“If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.”
That’s an axiom that holds true in almost all walks of life, and it should apply to those who see ads that guarantee Page 1 placement on search engines.
Think about it. Without even asking what industry you’re in, a company is guaranteeing that you will have Page 1 ranking. Oh really? In say even the real estate vertical? Or the weight loss vertical?
If you read the fine print, and so few do, you’ll find that their guarantee either uses what’s called “black hat” SEO (in other words, shady stuff) or they guarantee it on pages with very narrow or specific terms. Either of these are not beneficial to you in the long term.
Likewise, think long and hard before going with a PR firm that guarantees your article placement. The press has long bastions of impartiality, or so the saying goes. What does that tell you about the media outlet that guarantees placement in exchange for…what?
You are far better off putting in the effort of getting coverage in respected journals and blogs whose reputations aren’t those of paid-off shucksters, similar to certain consulting firms that will issue positive official-looking analyst coverage for fees of over $10,000.
There is an analogy on SEO and PR guarantees that might drive this home.
In poker, you can study your opponent’s tendencies. You can learn to calculate pot odds on the fly. You can play position perfectly. You can manage your bankroll. You can adapt to suit the evolving playing style of the table. But in the end, you are not guaranteed to win.
Similarly, you can do everything correctly in SEO and PR, optimizing your site for keywords, tagging everything correctly, generate quality backlinks, build relations with reporters, write a brilliant pitch. But in the end, you are not guaranteed a Page 1 ranking or press coverage.
What you want to do is to maximize your chances for success. There’s no substitution to knowledge and hard work. Avoid shady guarantees of the easy path.