Why Being on the First Page of Google Is Meaningless

Jody Biagini
Jody Biagini Client Services Manager, Ciceron

Posted on April 7th 2014

Why Being on the First Page of Google Is Meaningless

Google Search Results

We hear it every day. ‘I want to be number one on Google.’ Of course you do. Because when your boss does a few searches and doesn’t find you there, you hear about it, right? You probably see that messaging filling your inboxes from inquiring ‘SEO’ companies that promise to ‘make it happen’. Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but being on the first page of Google is pointless. This alone gets you nothing.

We need to begin thinking like marketers that want to build a successful business. Because ultimately, being on the first page of Google doesn’t bring home the bacon.

Every decision you make should be centered around your customers. What do they want from you, how can you serve them better, how do you cultivate advocacy?  You need to think about these questions and ensure that you are making every step of your customers’ experiences the best that they can be. Whether it be in your stores, your customer service, through your communication plans, or on your website.

Listen to them. Learn from them. Become a better business for them and because of them. You do this and they will repay you. They will recommend you to their friends and family. They will leave online reviews on your behalf. They will become lifetime, loyal customers.

Provide great, shareable and easily digestible content. Showcase your expertise and prove to them that they can turn to you for answers. Connect with your customers the way they want to and give them the content that they want to consume. Become their trusted source and they will repay you. They will follow you on your social channels, engage with you, share your messages with others seeking answers, and inspire you to create more content.

And guess what? If you change the way you look at success, and accomplish these things, then you are on your way to getting on the first page of Google. Didn’t see that coming, now did you?

SEO has changed. It’s no longer just about getting all of your meta data aligned and your site content optimized, but also about getting your customers involved in the conversation. Their online reviews and interactivity with your brand is essential to getting rankings. It’s also no longer about building meaningless links across hundreds of sites, but creating great content and connecting that content to relevant sources. If you don’t have that content, how do you expect to build links?

Google knows all. They understand what users want when they type in inquiries. As marketers, it is our job to show Google that we are the best company to put in front of their relevant searchers. Prove yourself by doing right by your customers’ experiences, and you will find yourself on that coveted page one of Google.

Photo Credit: Google Search Results/shutterstock

Jody Biagini

Jody Biagini

Client Services Manager, Ciceron

I am a Client Services Manager for Ciceron, a Minneapolis based digital consulting agency. I am fascinated by numbers and love telling a story through analytics. I specialize in SEO and digital media.

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Comments

Nathan Greenberg
Posted on April 7th 2014 at 1:14PM

Your headline says not to worry about the important thing you tell us how to achieve by the end of the post.

Jody Biagini
Posted on April 7th 2014 at 1:57PM

Yes, exactly. Of course it is important that you have a presence on Google, but how you get there matters. Put your customers at the center of your attention and let them determine how and why you take certain actions, and ultimately this will help you gain exposure on Google if done properly. Just being on the first page of Google alone does not equal success. 

 

Miguel Agawin
Posted on April 8th 2014 at 6:34PM

Can you please elaborate on your second last graph? Do these external sites AND digital reviews (what constitutes a review? Are FB comments, Tweets with your handle included?) you mention require them to have a link to your site? Also, how do you first of all create hundreds of links and to what sites? (I don't have other sites linking to ones I manage – just links to individual news posts.) Do you simply ask other sites to provide a link to your site for a fee and these sites are what you refer to as possibly being meaningless because they aren't relevant sources? I guess a more scientific answer please. Thanks!

J MacDougall
Posted on April 10th 2014 at 4:38PM

I have to agree with Nathan, the title to this article contradicts the concluding paragraph.What you say is valid, but that headline is so off it undermines what you actually are saying here.

gene sower
Posted on April 10th 2014 at 4:39PM

I think you may have omitted the most important qualifier about that statement.  It's not so much about being on page one of Google as about being on page one of Google for what?  The name of your business?  (worthless) Your money keywords?  (priceless).  As part of our initial SEO research for clients, we tell them to focus on the products or services they offer that have a decent search volume --- otherwise getting them on page one for something that no one searches for is, indeed, meaningless. 

gsimon818
Posted on April 10th 2014 at 5:56PM

Now that's a bait and switch headline, lol. 

In response to your statement in the first paragraph, "This alone gets you nothing" referring to being on the first page of Google.

This isn't accurate. According to this Chitika survey, a #1 position on Google will actually get you 33% of search traffic for that keyword. And yes, gene is right, what keyword that is matters. If you look at the entire first page, what you'll get isn't nothing, it's 90% of all the search traffic for a particular keyword. So you'll get traffic, and depending on the quality of that keyword for your business, maybe really qualified traffic.

In my experience, once you have an optimized sales funnel on your site that converts at a steady rate, more traffic equals more leads. So you could say that being on the first page of Google doesn't get you nothing, it gets you more traffic and leads. 

bigsands
Posted on April 11th 2014 at 3:40AM

In our niche business, it is all about being on the first page and being more than half the way up the first page. We all know that over 70% of customers will click on one of the first 5 results and today, customers want the most relevant result in a matter of seconds, so it is all about being on that first page. The key points in this article about listening and providing great shareable content are ofcourse very important, but a prerequisite would be to drop anchor on that first page and be on the lookout for pirates. 

Steve Faber
Posted on April 12th 2014 at 10:33PM

Jody,

Of course being on the first page of Google get's you something if:

- You're there for a keyword people actually search for in any sort of volume

-  That keyword is relavent to your business

- Your listing is near the top of the page

and, of course.....

- Your website converts visitors

The problem is, of course in all likliehood you won't actually stay in the top position, what with all the Google algorithm changes, and so many others gunning for the top spot for valuable keywords. It's somewhat of a losing game anyway.

While it is certainly nice to be there, the resources it takes to get and stay there can reduce the actual ROI to much lower than you'd first think. In addition, relying heavilly on Google traffic is NOT a sound way to build a long term business. It's somewhat like balancing ones business on a three legged stool with one broken leg. 

Just my .02c here