When clients approach us, here is a common question we get to hear – Can you guarantee 1st page ranking on google? Our answer has always been a NO. Hang on a second – It doesn’t mean that we are not good at what we do, but what we are trying to imply here is that, NO ONE can guarantee ranking your website on page 1. The word we need to tread cautiously with here is, ‘No One’.

If you have been approached by SEO firms with tall claims such as  “Guaranteed #1 ranking on Google” OR “Guaranteed first page ranking on Google” OR “Guaranteed #1 ranking on all search engine”, it means that they are going to 1) Take you for a ride or 2) Affect your company’s search result in a negative way.

So why should you avoid working with a company who is forthcoming and willing to provide you with google page 1 ranking. What are the things you need to look out for before engaging with an SEO company? We hope this article helps you choose a right partner for your firm.

Google warns you against it

You do not have to believe what we say. What if, Google tells you that No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google. It is always better to hear from the horse’s mouth isn’t it? If you potential partner claims that they know someone in Google and share a special bond with them, it’s time for you to run. No personal influence works with google and human intervention cannot give you top results. Like all websites, your website will also be submitted to google by adding an url or through a site map. Not rocket science any more is it?

They don’t explain the scope clearly

Your focus is to run your business and generate revenue. We get it. For most times, the word SEO sounds so complex that you may think that SEO companies are actually magicians, who shake a wand and TADA, make your website appear on top of the search. We don’t blame companies who think this way. In fact, the oweness to explain the scope of work and what exactly an SEO firm can do for you is not clearly explained. Even when clients have asked questions like ‘what exactly can you do for my business?’, the answer given by some companies are, ‘Oh, we will organically bring your traffic search result to page 1’. Great! How do you do that, you may ask and this is the point you filter the good companies v/s the pretentious ones who are vying to make a quick buck. A good SEO firm will give you a clear action plan on what they intend to do and how they will achieve it. The others will be wishy washy to the point that you are still not clear on the deliverables.

They are reluctant to provide cost break ups

There are companies who would approach you to do their SEO for a fixed monthly fee. That is not a bad thing.However, as a business owner you need to know what is the money being spent on. Feel free to ask for breakups and a genuine SEO firm will have no issues providing it. SEO companies are known to take a part of your money and put them in ads. While the attempt will rank you on the first page (remember the ‘ad’ text placed on top left side of the search  result), this is not an organic approach. When the advertising stops, your search result will go back and may not even reflect in the first few pages of google. If an SEO company promises to list you on top of the search result, it is important to find out if it is an organic search result or a paid search result.

Tips to choose the right partner

SEO does not provide quick results and hiring a SEO service provider is all the more challenging as it may take some time to start seeing results. Therefore, choice of SEO provider has to be made with careful consideration. Be prepared to ask these 11 questions right in the beginning and make your choice based on the answers you get.

  1. See previous work done along with success stories. This establishes the company’s potential.
  2. Research on Google Webmaster’s Guidelines and ask them if they follow it.
  3. Get them to commit on a certain result. This way, you are working towards a timeframe to see deliverables and are in a position to find out if they have achieved it.
  4. Establish clear KPI’s
  5. Find out how long have they done SEO. A newbie may be learning on the job and may not be an ideal fit.
  6. SEO also depends on individual market strength. If your potential partner has worked in your target market, it provides a sense of relief.
  7. Same applies for product/service knowledge. Have they worked with your competitors or businesses similar to yours? That would be an added advantage
  8. Find out their SEO techniques. This summarises what they can do for your website in a gist.
  9. SEO alone is not enough for marketing your business. Find out if the company can do additional service such as Facebook Marketing or PPC ads. That way you can use a multi prong approach in marketing your business to reach potential clients.
  10. Find out clear mode of communication. Will they be emailing you on progress? If yes, how often. Will they be reachable on phone calls? Would they be happy to sit and brainstorm with your team to understand your business goals and align SEO activities that creates synergy?
  11. What are you expected to see as a result? WIll they be sharing the work done along with clear links for your to check? Would they be able to show the difference in keyword ranking? Can you expect a detailed SEO report? Will they provide suggestions and recommendations that has to be done in the website

Guarantees ranking on irrelevant keyword

It is tempting to know that someone can actually guarantee a certain result. You almost want to jump at it. But ranking doesn’t necessarily translate to business. First step would be to list down the keywords they will aim to rank for. While the list is provided, please get details on the competition for these keywords and its search volume result. While it would be easier for companies to help you rank on low competitive and long tail keywords, if the search volume of such keywords are miserably low, you are not able to convert these visitors to potential customers. If they guarantee to rank you for your company name or an obscure search phrase, which is very easy to do but won’t increase sales, guarantee is meaningless.

Bottom line

Don’t be shy to ask questions. Know exactly where your money is being utilised. Find out the words they will aim to rank your website. Keep communication open and frequent. Do a background check and see their credentials. Work with a firm that has enough experience and can provide value added services such as online marketing. Review results against KPI’s closely and stay away from guaranteed “search engine rankings.” It smells of trouble.

If you want help with your SEO, we would be happy to provide you with a free consultation. Write to us at outreach@webmastersmelbourne.com.au