Websites that have been on the web for more than a year or so typically garner some type of solicitation from users. This solicitation can come in the form of emails, form fill outs, or even comments on your posts. While most are selling snake oil, it may be tempting to take them up on some of their frivolous offers. Different entities have different tactics, but one of the most concerning we see on a fairly regular basis is promised rankings. Someone who promises you guaranteed SEO results should be treated with ultimate caution. The main reason is SEO is impossible to predict, but there are a lot of secondary tactics they may employ to make it look like your SEO campaign is more successful than it really is.
Guaranteeing Results in SEO
The first step in any of our campaigns is to align expectations. We do this by auditing the competition ranking for the desired keywords. This gives us an idea of the barrier to entry in the space as well as the ground we have to make up for various keywords. There are some instances where businesses can rank much more quickly, but these are few and far between and revolve around a lack of intentional SEO efforts from competitors.
We have come across sites that have a large amount of value built up with Google but are lacking specific and intentional optimization. These types of websites can typically increase their rankings rather quickly. While there are instances where sites can rank quickly, guaranteed SEO results should be a red flag for you and for your business. While immediate ranking expectation may be the case once we work through the keywords you want to rank for and audit your competition, someone fishing for your business is going to promise the world with the expectation that you will be canceling. This is a known tactic and is employed with many of these spun up SEO sites who have no care for their reputation. The main objective is to get you to pay them, beyond that, they do not care much.
Shady Tactics in SEO
With more than 10 years in the SEO space, we have seen our fair share of snake oil recipes. From promising to rank keywords with no search volume to running PPC campaigns made to look like SEO, there is much for a shady SEO provider to latch on to and exploit. The readiest and probable example is promising to rank you for keywords with no search volume. We had a client in the past who came to us saying they were getting very few visits to their website, but their ranking reports looked stellar.
After spending 15 minutes auditing the keywords in the report, we found hundreds of keywords were being tracked and reported that have no search volume at all. So while reports showed the client on the first page for just over 100 keywords, traffic was at a standstill. We took the time to target keywords properly and while we established about 20 first page rankings for the campaign, traffic more than quadrupled within the first year. This is probably the most likely tactic for a shady SEO provider to employ.
Faking PPC or SEO Traffic
Another tactic for these shady providers promising guaranteed seo results is to fake traffic for keywords in either PPC or SEO. They could go in and click your result to show organic traffic, but since it is fake, it carries no chance to convert into a lead for you and your business. While this is a more extreme tactic, we have seen it previously. By simply adding code onto the end of a URL, someone could increase organic traffic. They could also search your brand and click through the SERP a few times a week. Totaling these efforts over a month’s period can make your performance look much better than reality.
SEO Takes Time
We have talked about it a few times in the past, but there is no real way to escape the value of time in an SEO campaign. As we make changes to websites, Google has to take time to figure out what it is we want to rank for. Once we have moved rankings up, the work is not done. Google then watches how any traffic sent from their SERPs ends up interacting with your website. If your bounce rate skyrockets, it may be time to look at your user experience. If Google continues to see bounces, they may not want to keep ranking your website for those specific terms. Our campaigns work in phases and having the goal to play the long game is always beneficial for our clients. While some may experience quick results, it is typically around the one year mark with services where things really start to hit their stride.
If you think your current provider is working behind smoke and mirrors or you feel your website should be performing better, feel free to give us a call today. We take the time to educate you on the process and help you understand the efforts and tactics we are employing to improve rankings for your website.