What Donald Trump taught me about SEO

I used to enjoy watching The Apprentice, US version.
The one with Donald Trump.
I learnt a lot and read a few of his books in the rush. I was that impressed.
At that time, I didn’t know much about him other than that he was a YUGELY successful businessman.
I didn’t know his back story, I didn’t know anything about his character, I didn’t know then what I know now.
All I saw was someone who was dropping business truth bombs that made a lot of sense to me.
One thing that stuck out and really hit home for me was a bit of advice he gave in one of his books.
Never give personal guarantees.
Up until that point, I was working an agency job and making all sorts of personal guarantees.
Nothing wrong with providing some reassurance but going as far as making it personal was certainly risky.
When you do this, you rely on others to help you fulfil your end of the bargain. And people, as we know, are unreliable.
The key thing here is personal guarantee. It’s something that drags you into the equation in a big way. So your personal rep is at stake.
In Australia, there’s a huge hardware chain called Bunnings and they’re everywhere. Their range is BIGLY and their prices are very hard to beat.
They’re so confident, they even say “if you find a competitor’s lower price on the same stocked item, we’ll beat it by 10%.”
I’ve never had to call their bluff on anything but I don’t think I need to.
Their guarantee is a business guarantee. And they’re such a huge brand that they can withstand some negative press even if their guarantee falls short.
But when you run an agency or work as a freelancer, and start to make statements like “I will personally see to it” or “I guarantee this or that”, then you’re wading into quicksand.
You can still make it out, but not without a massive struggle.
What’s this got to do with SEO?
This business is full of cowboys. People who shoot first, ask questions later and care not for the consequences.
Lots of robots, people who only follow checklists and lack foresight and insight.
These are the sorts of people who make personal guarantees (and guarantees in general) of performance, of results, of everything.
Guaranteed page 1!
Guaranteed X number of high DA links!
Guaranteed rankings by this date or it’s free!
Avoid. Avoid. Avoid.
Google even go as far as saying this themselves.
There’s so much in life you can’t guarantee. And SEO is something you definitely can’t place guarantees on. The irony of being an SEO consultant saying this is not lost on me.
I mean, sure, if you have a poorly setup site, any sort of proper SEO changes are going to get a result. It’s highly unlikely that it wouldn’t.
It’s like going vegan or keto after years of eating absolute trash. You’re obviously going to get a positive result but results may vary wildly.
Don’t offer guarantees of any sort (as in, nothing they can hold you to).
Don’t buy into any guarantees being made to you.
The goalposts keep moving and it’s impossible to place any form of firm guarantee on anything like specific rankings or traffic numbers.
I will die on this hill.
REMEMBER: The goal of SEO is to improve visibility in search engines. And that should be your key performance metric.
Is the site moving up in ranks?
Is organic traffic increasing?
If yes, all is well. Keep going.
You may have a specific number in mind (x number of visitors) and obviously everyone wants to be #1 on page 1 – but be realistic and aim to keep moving ahead or maintaining your gains. Nothing else should matter.
Keep working on Awareness. Make it great again.

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