Why SEO Performance Guarantees are B.S.

Friday, December 9th, 2016
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Search engine optimization is a necessary topic for marketing teams. However, they often struggle with the cost. Because SEO is intangible and difficult for some CMO’s to grasp, they may find it challenging to invest dollars into it. What a CMO really wants is to impress his management team, and to do that he needs to show results. This leads to asking the SEO company if they can offer performance-based compensation plans. There are many reasons why this is very difficult for a professional SEO company to do.

Search engines make changes.

SEO focuses mostly on organic search engine placement. This means that your site must appeal to the procedures of the search engine, and follow their rules. Search engines are not static, and they can change their operations at any time, and these changes are totally beyond your control or any SEO professional’s control. If Google makes a major algorithm change, it can cause things to shift, and in turn those changes may affect the rankings of a website. In 2016, Moz tracked 10 algorithm updates from Google alone.

It is the SEO company’s job to react to these changes. A good SEO professional will stay aware of trends, remain educated about what the new rules are, and react by making adjustments to the SEO strategy. We can’t control the changes that Google decides to make, but we can react with more quality work that satisfies the new requirements.

Ranking numbers or placement on search engine pages may fluctuate over time. If you react accordingly and always follow the rules, you will still succeed, but results are not always consistent.

 

You Have to Woo the Search Engine Before You Can Date It.

Woo the Search Engine

As much as everyone would love to be on the first page of search results immediately, that is not going to happen. Search engines won’t just fall in love with your website at first sight; you have to court them gradually.

If you try to build thousands of links in a short amount of time, it will likely be seen as suspicious “spam-like” activity. Therefore, a good SEO strategy includes gradual submission and management of links throughout many months.

To put it simply, the SEO process takes time. In fact, it is an investment of time and quality content delivery that should be managed for months or years. Many sites will not see significant results until 6 to 12 months, depending on their competition and goals.

There can only be one.

trophy winner first place position

Competitors are out there. When I say “competitors” I am not just referring to company’s that sell the same product; a competitor in search is any website competing for the same audience’s attention. There may be complimenting services or even educational and government websites trying to get noticed for the same keywords you are targeting.

Your marketing team should make it’s best effort to write quality content, manage quality links, optimize code in the website, and participate in social media. But, despite every effort, it is still possible for a higher authority website to out-perform you. While it certainly is not impossible for a local small business website to compete with a national university’s website, it will certainly be a challenge. You can’t exactly shove 2 websites into first place, so the less authority website is going to rank lower.

Promises of guaranteed first place ranking are probably false guarantees. As Google has warned, “Beware of SEOs that claim to guarantee rankings…”

Traffic varies in different business climates.

Traffic numbers can change from other factors besides search engine marketing efforts. In fact, many businesses have busy seasons when customers are simply more interested in their services, and therefore more people are searching for the keywords related to that business. If a resort business only has activity during spring and summer months, and closes for the winter, they probably have a dramatic decline in traffic to the website in those winter months. While a few customers may visit the site to pre-book for next year, it is understandable that traffic analytics are going to show a large drop in numbers.

It would be unfair to complain that the search engine marketing “isn’t working” in this situation. It’s important to continue optimizing the website even during less busy times, so you maintain rankings and build up quality content and strategies for the future. Afterall, SEO takes time. If you continue to put in diligent effort, it will really pay off when it counts. Good SEO companies know this, and they put in the appropriate effort continuously, even when outside factors slow things down.

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