Great SEO Results, Guaranteed! Or Are They?
By Nathan McDonald
Everyone wants to have awesome SEO for their site, to be on the first page in Google’s results, and some SEO companies even ‘guarantee’ it – but is it realistic? Although some companies do make so-called guarantees about great rankings, this actually goes against Google’s guidelines. They can get away with these false promises because it’s easy to get away with things that clients simply don’t understand. Yes, you may get some SEO results, but that doesn’t mean that the client will actually see any results in their business. Most reputable companies will stay away from offering any type of guarantee since it is general consensus that only low-quality SEO companies do this. The word ‘guarantee’ is kind of tarnished in the SEO world.
So is it completely unreasonable to expect any sort of guarantee then?
Not necessarily. Great SEO companies structure their services on a monthly basis because that is what works. If a small business client in Australia invests enough money per month for a long enough period of time (so they are doing more than their competition), it will be inevitable that the company’s site will get into the top 10 for their main keywords that bring traffic.
How many months does this generally take? For a small business client with low to average competition and a new website that is free from bad backlinks, it can take up to 6 to 18 months at anywhere from $250 per month to get into the top 10 of their main keywords that bring traffic and referrals. These results are seen time and time again. So, for this kind of client, a good SEO company may be prepared to give them all their money back if they did not get into the top 10 for their main converting keywords and get an increase in calls or emails at the end of 18 months, or the SEO company might continue for free until those results are achieved. Provided there was a way to track their current calls and emails as well as future calls and emails, this would be fair to both. For a competitive client, it might take $385 or $550 per month for 6 to 18 months to see these results. Ultimately a good SEO company does not have to offer a guarantee because they get results for their clients and therefore get plenty of word of mouth referrals. (Georgie Hope, Fruitful Online SEO)
A site with negative backlinks is a bit more unpredictable. If you decide to change the domain name and change all your good links to the new domain and invest at the level suggested above, it is expected that you could get back into the top 10 and getting extra calls and emails within 6 to 18 months for high traffic keywords and the SEO company could offer to refund your money back at 18 months if you don’t see results. However, if you do keep your domain name and the company does link removal, when your site recovers depends greatly on Google refreshing its updates and other people removing links. In this case it is impossible to quote a specific time frame, but it would be a surprise if it took longer than 18 months – although it could.
Before asking your SEO provider about guarantees, ask yourself some questions first:
* What sort of guarantee would you like?
* What would give you confidence to use a service?
* Is it about getting your money back if results are not achieved, or after a certain amount of time getting the service for free until results are achieved?
* Is it more important to you that someone is prepared to back his or her own services by providing a guarantee, or is it something else?
It’s likely that a guarantee or your money back is not really what you are looking for. You are probably looking for a company that can deliver results. The best way to determine this may be to ask the company if you can talk to some of their current clients.
Although some companies are paying thousands of dollars a month for SEO services, the costs can vary somewhat. Make sure your SEO company is in control of the work that is being done so that you know it actually gets done and done properly. Doing SEO properly takes money. Many people with little SEO knowledge think that they can do SEO and will do it cheaply, using strategies to get quick wins. Unfortunately this usually ends up causing harm to websites and then a professional gets called in to fix it.
How do I know if SEO is right for my Business?
In order to make decisions in SEO, most people look at traffic potential (the number of searches each month in Google for specific keywords that people type in when they are ready to buy your product or service). It is extremely important to have pages that target the main buying keywords in your industry. Other Long Tail keywords can be used for blog posts and can rank highly and help overall site trust, but unless you rank for the buying keywords that people type in when they are ready to buy your service, your referrals will be negligible.
For example, just imagine your site was on the 1st page of Google for your buying keywords and that meant that 1200 people a month were seeing your business. What is that worth to you, just from a branding perspective? What if only 5% of these people actually contacted you each month? That could be 60 new referrals per month. What is that worth? How many referrals a month do you need? What if you only got 1% of this traffic (12 referrals per month)? What if you got 2% (24 referrals a month)? Would that be enough? How much does that make the business over the next 5 years? These are the kind of Questions you need to ask yourself to see if SEO is right for your business ie How many people are searching for my kind of business and how many of these people do I need? (Georgie Hope, Fruitful Online SEO)
If you get up to the 1st page in Google and you are only getting 12 referrals per month and want to increase that, you can then look at ways to increase conversions. Where are people dropping off? What needs to be changed and tested? However, until you get to the 1st page, we won’t know what the baseline referral rate is for your particular website. What we do know is that 1200 searches per month is a lot of people that are not finding your site at the moment.
Your SEO is extremely important, so make sure you pay attention to it and invest in it since it is so crucial to your future customers being able to find you.
I’m Nathan McDonald, I’m an Aussie, my passion is business, and my message is global. Have fun!
*Please note any prices quoted are an estimate based on current markets at the time of writing this article. Please consult your chosen SEO specialist for a more detailed quote of costs involved.