In the SEO business, there is a worrying trend emerging where SMEs are being offered an absolute guarantee when it comes to search rankings. Having worked with SMEs for the last 10 years I am now seeing more cases of this and find this very dangerous practice is damaging the chances of success for many local search campaigns.
Guarantee is one of the most powerful marketing terms used today. The idea that a business will receive or achieve something as a result of a product or service is very tempting. When it comes to Google the simple assumption is front page equals the phone ringing of the hook!
It’s simply not possible, legitimate or viable to offer front page position guarantees.
One recent example I can share with you is of a Reading based business who fell for the trap and put all their marketing spend into such an SEO company. Their strategy included dropping traditional media spend in print and proven lead generating websites. The outcome was predictable for me but not so for the business which is having it’s toughest year ever. The most disturbing aspect of this particular case is the lack of keyword research. Their website was optimised for searches on Google with next to no traffic and very low competition. Amazingly, for a local business no locations were used on the website!
So what do these guarantees look like?
- Guaranteed front page of Google Sponsored Listings – Often for an upfront fee the money is used to buy Google AdWords with very little being spent on actual advertising and for coverage of only a few months.
- Guaranteed front page of Google Natural Listings – Often there is little keyword research conducted and in most cases the keywords that are selected have little or no usage.
- Guaranteed front page of Google or your Money Back – Well, just try and get your money back!!! As above the keywords selected may have acheived top positions but not necessarly any business.
I am seeing more and more of these cases and I hope SMEs pay attention to posts like this and protect their business. Some of the techniques used by these companies use what we call ‘black hat’ SEO methods which in the long run damage the chances of success with your local search campaign.
Earn your position on search engines as this will be more rewarding for you in the long run.