Competence and Competition
Competence: Almost Always Achievable!
Due to the malleable nature of the web, a good web designer, given sufficient time and resources, should be able to build anything you can imagine. Want your background image to be a sky moving smoothly from dark to sunrise to daylight to sunset to night sky? It's possible. Want to have a special deal sent only to customers with a last name starting with "k" as a market test? It's possible.
Competition: Uncertainty. Uncertainty. Uncertainty.
"We'll make you Number One in Google!", the unsolicited e-mail promises.
They are just like the stockbroker who purportedly knows what stocks are going up or down, and just like the sports betting tipster knows what teams will win next week. They've just decided to share their billionaire making wisdom with you out of the goodness of their hearts, for only $99, instead of using it to make billions themselves... ...Because they care.
Internet Marketing competition is like a sporting event: There's skill, luck, strategy, cheating, penalties for cheating, and unequal talents. And, like everything on the Internet, it changes constantly.
A good, honest professional football coach would never say: "Hire me and you'll win the SuperBowl next year. Guaranteed!" They would know that their are 31 other very talented coaches with the same objective and a new strategy every year. It's impossible to know for a certainty that your plan is better than all the others, or that your key players will avoid injury. Every year, the improbable bounces of an oddly shaped balls change every team's SuperBowl prospects. The Internet has always been filled with many improbable bounces...
Google algorithm changes in 2011-12 favored large businesses over small business: Walmart gained in organic search at the expense of Harry's Corner Store. Harry's Corner Store may have employed the best SEO professional in business, but he'd still have lost ground to Walmart and Amazon. In 2013, Google may decide they overcorrected, and Harry's SEO person will look brilliant again.
Unethical SEO tactics work wonderfully until you land on a search engine's penalized list, and then you'll suddenly be completely missing from the results for months or years.
It's understandable that business owners seek specific results from their investment. Unfortunately, the best an honest web marketing professional can promise is competence. A properly optimized, well-designed, attractive and functional web site will generate more business than a bad site. That's the only real guarantee.