Number one misunderstanding about SEO

I’ve been meeting with our web clients and prospective customers for over a decade and one of the most common questions is “how can I get a top position on Google search results”. It is not uncommon that my customer has already been barraged by telemarketers that promise top search results or guarantee top search listings so I find that it is necessary to roll back a certain amount of what they believe to be true.

I start with the hard truth by explaining how Google works. The promise that Google makes to us as search users is that when you search they are going to do their very best at showing you the most relevant and highest quality information on the web for the phrase you search on. They do a very good job at this which is why we use their service.

The hard news for most of my customers is that your website is not going to get top search results on the most frequently searched terms for your business unless you have quality content. For most of my customers this means that there is going to be a long and costly road of researching article ideas and relevant search terms, writing custom articles, picking photos and producing video that communicates their story. There are dozens if not thousands of competitors that are perhaps well ahead of you in this effort and already recognized as the subject authority by Google. ┬áSome of the common misunderstandings that I have to help customers “un-learn” are as follows:

  • Packing a page with keywords is not going to improve your results. In fact Google may actually penalize your results if they believe you are using spam style techniques. Customers ask me about “meta data” and while there is a use and importance for meta data and how Google may use this to display your site information, it isn’t going to be magic on your search results.
  • Yes you can be number one on Google but what does that even mean to you? If your company is “Slobonivich Plumbing Repair” and you setup the website with that domain, there is an excellent chance that you will show up as the first listing for that very unique search phrase with nearly zero effort. The problem of course is new customers won’t know to search for your company name so you want to show up under “Plumber Columbus Ohio”. That my friend is going to be a long road. So we may help you start out with more winnable terms like “Grove City Plumber” if your business is in the suburb of Grove City and there are fewer websites with content relevant to that term.
  • The number one misunderstanding we find is that your “site” does not necessarily have a search result, Google doesn’t list websites, they list web pages. There is a key difference here. Each page of your site can be optimized for a different term and as such it is the pages that show up in search results. What can be helpful is to do an analysis of your existing website and find out using Google Webmaster Tools – which pages are already showing up in Google results and for which terms. There may already be some traction for some pages on your site that can be taken advantage of to further improve those pages so they perform better. This may include bolstering the content of those pages as well as finding ways to bolster internal and external quality links to them.


top search results