SEO Siren Song – The Lure of Being #1 on Google

“I want my site to be #1 in Google!”

At first blush, who wouldn’t? Seriously. But if you have ever found yourself or one of your clients saying these words with stars in their eyes, it’s time to get back to reality with these three simple truths:

Search engine optimization is about sales, not ranking.
You should search engine optimize your website not to become #1 in Google, but so that your target market can find you and buy from you. In reality, you could generate 10,000 visits a day from search, but if none of them are your specific potential customers you have wasted your money. You could generate just 100 visits a day, but if they are all your target customer, you could be rolling in profit. Search engine optimization is a question of quality, not quantity.

Search engine optimization is a highly competitive game. Type the word “accountant Philadelphia area” into Google. See how many results come up? In my search, it was 27,700,000. That means that if you are an accountant and you want to come up in the top 10 on Google for that term, you have to beat out 27,699,990 other web sites. Wow. That’s some fierce competition. When you realize what you are up against, you can modify your expectations to be more realistic. No longer is it a question of “I need to be #1 on Google for all the best keywords,” but “I need to generate X-amount of qualified traffic by various means and through various sources in order to maintain a viable and growing business.”

Search engine optimization is an ongoing process. Face the facts: even if you achieved #1 Google placement on Monday for one of your best keywords, you could drop in the rankings on Tuesday and be out of the running on Wednesday. Search is a constantly changing place, and how your site is ranked for various keywords or phrases can be more variable than the weather. That’s why search engine optimization requires ongoing tracking, analysis, and testing. The goal is not to get to #1 placement on Google for a day, but to maintain a strategic and targeted web presence 24-7-365.

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