When negotiating with a search engine optimization professional, is a search engine positioning guarantee reasonable?
This topic of discussion was much more common in recent years but as many businesses are more involved with the inbound marketing or search engine positioning process and are deeper into this process, they seem to understand the relative validity of a search ranking guarantee. Especially an Organic search engine positioning guarantee.
I was asked by a potential new alliance partner today about guaranteed search engine positioning from an SEO (organic) or pay per click perspective. This is a topic of discussion that I have had more often 12 to 24 months ago. As SEO was the primary method of entry into the world of inbound marketing, many businesses getting involved with inbound marketing presented this question but has now become less frequent. I think that many businesses and many organizations that are getting involved with inbound marketing understand a little bit more about the nature of search engine optimization both from an organic stand point and a sponsored ad stand point, here is how I answered this question about a guarantee in the world of SEO.
A guarantee in the world sponsored ad marketing is reasonable. I believe that there can be a guarantee simply because you're purchasing position (not in all cases) but in most cases a certain paid sponsored listing in a specific targeted search engine location. So I believe this can be guaranteed in one form or another.
Offering a guarantee for an organic search engine position as a rule, is much more dangerous from an inbound marketing professional's standpoint. The reasons are as follows:
- Each computer/IP address will get varying search engine positioning. For example if we're discussing an air conditioning company in a specific geographic region I can type in a given keyword and get x-results on the search engine results page while another individual, even in the same location and certainly other geographic locations will get a different ranking position. This is because the search engine technologies and algorithms are changing. They are becoming more personal and geo focused based on past personal searches.
- Another determining factor that would make a professional avoid making a guarantee is the actual real estate available. The search engine results page is becoming more limited as search engines like Google are including blog results and soon-to-be social media results on the SEPR or search engine results page. This decreases the space available for straight SEO or search engine optimization programs.
With these reasons in mind a wise and experienced Internet marketing professional would not make any guaranteed search engine positioning statements. It's more a matter of establishing expectations on a case-by-case basis. Each business is different and each business has a different target market. In some cases the target market is local with limited competition whereas others are national or even global in nature. These factors must be taken into consideration when discussing expectations.
To add to this thought process, I would advise that any search engine optimization strategy that maybe recommended by and inbound marketing professional doesn't guarantee a certain search engine position through organic search. This, in my mind should raise a red flag. The actual process of search engine optimization on any given website is as follows and is not as secretive in nature as it used to be.
- Each page can be optimized for 1 to 3 keywords.
- The relative components on a given web page need to reflect these one to three keywords.
- The content on the actual page needs to also reflect the other elements like page titles, page description, and all other related HTML code tags.
Here is a new checklist that you can use to be sure each of your web pages is at least "search engine friendly".