There are a lot of things that you will be told when shopping for SEO. Some are a myth, some are facts. I wrote this article to provide SEO facts that will help you better understand the truth about SEO. After reading this, you should have more clear expectations on what to expect, as well as what’s not reasonable to expect, with SEO. I chose to write about the most common discussion points, in regards to SEO, to help clarify SEO facts from fiction.

First Page Rankings

I’ve had far too many people ask me for my opinion on marketing firms who guarantee first page rankings. I can’t imagine a reputable company claiming this offer. There’s simply too much change in ranking factors to promise this, and maintain that promise. There’s simply too many variables, and potential variables, to facilitate this claim. I would personally be concerned if an internet marketing company didn’t educate me on these important SEO facts. If you are promised every effort to gain page one rankings, but not promised it, then you have received honest advice, and reasonable strategy. I’ve seen a lot of companies fall victim to these claims, simply by not knowing the important SEO facts.

Secret Methods

Here’s the secret. Are you ready? The secret is that here is no secret.

There really can’t be “secrets” to any legitimate SEO strategies. There can be things that are more unique as all strategies are not created equal, but there is no secret sauce to success here. The algorithm processes that search engine companies use are proprietary and a highly kept secret. Therefore, if you’re secret is to challenge, successfully, another secret…well that’s just a bunch of hog wash. Search engines are always changing, always improving. SEO is a science that is never perfected. I’ve seen a lot of deception in the digital marketing industry, so knowing that it’s simply impossible to have a super secret proven method will save you from going any further if you hear that in the pitch.

Working Directly with Google

Yes, this is something I get asked about too. Claims to have an inside source, or a direct woking relationship, with search engine companies. Of course, Google is the name to throw out because of it’s impact on the industry. Google is one of many search engine companies and they don’t work with SEO firms directly. Search engine companies continue to create ways to benefit users, helping them find accurate and safe information on the www with accuracy and speed. Digital marketing firms have the hard job of trying to figure out how these changes work, and how to get the best results. If anything were true about SEO facts, it would be that these two (search engine company & digital marketer) would be enemies if the internet were a battlefield. Sure, I have a friend or two that work for Google. Have they EVER given me remotely anything proprietary, to endanger their ridiculously awesome salaries and benefit packages? Not in the slightest.

Cracking Search Engine Algorithms

I’m not surprised by the number of tools, downloads, forums and blogs on cracking the algorithms used in search engines. I’m also not surprised I’ve seen it used in pitches with digital marketing agencies. It’s simply not possible and it isn’t going to happen. Each search engine company has their own unique algorithms used to find information on the web. Billions of dollars are spent on improving these on a regular basis. Regular mean consistently, and often. Google owns about a 65% market share globally and is currently the world leader in search engine dominance. Social media platforms have their own algorithms to query information. They’re all not the same. Pull up Yahoo, Bing, Google, and Safari and enter the same search phrase. See what you come up with. Now try and believe that anyone has mastered any of those algorithms, let alone more than one. I can promise you this, if any brilliant mind does accomplish this feat, they will be too busy on every talk show in the world to actually offer any SEO services. There’s many SEO facts, and the statistical certainly of this one is important.

Claiming Skill in SEO

I found quite a few locations using “#1 in SEO” as their claim to SEO fame. The truth is, you can’t actually qualify that claim in any way. It’s self-proclaimed in many cases and it’s a great SEO tactic in itself. Of course, I get questions about this too. Don’t look for the #1 SEO company. Look for a company that can give you competent answers and when they can’t, they tell you the truth about why (it’s reasonable and OK NOT to have all the answers, be aware of those who believe they do.) Look for companies that are comfortable in discussing their methodologies with you, and who can provide client references, testimonials, case studies, etc.

I hope that this article has helped you better make sense of what reasonable expectations to have when you’re leveraging SEO in your marketing. Look for part 2, where I will cover common myths about why people think think SEO is no longer needed, or why you should invest in it. Clearly, I’ll argue that you do need it, you just need it with the right strategy that’s best suited for your needs and budget.