How can SEO companies promise backlinks
How do you get to # 1 on Google?
Why professional SEO agencies don't promise rankings
Ever since SEO has existed, the subject of “promises of certain keywords in high positions” has arisen. In fact, common customer concerns are questions like, "Why is a certain keyword not showing in the first place on Google?"
This is an extremely tricky question as the phrase “why” suggests that SEO is all about getting one or a few specific keywords on the first page of Google. However, this in itself is never the goal of an SEO campaign.
It's like the judge asking the husband, “Did you hit your wife regularly? Answer yes or no. " If you answer “yes” you are being accused of beating your wife. And if you answer “no,” you're again admitting that you hit your wife. And because of this, this SEO question is one of the hardest questions to ask as an SEO professional.
Let's go deeper into the matter:
Search engine optimization was never about placing certain keywords on the first page on Google.
The customer can't help it
This understanding "Why is this and that keyword not listed”Is not the customer's fault. This question is usually caused by the fact that many dubious SEO agencies have promised this too many times. After all, this is sweet music to every customer's ear. The customer may have seen this promise in SEO banners as well, likely while doing a search on some seedy websites. Often such promises are made by offshore SEO companies that specialize in spam and fraudulent deals.
Another interesting discovery is that web design agencies who don't have SEO skills like to give such guarantees as a sales tactic.
In my career, customers have recommended us to other companies with the following statement: “I know an agency that can get every keyword in first place”. That flatters us, of course, but unfortunately it's not true. Our customers forget that the success of the campaign is not based on this result or goal. As long as the SEO campaign is successful, there is no specific question about how we achieved this goal. So it happens that some of our customers believe that we have positioned a single or a few keywords highly.
For SEO agencies, assignments are particularly difficult to communicate with customers when they approach us with such a promise. We then have to laboriously explain that an SEO campaign doesn't work like that. However, we then run the risk of lowering hope and losing the customer's interest. A dilemma that every professional SEO agency can sing a song about.
However, if we do not clarify the customer early enough, an SEO campaign can start with wrong ideas and expectations. I have also run very successful SEO campaigns, but the customer was unhappy because he did not see a certain keyword in position 1. The high number of conversions, accompanied by increasing relevant traffic and the increasing market shares, were pushed to second place. In this case, we're talking about keyword obsession. Our job as SEO experts is also to free the customer from this obsession at an early stage.
My observation is that SEO agencies building their business model on such promises cannot build long relationships with the client. The result is SEO measures that violate Google's guidelines, known as Black Hat SEO. In this way, the campaign is waiting one day to be recognized by the Google algorithms and ultimately punished, called Manual Action in technical terms (I wrote an article on this "Best and Worst Backlink Strategies"). So such a promise is extremely harmful to an SEO campaign.
Then what is SEO all about?
SEO is all about driving traffic to your website and building brand awareness by providing visibility on the web to aid your conversion efforts.
Let's say you're a coffee maker and the keyword you put your heart on is "Best coffee maker". Your heart will certainly beat faster if you manage to position the keyword on the first hits on Google. But there is a problem with this: only 10 websites with that one keyword can be listed on the first page of Google.
The first question, therefore, should be: Why should your website be among hundreds of millions of other websites with the dignity of landing in this position?
Not only the global competition has to be named, but also millions of forums, blogs and social media posts that report and discuss the best coffee machines. And let's not forget the thousands of well-known, highly rated online magazines, news portals and TV stations that also rank with such keywords - some with large SEO teams and hundreds of SEO copywriters who put content live on a daily basis.
Imagine if an SEO agency made such a promise. So how serious can this promise be? The truth is, nobody has that kind of control over Google. Another thing about this is that no SEO agency can predict the constant changes in algorithms that happen almost weekly. Today that one keyword could be number 1, and next week it could be number 50 again.
The second question: If you really want to be positioned on the first page with this keyword, how much budget would you have to spend on SEO? Ready to spend the entire 36 month budget in just 2 weeks driving tens of thousands of backlinks, articles, and user comments to your website? And even then, if you somehow succeed in doing that, how long do you think you can hold that position on Google? Because keyword positioning on Google changes every day. Would you spend so much on your budget to be on Google for just one keyword for a week? There are so many factors that you need to balance with commitment, authority, and reputation as ranking criteria. Ranking for one or two keywords alone in such a short time is not only improbable, but also extremely inefficient from a financial point of view.
No question about it, it happens that websites sometimes rank for a certain keyword, just as the customer wanted them to be. But these positions are never permanent. The search engine results rearrange themselves daily.
Admittedly, I managed SEO campaigns for a software manufacturer that also focused on a keyword. But we've done all of the other efforts in parallel, just considering the possibility that this one keyword might one day make it to the top as a bonus. However, the campaign was never designed for that one keyword. In the meantime, the company has grown to become the market leader with thousands of other keywords that were also relevant to the business. Finally, we managed to get to the top with this one keyword. However, when I look back, this was one of my longest SEO campaigns - we had looked after the customer for a total of 12 years until this one keyword also ended up at number 1 on Google. At that point that was just another positive side effect, and by no means the goal of this campaign. In English we say: “nice to have”.
Why top keywords are not enough
A keyword obsession is not necessary for an SEO campaign to be successful. Now let me explain to you why a keyword is sometimes not worth much. To do this, we have to look at the search volume for this example "Best coffee machine" look at:
As you can see, the monthly search for “Best Coffee Maker” is 49,500. Even if you think that this is the most important keyword for this exemplary coffee business, it is actually not as much as you think it is.
So let's look at the following:
Use long-term keywords
Real and professional SEO experts tend to rank for a variety of so-called long tail keywords.
You create a keyword funnel within your website with hundreds if not thousands of keywords. Such SEO experts do not attempt to list just a few keywords that face stiff competition. Less competition means you increase your chances of getting a higher Google rank.
With the right SEO keyword strategy, you will be positioned on the first page of Google over time with various keywords from your industry. And this is exactly where the success of a strategically aligned SEO campaign lies: You get relevant traffic from a variety of keywords that are relevant to your business, and not just based on them one Keywords.
Placing and betting on a single keyword is like playing the lottery. Few can win. However, a professional SEO campaign would rank thousands of keywords, increasing the likelihood of getting you listed on Google.
Let's take our example business “coffee machine” and take a look at long-term keywords:
As you can see, the coffee machine business makes more than 4.8 million searches for coffee machines every month. If you had only recorded 2% of these keywords, you would have far more traffic than with one keyword "best coffee maker“.
Also, having a variety of keywords ensures that losing positions on certain keywords won't hurt you as everyone else gains new and high positions at the same time. The more keywords rank, the more positive the wastage.
Another aspect of having more keywords is that you can try to position yourself with keywords that are 100% consistent with your product. If you have some features and specifics about your service or product, you should go into those features more specifically and target these keywords more closely. So instead of having ten thousand visitors on your website who do not convert at all or very little, it is also more effective, for example, to only have 10 visitors who buy the product because the keyword was much more specific and relevant to it.
For example "Best coffee maker"Would be the keyword"Best portafilter espresso machine with two water tanks”Much more effective.
And what few people know: It is estimated that 99% of all SEO agencies only ever target the top keywords and neglect the long-tail keywords. In return, the niche keywords go unnoticed - an SEO campaign that addresses long-tail keywords can tap traffic that is otherwise not targeted by other agencies.
On the one hand, the competition may not be targeting these types of specific keywords, which will give you better leverage on Google. On the other hand, if your website is visited by users with specific requirements, it leads to a significantly higher conversion rate and brand awareness than top keywords.
And the most important reasons for this strategy with long-tail keywords: It has established itself with the largest and best SEO agencies worldwide.
Good news: Every holistic SEO campaign naturally ensures that top keywords will dominate at some point. That's the positive side effect of strategic SEO.Ready to Boost Your SEO?
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William Sen has been an SEO since 2001 and a software engineer since 1996. He worked as a lecturer at the Universities of Düsseldorf and TH Köln. He is involved in the development of SEO tools, websites and software projects.
William did his doctorate in information science (Uni-Düsseldorf) and worked for brands such as Expedia, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Bayer, Ford, T-Mobile and many more. He is the founder of blue media based in San Diego, California.
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