If you care about your business brand online, and truly want to succeed in the future as well as the present, you have to avoid all of the tricks of those big box organizations that offer packages for less than $100 a month for ‘guaranteed’ results. I can ‘guarantee’ you that they will deliver Top of Google results for a short time, but they will greatly damage your online brand in the process. If it’s worth it to you to have high rankings for a few months and then start over completely, then go for it. However, if, as a business owner, you recognize the importance of maintaining a consistent, credible and trustworthy online presence you’ll want to avoid these big box organizations that ‘guarantee’ everything but the kitchen sink.

  1. Ask to See Their Portfolio – Know who their clients are and do your own research on that client. Run some free reports on Compete.com and HubSpot’s Website Grader to see how consistent these web pages are with ranking. Have the SEO Consultant show you exact statistics, screenshots of rankings with dates, and question them about keywords.
  2. Ask to See Case Studies – One of the most telling aspects of an SEO Consultant’s portfolio is their ability to prove where clients are ranking, so ask them to show you in the initial meeting to pull up a client’s website on Google. This makes every SEO nervous, including us, because you never are 100% sure how a website is doing on any given day. However, this is a great indication of how their client’s rank.
  3. Ask About Their SEO Techniques – Every SEO employs different SEO tactics to get clients to the top. These tactics are moving very quickly to content development and social media, but there are still hundreds of avenues any SEO can travel to rank a website. Ask them exactly what they do and how they do it. Write down what they say, and do your own research on the quality of these tactics.
  4. Ask about the Guarantee – You want to see, in writing, the exact words that the big box company or SEO will rank you for. This will allow you to make sure the guarantee is on quality keywords.

‘Guaranteed Google rankings’ usually involves stretching the truth a bit. Guaranteed to be in the number one spot on Google might simply mean that you’ll rank number one, that’s true, but it will be for a completely no-targeted keyword that won’t generate much traffic or turn visitors into conversions. For example, let’s say that you see an advertisement for “Gauranteed #1 Google Ranking or Your Money Back.” This sounds like a win-win, right? It’s only $99, so you do it and stock up on product that you know will be sold by a first place Google ranking. You track the keywords that you know are high quality, high traffic keywords, but you don’t see your website. So you call the big box company to ask about for your money back, and they respond with “you are in the number one spot.” Of course you are, for a long-tail, non-targeted, completely useless keyword. But hey, it’s in the top position!

The true goal of any quality SEO with integrity is to bring quality traffic to your website. Many big box SEO companies will offer a guarantee for company rankings, where a search engine user will type your company name into the search box and you are ‘guaranteed’ to be in the number one position. First off, if this isn’t happening already, there are problems with the structure of your site, or perhaps you have the exact same company name in the exact same region as someone else. By the way, if an internet user is searching for your exact company name, they already know who you are and what they’re looking for.

By following Linwright Design, LLC, or SEOMoz.com, you will begin to understand what a quality SEO expert should know, what SEO tactics they should be using, and how quickly your business should see results. Subscribe to our RSS Feed or follow me personally on Facebook for more tips on Search Engine Marketing.