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This 31 message thread spans 2 pages: 31 ( [1] 2 > >     
SEO guarantees

 5:15 pm on Feb 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

Okay, here's a topic that's not talked about much and was wondering if anyone has an opinions.

SEO Guarantee! I have noticed that more and more SEO companies are moving towards the directions of a guarantee. Its interesting to see the wording with some of these guarantee packages too!

But, if you were to offer a SEO guarantee, what would you offer? How many kw, what placements, on which se's? How much??

In the past no one really offered any guaranteed SEO services, but I feel this will be the next direction in SEO.

What do you think?



 6:39 pm on Feb 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

I don't know the normal format for offering guarantees as we do not offer them. I do agree with you that more and more companies are offering them, but the guidelines to their offerings are often quite vague, or easily manipulated.

SEO is a business that many potential clients or business are quite skeptical about, especially because it takes a bit of time for them to see results. The guarantee puts some of that anxiety at ease.


 7:43 pm on Feb 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

It will become a clearer gurantee as pay for play increases. heck i can gurantee top position in google (as long as i can pay for the sponsorship link...):)


 7:54 pm on Feb 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

I don't use a blanket guarantee. I have to know a LOT about the clients current positioning, competitiveness, keyword set, and all previous efforts <including bannings,spammings etc, from "bad" SEOs> That research would technically not be billable in order to formulate a guarantee.

What I DO guarantee, is my best effort, within the resources available, and that I will not work for their competitors, while under contract.

Every article I have read that tells how to buy SEO services says to stay away from those that offer guarantees, as SE's change at the drop of a hat, and we cannot possibly figure that into a guarantee.
We ARE professionals, and just like doctors, lawyers* or dentists, we cannot guarantee that we can save/fix the patient/tooth. We can however guarantee our efforts.

*Lawyers do occasionally go on contingency basis.. winning when you win... I call it equity sharing, and I LIKE that option!


 7:56 pm on Feb 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

We ARE professionals, and just like doctors, lawyers or dentists, we cannot guarantee that we can save/fix the patient/tooth. We can however guarantee our efforts.

Well put.


 7:56 pm on Feb 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

I tell people straight out approach I can not garentee they are @ the top of the engines unless they pay each individual search engine to advertise with them. However I do garentee they will have higher ranking, get more traffic and we try our best to get them @ the top. That does the sale for me. Being personal with the people, everyone is tired of get rich schemes esp. when they have paid someone else for search engine placement in the past and got nothing.


 8:47 pm on Feb 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

We explain that the purpose of the exercise is to get more traffic, and that can be achieved without necessarily getting a 'top ranking'.

We explain the relevance of chosing the correct keywords and making sure that your site has content enough to cover all those keywords.

We show them an example of one of our customers whose traffic increased by 5 fold despite the fact that his positions for his 'chosen' keywords did not improve significantly (he now gets found for many more keywords).

In the 'nicest possible way' we explain to the customer that we can put our energy into getting more traffic for him, or we can focus on one keyphrase because he wants a guarantee of a top ten ranking.

If it was crucial to a deal we could find a suitable risk sharing formula based on increased traffic, but so far we haven't had to.

On a personal level, 'money back' guarantees tend to scare me off more than attract me - too many scam artists offering bogus guarantees means it has lost its value for me.


 9:37 pm on Feb 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

In the immortal words of "Tommy Boy": "If you want me to take a dump in a box and mark it guaranteed I will; I've got the time" and "Why would somebody put a guarantee on a box? Because they know that all the sold you is a guaranteed piece of ****"


 9:47 pm on Feb 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

In other words, be careful who is writing the guarantees and make sure you know what is being guaranteed.


 9:52 pm on Feb 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

Geez DrCool, does'nt Shakespeare have anything you coulda used for a quote?

Mark Twain?


George Bernard Shaw?

brotherhood of LAN

 9:59 pm on Feb 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

Im redesigning a botch up of a site for a relation. I intend to give him some sort of guarantee.

As his site hardly gets any visitors just now, I guarantee him that at the most expensive, he will get a unique visitor for every penny he spends on utilisting the site

This seems a fair enough guarantee to being with.

If I were to create a 'fully comp' guarantee, I'd be realistic about my capabilities then add a little breathing space for myself :)


 10:21 pm on Feb 12, 2002 (gmt 0)

From my personal point of view, SEO is team work. I am some free lance player, doing my best. If the goaler is missing, the entire team will loose, and me too.

Most agencies offering garantees to all are giving censored in some way.


 1:41 pm on Feb 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

I think this is a great thread. As someone who is involved with an SEO firm, there is always questions from potential clients regarding "Guarantees", and even questions from the higher-ups about if we should give guarantees and how to get over this roadblock in the sales pitch.


 3:40 pm on Feb 13, 2002 (gmt 0)

Earlier thread [webmasterworld.com]

If you are going to make a guarantee, make sure its so weak as to be pointless ;)

Its a tactic that works in virtually every other field, why not SEO?


 5:04 am on Feb 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

We offer no guarantees, just best efforts. If a client has no directory listings we can be more reassuring that there will be a much more notable difference in traffic.

Most guarantees in SEO are BS, but they can make the sale.

>>As his site hardly gets any visitors just now, I guarantee him that at the most expensive, he will get a unique visitor for every penny he spends on utilisting the site<<

We've got lots of work for a service that can make that kind of guarantee and hit it.


 7:01 pm on Feb 15, 2002 (gmt 0)

> We offer no guarantees, just best efforts

If you're involved in Search Engine Optimisation, not Search Engine Placement with dodgy tactics, then you might want to consider giving references to some of the sites that you've been involved in, as well as some of the phrases that can be used to find them in major engines.

I understand that there are very good reasons why some of the people in these forums don't wish to do that, though. ;)



 7:07 pm on Feb 15, 2002 (gmt 0)


You are right, but it sounds like what you are referring to is references, not guarantees.


 8:21 pm on Feb 15, 2002 (gmt 0)

> You are right, but it sounds like what you are referring to is references, not guarantees.

Absolutely. "We guarantee nothing; we just stand by our record" seems to work quite well.

For people who have 'secret tricks', and/or aren't able to give refererences for whatever reason I think that guarantees are pretty sensible.



 8:30 pm on Feb 15, 2002 (gmt 0)

For people who have 'secret tricks', and/or aren't able to give refererences for whatever reason I think that guarantees are pretty sensible.

I think that this is part of the reason that many people look at SEO in a bad light, and why there is alot of hand-holding in the sales process.

Let's say an SEO firm has one of these "secret tricks", and because of this they opt to give their clients guarantees. For the sake of this example, let's assume that the guarantee is 10 top 5 listings for 6 months. Things go as planned and after the "secret trick" is implemented, the 10 top 5 listings are all acheived.

Now, what happens if in 4 or 5 months Google, or another search engine, catches on and prevents this "secret trick" from working again? The client is now getting screwed because they signed up and gave their money for 10 top 5 listings for 6 months......and the SEO firm is not going to want to give the money back, as they have put alot of time (4 or 5 months) into the site.

So, who wins with this type of thing? Noone, in my opinion.

This is only one situation, and I am sure that there are more, to defend my side or the opposing side.


 1:25 pm on Feb 16, 2002 (gmt 0)

agerhart, yes I agree. Also, there's nothing to stop them from using spamming techniques and getting good money from some proportion of clients, while the rest get banned for good.

As TallTroll points out, shady tactics work in SE marketing, just as in other other industries.



 9:11 pm on Apr 2, 2002 (gmt 0)

Wish I had been in on this thread when it was fresh.

People ask how to evaluate search engine optimization services all of the time.

There is a simple measuring stick. If a company has no references to previous or current clients enjoying placements under broad search terms that are either privately available to potential clients or publicly posted - then there had better be a good reason why the company can not produce examples of clients and keywords or phrases.

RESULTS that are readily verifiable are worth more than a truck-load of worthless guarantees.


 9:29 pm on Apr 2, 2002 (gmt 0)

Depending on the sales job, testimonials from Truly satisfied clients can be very misleading as well.It depends if customers are buying rankings, traffic, or traffic that actually does something once it gets to the site. Its pretty easy to convince a naieve client they are getting great results by showing them seemingly very impressive rank charts for terms that don't generate very little if any traffic.


 10:21 pm on Apr 2, 2002 (gmt 0)

The infamous guarantee. I've had several clients drag out one of those over-hyped email spamwiches and they always follow it with, "Will you offer the same guarantee? "

Fortunately, it is usually an email that guarantees top ten placement and a discussion ensues about just how they can make that incredible claim.

Unfortunately, many clients want the guarantee to be true and are willing to believe hype over fact. After explaining that a top ranking for a non-competitive or obscure phrase doesn't equate to more traffic, the discussion turns to how to gain traffic, and how to convert that traffic into sales.

I'm hesitant to use the terms SEO or search engine optimization anymore as many folks have already been bitten by unethical SEO firms and are hesitant to give it another go. Site Optimization and Marketing seems a better fit. SOM?

The bad information that is still circulating in regard to optimization tactics can hurt your credibility if you outright disagree with and aren't given the opportunity to explain. A recent client cut, pasted and emailed numerous old articles vaunting the now mythical power of meta tags after I mentioned that merely slapping some keywords in metas isn't "optimization." A number of these companies guaranteeing top ten placement are also equating meta tags with the holy grail of SEO. That and the double title tag. :)

I don't offer any guarantees other than, "the most current information and technologies will be used to present your site to the search engines and to the surfers."

Rather than offer a guarantee, I ask the prospective client to get three quotes and talk to the person or persons that will actually optimize the site to determine the marketing strategy and optimization techniques to be used. If they want a top ten guarantee, they can hire a company that offers one. :)



 7:07 pm on Apr 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

Seems to me that most companies offering guarantees are really scamming their clients - they'll go to Overture and buy the rankings, keeping the difference. It is not possible to state "We guarantee top ten placement" to a client before talking with them about their goals, and carefully reviewing their site. Still, most of the SEO companies that are paying for traffic are saying just that.

Another scam they do is to promise top ten rankings and then deliver top ten ranking on their buddy's search engine that no one has heard of...


 8:57 pm on Apr 14, 2002 (gmt 0)

We have made deals where the client pays for 2/3 of the final invoice upon completion of our web design work, then pays the final 1/3 when the site is winning first page results on search engines the client chooses for keywords we have agreed upon. That has worked well.


 3:03 am on Apr 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

My thoughts on guarantees:

We've been successfully using a pay-for-performance model for the last three years.

Simply put, you pay a modest setup fee. After that if you don't get ranked, you don't pay.

Assuming, for example, twelve key phrases, you pay a small fixed fee if you rank in the top 20 (or ten, dependnig upon the client) in at least six SEs/directories for at least five different phrases.

Then there are bonuses for #1, #2-5, #6-10, and #11-20.

Then place a cap on the highest amount you could possibly be expected to pay per month.

Clients like it. Basically, if we don't perform for them, they don't pay. That's as close to a guaranteer as I think any of us could offer.


 3:27 am on Apr 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

What really confuses me is all the articles and guidelines out on the net on professional sites make the statement that If an SEO firm guarantees placements, don't use them. It is what we know as a basic rule of thumb.

However - the average Marketing Manager of XYZ.com company doesn't know that and usually doesn't care. All they want to hear is that the service they are shelling bucks for is "guaranteed". Then they throw out the fodder that "Well - BunchaBull.com SEO services guarantees their placements for about $4000.00 less and they'll get us in 300,000 search engines."

It's hard to combat that kind of super-bunk that the little submission farms are shoveling out. Kind-of like watching that dot-com company on t.v. with everyone standing around watching the online orders go from 0 to 300,000 in a matter of seconds......boy what a disservice that commercial did to online marketing realities.


 8:27 pm on Apr 23, 2002 (gmt 0)

I think, from a customers point of view, we are missing something here - all the companys promising much (without any guarantee ;) ) and achieving nothing.

Just think about all the "submit-to-a-million-search-engines-for-$199" websites. How many of our clients, proud of their first web site, have paid someone like that? Almost all. And they have tried more, spend more money, moved on, maybe paid to get into Yahoo. And still, no visitors at all. Surprise.

Now, we know all this is a complete waste of money, the companys offering services like that know it - but most of the people donīt. They have to learn, and most of them loose quite a lot of money on the way. Not so hard to understand many people want a solid guarantee in this business, in my opinion. There are just too many "schwarze Schafe", as we say in Germany - the bad guys among the good ones.


 11:10 pm on Apr 25, 2002 (gmt 0)

Death and taxes, only two guarantees in life.

I'd like to know why SEO experts have to give a guarantee of say top 10 or top 5 when classified ads in newspapers, TV ads, Yellow Pages and any other form of advertising method don't have to guarantee anything other than you'll be in their publication.

My view is they don't have to because it's been proven in the past and over a period of time to stack up and produce a good enough ROI for marketing people to spend their budget.

It takes a brave small business owner to commit a chunk of their small pie to something that is so diverse in it's implementation, with such a wide range of possible outcomes (a lot of which will be truly mediocre and worse).

Many of these small business owners are enduring pain because someone who didn't understand what SEO was or how it would benefit their business (designer/creative)did them a massive dis-service. By the time they meet up with an SEO company they are on life support and the chances of a recovery are slim to none.

I don't know about any other SEO practitioners, but I must get calls from 4-6 designers a week who are out of work or freelance and have no work and want to know if I have any stuff for them to do...and even then they still try to price themselves at the rates that designers/programmers were getting 2 years ago in the boom. Come on, get real!

You rarely see a good SEO practitioner scratching around for work, which must say something about it.

I attended Search Engine Strategies in London a few days ago and judging by the number of companies I spoke to who were very disappointed with the traffic they were getting, I'd say it's the creatives who should be concerned.

Ostrich mentality will see a lot more people join that social security queue before long.


 11:14 pm on Apr 25, 2002 (gmt 0)

When it comes to picking up customers, i do offer the service of increasing exposure of their services and of the brand to the internet searchers.

Though not by any dubious means, take a look at the site and sort it out, make sure it has the correct strategy to compete, and let it go.

This 31 message thread spans 2 pages: 31 ( [1] 2 > >
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