Disclaimer: I’m going to be posting some information in here that companies may not like. To be honest, I really don’t care nor will I be intimidated by their threats and messages. If you’re a business and/or are looking for SEO services, you need to know exactly what you’re up against. My goal with this post isn’t necessarily to single out any companies (and I’ll white out names, etc) but to show you examples of what to look for so you can avoid it.
“We can guarantee top 10″
No, you can’t. Well, you could probably guarantee it for a term such as “blue widgets that are half off in columbus ohio” or something like that. The bottom line is that the top 10 is controlled by Google, not them. They can’t guarantee you anything. A lot of companies will use loopholes in the contracts as well as little tricks such as bidding on the term with Pay Per Click to “get you on the front page” to show you they can do it. Just a reminder, “getting top 10″ and “getting you on the front page” are completely different terms and you always want to clarify that they’re talking about the ORGANIC rankings. Long story short, every company that can guarantee top 10 rankings should be avoided. If you’re feeling frisky ask them what their money back policy is, and then ask for a 100% money back policy and make sure the contracts are air tight. If that’s true, you’ll win. But then again, if they could get top 10 for your term guarantee’d – why aren’t they doing it for themselves and selling the business leads and/or exposure to you already? It’s the whole debate of guarantee’d money vs higher risk & reward. Keep your eyes open.
“We can get you top 10 in under a month”
Alright, now let’s explain what “blackhat seo” is. I’m not saying every company that says this uses blackhat SEO, and don’t get me wrong – there’s a time and a place for blackhat SEO but on a company site where branding and your name actually matters it isn’t one of them. Some companies literally do have that many connections that they could top 10 you in under a month for a term in a legit way, but I’m sure you’ll see a nice price tag associated with it as well. Blackhat SEO is a method of tactics where Google doesn’t exactly like them such as link spamming, forum spam, trackback spam, etc. If they see you’re using them, your site goes bye bye in the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages). The key is to keep with companies that provide Whitehat SEO and don’t mind telling you exactly what they’re doing. If you find one that mentions press releases and/or viral marketing, or even social media then you’re going with a good long-term branded strategy that will help you in the long term.
“We can’t guarantee anything”
That’s what I was looking for. These are the types of companies that you want to work with because they’re actually telling you the truth. If you contact one of these companies and look for the tactics and techniques that I listed above you should be able to determine whether or not a company is worth your time. No company can actually guarantee the results in the search engines – no matter what they say. Plenty of them can guarantee traffic increases but anyone with an hour a day can do that. You want the rankings. Make sure when you look at a company you ask them exactly what their job entails. What will they include, how many hours a day or week, and what kind of milestones can you set that are reasonable for all parties involved.
“We’ll submit your website to the search engines”
Sheesh. Now this one, I have to stress. If you see this on any website as an option in your “contract” or “package”, find someone else. You don’t need to submit anything to the search engines. The search engines were built primarily to find websites without you telling them, hence they’re an engine. If the company is doing their job correctly in getting you exposure than they’ll find you on their own. This is what they will tell you is an easy way to “notify” the search engines of your website, and probably get a good $100 out of you to literally do nothing. It’s a waste of time. And also – if they’re doing your SEO and you don’t show up in the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages), they probably haven’t done a darn thing. It’s hard to NOT end up in the SERPs somewhere with a few minutes of effort.
The bottom line when it comes down to this is the fact of it sounding too good to be true, it will be. Make sure you have everything laid out and set in stone before you pay a penny. You want this done, by then, and if it works then it’s a bonus – otherwise they still need to get it done. In SEO you end up paying more for labor than results, if you want results I suggest you look into affiliate marketing as a possible alternative. If you’re interested in learning more about affiliate marketing as a possible alternative feel free to leave a comment here, and if it gets enough attention I’ll do a quick webcast with examples and how it works in depth.