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As part of our SEOToolSet Certification from Bruce Clay Inc., we abide by an SEO Code of Ethics and SEO Code of Conduct. This code prohibits us from offering a guarantee:

“No SEO practitioner will misrepresent their own abilities, education, training, standards of performance, certifications, trade group affiliations, technical inventory, or experiences to others. This includes quantifiable statements related to project timetables, performance history, company resources (staff, equipment, and proprietary products), and client lists. Guarantees will be restricted to items over which the SEO practitioner has significant and reasonable control.”

Since we do not have significant and reasonable control over rankings (there are a number of factors that are controlled exclusively by search engines that change on a regular basis beyond our control) we do not offer a guarantee. While we have a fairly good idea of the factors that affect search rankings and can perform work to help improve these factors, but we can not guarantee improved rankings (although our our efforts improve the changes of ranking improvement).

Yes, we do admit that guarantees can be a good thing but within the SEO Industry they are often misleading. We find that most SEO guarantees are simply empty promises with unenforceable sales gimmicks.

One of the most common guarantees is to achieve #1 Rankings. But considering that there are thousands of search engines out there to achieve these top rankings (there are over 2500 at last count) it is quite easy to get a first place ranking on at least one of them.But the guarantee may not be fulfilled through getting top rankings in Google or Bing – the most popular search engines that perform nearly 91% of all searches.

Also consider the competitiveness of the search term they guarantee rankings on. A very uncompetitive long tail phrase that rarely gets searched for will be extremely easy to get a top ranking for but may provide you with little or no value. A more competitive phrase that is searched on more often, is much more valuable and harder to achieve. But as long as some of the less competitive phrases get top rankings, the guarantee appears to be achieved – even though you experience no tangible benefit!

If in the end you do decide to use a provider who promises a guarantee be sure to have your lawyer read over the contract very carefully.

Carissa Krause

Carissa Krause is currently a marketing and project specialist at 1st on the List. Over the years she has worked with clients on a wide range of projects that include areas like local SEO, backlink profile review, content development, social media, and more. Whatever the project may be Carissa focuses on achieving greater efficiencies and putting plans into action.