This morning I had another of those junk emails come through from an SEO company offering to ‘guarantee’ my website being at the top of Google’s search results, for a mere $3,000!
I imagine that there must be some people who really believe this is possible, and even that it represents good value for money, but that certainly isn’t me.
However, I was intrigued by the sheer gall of a company offering such a guarantee in exchange for such a huge sum of money, and so I looked into what it was they were offering. Unsurprisingly, they recommended sticking over 200 keywords into meta tags.
This is clearly an SEO company stuck in the early 2000′s, since Google began to largely ignore keyword cramming in meta tags years ago. Google aren’t stupid, and quickly realised that people were sticking dozens of keywords into meta tags, regardless of the relevance, originality or usefulness of the actual website content. Today, fortunately, Google uses far more subtle and effective techniques to analyse the content of websites. It certainly doesn’t ignore meta tags – in fact, they’re very useful for identifying rogue websites which are trying to fool the search engines.
In fact, cramming 200 keywords into the meta tags, particularly if the keywords aren’t really relevant, is more likely to find Google demoting your site rather than being fooled into thinking that it is relevant and valuable.
There is only one way to guarantee that your website is listed at the very top of Google’s search results – pay them more than anyone else is for the privelege of a sponsored result at the top. The fact that this could cost you hundreds of dollars a month, or even thousands, may be valuable for you, but it’s an expensive alternative to good solid content and value.
Then I began to wonder just how effective this company has been at SEO. How, for example, did its own site rank? Using a keyword analyzer I tried to find their website anywhere within the first 1000 results. I tried as many different combinations of keywords relating to SEO as I could, and unsurprisingly, their website didn’t rank anywhere in the first ten pages.
In fact, even using their own company name or slogan, their site still didn’t appear in the top ten pages, or 1000 results, meaning that as far as SEO is concerned, they seem pretty incapable at even promoting their own site.
The fact that they need to resort to spamming people in order to try to promote their business says something I feel. I certainly wouldn’t want my website listed on spam lists, and wouldn’t recommend this as a viable alternative to getting your site listed highly on Google.
I am also very concerned when I see websites and companies offering a guarantee. Unless you’re going to pay Google a very great deal of money, there really is no way at all that you can guarantee top positioning. There are certainly plenty of things that you can do to encourage it, and make a high ranking more likely, but there’s certainly no way that anyone can ever make this a guarantee.
For example, if 11 websites all apply for page 1 guaranteed listings, and they’re all selling left handed corkscrews, it stands to reason that, even at best, only ten of them will make it. There are just so many different semantic keywords that can be used for such an item.
Naturally, the more specialized your niche market, the more likely it is that you’ll be at the top, but if you’re in a competitive market such as SEO, insurance, finance and so on, then the chances are high that you’ll find it difficult, or impossible, to achieve top ranking. So, be very cautious when coming across such companies that seem unable to promote their own website effectively, whilst offering expensive guarantees that are impossible to support.