Anyone who has a publicly listed website has probably received some form of contact (email, phone call, etc.) from an SEO firm. While all of these groups are different, a large number of them fit a similar description: they are liars. Luckily, there’s a fairly easy way to spot these lying SEO groups. The most common denominator is that they will promise you unachievable results, including “a guaranteed number one ranking.”
These groups intent on making the sale, and we all know how much of the traffic goes to the top ranking website. However, this is simply impossible to guarantee. Here are a few reasons why:
1) Improvement to a high page rank takes months or even years. If the current top spot is taken by a high page rank competitor, positioning there quickly is hopeless.
2) Search results are different based on a) what account you’re signed into, b) what location you’re at, and c) what your recent search history contains. Even if you’re ranked number one in one instance, you’re unlikely to be at the top elsewhere.
3) Companies like this often take on multiple clients who use the same keywords. It’s literally impossible for them to fulfill their promise to everyone.
So, how can they “guarantee” something impossible? There are two tactics that these shady companies use. The first is to guarantee that you will rank in the number one position for something. This means that they can simply optimize around an obscure long-tail keyword phrase, or even your website name, and fulfill the contract. The second is to have a guarantee that isn’t money-back. Rather, if they don’t get you into the number one spot, they will give you “another three months of their services” or similar.
Whatever the methods being used and whatever the details of the contract, the best idea is to avoid these companies altogether.