It is quite common in Malaysia for an SEO company to try and bait you by giving ranking guarantees, though, they can be quite confusing. For example:
“We guarantee 6 of your 20 chosen keywords will rank on page one of the search results.”
But the catch is:
1) We have the final say on the keywords.
2) If 1 keyword ranks on Google, Yahoo and Bing, it’s counted as 3 successful keywords.
Logically, nobody should ethically provide you ranking guarantees simply because they do not own the search engines nor control how the results are displayed.
Here’s what Google has to say about it:
“Beware of SEOs that claim to guarantee rankings…” [source]
Some History on Panda and Penguin
When Google rolled out their Panda and Penguin algorithm updates, beginning 2011, many local websites were hit. Instead of refunding the fees, what these SEO companies did were to offer the clients free Google AdWords campaign management in lieu, i.e. they NEVER got their money back but ended up spending more.
Some of these companies came to us but we declined the jobs, because they already have bad SEO history (e.g. spammy backlinks) which CANNOT be reversed. Sure, you can attempt to use the disavow tool or ask Google for a manual review. But anyone who has done that will realize that you will achieve little to no success.
Here are what you should consider when dealing with SEO guarantees:
a) Did you know that multiple studies have shown that the top 5 search results receive 75% of the total clickthroughs? This means that a simple first page ranking is not good enough – you should aim for at least the top 5 rankings.
b) In SEO/SEM, the keywords matter …a lot! In providing guarantees, the SEO company may target EASY but LOW VOLUME keywords, to ensure they are able to deliver that guarantee. Hence, you may rank on page one but it will be for low volume (sometimes zero traffic) keywords.
c) The measure of success in SEO should not only be in the rankings but also the increase in organic traffic, new visitors, etc. You may purchase a 10, 20 or 30-keyword SEO plan but if done correctly, your website will rank well for many long-tail keywords. To give you some perspective, a client who purchased a 30-keyword plan from us – their organic visitors came in through more than 8,000 different keywords!
So the next time a Malaysian SEO company tries to persuade you with ranking guarantees, run! But if you must have guarantees, ensure that:
1) You get to choose the keywords.
2) The guarantee should be for top 5 rankings and not just “page one”.
3) It only counts on Google – which receives over 90% of search engine searches in Malaysia.