It’s tempting to think that because we have more SEO tools and we know more about SEO and what search engines look for that agencies and experts must have a better idea of how to optimize. In fact, if you talk with an SEO they’ll surly be able to tell you why we have more ammo to create a successful SEO strategy than ever before, and they would be right. However, this does not mean that guaranteed SEO services are back. They still can’t be trusted and it’s still impossible to guarantee any results.

I know what you’re thinking: It’s annoying to hire someone for SEO help when you can’t have any guarantees, and it’s true; however this will unfortunately always be the truth about this industry. Therefore if you’re new to the SEO game, what you need to understand is why there are no guarantees in SEO while still being able to identify what agencies and experts can and cannot promise in terms of delivery. Consider some of the information below.

Why You Can’t Trust Guaranteed SEO Services Even in 2016

Below are several different reasons that SEO results still can’t be guaranteed:

Nobody knows the ranking algorithm.

Plain and simple, aside from maybe the Google engineers nobody knows the exact algorithm used to rank and evaluate websites. We have clues and ideas (which is why SEO exists and is successful in the first place), but no one can know for sure. There are hundreds of different factors taken into account, and Google could make a change or give more weight to any one factor at any time.

We wrote an article back in 2012 for our sister site HigherVisibility and gave the example, “if a teacher asked you to write a paper but you didn’t have any guidelines as to how the teacher was grading that paper, could you guarantee that you would get a good grade? You might be able to guess what the teacher wants to read, but you can’t be completely sure.” Still a great analogy that applies today, 3.5 years later.

Local results mean that no two users or places SERPs will be identical.

It stands to reason that if there is less competition in your town for your industry your SEO results will be more impressive, but this isn’t guaranteed. Where you rank will depend on not only your competition but also the market in that area for your specific product. An agency/ expert may have succeeded with a company identical to yours last year, but that doesn’t mean they will have the same results with you because local of searchers matters.

Rankings don’t always lead to conversions.

So even if an agency/ expert admits that guaranteed rankings are impossible, they also can’t guarantee any outcomes of your SEO. In theory good rankings should mean more conversions and more traffic, but again this isn’t always the situation. If visitors find you through organic search thanks to your SEO efforts, they still need to be engaged on your website and you still need to be offering relevant content to help get them through your sales funnel. An SEO expert/ agency should be able to help you with this type of optimization as well, but again, there are no guarantees.

Search engines make algorithm changes all the time.

For this reason, even guaranteeing improvement in your rankings can be difficult. Good agencies/ experts will be able to predict an algorithm change, but oftentimes this is more about maintaining current SEO and not getting hit with a penalty as opposed to making efforts to improve. Algorithm changes can also come up quickly and cause a drop in rankings within one day, which is something agencies/ experts just can’t guarantee will or will not happen.

What Good SEO Experts and Agencies Can Promise You

First and foremost, a good agency/ expert is going to know that you can’t guarantee a number 1 ranking or a certain CTR, and they’re going to discuss that with you right off the bat. With that in mind, there are several different things that they can promise you that you should look for when evaluating them:

They’ll create different content types to help improve engagement.

This is something that you’ll be able to see with your own eyes. If they say they can create a video for you or an infographic, they can guarantee that. They may not know the outcome, but studies show that creative content helps improve bounce rate and CTR data. If it’s something you want, an agency/ expert should be able to promise you that.

They’ll send you an updated backlinks list and can promise to disavow spammy links.

This is something that various tools online can help an agency/ expert obtain. It’s data that you will be able to see. If there are spammy links pointing back to your website, it is in an agencies control to remove those links by disavowing them, which you can learn more about here. This is a task that can be guaranteed because it’s free for everyone to use and you get a tangible report that shows the agency/ expert’s actions.

They are able guarantee connections with major publications.

Again, this is something you can see with your own eyes. Part of great SEO is establishing connections with influencers, so if an SEO agency guarantees they can help connect you then that’s a promise they can make. It’s possible that an agency/ expert will lie to you and not pull through, but this is something that can be promised.

Of course, there are many more things that can be added to the list of promises that agencies can make, but you get the idea. Think tangible.

Is there anything you would add to either of the lists above? Have you ever had any personal experiences with agencies/ experts claiming to guarantee SEO results? Let us know your story and your thoughts in the comment section below.