One of the most common questions asked by our clients is whether or not we can guarantee the success our SEO campaigns. We answer that we can’t – and we’re not the only ones. No matter how thorough link building is and how well the content is written, you cannot tell for sure that a website will get to the #1 position, because SEO companies don’t negotiate terms with Google and have no control over the way rankings are decided.
Case study: Colour-Ribbons.co.uk vs. TheRibbonRoom.co.uk
One of the most relevant examples that we can offer in this regard is the one of Colour-Ribbons.co.uk and TheRibbonRoom.co.uk. The websites pertain to the same niche (they are online stores that sell wholesale ribbons) and belong to the same client. They even work with the same hosting company. After an initial analysis, we concluded that they look very promising in terms of optimization. They didn’t have any duplicate content, they were very well built, user-friendly e-commerce sites and they had very few broken links.
The first website we started working on was The Ribbon Room, which, as you can see from the report below, showed a significant improvement from the first month and continued to grow in rankings until it skyrocketed to #1.
However, things went differently with Colour Ribbons. Although we used a similar strategy (that eventually led to excellent results), the progress was not the same as with The Ribbon Room. For the first six months of constant SEO, Colour Ribbons showed no visible improvement. We had no explanation for this, as both websites benefited from roughly the same on-site and off-site optimization:
– Meta data and content changes for the homepage and separate store categories
– Submission of Articles, Blog Posts, Press Releases and other texts included in the Advanced SEO campaign (see the full list of activities here)
– Submission of Blog Posts on High PR Blogs
We did not make any major changes in terms of keyword focus on campaign type throughout the six months, but the first visible results appeared in February 2015. It seemed that our SEO work needed more time to take effect on Colour Ribbons, whereas on The Ribbon Room it worked instantly. The same as its predecessor, Colour Ribbons continues to grow and now they share the 1st page.
SEO guarantees sound great, but they only place they belong is your spam folder. No one can accurately predict the result of a SEO campaign. Don’t believe us? Read this official statement from Google, advising webmasters to take guarantees with a grain of salt. So, don’t be disappointed by the example above and don’t take the lack of guarantee as an excuse for bad service. If anything, you should take it as evidence that the same actions can work in some contexts and not work in others, without any obvious explanation, and that search engine optimization carries a certain degree of unpredictability.