First page SEO guarantees are lies

By Tim Priebe on December 29, 2009

By Tim Priebe on December 29, 2009

“Can you guarantee I can get on the first page of Google?”

That’s a question I often get when discussing search engine optimization (aka SEO) with clients and potential clients. The short answer?

Nope. Nobody can. Anyone who says they can is lying.

Let me clarify a bit.

Optimizing your website for search engines involved improving its content with words and phrases that research and common sense shows your target market might be typing in. It’s more than just picking one single word or phrase you want to rank well for.

How people search

Let’s look at a hypothetical situation. Say we have someone with a company based in Edmond, Oklahoma looking for a website. If they are unfamiliar with web design companies in the area, but know they want to hire a local company, they’re much more likely to search for “web design Edmond” than they would be for “T&S Web Design.”

Okay, you caught me, that’s less hypothetical and more something we deal with every day. So we chose to optimize our site more for “web design Edmond” than any other phrase. But search for the phrase “web design” by itself, and we’re somewhere past the 200th listing.

Remembering the competition

Also, there are competitors to think about. We are very careful to explain to those in certain industries like insurance and real estate that their chances of getting on page one of the search engine results are low at best. Realistically, the chances are pretty close to zero, unless they’re in some niche that has a realistic chance of less people being able to fill. “Castles in New York” might be one such area.

We aren’t Google

Finally, the simple truth is that we’re simply not in control of search engines like Google, Bing or Yahoo because we’re not them. As any parent can tell you, no one person can tell exactly what another person (or company) will do.

So if you run into one of those companies that “guarantee” first page placement for search engine optimization, just remember it’s a scam. So don’t fall for it.

But don’t take our word for it

Feel free to check out Google’s advice on SEO, which also warns against placement guarantees. Yahoo! also gives their own SEO advice. Finally, if you really want to, you can read Bing’s blatantly biased SEO advice.

Note: Yahoo! and Bing have since removed those pages.

* If you were not aware, Google, Bing and Yahoo! are the top three search engines out there currently. According to some sources, over 96% of searches done online are performed on those three sites.


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  1. Avatar Web design preston on December 29, 2009 at 11:34 pm

    Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a technique that employs a combination of factors to help your website achieve higher rankings in major search engines. SEO is an integral part of emerging Search Engine Marketing.

  2. Tim Priebe Tim Priebe on December 30, 2009 at 10:38 am

    That’s true, Preston. Some “experts” such as yourself also spam blogs with comment in an attempt to increase SEO. However, most blogs, this one included, add the attribute rel=”nofollow” to linkbacks in comments. This actually keeps Google and other search engines from following those links, so they do not help in SEO at all.

    Good try, though. Here’s hoping you don’t successfully con anyone else into your SEO services.

    Also, I left your link there so readers of this blog can see that unfortunately, you can’t tell how good an SEO firm is based on how their website looks. Your website actually looks great. Of course, when I try to navigate to the SEO section on your website, the link is broken. That would be ironic, except that all the links on your page are broken.

  3. Avatar ck on December 30, 2009 at 11:20 am

    HAHAHAHHA.. not thats funny.. Good job Tim.. I absolutely cant stand freaking scammers/spammers

  4. Avatar Hans Eilers on December 30, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    Isn’t it true that Google ignores the nofollow attributes these days?

    • Tim Priebe Tim Priebe on December 30, 2009 at 2:32 pm

      Good question. There is some evidence that Google is now ignoring nofollow. However, according to their site they still adhere to it.

      Keeping in mind that only Google really knows what Google does, I generally go with what they say until there’s significant evidence to the contrary. At the least, I don’t use it as a core part of my SEO strategy.

      And what you guys didn’t see was Preston’s other comments on other blog entries, because I marked them as spam. He submitted several at the same time, and I just published this one because I thought it was somewhat ironic.

  5. Avatar Jessie Sanders on January 13, 2010 at 8:28 am

    Found this article related to SEO. Another reason to beware people who guarantee first page Google results?

  6. Avatar emmie on January 27, 2010 at 6:28 am

    well..i have read about it that through seo we can come at first page..but now i am reading that its not my mcts study guide i also read that we can do it easily through seo…basically it works with Google…now i am confused about this concept?can you explain more?

    • Tim Priebe Tim Priebe on January 27, 2010 at 10:44 am

      No, it’s definitely possible. Several of our clients have achieved first place results in Google. The point is that there’s no guarantees. SEO is not a black and white process with repeatable results. The search engines are always tweaking their algorithms, and your competition may be constantly tweaking their site as well.

      So while no one can or should guarantee first page placement, it’s certainly possible.