EJM Designs Limited Blog

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Stop Asking for First Page. Please.

This is why I get paid the big buck(s). Not because I can get you in the Top 10 (first page) of Google search engine results page (SERP), but because I educate companies away from wasting their time on foolishness and provide them with realistic expectations and real results.

(Please Note: I am not stating that getting first page on Google for search results for a specific phrase is impossible. It is not.)

I'm prompted to write this post after running into RFPs containing phrases like this all too often:

"I wanna be first on Google for all my words."


"I wanna own the word 'casino.'"

(note: I have found RFPs and "professional" communication in general to be rife with colloquial dialect without regard to grammar or even spelling. But that's for another post.)

Search engine optimization is not a money slot or card reader where you feed it cash or swipe your card and the more you pay, the higher your ranking. But there are many companies out there who believe that. And many other companies who hunt those companies and exploit their false beliefs and drain them of money.

One assumption some companies make is that they need to own the root word of their field. If they make and sell violin accessories, they want to rank high for violin. Do you sell violins? No? Then why would you want someone to find your site for something they are not looking for? They will subconsciously affiliate your site with the word "damn" and clicking the back button.

High ranking is not a crammed placement methodology. It starts with quality content and extends to best practices SEO, and even if you work it right and do everything the way in needs and should be done (and don't take the Black Hat path), you will never be #1 on page 1 of a Google SERP for "rice" or "casino."

Why? Wikipedia, for one. Google's supplemental content in Videos or News or Images for another. IMDB, encyclopedic entries, word definitions, and sites dedicated to those words will always be ranked highly because of the abundance of content.

SO, Mr. Naysayer, what do we do in this hopeless world of disappointment?

That's easy. You need to make sure you have appropriately abundant content on your site. Then you have to look at your site, your business, and decide exactly what it is that aligns with your goals and your target customers. What phrases - 2, 3, 4 words long - would you focus on? Should you focus on? Do any of those words or phrases have secondary or tertiary meanings? Now, does your content fully reflect those phrases?

Once you have that in order, get someone to pile on the quality SEO work that will properly optimize your site and build on that successful content.

You may not end up with any results for your core word, but the long tail could make you very popular for "commemorative casino plates."

You know, if you're into that kind of thing.

Have you bought into any gimmicks guaranteeing absurdly high placement? Is it ever legit? Have you ever dumped money into a company that talked a big game and was just collecting a check? Let me know!

And if you have any questions, feel free to contact me, Eric Marschall, at 216.288.0217.

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