Ranking number one on Google was the number one request I received when I was freelancing as a search marketing expert. 98% were relevant requests but the odd one would leave me shaking my head. Like the woman who owned a DJ service and asked me to get her a number one ranking for “Lady Gaga”. I asked why did she want to rank well for Lady Gaga? Her reply was that Lady Gaga was popular therefore it made sense to rank well for Lady Gaga.
I tried to explain that there was no way I could even come close to ranking a site for Lady Gaga and she replied like so many other potential clients did, that she would find someone who would. I’m sure she did find someone who would take her money and promise her something they couldn’t possibly deliver, but it wasn’t going to be me.
Being number one on Google isn’t always important.
My springboard to search marketing success was when I ranked my VHS to DVD transfer business at #1 for VHS to DVD transfers in Toronto. When the search volume for VHS to DVD transfers was high so were the queries landing on my doorstep. But once the search volume dropped so did the queries. For the last 9 months or so of being ranked #1 for VHS to DVD transfers in Toronto I didn’t receive any queries whatsoever. Which pointed to the futility of being number one. If it is a phrase no one is searching for then being number one for it is useless.
I currently rank number one on Google for the search phrase “search marketing expert”, for the blog post I wrote about being a self taught expert in the field of search marketing. Have I been able to translate this number one ranking for a very competitive term into anything? Speaking gigs? Writing gigs? No. I haven’t. Why? Because this is a blog and not a business site and I don’t and won’t have a call to action. Which is another reason being number one is useless, if you don’t do anything with your visitors, why bother? You go to all the effort to bring them to your site, but you have no way to convert them from visitors to customers.
Being number one for the wrong phrase is also a challenge. I was recently approached by someone who wanted to be number one for “tourism Toronto”. But when I looked at his website it was already optimized for “bus tours in Toronto” and “tours in Toronto” and the combined search volume for those two phrases was triple the search volume for “tourism Toronto”. The potential client was adamant though that he knew his business and that he had to be ranked number one for tourism Toronto and that if I couldn’t do it, there were others who would.
Like the Lady Gaga client, I’m sure he could find someone who would take his money and promise to get them a number one ranking, but it wasn’t going to be me.
Chasing a number one ranking is a futile exercise. Search marketing success comes when you answer a question, solve a problem, provide valuable information or assist a searcher find a solution. Match the searchers intent with your offering and you have taken the first step to search marketing success. The next step is to convert them from visitors to customers. That is when you are really successful!
Sorry to bust everyone’s balloon, but being number one on Google isn’t always important.