Be Media has more often of late been engaging with businesses who have been promised guarantees by other digital agencies – either coming to us very burned with huge losses to traction, time and money, or with unrealistic expectations as they have not been educated about the implications of these “guarantees”.
So let’s set the record straight and dive a little more into what is involved and what impact these guarantees truly have to your business.
Too good to be true?
“Guaranteed page 1 rankings within the first 3 months!”
“Guaranteed top spot on Google”
“Guaranteed page #1 positions or we will work for free!”
“Guaranteed 90% of your keywords on page 1!”
Have you heard these promises before? So have we! Any agency that absolutely promises these kinds of guarantees, are not sharing the full story, and at worst, intend to use black hat techniques that will damage your business.
Preying on small business owners who don’t quite understand SEO
Which business wouldn’t want to invest in a “money back guarantee” or “work for free” model? With a juicy positioning such as this, it is easy to consider these offers and sign on the dotted line.
Gullible business owners are lured into an unrealistic win-win sense of security.
Black Hat techniques are tactics used to trick Google into pushing your site up the search results – this come with a dire warning. As soon as Google identifies black hat techniques (which they always will) being used on websites, Google will remove the company from its index which can take months, if not years of SEO recovery to return it to its original search results.
Warnings on Google by Google
Google has put out warning content on their guidelines on what to watch out for when choosing an SEO. Google has mentioned and expanded on a few key points.
“No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google.”
“Be careful if a company is secretive or won’t clearly explain what they intend to do.”
“Choose wisely” as there are firms calling themselves SEOs and are not running with accepted business behavior.
“Be sure to understand where the money goes.”
Tactics we see which keeps you locked in, unhappy and losing leads
The main tactic we see agencies use is guaranteeing keywords on ‘page one’ within key timeframes of the campaign.
What they do not tell you is that they go for low volume searches on Google (which are easy wins for the agency). So even though you see yourself on Page 1 for keywords you think are great and that are relevant to your business – these keywords are in fact, unpopular in search volume and not ideal traffic drivers. This usually results in your traffic & lead numbers stagnating or declining completely.
Unfortunately though, even though results may be declining – the agency is continuing to hit it’s key timeframes, as promised, which leaves businesses tied in due to the agency adhering to its side of the contract.
So how should your SEO agency work on your SEO?
SEO is a long-term growth strategy. It is not a “set & forget” strategy and needs to be worked on continuously. If an SEO agency is transparent, honest and forthcoming with results & timelines, they will not offer short-term SEO ranking guarantees.
On another note, while rankings themselves are great, they may not offer businesses real value if they are being placed for keywords irrelevant to them or low in search traffic. A good SEO agency will find the balance between relevance, competition and volume of target keywords. This ensures business draw in the right traffic for the business, which leads to an increase in conversions, sales & revenue.
Red flags and things to consider
- If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. This could be a money back guarantee, low SEO fees or guaranteed page 1 rankings.
- Agencies that are unable to provide you their methodology. If you find an agency is being cagey and not sharing their tactics – you can assume that they will be using tactics aimed to ‘trick” Google or tactics that can harm your current digital presence by promising keywords that will not perform for the business.
- SEO is the process of optimising business’ websites to drive quality traffic and leads through the search engine results. This by no means is a “secret / hidden formula” & a good agency will be able to tell you their methodology & reasonings behind their strategy.
- Bad reviews and forum discussions. It only takes a few minutes to do your due diligence when researching an agency. There are plenty of Google reviews, Facebook reviews & Whirlpool forum discussions dedicated to feedback about particular agencies. Take the time to educate yourself on the agency you are looking to work with.
At Be Media we undertake an extensive research phase to ensure we have a good mix of keywords that are popular in searches, ideal in competition level with the aim to uplift your website’s conversions & only use white hat techniques across our SEO strategies.
We are completely transparent with our strategy & results – we even provide our clients access to their reporting dashboard if they wish to be across it.