Search engine optimization (SEO) is a relatively young industry, and it has developed a language that can be confusing to people who don’t specialize in the field.
For example, suppose you’re a business owner and want to know what SEO means. In which case, you might hear experts describe it as “the process of improving the visibility of a website in search engine results pages (SERPs) through the use of natural on-page elements.”
But how does this translate into real life? And what does it mean for your business?
SEO is about helping people find your website when they want to accomplish something online—like buy something or sign up for an account.
If you want people to find your company via Google or Bing, or any other search engine, then SEO is going to be one of the most important tools at your disposal. Unfortunately, unscrupulous agencies often take advantage of this by making questionable promises to those unfamiliar with how SEO actually works.
If you’re a business owner, you need to be cautious about these agencies and not fall for their so-called “guarantees.” In this article, you’ll learn about the most common fake promises that SEO agencies use to entice businesses to hire them.
The Ten False SEO Promises
“Our strategy guarantees that your posts will always rank #1 on Google”
All business owners want to achieve great results from their SEO efforts, and as such, most want to hear that the agency they hired can guarantee that their website will rank #1 every time. Sadly, that is a bald-faced lie.
The algorithm on search engines is constantly changing, and because of this, there is no guarantee that any strategy will work for all clients and websites.
So, when you are asking about their approach for ranking #1, you should be asking: “How exactly do you mean to achieve this?” If they insist that their method works every time – run! You should also ask for the results of their previous work, and better yet, ask their previous clients to verify.
“We can guarantee you will be on page 1 for these 20 keywords”
A large of SEO involves keywords, which are the terms that searchers use on Google and other search engines. However, keywords are not created equal as their search volumes and levels of competition varies. More importantly, their search intent varies, and that means there will be keywords in your field that would not make sense to target.
Hence, be wary when your SEO agency tells you that “you will rank #1 for this keyword and win the snippet as well.” The problem here is that the agency can choose a set of keywords that are irrelevant to your company. You can hand-pick the keywords to ensure relevancy and scrutinize the agency’s chosen keywords, especially if they do not align with your business.
“Using our strategy, your content will rank in no time!”
If an SEO agency tells you they can help your content rank quickly with a definite time period, it’s best to turn your attention elsewhere.
The truth here is that it does not happen instantly. It can take weeks, months, or even years to rank on search engines.
Why does it take so much time? Well, nobody has an exact answer, but a factor here is how the algorithm plays out. Several things are happening online daily, and so it is almost impossible to predict how things will go. Sometimes luck needs to be on your side to make things happen.
But you know what they say about luck: it is the intersection of preparation of opportunity. So, have the agency explain how they would optimize your website for SEO. If their fundamental strategy is sound, then go ahead. But if they make wild claims for your business, turn and run!
“We’ve cracked Google’s algorithm”
The thing about Google’s algorithm is that nobody has “cracked” it. There are over 200 factors that the search engine accounts for, and because of how extensive it is, nobody has been able to break it down completely.
If an SEO agency mentions this, you can ask them to explain Google’s algorithm. Try to analyze the way they speak because if their words are rich in MetaData and rely on old-school techniques, such as keyword stuffing, it is best to seek help elsewhere.
“We can drive x amount of pageviews to your website”
A misconception that you might not know is that rankings do not necessarily mean you will get traffic. Similar to rankings, there is no way to accurately predict a website page’s performance.
SEO agencies who promise a set number of pageviews per month may be relying on blackhat techniques that may get you penalized by Google. Besides, pageviews are only vanity metrics; a real measure of a website’s success is the number of conversions it generates.
“We will get you thousands of backlinks to improve your ranking”
A crucial aspect of SEO is using backlinks. However, if an SEO agency tells you they can get you thousands of backlinks to help your ranking, it can potentially do more harm than good because not all links will benefit your site. Additionally, these links can also be spammy, which can result in a penalty.
Before doing anything, you can check the agency’s previous clients and their links. If you notice spam links, you should immediately avoid the agency.
“Ranking #1 will lead you to the path of success”
As mentioned earlier, trying to rank is already challenging in itself. Trying to rank first is even harder. Rankings and the algorithm are dynamic, meaning they can change in an instant. Even if you already rank at the top, staying there requires continuous effort and a lot of luck.
While ranking first in Google’s SERP is definitely a nice achievement, you should not forget that the main goal of your website is to get viewers to take the next step when it comes to your products and services. Hence, you should not put all your efforts in SEO optimization, and put equal emphasis on your website’s usability and helpfulness as well.
“We don’t need to have access to your website to start optimizing for it.”
When an SEO agency claims they don’t need access to your website to start optimizing, that is not true. Modern strategies are holistic, involving on-site and off-site optimization. You can clarify with the agency if they solely focus on building backlinks. If they are, they are probably not the right people to work with.
“Installing this plugin will increase your rankings”
Just like the other factors, installing SEO plugins do not guarantee that your website will perform well
If you’re speaking with an agency, you can discuss these plugins. Legitimate SEO tools can help you achieve better rankings by way of their functions like backlink checkers, SEO checklists, and metatag editors, but if they advertise it to you as a clear-cut, guaranteed option, you should walk away.
“We have the lowest price point in the industry!”
The SEO industry competes on results and not price. According to Moz Survey, the average SEO expert costs between $75 and $150 per hour, while the average monthly retainer is between $1,000 and $3,000. The prices typically indicate their quality, so it’s best to exercise caution.
You want to ensure you get the best results possible with a reliable agency, so aside from reading reviews and case studies, you can set up a meeting with the agency to discuss matters in detail. Depending on what happens in that meeting, you will understand if collaborating with them is a good idea.
True vs False: Understanding Both
There is a lot that goes into SEO. Rankings, traffic, and the continuous grind to try to get that top spot is no easy task. One thing is sure about all this, and that is that the process takes time. You can’t expect to get results immediately, but if you continue to put in the effort, you are sure to reap the rewards.
Generally, you need to remember that:
- Nobody can guarantee the number one spot on Google
- Keywords and their relevancy matters
- Strategies take time to work
- The algorithm is constantly changing
- Ranking does not necessarily translate to traffic
- It’s the results that drive competitiveness, not price
If you keep these in mind, you will be more aware of what to look for when partnering with an agency and know what to avoid.
If you’re interested in learning more about our SEO services, visit our website today!