Should you trust an agency that offers guaranteed SEO?
Today, you’ll learn:
- Why guaranteed SEO is actually more likely to fail
- How some agencies show “results” that will hurt you in the long run
- The simple test to tell if an SEO agency is effective
Let’s get started!
Why do some agencies offer guaranteed SEO?
Bad actors have plagued the world of search engine optimizations since the beginning.
The reason is simple:
Anyone can call themselves an “SEO agency” with zero qualifications. And plenty of people have, taking hard-earned client money without showing any results.
Because of that, today’s business owners tend to be wary of SEO companies.
To overcome flagging trust, some unscrupulous companies offer a guarantee.
The idea behind guaranteed SEO is that a company will deliver a result or give you your money back.
But that’s rarely how it works.
Three reasons to avoid guaranteed SEO offers
The problem with an SEO guarantee—or any marketing guarantee—is that no single person can control the results.
An agency can promise work, knowledge, and expertise. But the final result depends on outside factors like timing, Google’s algorithm, competitors, and more.
So who would offer an SEO guarantee? There are a few reasons an agency might stoop to this strategy.
1. They’re unqualified. A team with no experience can use a guarantee to convince someone they’re reliable. Sometimes, you can find diamonds in the rough and get a great deal. But they’ll be learning as they go and never deliver results as fast as a more experienced team.
If you decide to go this route, don’t pay up front with a guarantee. Instead, I recommend paying by milestone. If a team is serious about guaranteed results, they should be willing to get paid once they deliver.
2. They’ll buy numbers. Many business owners without SEO experience don’t realize impressive metrics are available for pennies on the “SEO black market.” A shady agency can buy tens of thousands of click farm visitors and hundreds of links for a couple hundred US dollars. And it’s easy to rank #1 for keywords nobody searches for.
The problem? These visitors, backlinks, and rankings won’t help with metrics that matter, like customers and revenue. Worse—buying backlinks can get you permanently banned from Google. If you have suspicions, verify and study the numbers an agency presents.
3. They’re ready to disappear. Just because an agency offers a guarantee doesn’t mean they’ll honor it. If you realize you’ve spent thousands of dollars for no results and want your money back, you may discover the agency is nowhere to be found.
How to know if your agency is delivering results
So if you shouldn’t trust an SEO guarantee, what should you look for?
There’s a simple test to see if an agency is working:
Look at the results.
As I’ve written about how long SEO takes, you should see numbers almost immediately, at least within a month or two. Perhaps not sales, but other indicators that you’re moving close.
Some agencies will treat SEO like a black box that outsiders can’t understand, but don’t be fooled. Any smart business owner can understand the basic principles of SEO. (Want a primer? Read my article on eCommerce SEO 101.)
Sure, there are complexities in SEO. But the basic numbers are easy to understand.
If you don’t see results after a month or two, it’s time to have a hard conversation with the team you’ve hired.
What to look for before hiring an SEO team
There are a few factors that can help you hire a good SEO team.
The first is to look at their specialization. Many teams offer to do it all, from ad management to website design to email marketing. These generalist agencies rarely have specialized skills in SEO, and you won’t see results as quickly as you would with a team focused on SEO in your vertical.
Another area to look for is experience, case studies, and client testimonials. This isn’t everything—anyone can get a few clients to vouch for them—but no case studies or testimonials is a red flag.
And finally, you’ll want to find an agency with a philosophy that agrees with your own. Read their content, understand how they work, and see if that’s a good fit with how you do business.
Speaking of which, if you agree with the philosophy behind our content, consider working with us.