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Companies that "guarantee" google placing for a fee
are they scams? or can they really do it?

 3:55 pm on May 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

Recently my boss got all worked up about an email he received from a company that claimed to be a "market leading service that is specifically designed to drive traffic to your site". For a price, they guaranteed him that they would get us 25 first page listings for variations on our keywords etc.. etc.. etc..

Right.. so my boss got excited.. because currently our corporate site is not listed very favourably in search engines.. one of the main reasons is because it is an antiquated site and uses the most obscure javascript-generated frameset I've ever seen.. (no.. I didn't build it.. I inherited it when i took the job - I built it's replacement, but it sits on the approval server....)

Anyways.. my question is.. do any of these services EVER really work? I'm inclined to say it's a big scam. I took a look a their email - the title and text was full of typos and grammatical errors. When I went to their website I couldn't help but notice that it was SEOd - (no meta tags, or alt tags, at all for instance) and, most importantly, they're not listed in google at all (not that I could find.).. so..

what are group opinions on this - anybody have first-hand experience with this or similar companies?





 9:58 pm on May 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

My team always give this guarantee, and i work on a don't pay until you have the results basis.

I quote based on the keywords for which the rankings is sought and the competition around for them.

We don't take on requests for no.1 rankings for words like"google" of course.

I've seen other tht give the same gurantee but want the money in advance.

WHo has the greater incentive to achieve a result?


 10:29 pm on May 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

I seem to recall that that GoogleGuy once said that they (Google) regularly get emails of this sort. I think that says it all.



 10:38 pm on May 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

here's the page:


"Dear google.com,
I visited your website and noticed that you are not listed in most of the major search engines and directories..."


 10:46 pm on May 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

For a price, they guaranteed him that they would get us 25 first page listings for variations on our keywords

I think this is the key. Find out what they mean by "variations".

Are they talking about synonyms, mispellings, keyphrases? Do you get to decide on the "variations" or do they get to come up with them?

If your keyword is "tire", the variations that you might be happy ranking for would be things like:

michelin tires
truck tires

but would you be quite as happy if you rank well for:

bald tire
tire recall
tire me out
no tire basura


 10:59 pm on May 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

Stratus42, my suggestion to your boss is not to believe everything that drops in his e-mail folder, particularly: "Guaranteed top placement in all major search engines - only $49!"

Unfortunately, its not just the cheap SEO 'experts' that you need to watch out for. There are also many that charge thousands of dollars for nonsensical keywords that will provide no benefit to the client.

Often, they will target some arcane four-word phrases and the client sees it at the top and thinks he's with a winner. After wasting thousands of dollars, the client then realizes that being #1 for 'pink deep sea widgets' isn't making him/her any money.

What many prospective SEO clients don't seem to understand, is determining the good from the bad is much easier to confirm than in most other professions.

Prequalify the SEO 'Expert'

Simply ask the 'SEO Expert' for a half dozen or so of their SEO clients in competitive search areas.

While these will probably be their best clients, at least you will see that they are capable of success, and a general methodology used to get to the top.

If you have the domains, in 30 minutes you can determine what 'should' be the keywords for the respective sites, then do a Google-100 search to see where (or if) each of the companys are listed in the SERPs.

For each domain, check the ranking and total results, index and subpage PR, backlinks from the index (follow them through to see if anything looks edgy), and check to see if the most basic onpage factors have been incorporated (i.e. Title, H1, content keyword diversity, file naming convention, etc.), and if any keywords are hidden [using Ctrl-A] or if they are stuffing image maps.

The total results for each search are particularly important. If you are in a competitive field, and the SEO provides you with a list where the keyword results are a few hundred thousand or less - and you need a keyword phrase in the millions - then he/she probably can't help you (Many here at WW can routinely get a non-competitive keyword phrase to the top in a few weeks, days - or less, with very little effort).

The SEO selection process comes down to finding a knowledgeable, experienced person that can look at your site, then determine what it will take to bring it to the top. Most will tell you immediately whether there will be a problem - since most don't want to waste their time on an SEO project that is predestined to fail due to poor web design, edgy target market, or other factors outside their control.

Most good SEO professionals will also provide recommendations outside the SEO field, from balanced marketing and advertising, to intuitive navigation changes necessary to improve the overall performance of the site.

I would recommend to your boss that he forgets the e-mail offer and have you place a post in WW's Commercial Exchange, outlining what you are looking for - and most importantly - what you expect.



 12:03 am on May 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

People ask me all the time how their website can improve its ranking for some 2 or 3 word phrase. Half the time when I do an quick glance at the website, that phrase doesn't even exist anywhere on the page.

Most phrases really aren't too competitive and basic SEO will get you first page listings.

If for political reasons your boss needs to hear common sense from some "consultant" rather than internally, it might be worth a few hundred bucks.


 3:47 am on May 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

I think our process for promoting a site has about 30+ steps. One is researching the back links of sites that rank high for your desired terms. That step alone usually takes over a dozen hours. I think you get what you pay for.

I'm continually amazed that anyone even reads junk email, but my clients send me this junk all the time...with questions like "should we be doing this?

If you want a good seo firm, I agree with the others. Ask for references and a fairly a detailed explanation of what they are going to do. Anyone who can't supply these just hurts the rest of us.


 12:30 pm on May 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

With hundreds of seo firms coming up every month it has become important that the poor client should get some guarantee, some assurance except the usual " we will do our best".I also give guarantee to my clients after checking their keywords because i feel that if after paying a professional for this for many months the site is still ranking low then either the client has chosen the wrong person or they have not worked hard. This is simple.


 12:47 pm on May 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

I think hiring an SEO can be a great thing for a company, but my only word of advice to anyone thinking of doing so is to NEVER hire someone who calls you unless they can give you a whole lot of people to talk to about their services. Even then, I'd say go with someone recommended to you.

The reason being that if you don't even know enough to that you don't know, you are much better off going by recommendation. Ask someone knowledgeable here, or if you know someone who has had SEO work done for them, find out who they used.

You don't want someone who can garuntee anything. A good SEO will work with your site to improve it overall, not for the 25 variations of your keyword. A good SEO will also tell you that SE are fickle things and you need to constantly tweak to remain on top. Any SEO that can garuntee anything is most likly lying or using under-handed techniques (which can get you banned and possibly damage your brand).

And, BTW, I can come up with 25 variations of any keyword, rank 1-10 for them and see only about 20 clicks for a year from them, so what good was the garuntee?


 8:00 pm on May 11, 2004 (gmt 0)


This thread makes me laugh. "If I had a dollar" etc..

We get sent these emails from our customers all the time as well. It is only through a concerted effort on our part (all web marketing companies) to educate the masses that this sort of practice will stop.

For our part we guarantee page one Google listings for 3 phrases the client chooses (from a researched list), a min of 50% more visitors, increase in sales leads all within 90 days. Jeez - if they don't like my tone of voice or the colour of my tie they can get a full refund after 90-days. We can't say fairer than that and there's not really anything else we can do to convince them we know what we're talking about.

But saying all that - we still see people every day getting taken in by the "Top of 100,000 search engines for $99" brigade..

It will all settle in time, I have no doubt.. but it makes our sales job all that much harder but hey - none of us is working down a mine or in a steek mill are we?!

Mike Cheney

p.s. As my current favourite sales guru Jeff Gitomer says;

"You can't be a winner if you're a whiner, wiener"

Pure class..


 10:09 am on May 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

thanks folks..

Yeah.. here's the thing.. this company that promised the search engine promotion is just silly - typos in the email, and their site has lousey Search Engine Ops..

The very funny thing is.. my boss hired me as a web designer over 3 years ago.. over a year and a half ago I identified over a dozen key issues with our current site .. INCLUDING the fact that it is impossible for search engine spiders to crawl it.

Once ever 6 months or so, he picks up one of the things I included in my report of 1.5 years past and pretends he's just discovered an issue with our website and gets all riled up about it.

This time it was SEO - spurred on by his spam mail "guaranteeing" top placement! for 150/month. Anyways. I did the research.. and gave him a 4 page document on all the things we could do to increase our PR... including: remove the frameset, make our top page NOT be just a big flash thing, include a link to a comprehensive site map from each page, include our key words in headings, anchor text, and copy.. etc.. etc..

What do I get back from him?.. "I talked with the company that sent me that email - he said we need 'meta tags' .. " uh huh.. no sh!t sherlock....

arrrrggh! how annoying is this. at any rate.. if ALL this promotion company recommended to him to increase the pr of our site was 'meta tags'.. then they are OBVIOUSLY a lousey company - because any fool could see we already have them, but have 100 other issues affecting our PR on SEs..



 12:07 pm on May 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

Change your Boss...
The acid test for any of these "services" is ...

go to their own start page ...

check the source code and the metas ...

choose any three ( "two word" keywords )..from their own metaword descriptions ..( yes we know that google doesn't give a rats ass about keywords but bear with me) ....presumably "they" would like to be found in page one , position one ..for these words ...OK

now "google" for these two word "keywords"....

the site in question is where?

Any fool can SEO for 3 or more words to arrive on page one of google ....


 5:37 pm on May 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

Yes you are right. If you can not get the top ranking for your own site then how can you assure others?


 10:23 pm on May 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

Yes you are right. If you can not get the top ranking for your own site then how can you assure others?

Depends on the way you want to make business. Here are people around that don't even have a real homepage but are that genius that clients pay them 5k/day. Do you think they don't know about SEO?


 10:42 pm on May 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

When talking to a potential client first thing I always say is we don't "guarantee" anything.

When they've recovered from the shock & asked why, I reply with "how can I guarantee something over which noone other than G has any control"?

You may think you can "guarantee" rankings. You can't. You can "do your best" & thats often good enough to get top spots but "guarantee"?

Its misleading and false advertising. I'm not in the business of ripping people off. I give them all the gory facts good & bad to the best of my knowledge and if they're happy with the results, they pay. If not, they don't. (They normally do!)

You have to keep it win win.


 10:53 pm on May 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

Good rule of thumb:

Any commercial offer you get via unsolicited email, delete.

If you were actually interested in the topic, go find it yourself online instead of rewarding people for spamming you.


 11:17 pm on May 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

Where I live, half the town got sucked into a pyramid scheme, a few made a bucketload, the rest were toasted.

Commen sense tells us if it smells like poo, looks like poo, its probably not choclate custard but greed or enthusiasm can make us put the spoon in and make it taste fine regardless of what is presented to us.

I don't agree on the SEO must ahve a top ranked site. Can't be in the toilet mind you, but who pays you for marketing your own site?

Co. I work for analyses the words most likely to help our clients and provide a report on what these words are. We then promises to attain a minium top10, aim top 5 or better ranking on those terms. Price depends on the words requested. Single words not targeted, must be two words

Client pays a 20% deposit, balance on results being achieved.


 10:23 am on May 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hi again,

>"You may think you can "guarantee" rankings. You can't. You can "do your best" & thats often good enough to get top spots but "guarantee"?

Its misleading and false advertising."

I disagree. Our guarantee is simple. If we don't live up to it, they get their money back in full. How is that false advertising?

If they don't like the colour of my tie after 90 days, they get their money back in full.

We could get them 50% more visitors, a million pounds in sales on top positions in Google but if they don't like the sound of my voice on the phone I will give them their money back in full after 90 days.

They know all this up front so I don't see it as false advertising. They really cannot lose. Not once have I been asked for a refund.

We don't want to work with unhappy customers - if they are ever unhappy they can leave and take all their money with them. If they're happy then so am I and everybody wins.

Not false advertising - just being honest and up front.

Mike Cheney


 10:55 am on May 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

Well Lana,

Most of the member out here are SEO's. This is nothing new. Getting your site in top on Google is very possible. However the credentials of the person who's contacted you can only be judged from the keywords he's proposed you to get in top for. The techniqes they'd employ and the time they'll take.

Getting SEO service to boost your rankings is the best thing you can do to your business provided you get the right SEO.

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