22 replies
I recently read a comment that 80% of SEO is scam
The SEO snake oil has been spread around so thick, that some clients expect guarantees

How do you handle clients that want guarantee that .ist page of Google results will be achieved?

Is this practical?
#oil #seo #snake
  • Profile picture of the author James Vang
    When selling a service, offering a 100% money back guarantee isn't the way to go a lot of times. When a client asks for a refund not only do you lose a lot of money, but all the time you spent working on their project as well. In most cases that just isn't economically feasible for you.

    I protect my investment of time when I write for clients by stating that if they request a refund I'll give it to them but I'll also retain full rights to the product and sell it myself as PLR. I've never sold an SEO service before though, so I'm not sure how you could creatively protect your best interest while still offering a guarantee.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[6214424].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author cypherslock
    Nope. No guarantees simply because Google changes things quite a bit. It's not snake oil either. Not if you do it right. But doing it right takes some time and takes GOOD content. And a plan.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[6214436].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Robert Domino
      Originally Posted by cypherslock View Post

      Nope. No guarantees simply because Google changes things quite a bit. It's not snake oil either. Not if you do it right. But doing it right takes some time and takes GOOD content. And a plan.
      I think you nailed it. If you do it right.

      Yes, Google's constant changes is a problem. But still, imo, the main problem is people that sell SEO.

      How often do we hear that you can succeed without technical skills, you just have to outsource everything or use templates?

      The beauty (and the curse) of SEO is that you can call yourself an expert overnight. Check google results, pick up the phone and call everyone on pages 2-5, tell them you're Joe from XYZ marketing and you can help them get 8272 customers from Google.

      I strongly believe that most people who sell SEO services use flavor-of-the-moment tricks (pyramids, .edu profiles, various other schemes). Then Google penalizes those tricks and the business owners lose faith in SEO.

      Just because they've read a few articles about SEO doesn't make them SEO experts.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[6214858].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author payment proof
        Unfortunately there are some that offer paid SEO services, and those paid SEO services are a scam.

        If you're worried, just do the SEO yourself.
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[6215241].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author PaulintheSticks
        Originally Posted by Robert Domino View Post

        Just because they've read a few articles about SEO doesn't make them SEO experts.
        That is really interesting because I listened to a webinar a week ago or so with some guy named MichaelX who apparently is a bigshot in the IM world. His exact claim was "all you have to know is more than your client to be an expert." My instant reaction was "utter and complete BS". Maybe that's why he doesn't use his last name.
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7717099].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Rus Sells
    Any guarantee should be for the work performed not the results of which no one is in ultimate control over.

    Those who are selling with a guarantee of a certain performance or outcome aren't to smart and only heading for disaster and pissed off customers as soon as something changes.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[6214769].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author drees5761
    Never ever guarantee 1st place in Google, as long as you explain that to your client that you will do everything in your power to get as high as possible then that will stop any comebacks later. When someone puts an advertisement in a newspaper does that newspaper guarantee people are going to view it or contact the person who placed the ad?..of course not.
    Depends how you view the word expert, with things like SEO.
    You do tend to forget how much knowledge you have about SEO and related subjects until you speak to a business person and explain things like Google Places, keyword research etc. Most don't have a clue and are impressed when you show them what is available.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[6218237].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Leo Wadsworth
    One big problem is that today's SEO miracle can be tomorrow's Google penalty. It has happened over and over -- people come up with a technique that works great...for a while. Let the buyer beware, especially of shady link building schemes.

    Usually guaranteeing something out of your control is a huge red flag, but I don't mind someone guaranteeing first page... as long as they say something like "we'll keep working until you get to the first page for no extra charge." Matt LaClear is a good example of that.

    The most recent Google update (Penguin) has changed the world of SEO in a big way. Some folks have not gotten the message yet, so be careful. In particular, Google has cracked down on lots of cheap backlinking strategies and on pages that don't read well for humans.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[6219942].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author KrisOlin
    Originally Posted by dblgdee View Post

    I recently read a comment that 80% of SEO is scam
    The SEO snake oil has been spread around so thick, that some clients expect guarantees

    How do you handle clients that want guarantee that .ist page of Google results will be achieved?

    Is this practical?
    You should especially be wary of 'SEO professionals' who claim they will get you on page one on Google. The official view from Google is that no-one, not even Google can promise you that.
    Signature
    Kris Olin, MSc (econ.) Web Design | SEO | Social Media Marketing | Author of the Facebook Advertising Guide
    BLOG: Social Media Revolver
    BOOK: Facebook Advertising Guide
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[6221510].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author katepeter
    Google changes your content quite a bit. It's not snake oil either. Not if you do it right. But doing it right takes some time and takes GOOD content.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[6222113].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Prowebstakht
    Originally Posted by dblgdee View Post

    I recently read a comment that 80% of SEO is scam
    The SEO snake oil has been spread around so thick, that some clients expect guarantees

    How do you handle clients that want guarantee that .ist page of Google results will be achieved?

    Is this practical?
    If anyone is giving you guarantees, it means that you had better stay out of that person's path since they do not know as what they are talking about.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7716995].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Voasi
    The big problem with SEO is that there are no "barriers to entry". Anyone can wake up tomorrow, go to SEOmoz, read a few articles and then jump on a phone and start making phone calls calling themselves "SEO Experts" with no prior experience.

    SEO is about your experiences and how well you've performed. It's a lot like trading stocks. You don't want to go to a rookie trader with no experience. You want to invest your money with a trader that has shown XX% points of the last 12 months with a proven track record.

    I usually tell prospects I can't guarantee any Google rankings, because "god forbid" Google went out of business, I'd still be held liable for the rankings, even though I couldn't because Google went down. We're trying to manipulate a 3rd party, so putting a guarantee on that is ridiculous.

    I do think Rus has it right, putting a guarantee on the actual work, but with so many SEO companies with guarantees, it's hard to say that and them caring. I like to tell prospects that if they sign a 6-month agreement, I then I'll guarantee to get them to page 1 of Google for the keywords in the contract or work for free until I do. I rarely have to resort to that, as my sales presentation is pretty high quality, showcasing my knowledge, past clients, current clients, how SEO works and testimonials, but they do ask from time to time.
    Signature
    Want $6,000/mo. SEO Clients? Watch My Free Video!
    We do WSO Designs TOO!!! Best on WF! - Click Here
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7718544].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Prowebstakht
      Originally Posted by Voasi View Post

      The big problem with SEO is that there are no "barriers to entry". Anyone can wake up tomorrow, go to SEOmoz, read a few articles and then jump on a phone and start making phone calls calling themselves "SEO Experts" with no prior experience.

      SEO is about your experiences and how well you've performed. It's a lot like trading stocks. You don't want to go to a rookie trader with no experience. You want to invest your money with a trader that has shown XX% points of the last 12 months with a proven track record.

      I usually tell prospects I can guarantee any Google rankings, because "god forbid" Google went out of business, I'd still be held liable for the rankings, even though I couldn't because Google went down. We're trying to manipulate a 3rd party, so putting a guarantee on that is ridiculous.

      I do think Rus has it right, putting a guarantee on the actual work, but with so many SEO companies with guarantees, it's hard to say that and them caring. I like to tell prospects that if they sign a 6-month agreement, I then I'll guarantee to get them to page 1 of Google for the keywords in the contract or work for free until I do. I rarely have to resort to that, as my sales presentation is pretty high quality, showcasing my knowledge, past clients, current clients, how SEO works and testimonials, but they do ask from time to time.
      You have stated the Truth! The problem nowadays is that SEO is filled with people who have no knowledge of how SEO works and yet they call themselves SEO experts and then after an individual orders from that person, their site's rankings goes into demolition due to Google's algorithmic changes. Now more warriors are becoming more aware about SEO snake oil specialists. Thus few fall for SEO vendors who are not capable of providing any SEO services.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7718906].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author JustinSch
    "I back up my offer with a very simple guarantee. If you do not receive a first page ranking, or move up higher if you are already on the first page, for your main keywords, on at least one of the 3 major search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing), within 6 months, then you will get FREE SEO until you do for up to an additional 6 months."

    That is the exact guarantee I offer my clients. So far I have a 100% success rate, and 100% additional 6 month renewal rate. I just don't take on a project unless I am absolutely confident that I can get those results.

    Yes you can guarantee results, the real question is how are you backing up that guarantee?

    Due to the nature of the work your guarantee needs to both help to reverse or eliminate risk for the client, and still be worth your time and effort even if you don't get the desired result within the specified time period.

    There is a lot more money to be made by actually delivering a 1st page ranking to a client than there is in just promising one and never delivering... the snake oil salesmen ultimately put themselves out of business and make it easier for me to get and keep clients.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7722770].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author kenmichaels
      Originally Posted by JustinSch View Post

      "I back up my offer with a very simple guarantee. If you do not receive a first page ranking, or move up higher if you are already on the first page, for your main keywords, on at least one of the 3 major search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing), within 6 months, then you will get FREE SEO until you do for up to an additional 6 months."

      That is the exact guarantee I offer my clients. .

      Do you think you get more sales by offering the guarantee?

      btw, my question to you would be ... if you cant do it in the first 6 months, how
      do i know you can do it in the next 6 and how do i know your not making things worse for me.

      Any way. That is just my first thought, i bet 90% of the people you talk to don't
      catch that.

      I never saw guarantees really help sales increase in any sort of profitability
      margins that make the risk worth while.

      That is why i am asking if you think it helps increase conversions.

      BTW, I don't guarantee results, and i don't have any issues selling ... anything.
      Signature

      Selling Ain't for Sissies!
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7722792].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author maverick8
        With someone who has been on this forum for almost a year with a ton of posts you dont see how guarantees help sales.

        If you have done any form of conversion rate optimisation you will know what a good guarantee will do for you.



        Originally Posted by kenmichaels View Post

        Do you think you get more sales by offering the guarantee?

        btw, my question to you would be ... if you cant do it in the first 6 months, how
        do i know you can do it in the next 6 and how do i know your not making things worse for me.

        Any way. That is just my first thought, i bet 90% of the people you talk to don't
        catch that.

        I never saw guarantees really help sales increase in any sort of profitability
        margins that make the risk worth while.

        That is why i am asking if you think it helps increase conversions.

        BTW, I don't guarantee results, and i don't have any issues selling ... anything.
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7722898].message }}
        • Profile picture of the author kenmichaels
          Originally Posted by maverick8 View Post

          With someone who has been on this forum for almost a year with a ton of posts you dont see how guarantees help sales.

          If you have done any form of conversion rate optimisation you will know what a good guarantee will do for you.
          I am talking sales. Not internet marketing, not print sales ... and so was he.

          face to face or over the phone. guarantees don't mean anything if you don't do your job right

          which is sell. not guarantee.

          And let me tell you, even in print. it is still suspect. I have sold product in print
          with guarantees and without. The difference is negligible.

          The product and the copy ... THAT is what is important, NOT the guarantee.

          and the ones that buy because of the guarantee ...
          are usually buying... with a pre made excuse to return.

          maybe i read your response wrong, it felt like you were attacking.

          If i am wrong, Sorry, But if i am right.. bring it
          say what you have to say ...

          I am open ... AND i have the experience to back my thoughts up.


          Do you know where guarantees work the best? ... TV.
          yeah, I have experience there too.


          My entire point was ... a sales man does NOT need to guarantee ... if he can sell properly.
          They sell the product or the service ... NOT a guarantee.


          Selling a guarantee is certain death .. of merchant accounts... employees... the business
          Signature

          Selling Ain't for Sissies!
          {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7722947].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Prowebstakht
      Originally Posted by JustinSch View Post

      "I back up my offer with a very simple guarantee. If you do not receive a first page ranking, or move up higher if you are already on the first page, for your main keywords, on at least one of the 3 major search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing), within 6 months, then you will get FREE SEO until you do for up to an additional 6 months."

      That is the exact guarantee I offer my clients. So far I have a 100% success rate, and 100% additional 6 month renewal rate. I just don't take on a project unless I am absolutely confident that I can get those results.

      Yes you can guarantee results, the real question is how are you backing up that guarantee?

      Due to the nature of the work your guarantee needs to both help to reverse or eliminate risk for the client, and still be worth your time and effort even if you don't get the desired result within the specified time period.

      There is a lot more money to be made by actually delivering a 1st page ranking to a client than there is in just promising one and never delivering... the snake oil salesmen ultimately put themselves out of business and make it easier for me to get and keep clients.
      You are a very gutsy guy as you provide guarantees to your customers, and you are also wise to take on projects that you can offer a solid guarantee on!

      At times if a certain website or keyword is extremely difficult to rank then you tell the client that you would rather not take on that project? When you do that then you risk loosing that client, so there are pro and cons to this story too, is there not?
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7723704].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author writeaway
    Getting a site to rank is fairly easy. Getting it to stay there is another matter entirely. I ought to know-I own blog networks.
    Signature

    Want To Make More Money Online? Invest in BETTER CONTENT!
    Articles - Blogs - Authority sites - Ecommerce descriptions - Emails - Youtube video scripts - AFFORDABLE RATES!
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7722822].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author elCapitan
    I agree that a guarantee can work wonders, however as you mentioned an investment broker who has a solid track record, they cannot offer the guarantee either. And I feel most customers understand this fact, you can do what JustinSCH does, which is great.
    Signature

    Promise yourself that you will not give up.

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7723324].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author JustinSch
      Originally Posted by kenmichaels View Post

      Do you think you get more sales by offering the guarantee?

      btw, my question to you would be ... if you cant do it in the first 6 months, how
      do i know you can do it in the next 6 and how do i know your not making things worse for me.

      Any way. That is just my first thought, i bet 90% of the people you talk to don't
      catch that.

      I never saw guarantees really help sales increase in any sort of profitability
      margins that make the risk worth while.

      That is why i am asking if you think it helps increase conversions.

      BTW, I don't guarantee results, and i don't have any issues selling ... anything.
      The nature of my sales process just doesn't allow for any kind of realistically reliable split testing but I am fairly confident that offering that guarantee does make a very big difference.

      If I get a question along the lines of your 6 month question my answer is typically that if I wasn't confident in my ability I wouldn't take the project. My real benefit in taking on projects like these is in the long term recurring income that comes from a mutually beneficial relationship with my clients. It's in my best interest to get results for them so they keep paying, my business depends on it. I make sure they understand that.

      Originally Posted by kenmichaels View Post

      I am talking sales. Not internet marketing, not print sales ... and so was he.

      face to face or over the phone. guarantees don't mean anything if you don't do your job right

      .....

      My entire point was ... a sales man does NOT need to guarantee ... if he can sell properly.
      They sell the product or the service ... NOT a guarantee.


      Selling a guarantee is certain death .. of merchant accounts... employees... the business
      Actually all of my selling occurs online, mostly via an email like private message system.

      I sell the results my service is guaranteed to produce. I focus my pitch on the results, i.e. what that could/would mean for them specifically, and my proven track record. My guarantee is an aside, just something there for their comfort, and if I don't mention it myself prospects almost always ask me what guarantee they have.

      I am all but certain that there have been clients I would not have gotten without it and I have yet to have to do any of the free work offered as a result.

      It works for me, it gets me clients, it makes me money, and they get the results they wanted so I will continue and would highly recommend that anybody offering SEO to their clients at least consider doing it too.

      The bigger companies I aspire to be considered in the same league with tend to offer the same guarantee, e.g. Orange Soda.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7723518].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author kenmichaels
    @ JustinSch

    So you email and then cherry pick your clients ... I get it.

    Makes sense.

    Thank you for the clarification.
    Signature

    Selling Ain't for Sissies!
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[7723764].message }}

Trending Topics