Michael and John sat down last week and took a turn in the "Friday Afternoon Confessional" booth at 51Blocks with a response to "why no guaranteed SEO results". Not a traditional "confessional booth" of course, it's more accurate to say the "confessional half of Chad's office." Since he's in Thailand for the next 3 weeks we decided to make use of the empty space for our new video series. We won't tell him we moved him out while he was gone if you don't tell him we did that. But I've digressed...so let me reset and regain my focus.
Firstly, you should know that the Friday Afternoon Confessionals are a new weekly video series presented by the talented team of search engine marketing experts at 51Blocks. Every Friday afternoon throughout 2016, an assortment of 51Blocks' employees will gather and hash out a topic of interest in the world of Search Engine Marketing.
We promise to be as transparent in our group conversations as we are in our campaign reporting - no censoring will be tolerated. This unfiltered, unrehearsed, unpredictable process encourages each of us to "tell it like we see it" and will result in some uncomfortable truths that you're unlikely to hear revealed by any other team of search engine marketers.
Take our most recent topic as an example of how we welcome the opportunity to confront uncomfortable truths:
Why SEO results aren't guaranteed in a 51Blocks Search Engine Marketing campaign.
Let's face it, we get a version of this inquiry from anybody even remotely considering hiring our firm so we thought we'd let John & Michael (and their 30+ years of experience in the industry) tackle this one head-on. Check out the video below and hear why top firms in the SEO industry no longer guarantee results.
Even if an SEM firm guarantees they will make a specific outcome occur, the result may not be what you originally envisioned. Just because an SEO agency says they're 100% sure they can achieve a precise outcome, that doesn't mean they're going to deliver that result. Even if they do provide the outcome you seek, if they used blackhat techniques (those that conflict with Google's Terms of Service) to achieve that outcome, the elation of the short term win will be nothing compared to the devastation you'll experience cleaning up the wreckage "quick win strategies" leave behind.
Recovery from these scenarios involves completely resetting your online presence, including a fresh start on a new domain and, in the worst case scenarios, an entirely new branding identity. You see, no matter what, Google will catch on to the black hat activity, and when they do, you'll need to create as much distance as possible between the old company's reputation and the new one you must now start over with.
We wish this was a successful way to avoid Google penalties, we really do. The entire 51Blocks team promises that this is not a hyperbolic scare strategy of any kind. Unfortunately, it's the "expected downside" that always manifests eventually when quick win techniques are applied in today's online marketing world.
51Blocks gets calls from clients in these predicaments several times each month, and most of the time they were partnering with an "SEO Expert" at the time their site plunged. Don't believe us? That's okay. We'll still be here when you need help unwinding the calamity set in motion by the previous firm's "guarantees." And we won't even say "we told you so."
We've done what we can to warn you, though we know many of you won't heed our good advice. For this reason, we encourage everybody visiting our site to take the time to review previous episodes of 51Blocks' Friday Afternoon Confessionals on our YouTube channel. Learn what you should be wary of in our industry. Hear us share insider tips and techniques that are crucial to understand if you're going to effectively grow your presence online in 2016 and beyond.
You can also find revealing insider strategies in our audio series: "Overheard at 51Blocks." Our last group discussion about the new paradigm Google Local and Google My Business rolled out a few weeks ago is a can't miss episode for any business owner with local clients. 10 very well spent minutes are just a mouse-click away!
If you have an idea for a topic that you'd like to see the group discuss in the world of Search Engine Marketing Services, leave your suggestion in the comments below or on the 51 Blocks YouTube pages and we'll make sure to address your request in one of our upcoming episodes.
Remember, we want to see you achieve success and not get taken advantage of because you trusted the wrong firm. It kills us whenever that happens so we're doing everything we know how to help you avoid it.
Michael: So Friday afternoon professionals, I'm Michael Borgelt.
John: I'm John, I'll be John Copeland today.
Michael: So first question, I just got off a sales phone call actually and was talking about guarantee of SEO rankings.
John: Why don't we guarantee rankings? Why no guaranteed SEO results?
Michael: Well, the first thing I always say is that I don't own Google and if I owned Google I probably wouldn't be talking to the person on the other end of the phone, no offense to those people. But most of the reason is because...
John: Shall I help you out here? I'd say that the reason we can't guarantee results is because given 20 websites trying to achieve the same goal and us applying a similar criteria and task strategy across all 20, one of them isn't going to work guaranteed. Maybe two or three, but one for sure will have trouble and it won't be something that we were unaware of or should have discovered. It'll be something quirky about its history or composition. There's just ways that Google's interpretation of web assets varies enough that if we put a guarantee on there for results to come in we know that sooner or later that guarantee is not going to stand.
Michael: Exactly, I think that's part of the levers that Google's playing with and moving around. Those rankings can bounce around from first to third to the third page and then back if you're trying to manipulate certain aspects of the ranking algorithm. Otherwise, if I think you're just focusing on the quality steps that we've created or delivered for our clients, we usually see those rankings move in the right direction. Now we wouldn't be a business if we didn't create rankings or create traffic for people, but we're not going to sit here and guarantee rankings. Those days are gone. That's 2008, 2009. We could go into Google Maps and change a category and all of a sudden within 15 minutes your ranking for a criminal lawyer in a certain city was amazing back then. It was super fun; it was crazy. Now it's just a different challenge and different fun with trying to figure out which elements we need to change to get in front of Google's good graces, so to speak.
John: Yeah, I think the point that oversees all of this is that Google constantly changes. Overnight they change. Over a week they change. Over a month they change. Hummingbird, panda, penguin, you name an update. Things are in flux at all times.
Michael: Yup, I think there's 32, 35 different changes in 2015, major changes.
John: That's announced changes. Who knows what they're up to behind the scenes, so if we come at you with a strategy today that's working, and you're still with us three months from now, we may have to reinvent your strategy entirely and take advantage, as you said, of the levers that are currently available for website optimization. Inside of all of that, I would take the bet that 19 out of 20 clients get positive results, but I would not take the bet that 20 out of 20 do, because I know that one, for whatever reason, will sit by the wayside and does not get a benefit from our work. It just can't be overcome. Thus no guaranteed SEO results, it'd be an irresponsible business model.
Michael: I'm very confident to sit and talk to any client and say that 98 to 99% of our clients move in the right direction. With the work that we do, whether that be keyword movement or traffic movement, I think it's important to measure both because some people will guarantee keywords, but those are the wrong keywords to guarantee. They don't have any traffic. They don't produce quality traffic to your site, but if you're able to show 25% month over month keyword growth on quality keywords, I think you're definitely doing a great job in our space.
John: When we bring a client on, I do guarantee this: we provide the education, we provide the transparency and the expertise that you're looking for and we'll be a consultant in every capacity of that word to bring you into a space where you can see what website presence means today and how to judge that. That I do guarantee.
Michael: Yeah, I think our transparency is huge when offsetting "no guaranteed SEO results." We screenshot the beginning of the month work, the end of the month work, show the work that hopefully got all those items completed, and that transparency really helps with people feeling like they're getting the value along with the positive movement that we're able to usually show in the 99% of those clients that we work on.
John: And so if you have questions about any of this, please don't sit there and just wonder what might be. Give us a call. We will talk to you about anything in search engine marketing at all, anytime. We're very available, and we like to see people succeed and not mire in worthless and unnecessary campaign costs. Anyway, that's our thought about why we don't guarantee results and I'm John.
Michael: I'm Michael, and have a good day.