An SEO specialist just reached out to you and guaranteed that they can get you to rank #1 on Google…
Sounds too good to be true, right?
That’s because it is.
Most of the time guaranteed SEO services simply don’t work, and whoever guarantees you a #1 ranking on Google is either not very good at SEO, or straight up scamming you.
Want to learn why that is the case? Read on!
Here’s what we’re going to cover:
- What are Guaranteed SEO Services?
- Do Guaranteed SEO Services Work?
- How to Pick an SEO Agency (That Delivers Long-Term Results)
What are Guaranteed SEO Services?
Guaranteed SEO services are a type of SEO service that guarantees results. The agency or freelancer you work with gives you a promise like:
“We’ll get you to rank #1 within 2 months, guaranteed!”
If you have any SEO knowledge, you probably think that this is too good to be true.
Even the most reputable SEO agencies and specialists never actually guarantee results.
But, why’s that?
Shouldn’t a marketing agency be able to offer up some sort of guarantee for their work before accepting your money?
Well, in terms of SEO, they simply can’t. Learn more below…
Do Guaranteed SEO Services Work?
No, guaranteed SEO services almost never work.
There’s a reason why Google itself warns against SEO companies that promise guaranteed results:
No matter how good someone is at SEO, they’re still not the ones in charge of deciding what ranks #1 and what ranks #10.
An SEO specialist can do most of the things right:
- Optimize your web pages for SEO
- Create quality content
- Build backlinks to your website
But this still doesn’t guarantee that the website will end up ranking #1.
If an SEO specialist offers guaranteed SEO services, there’s a good chance that there’s doing this in bad faith, and one of the two scenarios is going to play out:
- The SEO specialist fails to rank you #1, so they simply ghost you or make up an excuse.
- The SEO specialist uses black hat SEO strategies to get you to rank #1 within a few months. Google soon catches on, penalizes your website, and destroys your rankings. The SEO specialist is nowhere to be found.
What Can I Expect from an SEO Specialist?
Now that we’ve covered why guaranteed SEO services don’t work, you might be wondering:
What CAN I expect from an SEO agency?
Which is a great question to ask!
While an SEO pro can’t guarantee results, this doesn’t mean that they can’t 1) deliver quality work, and 2) give you some rough estimates on what they can deliver.
Here are some healthy expectations you can make from your SEO:
- They’ll optimize your website based on Google’s best practices.
- They’re going to write content or create landing pages optimized for SEO.
- They’re going to consistently build new backlinks to your website.
- They’ll be able to start driving some organic traffic to your website within 3 to 12 months of work (depending on factors such as location, competitiveness, whether you’re doing global or local SEO, and others).
- They will be able to rank some of your web pages on page 1 (while they can’t guarantee to rank you for position #1).
On the other hand, here’s what you shouldn’t expect from your SEO agency:
- Guarantee to rank you #1 for specific keywords.
- Guarantee that they’ll be able to deliver certain rankings in a specific time period.
- Create an accurate projection of how you’ll rank in any given time period.
- Offer a pay-for-performance SEO plan.
How to Pick an SEO Agency That Drives Long-Term Results
Now that we’ve made it clear that guaranteed SEO services don’t work, we can move on to the next topic.
How can you pick an SEO agency that’s not going to waste your time with false promises and actually delivers quality results?
#1. Evaluate Their Case Studies
First things first, you should evaluate the agency’s case studies and ensure that the results they’ve delivered in the past are noteworthy.
The case studies should include information about:
- Traffic numbers. What’s the monthly organic traffic growth for the website mentioned in the case study?
- Timeframe. How long did it take for the agency to deliver such results?
- Work done. To what extent did the agency’s work contribute to the results that were driven?
- Brand mention. Does the case study mention the name of the client’s website or is it something vague like “Ecommerce client?” Keep in mind though, that sometimes clients don’t want their names mentioned in a case study, so if there’s no brand mention, that’s not necessarily a red flag. If ALL their clients want to remain anonymous, though, then that means something sketchy might be going on.
A bad example of an SEO case study would be something titled: “How we increased Website X traffic by 50%.”
You don’t know whether this happened in a month, or a year. You also don’t know whether that 50% increase in traffic is 500,000 more traffic, or just 50.
A better example of a case study would be something like, “how we increased Website X traffic from A to B within Z months.”
To see examples of quality case studies, click here.
#2. Check Out Their Client Testimonials
Check the SEO agency’s client testimonials.
Are the testimonials from real founders or are they from made-up people like “John Doe, Marketing Expert?”
If an agency or freelancer doesn’t have testimonials mentioned on their website, then that’s definitely a red flag.
#3. Familiarity With the Niche
Ask the SEO agency if they’ve worked within your niche in the past.
One big thing about SEO is that different niches often have their own unique difficulties.
- If you’re in a competitive SEO niche like CBD, gambling, VPN, etc. then link building is going to be a much bigger challenge.
- If you’re specifically looking for local SEO help (accounting, chiropractor, dental clinic, etc.), you’ll need rock-solid landing pages (instead of blog posts).
As such, you’re better off working with an SEO agency that has some familiarity with the niche you operate in.
#4. Pick the Right Metrics to Track
Ask the SEO agency what kind of metrics they use to track SEO performance. The more detailed their answer, the more likely it is that they’re legit.
Some SEO metrics we track for most of our clients are:
- Traffic growth
- Impressions growth
- Average rankings per page
- Revenue growth
- Number of leads driven
- Revenue from organic traffic
#5. Practice Regular Reporting
The SEO agency you work with should send bi-weekly or monthly reports on the work they’ve done, as well as the results they’re driving.
The reports should include data on:
- Monthly impressions growth
- Monthly clicks growth
- Number of leads driven by Google
- How individual pages are performing on SERPs
What Are Typical SEO Agency Deliverables?
Another important thing to figure out is what kind of deliverables you can expect from an SEO agency.
And no, “we’ll do uh, some on-page SEO…” is not an adequate deliverable.
At MintSEO, some of the typical deliverables we provide for our clients are:
- Content audit. We audit every page on your website and ensure that they meet Google’s best practices. We fix up pages that don’t meet them and eliminate cases of content cannibalization.
- Backlink audit. We extract every one of your website’s backlinks and add them to a Google Sheet. We analyze the backlinks for quality and compare them to your competitor’s backlinks.
- Technical audit. We ensure that your website is fast, mobile-friendly, and built with SEO fundamentals in mind.
- Keyword research. We uncover 50-200+ keywords to target in order to grow your website.
- On-page SEO improvements. We go through existing web pages and improve them based on on-page SEO principles.
- Regular SEO blog content. We publish 10,000+ words of content per month on your website.
- Link building. On a regular basis, we do manual link-building outreach to build backlinks for your website. This can be done via guest posts, niche edits, link exchanges, etc.
- Google My Business optimization. We edit the copy of your GMB profile, ensuring that it’s optimized for Google.
- Citation building. We build 20+ citations to your website every month.
- Monthly reporting. We send you a monthly report on the work accomplished and results-driven.
- Data-backed content improvement. Once your content ranks, we analyze the data on Google Search Console and implement improvements to content based on our findings.
Got more questions about guaranteed SEO services? See our answers below!
#1. Can SEO be guaranteed?
No, SEO can never be guaranteed. An SEO agency can project results (to an extent) and give reasonable promises, but no one can guarantee that they’ll be able to rank you #1.
#2. Can keyword rankings be guaranteed?
No, you can never guarantee keyword rankings. At the end of the day, no matter how good you are at SEO, Google has the final say on what page ranks at position 1 and what ranks at position 10.
#3. Are guaranteed SEO services a scam?
Guaranteed SEO services are not necessarily a scam. The freelancers offering such services might simply be new to SEO and unsure of what they can promise or deliver, and their promises might not be in bad faith.
That said, If someone offers you guaranteed SEO services, you should definitely avoid working with them.
#4. How long does it take to rank #1 on Google?
Depending on about a dozen factors, it can take anything between 2 months to 2 years to rank #1 on Google. Some of these factors are:
- Does your website have a strong backlink profile?
- Do you have a ton of quality content published on your site?
- Is your niche competitive?
- Are you doing local SEO, or global?
- Is your content significantly better than your competitors?
#5. Can I pay Google to rank my site higher?
No, you can’t just pay Google to rank your website higher. If you want to improve your organic rankings and drive more traffic, you’ll want to do SEO yourself or hire a specialist.