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Thread: Client Issue

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    SitePoint Evangelist
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    Client Issue

    Hi,

    A client just sent me an email containing the following...

    do you know how we could go about to pay for the web site to get up on top of the 1st page when search words are entered in google.

    How should I reply to this??

    Thanks.

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    He's No Good To Me Dead silver trophybronze trophy stymiee's Avatar
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    Tell them they can use a PPC campaign like Google Adwords. But otherwise they cannot pay to rank well in the organic search. The search engines don't accept money for placement. If they want to rank on the first place they'll need to optimize their pages and promote the site effectively. And be patient.

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    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
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    I'd tell them that you can't pay for ranking but they could use an adwords campaign that would make them more visible throughout the web. If they are asking you to optimize the site to help their ranking, I'd still tell them there are no "first page" guarantees and then lay out a plan to help them improve their ranking.
    Linda Jenkinson
    "Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But don't say it mean." ~Unknown

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    SitePoint Wizard esds's Avatar
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    No "first page" guarantees, I am second with this.

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    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
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    And then tell them that anyone who says they can guarantee it is just blowing smoke since they'll do two things.

    Show very long tail uncompetetive keywords that "rank well".
    Take their money and run.

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    SitePoint Member loredan's Avatar
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    As I've had enough of mentors, advisors, critiques and gurus I'll tell you how wrong you are.
    Firstly this is 2008 not 1999 and SEO changed a bit in case you guys didn't know.

    Dan Shulz, don't underestimate long tail well targeted key phrases. These can bring the much needed targeted traffic especially when your site is new and you have no chances to rank well for higly competitive keywords. In fact I would recommend to all new websites to start small, rank for targeted long tail keywords and when they are prepared to work on competitive ones we shall proceed.
    We've managed to rank one of our clients websites on the first page for 428 long tail key phrases and guess what...they bring around 800 unique visitors on daily basis. Isn't it good for a 3 months old site? I bet it is... Do you think if I would have gone for one or two highly competitive keywords I would have had any chance? No way...

    A lot of SEO "gurus" are afraid to take any responsability in guaranteeing SE placement, it's like... "you give me the money and if I'll get you up there that's fine, if not, I'm sorry...I'll blaim the SE algorithm changes."

    Obviously for highly competitive keywords it is impossible to guarantee something and it mostly depends on your client budget (I've had someone enquiring for first page "online games" and "free online games" for under $1000...lol).
    However we do offer guarantees for some keywords (call them uncompetitive but they still bring traffic on) These guarantees are based on our analysis and experience with other previous similar projects.

    So...my dear mentors, advisors, gurus or whatever you are...don't be afraid of failure and offer guarantees (obviously) where is the case.

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    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by loredan View Post
    As I've had enough of mentors, advisors, critiques and gurus I'll tell you how wrong you are.
    Firstly this is 2008 not 1999 and SEO changed a bit in case you guys didn't know.

    Dan Shulz, don't underestimate long tail well targeted key phrases. These can bring the much needed targeted traffic especially when your site is new and you have no chances to rank well for higly competitive keywords. In fact I would recommend to all new websites to start small, rank for targeted long tail keywords and when they are prepared to work on competitive ones we shall proceed.
    We've managed to rank one of our clients websites on the first page for 428 long tail key phrases and guess what...they bring around 800 unique visitors on daily basis. Isn't it good for a 3 months old site? I bet it is... Do you think if I would have gone for one or two highly competitive keywords I would have had any chance? No way...

    A lot of SEO "gurus" are afraid to take any responsability in guaranteeing SE placement, it's like... "you give me the money and if I'll get you up there that's fine, if not, I'm sorry...I'll blaim the SE algorithm changes."

    Obviously for highly competitive keywords it is impossible to guarantee something and it mostly depends on your client budget (I've had someone enquiring for first page "online games" and "free online games" for under $1000...lol).
    However we do offer guarantees for some keywords (call them uncompetitive but they still bring traffic on) These guarantees are based on our analysis and experience with other previous similar projects.

    So...my dear mentors, advisors, gurus or whatever you are...don't be afraid of failure and offer guarantees (obviously) where is the case.
    Do a Google search and you'll find that just about any keywords you enter resolve to millions of search results. There is no way you can guarantee any client what page his site will land on. All you can guarantee is that your work will improve his/her standings in the SEs. It isn't a matter of taking responsibility... it's a matter of honestly representing your business and your abilities.

    You say you have a first page web for 428 long tail keyword phrases. Good grief, how long is the content on that page?
    Linda Jenkinson
    "Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But don't say it mean." ~Unknown

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    He's No Good To Me Dead silver trophybronze trophy stymiee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by loredan View Post
    As I've had enough of mentors, advisors, critiques and gurus I'll tell you how wrong you are.
    Firstly this is 2008 not 1999 and SEO changed a bit in case you guys didn't know.

    Dan Shulz, don't underestimate long tail well targeted key phrases. These can bring the much needed targeted traffic especially when your site is new and you have no chances to rank well for higly competitive keywords. In fact I would recommend to all new websites to start small, rank for targeted long tail keywords and when they are prepared to work on competitive ones we shall proceed.
    We've managed to rank one of our clients websites on the first page for 428 long tail key phrases and guess what...they bring around 800 unique visitors on daily basis. Isn't it good for a 3 months old site? I bet it is... Do you think if I would have gone for one or two highly competitive keywords I would have had any chance? No way...

    A lot of SEO "gurus" are afraid to take any responsability in guaranteeing SE placement, it's like... "you give me the money and if I'll get you up there that's fine, if not, I'm sorry...I'll blaim the SE algorithm changes."

    Obviously for highly competitive keywords it is impossible to guarantee something and it mostly depends on your client budget (I've had someone enquiring for first page "online games" and "free online games" for under $1000...lol).
    However we do offer guarantees for some keywords (call them uncompetitive but they still bring traffic on) These guarantees are based on our analysis and experience with other previous similar projects.

    So...my dear mentors, advisors, gurus or whatever you are...don't be afraid of failure and offer guarantees (obviously) where is the case.
    I like how everyone must be wrong other then you. I also like how you think you can just walk into our SEO community and challenge everything we've established here over the years. All you've done is hurt your reputation which is clearly not good for your business.

  9. #9
    SitePoint Member loredan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shyflower View Post
    Do a Google search and you'll find that just about any keywords you enter resolve to millions of search results. There is no way you can guarantee any client what page his site will land on. All you can guarantee is that your work will improve his/her standings in the SEs. It isn't a matter of taking responsibility... it's a matter of honestly representing your business and your abilities.

    You say you have a first page web for 428 long tail keyword phrases. Good grief, how long is the content on that page?
    I do agree that every keyword resolve to a certain amount of search results, elementary isn't it? Not millions in all the cases...

    What I'm trying to say is that in certain cases you can guarantee your work based on the fact that either the key phrase is new and / or not exploited by many others.

    it is not only a page Shyflower, I said a website not a single page. I can't even imagine someone optimizing a page to some many keywords.

    Quote Originally Posted by stymiee View Post
    I like how everyone must be wrong other then you. I also like how you think you can just walk into our SEO community and challenge everything we've established here over the years. All you've done is hurt your reputation which is clearly not good for your business.
    I never said I'm right and all the others are wrong. I was trying to make a point, that's all. If you noticed I'm a SP member for over one year and I've read these forums every day not getting into discussions. Just read and smetimes had a good laugh

    Reputation? Stymiee I think you know that your reputation doesn't stand in a forum but rather in your background and the only people to judge your reputation are your current or previous clients. On every forum usually who scream louder seems to be very popular no matter what he's saying it's true or not.

    I have decided to post when I saw the replies regarding the long tail KW's. If you call yourself a SEO specialist (not you, generally talking) you should know that every little counts and you should speculate every single bit in order to attract traffic to your clients websites.

    Sorry if anyone feels attacked by my post - never intended to do it. If you will actually read once again what I've said you will eventually understand my point.

    Thank you

  10. #10
    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by loredan View Post
    As I've had enough of mentors, advisors, critiques and gurus I'll tell you how wrong you are.
    Firstly this is 2008 not 1999 and SEO changed a bit in case you guys didn't know.

    Dan Shulz, don't underestimate long tail well targeted key phrases. These can bring the much needed targeted traffic especially when your site is new and you have no chances to rank well for higly competitive keywords. In fact I would recommend to all new websites to start small, rank for targeted long tail keywords and when they are prepared to work on competitive ones we shall proceed.
    I don't underestimate them, nor do I neglect them. But when an SEO consultant talks about "competitive keywords" and yet only shows "long tail results" as evidence of ranking well I tend to think "scammer, con artist, and fraud", not that I'm calling you any of that, of course. But rather than focusing on long-tail keywords exclusively, I'd go for a two-front approach. Target both the competitive and non-competitive kewyords equally (in the long term), but make sure the placement and use of those keywords is as natural and organic as possible. Let the competitive keywords be the stars, and the long-tail keywords be the supporting cast (if that makes any sense). In other words, take one or two competitive keywords and support them with a strong supporting cast of "non-competitive" (long-tail) keywords and go from there.

    Quote Originally Posted by loredan View Post
    We've managed to rank one of our clients websites on the first page for 428 long tail key phrases and guess what...they bring around 800 unique visitors on daily basis. Isn't it good for a 3 months old site? I bet it is... Do you think if I would have gone for one or two highly competitive keywords I would have had any chance? No way...
    It would depend on a lot of things, including the site, the demographic (target market) and the need for that site to fill a particular niche in the targeted market (is it saturated, is there any demand for what the site does/offers/provides, or do people really want it, but can't find it?).

    Quote Originally Posted by loredan View Post
    A lot of SEO "gurus" are afraid to take any responsability in guaranteeing SE placement, it's like... "you give me the money and if I'll get you up there that's fine, if not, I'm sorry...I'll blaim the SE algorithm changes."
    Those aren't gurus - they're sharks and vultures. A real SEO guru is a consultant who is dedicated to ensuring that his or her clients are happy and successful with their sites and businesses, since its those same clients who pay the consultant's bills and allow him/her to enjoy the life that he/she lives.

    Quote Originally Posted by loredan View Post
    Obviously for highly competitive keywords it is impossible to guarantee something and it mostly depends on your client budget (I've had someone enquiring for first page "online games" and "free online games" for under $1000...lol).
    However we do offer guarantees for some keywords (call them uncompetitive but they still bring traffic on) These guarantees are based on our analysis and experience with other previous similar projects.
    Define the first page though. I have Google set to return 100 results per "page". Others may have 50, 20, 10, or even 5 (or God forbid, more than I do). And that's just Google. What about the other search engines? Do you focus on Google either primarily or exclusively, or do you prefer a search-engine agnostic approach?

    Quote Originally Posted by loredan View Post
    So...my dear mentors, advisors, gurus or whatever you are...don't be afraid of failure and offer guarantees (obviously) where is the case.
    To be honest, I'm more afraid of lawyers getting involved than taking risks with offering "guarantees" for intangibles. I'm also sure others feel the same way. But I don't "do" SEO for a living - I just know my way around it (and lets face it, I don't mean to sound elitist, but sometimes the best SEOs out there are really the Web copywriters and developers).

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    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Schulz View Post
    Target both the competitive and non-competitive kewyords equally (in the long term), but make sure the placement and use of those keywords is as natural and organic as possible. Let the competitive keywords be the stars, and the long-tail keywords be the supporting cast (if that makes any sense). In other words, take one or two competitive keywords and support them with a strong supporting cast of "non-competitive" (long-tail) keywords and go from there.
    Excellent! You do rock!
    Linda Jenkinson
    "Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But don't say it mean." ~Unknown

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    In memoriam gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Schulz's Avatar
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    And yet people wonder why I don't "do SEO" for a living.

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    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy bigalreturns's Avatar
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    I don't think there was ever any implication that long tail keywords weren't worth ranking for, or that they would never send any traffic. The point is that anyone in the world can guarantee a #1 spot in Google. Just pick a massively uncompetitive keyword, and hell, if you can't even manage that make up a new word and rank as the only result for that, it's still #1!!
    The majority of SEO companies that guarantee rankings take advantage of this - their guarantees are worthless. As such, any reputable SEO company wants to distance themselves from these con artists, so choose not to make these fatuous guarantees.
    "The proper function of man is to live - not to exist."
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    I agree with Loredan and have already argued this case in this thread - http://www.sitepoint.com/forums/show...ight=guarantee

    There are times when you can make guarantees. Any SEO worth his or her salt can do a quick analysis of the SERP for the keyword phrases that the client wants to rank well for or for phrases that the SEOs own research has thrown up and estimate the chances of getting on page one.

    If you can't do that, you shouldn't be doing SEO.

    Guarantees exist to build consumer confidence in a product or service. They're not written in stone. If you buy a new car, it's guaranteed not to break down, but it still could. Is that a 'fatuous', 'con artist' guarantee? Customers don't want to hear, 'er...yeah, maybe I can but I'm not really sure because I don't Google works in mysterious ways'..................

    I rarely make guarantees but when I do, they're entirely dependent on the context and if I fail to deliver (which has never happened yet), the client doesn't pay. I've never taken the money and ran.

    Give me a keyword phrase. I'll take a look at the SERP and tell you whether or not I can guarantee you page one, if it might be possible or to just forget it because it's too competitive.
    It's 530 people, but do you really get it?
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    You can always agree a performance related payment scheme.
    It's 530 people, but do you really get it?
    ImgWebDesign - Web design in Buxton, High Peak, Derbyshire UK.

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    I hope I've made it clear that I almost never use the word 'guarantee' but if I did, it's because I mean it and it isn't because they're long tail keywords.

    I would never guarantee someone a No.1 spot. And if I used the word guarantee, that means a refund if I fail to achieve the agreed targets.

    Don't lump people like me in with scam merchants who guarantee everything under the sun with no intention of honoring it.

    Here's an interesting article about a company that made guarantees, the mistake they made was not refunding clients when they failed to deliver as promised - Internet Advancement told to refund clients
    It's 530 people, but do you really get it?
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    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy bigalreturns's Avatar
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    I'm certainly not against guarantees, but they have to be sensible. For example, a guarantee to improve ranking for a particular query, or a guarantee to increase search engine traffic. These are not only achievable, but represent something of genuine benefit to the hirer. What I am against, I think in common with other posters here, is a guarantee such as "Guaranteed to get to #1 in Google!", without any qualification as to for what queries. This is the hallmark of a scammer, and if you're not doing this then I certainly won't be lumping you in with them!
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigalreturns View Post
    I'm certainly not against guarantees, but they have to be sensible. For example, a guarantee to improve ranking for a particular query, or a guarantee to increase search engine traffic. These are not only achievable, but represent something of genuine benefit to the hirer. What I am against, I think in common with other posters here, is a guarantee such as "Guaranteed to get to #1 in Google!", without any qualification as to for what queries. This is the hallmark of a scammer, and if you're not doing this then I certainly won't be lumping you in with them!
    Exactly how I feel.

    What I don't do is have an apoplectic fit the second I hear the word 'guarantee' or immediately assume the "anyone who says they can guarantee it is just blowing smoke" without knowing anything about the situation or the person.
    It's 530 people, but do you really get it?
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    He's No Good To Me Dead silver trophybronze trophy stymiee's Avatar
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    I think the issue is with the word "guarantee" itself. It's hard to guarantee something you have no direct control over. Sure, you can be reasonably sure about something. Even extremely confident. But to guarantee something that you really are just manipulating in some fashion but ultimately do not control is technically not possible. In the case of search rankings, you never know what is going to happen. Heck, all you need is their site to suddenly get "sandboxed" or penalized and how does your guarantee look now? I think in terms of SEO you can go so far as to say you are "reasonably sure" or "very confident" that you can achieve their goals but using the word "guarantee" does imply a little bit more then is accurate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by stymiee View Post
    I think the issue is with the word "guarantee" itself. It's hard to guarantee something you have no direct control over. Sure, you can be reasonably sure about something. Even extremely confident. But to guarantee something that you really are just manipulating in some fashion but ultimately do not control is technically not possible. In the case of search rankings, you never know what is going to happen. Heck, all you need is their site to suddenly get "sandboxed" or penalized and how does your guarantee look now? I think in terms of SEO you can go so far as to say you are "reasonably sure" or "very confident" that you can achieve their goals but using the word "guarantee" does imply a little bit more then is accurate.
    Don't agree for all the reasons previously stated.

    This is simply taking this puritanical view of SEO way too far. According to your definition, there's no such thing as a guarantee. Ultimately, everything is out of our control. A new car can break down, people survive 40,000 foot drops, it rains on your wedding day, give me just one example of a guarantee that actually means something to you then, that I couldn't undermine using your own logic.

    It's just insulting to those of us who make very carefully judged, ethical, performance related guarantees, [i]occasionally if the situation allows it[/i[, to get lumped in with the scam merchants by people who don't know us simply because we use the word.
    It's 530 people, but do you really get it?
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    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy bigalreturns's Avatar
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    I don't have a problem with people providing logical guarantees on SEO services they provide, given they are fully aware of their relative lack of control, and are fully prepared to honour their guarantee should they not meet its terms.
    As to the control issue, obviously an SEO company has far less control over their "product" than a car manufacturer, but I think someone with good experience can make reasonably accurate predictions as to what results their work will give. If they aren't happy to make these predictions, that's fine as well, I'm not saying everyone should offer a guarantee.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigalreturns View Post
    As to the control issue, obviously an SEO company has far less control over their "product" than a car manufacturer, .
    Just making the point that no guarantee is cast iron. In fact, it's only as good as the person making it and their knowledge about the thing they're guaranteeing.

    Any guarantee should be followed by the word 'or'.
    It's 530 people, but do you really get it?
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    He's No Good To Me Dead silver trophybronze trophy stymiee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJMcClure View Post
    Ultimately, everything is out of our control.
    To some degree yes but in a practical sense this wouldn't be true. Philosophers may disagree, but reality works differently.

    Quote Originally Posted by JJMcClure View Post
    A new car can break down
    That's why don't don't offer guarantees but offer warranties instead.

    Quote Originally Posted by JJMcClure View Post
    people survive 40,000 foot drops
    No one guaranteed their death. We only assume they will die because the odds of survival are so small. I actually met someone who did exactly what you described.

    Quote Originally Posted by JJMcClure View Post
    it rains on your wedding day
    No one claims to control the weather.

    Quote Originally Posted by JJMcClure View Post
    give me just one example of a guarantee that actually means something to you then, that I couldn't undermine using your own logic.
    I can guarantee to a client that I will give them my best effort to have them rank well for the terms they seek. (I just don't guarantee the results which I do not control).

  24. #24
    O Rly?? JakeJeck's Avatar
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    The problem with guarantees is that 99% of clients are thinking about keywords like "cars", "computers", and "furniture" that are going to be near impossible for them to break the top 10 on usually. And the company will keep going to the next SEO consultant until they get one that says, "yeah I can do that - guaranteed". Then six months later they fire them and get into the mindset that the whole SEO thing is a big scam which is bad for the industry.

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    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JakeJeck View Post
    The problem with guarantees is that 99% of clients are thinking about keywords like "cars", "computers", and "furniture" that are going to be near impossible for them to break the top 10 on usually. And the company will keep going to the next SEO consultant until they get one that says, "yeah I can do that - guaranteed". Then six months later they fire them and get into the mindset that the whole SEO thing is a big scam which is bad for the industry.
    Even worse are those who come to you with a list of a dozen "keywords" they want "targeted" on their home page. Guarantee first page for that.
    Linda Jenkinson
    "Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But don't say it mean." ~Unknown


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