When SEO was in its infancy (probably almost 15 years ago, shockingly), it was easy to promise fast results. Keyword stuffing and cloaking was a thing everyone did, and internet users were so green, they just clicked on whatever they could find in the search results.
However, as SEO developed (and continues to evolve), promising fast results or the #1 SERP for 100 keywords wasn’t something the good SEOs did anymore. It became a warning sign to all small and large business owners: If someone promises anything when it comes to SEO that has to do with outside factors, then run. Change your passwords, back up your site, and never allow them into your site again. It doesn’t matter that their rate is half (or hell, 10%) of what a reputable SEO is. It is not worth it, especially since Google is now penalizing sites for black hat SEO practices.
Yet, the need for ASAP hasn’t ended, even after actual proof of penalization in search results for sites that were doing shady things with links or hidden SEO. There are still several business owners that don’t care how something is done, they just want to beat their competitor and that’s all that matters.
This is one of the most irritating things in the world for an SEO.
How can you explain to a client, “Well, it may not hurt you now, but it could, sometime in the future, we don’t know when”? It’s like telling a kindergartner that this delicious ice cream could give them a stomachache tomorrow, but it also couldn’t, and in the meantime, you get to ride the sugar train by eating some ice cream. Those odds are hard to turn down, especially for a business owner/5-year-old with immediate gratification that is already working out for the person next to them, who has been chowing down on ice cream for months (or even years).
Until business owners realize that faster is worse, not better, SEOs need to be pillars of strength.
Some months it’s hard to turn down a client who wants grey or black hat SEO done on their site and will pay over the moon for it. You really want to top off your vacation fund (Sloth Sanctuary, I will visit you!) or could finally pay off your student loans. However, SEOs need to realize that saying yes makes them wear a grey or black hat, and brings down the rest of us that are trying to make the web a less-shadier place.
Yes, there will always be shifty SEO firms promising 1st place trophies and fantasies filled with never-ending orders. But because SEO is still an evolving industry (and probably always will be), it is our obligation to be the Yodas of our galaxy. Luke wanted to be a Jedi ASAP (hello, he did have to get back to his friends who needed him), but Yoda’s all like, “Hell no, slow your roll.”
I guess the point is, be Yoda. Say no to clients wanting you to wear a hat any lighter shade of white and promise them that true success comes with hard work and yes, just a little bit of time.