We have the unhappy task of working in a notorious cowboy industry. Luckily, as one of the few competent and professional companies in this industry, it is paying us massive dividends.
Whereas our competitors in the web design and development areas are usually just ignorant, incompetent and unprofessional, our competitors in the search engine optimisation (SEO) consultancy areas are frequently downright fraudulent. This article will explain some of the facts about search engine optimisation to hopefully dispell some of the myths and lies that are often expounded by SEO consultants.
Guaranteed Search Engine Rankings
This is a common lie given by SEO consultants. The reason why it is a lie is because you do not have a specific search engine ranking. You cannot say that you rank X for search term Y on search engine Z.
You search ranking depends not only on the search term used, but also on where and when you perform the search. You see, when you go to Google.com and type a search, there isn't just one computer answering the name Google.com. If there was, it would have to be the fastest computer ever made. There are just too many people searching, so, each search request is divided between thousands of servers around the world. Frequently, to speed things up, your search will be directed to the server physically closest to you. But, if this is busy, it will be redirected to a less busy server.
Now here's the problem. All of these servers are not identical. The data on them is never fully in sync, so you cannot be sure that the search results from each of them are the same, and you never know which one gave you the results. One may rank you as number one, another may rank you as number 5. You just don't have a single specific "rank".
Even if you could specify what your ranking was, the small print and vagueness of these ranking guarantees means that they can get out of anything. To date, we have never even heard of a single rumour of a refund from an SEO consultant guarantee. The obvious get out clause is that if you search for "your company name...some of your products and trademarks...your marketing slogan" you will obviously be ranked number one pretty much everywhere.
If an SEO consultant offers any guarantees like this, steer clear of them, they are worthless. Check out this article to hear from another genuine SEO consultant who agrees with us.
Certified SEO Consultant
Any SEO consultant that claims to be certified should be asked one simple question, "Certified by whom?".
There is no SEO certifying body that can give official certification. However, there are several companies based in India, Nigeria, and other equally reputable places that will give you a certificate of certification or a certificate of a course completion for a fee as little as US$50. Have a look at some of the "certifications" available from this page.
Any SEO consultant that seriously uses one of these "certifications" as a reason to use them are clutching at straws and should be avoided. At the moment, the only form of SEO certification is that given by genuine word of mouth from your trusted friends.