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Why You Should Avoid Agencies That Promise SEO Results — and How to Find One That Delivers Real Value SEO is a complex field where results depend on many factors. Learn why guaranteed SEO services are not a good idea and how to find an SEO agency that delivers results.

By Nick Zviadadze Edited by Chelsea Brown

Key Takeaways

  • Guaranteed SEO services often fail to deliver long-term results due to their inflexibility and reliance on outdated tactics, hindering rather than enhancing online growth.
  • To find effective SEO services, evaluate agencies based on their case studies, testimonials and niche expertise.
  • Prioritize agencies that emphasize key performance metrics and offer regular, transparent reporting.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Many entrepreneurs are drawn to agencies that promise visibility and SEO results for small businesses. But while a strategy with guaranteed results may sound like the best way to ensure your investment pays off, it's a classic SEO mistake.

The truth is that these guarantees are often misleading, locking businesses into long-term strategies that lack flexibility and responsiveness to market changes. So, instead of helping you climb the search engine rankings, they prevent your online growth.

In this article, I explain why guaranteed SEO services are not the best idea for your business and how to find an SEO agency that can provide organic growth and engagement without the need for empty promises.

Related: How To Choose an SEO Agency

What are guaranteed SEO services?

Guaranteed SEO services promise a specific result, typically within a specific amount of time. These outcomes are often quantified in terms of search engine rankings, traffic levels or the number of quality backlinks to a website.

Some examples of an SEO guarantee include:

  • "We guarantee your website will rank on the first page of Google for your chosen keywords within six months."

  • "Our SEO techniques are guaranteed to double your website traffic within three months."

  • "We promise to secure 50 high-quality backlinks by guest posting on reputable websites in your industry within the first four months of our campaign."

  • "We can achieve a 100% increase in your website's organic search visibility within the first year, or we'll work for free until it does."

  • "You'll get guaranteed top three positions for your key phrases on major search engines within 90 days."

At first glance, such guarantees seem like a no-brainer for entrepreneurs looking to boost their online presence. Well, let's see why they are not so great.

Do guaranteed SEO services work?

Most of the time, the answer is no.

Even if you're doing everything right with SEO, you never know when the next search engine update is going to hit and what its focus is going to be. Google is known for its frequent updates, each capable of reshaping the SEO game overnight. As a result, techniques and SEO tips that were effective yesterday can suddenly become SEO mistakes, destroying rankings and undermining months of hard work.

When an agency offers guaranteed SEO services, you should approach it with skepticism. Such guarantees might be well-intentioned but overly optimistic, revealing a lack of understanding of the SEO best practices.

Even worse, it could indicate that they are flat-out using this approach to attract your business, even though they can't guarantee results. Or they may provide results that deliver on what they promised, but the outcome is not relevant to your business.

For example, an SEO expert may guarantee to rank your website on the first page of Google for 10 keywords. However, once they do this, you discover that these are very specific, low-volume keywords that don't bring organic traffic.

So, while the SEO agency technically fulfilled its guarantee, the outcome has no real value for your business.

Related: 5 Tips to Choose an SEO Agency (That Actually Delivers Results)

How to find SEO services that drive results

Finding an SEO agency that genuinely drives results without resorting to empty promises requires a strategic approach. Here's how to find the best SEO services for your business:

1. Evaluate case studies

Case studies are a great way to assess whether an agency is capable of delivering results. A comprehensive case study should clearly explain the journey from baseline metrics to results, providing a clear picture of the SEO techniques the agency implemented and the impact they had.

Look for details like:

  • Work scope

  • Traffic growth

  • Timeframe

  • Client transparency

2. Examine client testimonials

Client testimonials offer insights into the agency's reliability and the satisfaction level of previous clients. Authentic testimonials from successful entrepreneurs and small businesses build credibility.

At the same time, a lack of testimonials or some generic ones that sound like a bot wrote them can be a red flag.

3. Assess niche expertise

Given that SEO challenges vary by industry, it's crucial to partner with an agency that has experience in your specific niche.

Familiarity with the unique aspects of your niche means they understand its common problems and challenges. This means the agency is more likely to deliver an effective SEO strategy, especially in highly competitive or specialized fields like ecommerce SEO.

4. Discuss key performance metrics

Understanding the key SEO metrics is important to align expectations and goals. Good agencies typically monitor:

  • Traffic and impressions growth

  • Improvements in search rankings

  • Increase in leads and revenue

  • SEO content ranking in SERPs

You should always discuss what metrics an agency focuses on because this can reveal a lot about how they approach SEO and measure a campaign's success.

5. Insist on regular reporting

Regular reports keep you informed about the progress of your SEO campaigns. They are a necessary tool that drives strategy adjustments to ensure long-term results.

To promote transparency and accountability, you should look for an agency that offers regular reporting with data like:

  • Growth in impressions and clicks

  • Lead generation metrics

  • Performance analysis of key web pages

Related: 3 Tips for Choosing the Right SEO Agency

Guaranteed SEO services usually don't work due to the unpredictable nature of search engines. For sustainable online growth, look for SEO agencies with proven results, transparent reporting and a deep understanding of your niche.

In addition, consider their overall communication style, willingness to understand your business goals and a wider digital marketing strategy. This can help you steer clear of empty promises and achieve sustainable SEO success.

Nick Zviadadze

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

Founder at MintSEO

Nick Zviadadze is a growth marketing specialist with more than eight years of experience in SEO, copywriting and content marketing. He’s the founder of MintSEO, a fully-remote SEO and content marketing agency. He helps businesses drive growth by improving their search visibility.

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