A recent post on the Search Engine Roundtable website discussed an interesting concept which many people fail to understand when it comes to SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). An individual, who was given the responsibility of finding an SEO company to work on behalf of his employer, wanted to find a firm, which was willing to guarantee keyword positioning, thus ensuring that his employer received a decent return on his investment. Unfortunately, the individual was unable to find an agency capable of doing such, which prompted the question, should PageRank be used in the pitching process as an entity which can be ‘guaranteed’? It may sound strange to many people reading this article, but there are certain aspects to SEO campaigns, which cannot be guaranteed – and that includes keyword positioning. As the search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo have become more sophisticated, their search algorithms have too. This means that they consider more elements to a website when determining it’s location within the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). What’s more, following a number of recent changes made by Google regarding ‘Personalised Search’, a large proportion of users will be served different results (which are based on those people’s search history) anyway, meaning keyword positioning becomes somewhat subjective. The fact is, whilst there may be a degree of ambiguity involved in identifying guarantees, a good SEO firm will be willing to demonstrate the various techniques which it has made use of in the past, for other clients. Such techniques might include comprehensive link building campaigns, content strategies and integration with social media channels. It will also highlight how each campaign has improved business for its clients. To answer the initial question, I believe that PageRank should not be used as a guarantee during the pitching process based on the fact that PageRank is irrelevant to the ROI an SEO firm is capable of delivering. It is within the realms of possibility for an SEO firm to place a single text link on a website which is capable of driving thousands of high quality potential clients to a site (meaning increased business for that company), without a change in PageRank being registered. So why therefore, would you want to use PageRank as a measure of success? Improvements to the organic performance of a website take time to register with each search engine, so you should expect to be tidied into an SEO firm for at least 12 months. Having said that, if your provider is good, evidence of the work they are doing should be offered to you each month.