-to-date content – but some are not. Needless to say rankings are volatile and complex right?
Agencies that promise you overnight results are likely setting you up for disappointment, or employing black-hat methods. These might cause sudden spikes on your website’s traffic today. But in the long run will damage your online reputation (not to mention the visits received will likely not convert). It is important to remember that the point of SEO is not to cheat search engines. Follow their rules and enjoy the *many* benefits that follow.
So… What Can You Do?
Now comes the one million dollar question: what is the best way to protect my business from fake SEO promises? Unfortunately there is no perfect answer. However, a good place to start is to make sure your expectations align with reality. Try setting a transparent communication on what the SEO plan is/the timeline in which it is expected to be achieved.
Moreover, make sure to choose wisely. Overnight SEO results and static #1 position on the SERP should inspire the same level of skepticism as “burn fat at night” pills.
Stay vigilant, demand open communication and research the industry so that you can rest assured knowing that your SEO is in good hands. And in case you need any help, we’re here for you. 😉