“Can you guarantee I can get on the first page of Google?”
That’s a question I often get when discussing search engine optimization (aka SEO) with clients and potential clients. The short answer?
Nope. Nobody can. Anyone who says they can is lying.
Let me clarify a bit.
Optimizing your website for search engines involved improving its content with words and phrases that research and common sense shows your target market might be typing in. It’s more than just picking one single word or phrase you want to rank well for.
How people search
Let’s look at a hypothetical situation. Say we have someone with a company based in Edmond, Oklahoma looking for a website. If they are unfamiliar with web design companies in the area, but know they want to hire a local company, they’re much more likely to search for “web design Edmond” than they would be for “T&S Web Design.”
Okay, you caught me, that’s less hypothetical and more something we deal with every day. So we chose to optimize our site more for “web design Edmond” than any other phrase. But search for the phrase “web design” by itself, and we’re somewhere past the 200th listing.
Remembering the competition
Also, there are competitors to think about. We are very careful to explain to those in certain industries like insurance and real estate that their chances of getting on page one of the search engine results are low at best. Realistically, the chances are pretty close to zero, unless they’re in some niche that has a realistic chance of less people being able to fill. “Castles in New York” might be one such area.
We aren’t Google
Finally, the simple truth is that we’re simply not in control of search engines like Google, Bing or Yahoo because we’re not them. As any parent can tell you, no one person can tell exactly what another person (or company) will do.
So if you run into one of those companies that “guarantee” first page placement for search engine optimization, just remember it’s a scam. So don’t fall for it.
But don’t take our word for it
Feel free to check out Google’s advice on SEO, which also warns against placement guarantees. Yahoo! also gives their own SEO advice. Finally, if you really want to, you can read Bing’s blatantly biased SEO advice.
Note: Yahoo! and Bing have since removed those pages.
* If you were not aware, Google, Bing and Yahoo! are the top three search engines out there currently. According to some sources, over 96% of searches done online are performed on those three sites.