12 Reasons Honest SEO Firms Don’t Promise Guaranteed Search Engine Rankings

12 Reasons Honest SEO Firms Don’t Promise Guaranteed Search Engine Rankings

Lots of search engine optimization firms will tout that they guarantee search engine rankings. The truth is no SEO firm should be making such a claim, and if you come across one that does, then you probably shouldn’t work with them. Working with a company that guarantees search engine rankings can lead to dire consequences, both short-term and long-term.

The very best and most reputable firms will only guarantee the quality of their work. Other than that, they will never guarantee your site will rank in a particular position in the search engines’ results pages. So with that said, why don’t reputable SEO firms guarantee search engine rankings? Although there are many, here are the top 12 reasons why they don’t:

SEO Guarantees Have A Bad History

Since the 90s, guaranteed search engine rankings scams have been a selling point from sketchy SEO companies. Unfortunately, many website owners and business owners have learned that they can’t guarantee rankings for specific keywords and maintain those rankings indefinitely. Such scams are still out there today, but they were far more common in the 90s and early 2000s.

They Can’t Rank For Highly Competitive Keywords

There are still search engine optimization companies that guarantee search engine rankings, but they don’t tell their clients that they will target extremely low competitive keywords. These types of keywords typically offer minimal search volume. Unfortunately, this means that many very low competitive keywords don’t have much value. This fact is another reason why honest SEO firms won’t guarantee rankings.

Even the best SEO firms with highly skilled SEO experts and marketers shy away from specific guarantees related to rankings. However, the truth is that well-established websites and businesses are already ranking highly searched keywords.

Search Engines Warn Against It

Honest SEO companies don’t guarantee search engine rankings because they are not supposed to. Sure, the shady companies will still make guarantees, but they are not allowed to. Furthermore, Google explicitly says that people can’t make such guarantees. 

Google has search marketing page ranking guidelines that are available for anyone to read. Within those guidelines, a line states that “No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google.” There are no exceptions; nobody is supposed to be guaranteed first-page rankings. 

Be aware that some search engine optimization companies will claim that they have a special relationship with Google. They’ll claim that this is why they can guarantee first-page rankings on Google or high rankings in general. If an SEO firm makes such a claim, then you should avoid them at all costs.

Be aware that some search engine optimization companies will claim that they have a special relationship with Google. They’ll claim that this is why they can guarantee first-page rankings on Google or high rankings in general. If an SEO firm makes such a claim, then you should avoid them at all costs.

Rankings Are Dynamic

An SEO agency shouldn’t be making specific promises around keyword rankings because the research results are not static. For example, the results would be different if you were to Google “SEO company in Spokane, Washington” and then drove to Seattle and typed the exact phrase into Google. In many cases, the results will frequently change whether you remain in the same city or not. This shows how search results and rankings shift depending up on things like location.

Algorithm Changes

Every search engine has algorithms, and these algorithms undergo updates from time to time. However, Google is well-known for its algorithm updates, which take place regularly. Not only that but every so often, there are massive updates that take place that really shake up its search results. Two prime examples are the Google Panda update and the Google Penguin update

Searching on Google

When Google updates its algorithms, websites’ rankings can either stay the same or drastically change. Unfortunately, what often happens is many websites will experience a significant drop in rankings. Sometimes websites can recover from Google’s algorithm updates, while other times, it’s nearly impossible.

Algorithm changes are another reason why SEO firms shouldn’t guarantee specific search engine rankings. They know that algorithm changes can easily alter the search results. It doesn’t matter how good an SEO company is, how well their clients’ websites rank, or how established they are; virtually no website is 100% safe from algorithm updates. 

Rankings Aren’t Good Metrics For Overall Performance

Too many people are under the impression that rankings mean traffic. If a keyword ranks in the search engines’ results pages, traffic will flow to their website, right? While some rankings indeed lead to more traffic, others may not. Worse is traffic that is not relevant to the website itself. This kind of traffic can end up hurting your SEO efforts.

When an SEO campaign launches, it should be measured by how much traffic is generated via the search engines. Additionally, the quality of the traffic should be considered as a part of your KPI assessment.

Most website owners want a desired action performed on their site. Therefore, how soon website visitors perform is a good measure of how well an SEO campaign works.

SEO companies know that traffic is the primary metric for determining whether or not an SEO campaign is doing its job. However, it’s not just the amount of traffic being sent to a website; it is also the quality of traffic.

Guarantees Can Create Ethical Problems

Making any guarantee in the SEO industry doesn’t make sense. If something goes wrong, then the SEO company that made the guarantee will eventually take a hit on its reputation. It’s way too easy for an SEO company to make promises that they know they can’t deliver on to win a deal, but eventually, that will backfire.

Another reason established SEO companies don’t make guarantees is because they don’t control what shows up in the results pages and what doesn’t. It is Google that has the final decision regarding what ranks and what doesn’t rank.

SEO Is Not A Short-Term Strategy

Search engine optimization isn’t a short-term strategy. The SEO companies that promise rankings are also claiming they can do it quickly. This is entirely unrealistic because it takes time to get results from SEO efforts. It doesn’t matter what type of SEO methods are being used or how ethical a strategy is; it is impossible to get extremely high rankings in the search results within a brief period of time. 

The best SEO companies know SEO takes a good amount of time to see results. Sometimes SEO strategies need to undergo several tweaks before results start to trickle in. It can take months before any traffic begins to come in. 

The Risks Of Black Hat SEO Increases

Black hat SEO involves using tactics that Google and other search engines look down on. These types of tactics are often used by companies guaranteeing fast results. However, such tactics can eventually do far more harm than good. If you hire an SEO company that performs black hat tactics, then your brand’s reputation could become severely damaged, and your website may even get sandboxed by Google.

If your site is sandboxed, then it means it will likely not appear in the search results at all. It can be challenging getting out of Google’s sandbox once you are there. Whether it’s your fault or not, if your site has been found to be using black hat SEO methods, then there’s a chance it will be penalized.

Google Sand Box

Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other search engines want all websites to play by the rules, which means no shady SEO methods should be used. Keyword stuffing, doorway pages, and invisible text are a few methods that the search engines aren’t fans of. Unfortunately, it’s only a matter of time before they will determine if your SEO company has used such techniques.

Any reputable SEO firm knows black hat SEO methods are risky. They will not do anything to put their clients’ websites at risk. If a company doesn’t disclose what tactics they use, then be wary of hiring them. There’s a good chance they incorporate black hat SEO methods.

No One Size Fits All Strategy

Let’s not forget to mention that there is no one-size-fits-all strategy when it comes to SEO. Search engine optimization firms realize this; therefore, they don’t make any guarantees. In addition, different websites require different SEO strategies, even if websites are in the same industry. For example, a dozen websites that offer construction services will likely require slightly different SEO strategies.

An SEO firm can’t guarantee that a single strategy will work for their clients’ construction websites (sticking to the above example). This is because different websites have different goals, and the branding can be other. If one single strategy worked every single time, then making guaranteed search engine rankings may very well be possible. In reality, this is far from being the case.

What Works Today Might Not Tomorrow

As previously mentioned, algorithm updates are a regular thing. When the algorithm changes, the strategies that worked before the updates may not be as effective or may not work. SEO firms don’t guarantee search engine rankings because they know what works today may not work tomorrow.

If an SEO firm implements a strategy that ends up helping a client land their site high in the results, then that’s great. However, there is no guarantee that the same strategies that helped that site rank will work a second time or later on in the future. In some cases, a new ethical strategy could be working just fine, but all of a sudden, within a few weeks, that same strategy won’t be worth using any longer. This is why it’s common to hear the adage that “SEO never sleeps.”


The best SEO firms never promise guaranteed search engine rankings because thousands upon thousands of other firms are trying to rank sites for their clients. Let’s not forget to mention that many website owners aren’t using an SEO firm but are still trying to rank their websites. As a result, SEO firms face a tremendous amount of competition.

Any reputable search engine optimization firm knows that it is impossible to guarantee search engine rankings for any keyword because there are thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of firms and/or sites competing for the exact keywords or variations of keywords. This also means there’s a good chance that some of the competition is using shady SEO tactics to get rankings. This can reduce the chances of reputable firms ranking their clients’ sites in the search engines’ results pages.

Those are the top 12 reasons why no reputable SEO company will guarantee search engine rankings. Companies that are experienced and truly care about their clients will not make guarantees that they know are impossible to achieve because they are putting their reputation online. If an SEO company’s reputation takes a hit due to making unrealistic promises, it could potentially lose business.

Remember, ranking takes time and patience. You cannot expect to do a few SEO-related tasks and rank the following day or even the next week. All of the top SEO agencies know SEO takes time to generate results.

A good SEO firm will never promise you that your site will rank, nor will they give you unrealistic expectations. Before you hire an SEO company, make sure you take the time to learn more about them and their track record. The last thing you want is for your website’s reputation to be tarnished due to an SEO website promising to rank your site and/or using SEO methods that aren’t ethical. Finding the right SEO firm to work with can be a bit of a challenge, but it is worth taking the time to find and choose one.

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