One of the problems with SEO for businesses is that there is so much apparent help out there for anyone looking for advice, support, or for a search engine marketing business to help power their brand to the top of the pile. The problem being that there is so much misinformation, and misleading information, with many SEO marketing companies taking advantage of the fact that there are people busily running a business who don’t have time to find out the finer details of current SEO understanding.

I came across yet another advert recently which was clearly misleading business owners by making a cast-iron guarantee. This SEO marketing company was guaranteeing a number one position for any business on Google’s search results.

I’m sure there will have been many business owners seeing that as an attractive idea, but as someone who has been involved in search engine marketing for many years the one thing I know for a fact is that no honest marketing company will ever guarantee anything at all.

The only company who can guarantee the way in which Google’s search results will work is Google itself. No SEO specialist, no matter how skilled, can ever guarantee that the business will be at any particular position on Google. There are instances where there is sometimes no way in which an SEO specialist, no matter how skilled, can get a business listed on Google at all.

I was approached recently by a client who had used a rather dubious SEO marketing company in the past who had used what we call Black Hat methods. These are SEO marketing methods which attempt to trick or fool the search engines, acting directly in violation of the policies and principles of the search engine. Black Hat SEO technologies can sometimes have a short-term effect which looks promising, but such methods are almost always identified fairly quickly by the search engines, with the result that the business will be penalised heavily.

In the case of the client who recently approached me, Google had actually blacklisted the domain, meaning that no matter how hard anyone ever tried in future, that domain will never even been listed by Google, let alone promoted up to the top position. So how was this company able to offer this cast-iron promise?

In fact they weren’t using organic search results at all, because their promise was little more than a face value trick. If you do a search for most keywords you’ll find that at the top of the search results there are usually two or three sponsored listings. These are listings which have been paid for, and are adverts rather than natural results. Almost anyone can have an advert appear at the top of the search results, although for more popular search phrases and keywords it can be highly competitive, often running into tens, hundreds or even thousands of pounds in order to guarantee a top spot.

Even so, that top spot within the sponsored listings will not be for every single search, because Google makes sure that sponsored listings for a particular key phrase cycle through so that everyone who has bought an advert for that keyword will have their listing displayed for at least some of the time.

So this kind of promise can end up being not only extremely expensive, but far from consistent. In terms of the resulting traffic, it is unlikely to be overwhelmingly impressive. Far better is to work with a genuine, honest and fair SEO marketing company who understands not only how SEO works, but also how business works, understanding that it is not fair or right to try to bamboozle clients with confusing technology and misleading promises.

Have you ever dealt with these kind of companies? Did they deliver the results? Leave a comment below and let us know.