Scott Buresh has an excellent article over at search engine guide about SEOs that offer guaranteed top rankings.
lot of questionable SEO companies offer what I like to refer to as a “leprechaun repellent” guarantee. In other words, it’s a guarantee that is easily attainable – if you purchase such services and are not subsequently harassed by a pesky leprechaun, the guarantee has been met. How can you complain?
Interestingly enough, I recently had an old client come to me to ask my opinion on the services his new SEO company provided him. He was certain they did not meet the guarantee and wanted me to confirm it. The SEO company in question is notably the largest (or second largest) SEO firm in the world. What I found interesting is that the contract was relatively vague as to what services they would actually be providing (meta tags and “optimized” text for 15 pages) while their guarantee was pretty darn specific (15 top 10 rankings counted over 15 search engines, from a total number of 25 plus keyword phrases).
I had to tell him, that by all appearances, if they did even minor editing of the meta tags, and even added one word to the text, that portion of the contract was fulfilled. As for the guarantee, if you throw enough crap (keywords) against the wall, something’s gonna stick. In this case, just one of the 25 targeted keywords getting ranked on the first page of all 15 engines would sufficiently fulfill the guarantee.
I get many calls each week with prospective clients looking for some kind of guarantee. Sure, we can provide one with enough wiggle room to be useless in all practicality. Personally, I would rather work with a company that is a bit more forthright. Doctors don’t guarantee successful surgeries; accountants don’t guarantee you won’t be audited. Why? Because they have no control over these things. But a good doctor can substantially improve chances of a successful recovery and a good accountant can decrease chances of an IRS audit.
Beyond that, there are plenty of things you can do that will have the opposite effect. You can not listen to doctor’s advice, not take the prescribed medications, etc, and now your chances of recovery diminish. Similarly, you can participate in some shady practices that your accountant did not know about and increase your chances for an audit.
Success takes a long time to achieve, but it only takes a minute to undo it. To continue with our analogies, would you prefer a doctor that told you they’ll make some incisions in your check, poke around a bit, sew you back up, and guarantee that the stitches will not get infected, or a doctor that simply told you that they will perform surgery to correct the issue and you have a X% chance of recovery. While the first offers a guarantee of sorts, the latter seems a bit more trustworthy. Again, do you want an accountant that tells you they’ll import all your financial information into their accounting software, give you a report to sign and guarantee that some of the numbers will be accurate, or one that tells you that they will make sure that your information will be inputted and calculated correctly based on the information provided and will provide you additional assistance if you get audited? Again, the latter for me.
Yeah, I know, these are not perfect analogies, but they get the point across. I’m always tempted to give some kind of guarantee, because that is what some people want to hear, but then I might just be tempted to do no more than the guarantee provides. Then you’re dealing with an irate client that got what they paid for but not what they expected.