If an SEO Company Guarantees Front-Page Results, Run to the Hills

Freeimages.com: Ben Earwicker, Garrison Photography, Boise, ID

Ever see those guys spinning colorful signs at intersections? Billboard ads for personal injury attorneys? Or those annoying fliers stuck underneath your windshield wipers? They’re all tactics designed to do one thing: drive more traffic toward a business. Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the 21st-Century version of those aforementioned advertising techniques. By allowing others to find you on popular search engines such as Google, Bing, and DuckDuckGo, you’re broadening the potential customer base of your business.

Blogs such as the one you’re reading right now, online public local business listings, improvements to website page speed, targeted keywords, and proper link structure are all utilized to make businesses more visible on the Web. SEO companies abound with stratospheric promises of turning that little mom-and-pop corner cupcake shop into the next Krispy Kreme franchise, but prospective customers should be wary of any service that guarantees the Moon when they might be saying the same thing to a dozen other people. While a solid SEO strategy is an integral part of any enterprise and will improve your conversion rate over time, SEO can never guarantee with absolute certainty a coveted spot on the front page of almighty Google’s search results.

Although the Internet has been around in its current form for the better part of 20 years, not everyone is comfortable navigating the ins and outs of maintaining a website and all the other nuances that come with it. Hiring the services of a company that maintains your digital presence for you can give you peace of mind, so long as there aren’t any miscommunications between the company’s abilities and your own expectations. Unfortunately, many purported SEO companies are either looking to make a quick buck or in way over their heads.

Make no mistake about it, there are SEO firms out there with premium service reflected in their premium fees. But a high price tag doesn’t necessarily mean high-quality execution. Monthly retainer fees can be especially concerning, as you might be forking over upwards of a thousand dollars only for someone to make periodic posts to your social media accounts. Shelling out a rent payment for something that you could easily do yourself doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense. What’s worse, some companies might promise you one thing only to turn around and charge you extra for the service you really wanted from the get-go. That’s the unfortunate part about SEO; since it’s not an exact science, the whole field is rife with shady practices and bait-and-switch tactics.

In spite of these drawbacks, sometimes it does make sense to employ the services of search engine optimizers for the very same reasons that occasionally give the field a bad name. As I said before, it’s not an exact science, and it takes considerable time for even solid SEO tactics to work to one’s advantage. With so many other things you have to do as a business owner, you may not have time to ensure that your website is up to date and in working order all of the time. Services of SEO professionals can take some of that extra burden away from you so you can devote your precious time to other things. Online retailers in particular are better suited for hiring SEO companies as opposed to websites that merely advertise a service or brick-and-mortar business. In the latter cases, there are things when it comes to SEO that you can often take care of by yourself.

Maintaining blog posts to keep your site content current and periodically posting to your social media accounts are relatively simple straightforward tasks. While you may employ copywriters to handle the content of those posts for you, posting the content once it’s finished can be accomplished in less than a few minutes, without expensive SEO firms sending you a bill for merely clicking a button.

One thing I can never stress enough for any business with an online presence is the importance of staying on top of website updates. Many small businesses are under the assumption that they can just create a web page once and leave it alone forever. This is of course terrible in the long run for a variety of reasons, including security vulnerabilities, link rot, and stale content pages that can hurt SEO performance. With site-building platforms such as WordPress and Joomla, many of these tasks that were once cumbersome to deal with are now streamlined and more convenient for the user to handle themselves. Any SEO company worth its salt will also offer these services if you can’t dedicate enough of your time to keep your presence on the Internet fresh and current.

The key takeaway here is that if you choose to employ the services of an SEO firm, do your own due diligence and research first before signing on to something. So long as your business and the SEO service it chooses to hire are on the same page, there’s no reason why your earnings and customer base can’t go up from where they are now.