Often, people, who hire a SEO, are not willing to accept that the SEO does not 100% guarantee results. In fact, they are often demanding and expect extreme profits no later, than yesterday. However, when it comes to the Web, where people and the search engines rule the world, there can't be anything 100% guaranteed.
What is SEO risk?
Given that an Internet marketer (or a SEO) can't control:
- other people beyond his website optimization and promotion methods
- his client's competitors
- how search engines work
there is a lot of left out of his or her hands. Given this situation, it is really pressing to discuss delivering solid results to a client. And a SEO should rather have solid experience behind his/her back, too.
Another part of risk is expectations. If you expect great results for doing nothing, you take a risk by deceiving yourself and relying on whatever business tactics you think will bring decent results.
That's why it is often good to have a good ole friend, who is a SEO professional, or a SEO forum, where you can ask what and how to do about your website.
Why should people accept risk
The thing is, risk in SEO is nothing unusual. There is risk everywhere: from eating fish/cherries to speeding on the way home to investing a hefty sum in developing your business.
When you do something for your website, there's no 100% guarantee that it'll work as desired. Only when you do, test, redo, test and so on, things start to run smooth.
Not to mention when you enter such new areas as blogging and social media. There's no guarantee about them at all, because everything's about people and quite a handful of people can boast about knowing how people will behave next.
Risk is not something that can be completely avoided. It is something that can be reduced. And it can only be reduced by doing all the work beforehand. As minimizing the risk is a part of a SEO's job, it has to be paid for.
Why people need to pay more for less risk
A starting SEO can never have high paid jobs or contracts, because he/she can't guarantee results. And while he can do nearly the same job as a seasoned SEO (researching keywords, finding other related sites, creating content), he'll still get paid less. Why?
Because an expert SEO knows everything beforehand:
- what results he'll get from doing the work
- what needs to be done to achieve maximum results
- how to do something w/o needing to redo everything
Having the experience of what works and what not, and how to be careful on the job, a seasoned SEO can very well have minimal risks involved. He can choose the right path from the start and guarantee at least medium results. And it is much better, than breaking even or getting nothing in return on your investment.
Can results be guaranteed?
However, no one can guarantee a fixed amount of visitors, conversions and income, because every business/website case is individual and results are different for each.
That being said, ROI can be guaranteed by keeping working. This means that something needs to be tested, improved and so on. This way, when you invest your time and money into your website, you are bound to get a return, because that's the goal to continue working.
Let's take social marketing, for example. No one knows why exactly one viral marketing attempt has brilliantly succeeded and why the other failed. Sure, experts may have an idea or two, but even they fail sometime. Does it mean that they are a bunch of quacks?
No, it means that they can get results with much less tries, than you can.
For example, a social marketing expert can succeed in one of 1-6 attempts. Does that mean that it is not worth hiring him? No, it means that you need to hire him to do the six attempts and you are bound to get an astounding return on investment. Of course, if all or most of the virus infections work, so much the better.
What to do with risk?
So, if you come across something risky, do everything to minimize it - possibly, by becoming or hiring an expert. Afterwards, work hard to achieve results: learn from others' and your mistakes. And then, you'll need to accept that in any situation, there's a risk of not performing to the maximum, because there are things out of your control. Such is life, I guess?
This post can be considered a continuation of a post, "SEO and ethics: why SEO isn't scam".