The big names in the industry warn against SEO companies who offer guaranteed SEO. I’m here to warn you against SEO companies that are more than willing to take your money even if they can’t get you ranked. You might be one of them.
Did Google really say, “No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google”?
SEO companies take advantage of and hide behind an unfortunate post on Google’s support page. Yes, Google did say, “No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google,” but what does that mean? What they mean by that is no company other than Google has control of where a website places in their search engine, but does that mean a company can’t offer guaranteed SEO? That’s how it’s usually spun by the SEO industry.
Did Google really say, “Beware of SEOs that claim to guarantee rankings.”?
Again, the answer is yes they did. But again, what does that mean? Why should you beware an SEO company that claims to guarantee their SEO? What kind of guarantee are they talking about anyway?
Did Rand Fishkin at Moz really say, “Why Reputable SEO Firms Don’t Promise Guaranteed Search Engine Rankings.”?
Well, yes, he did. Geepers, what is a reputable company supposed to do when they’ve got Google saying beware of SEO’s that claim to guarantee rankings and Rank Fishkin, arguably the biggest name in SEO apart from Google’s own Matt Cutts, saying on his blog that a reputable company doesn’t promise guaranteed search engine rankings?
Results ARE Predictable
Any company that has been doing SEO for very long knows if what they do works or not. If they know enough to charge you a rate for what they do, and charge different rates depending on the market and keyword competition, and offer a service competitive with other companies, then they know enough to know how often they might lose money if they have to honor a guarantee. Not providing guaranteed SEO just because no one has control of results is just an excuse.
Enough with your excuses! Enough with this nonsense!
My question to Rand Fishkin and to Google is:
Does A Reputable Company Keep Your Money If They Can’t Do The Job?
According to Rand Fishkin and Google the answer is yes, for to offer to give a client’s money back if they can’t get you ranked makes them not reputable. Rand’s blog post was critical of companies that “guarantee to keep you on 1st-page results each month, or you don’t pay for that month,” as if that were a bad thing. What’s wrong with this picture? In what other industry are we encouraged to keep people’s money if we can’t produce measurable results for a client? Oh, right, horse racing.
Is The SEO Industry Like The Horse Racing Industry?
You place your bet on a horse and if your horse wins you get your money back and then some. If you’re horse doesn’t win do you get your money back? No, this is gambling, silly, they don’t guarantee a thing for much the same reason SEO companies don’t guarantee a thing: because they don’t have control over the horses.
But wait, someone betting at a horse race isn’t paying the jockey to do anything for him, he’s just paying the venue for the opportunity to bring home more than he came with if he gets lucky enough to be able to predict how a certain horse will do.
The way Google and Rand Fishkin suggest we do SEO is quite a bit how horse racing works. You place your bets on the SEO company’s ability to “beat the odds” and bring you more business and profit than you are paying in. If they can’t do their job, too bad for you, you’re “out of luck.” Better luck next time.
What Is An SEO Company Being Hired To Do, Anyway?
You are hiring an SEO company to at the very least get your website to Google page 1 for certain keywords, no? You wouldn’t be hiring them to get you to page 10, or even page 2, because being there does you little to no good. If they can’t get you to page 1 they have no business taking your money, but Rand Fishkin and Google seem to think otherwise. In fact, they seem to think a company that can’t do their job is disreputable for not taking their money or giving your money back if they have already collected. Shouldn’t customers get what they paid for, and if they don’t get it, should they have to pay for it? What makes the SEO industry so special that it escapes the common sense you see in other industries?
Why Can’t We Do SEO Like The Building Industry?
A reputable painter expects to get half of his money up front and half when he’s completed the project to the customer’s satisfaction. He doesn’t paint the house and collect the full amount at the end because if the customer stiffs him to get a free paint job he’ll be out the whole amount of the job. If he collects half up front he’s only out half the fee if he gets stiffed. Likewise, if the painter does a lousy job and the customer ends up hiring someone else to do it over he’s only out half the fee, not the whole amount like he would if he paid the full amount up front. Collecting half up front is a good compromise for both parties.
SEO companies, on the other hand, are encouraged by Rand Fishkin and Google to collect all their money up front and keep it all even if they can’t meet at least minimal performance benchmarks spelled out in a guarantee.
Why Can’t We Do SEO Like The Insurance Industry?
Insurance rates are all about statistics and probability. They know from history the probability of payout for both a 19 year old female with good grades and no tickets and an 18 year old boy with bad grades and 3 tickets and adjust their rates accordingly so they make sure they bring in more money than they are paying out. With four boys in our family you can bet Mom and Dad don’t pay for their insurance. We make them wait until they get a job and can pay for their own insurance before they can get a license. The insurance industry has got my boys figured out and their higher rates for them are not coming out of our pockets.
An SEO company, if they take the effort to analyze their products and history, knows how often they get a client to Google page 1 using certain methods and how much more work it takes to get them there if those standard methods don’t work, or how often they would have to honor a guarantee if they had guaranteed SEO. It’s really not much different than the insurance industry.
I think SEO companies have told themselves a lie, and believe it, so they can in turn tell their clients the same thing so the clients will think they have to put 100% of their investment at risk, to the benefit of the SEO company. SEO companies are all too willing to go along with this nonsense because it’s to their advantage.
What’s The Solution For The SEO Industry?
Fortunately, we live in a free enterprise economy which always puts economic pressure on companies that take advantage of consumer demand for innovative products when they charge exorbitant rates. When a new product hits the market those consumers who see it as a must have innovation are willing to pay a lot more for it than others will be paying in just a few short years down the road or even in a few months. The first one out with the innovation can only keep their prices high for so long before other companies offer the same thing for less.
Likewise with SEO services. If enough reputable SEO companies offer at least minimal performance guarantees such as a Google page 1 guarantee, the companies that have bought into the reputable-SEO-companies-don’t-offer-guaranteed-SEO nonsense will find themselves losing more and more clients to the ones who do. Here’s an article about a few companies that do just that by finding ways to guarantee SEO.
Eventually, SEO will start looking like a mainstream industry just like the insurance and contracting industries. That will be better for the consumers and better for the SEO industry as a whole.
Posted in Guaranteed SEO