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Some SEO companies will guarantee you placement. Anyone who does this either a) isn't showing you the fine print or B) doesn't quite know what they're talking about. Placement in “natural language” or free search – the listings on the left-hand side of most search results – can't be guaranteed because the formulas used to rank sites are secret and constantly changing. Companies may be able to guarantee ranking using pay-per-click ads, but this is a different thing entirely. So, when considering an SEO project, beware companies that promise a specific ranking. They're misleading.