by John Eberhard

Someone called me up recently saying that someone had walked into their office and said he could guarantee them the #1 position on Google for two specific keywords related to his business. My contact wanted to know what I thought of this?

There are a bunch of people out there making this kind of offer to businesses, and I happen to think that most of them are being totally dishonest and preying on the lack of knowledge of most business owners in how this website marketing stuff all works. I have run into quite a few of these guys, who have sold their offer to someone who later became my client. Let’s take a look at some facts regarding all this:

  1. First of all, there are two sets of search results on a Google page; the organic results, and the paid or sponsored results. The organic results are the regular results for that search on Google, appearing after the paid ads and local listings. The paid results are achieved through setting up a pay per click advertising account on Google Ads, and these appear at the very top, the 1-3 results on the top. Many of these people who make such promises will just put you up with an ad on Google Ads, bidding high enough to achieve the #1 slot for the keywords they have promised you. There is no trick to this.
  1.  Promising someone the #1 spot on Google for specific keywords, even if they achieve this through Google Ads or other means, doesn’t necessarily mean anything. It all depends on how many people are searching for that keyword. Do you think it would mean anything to have the #1 spot on Google for “blue and purple striped pipe cleaners” if only one person per month searched for that keyword? I’m using a ridiculous example but the concept applies to any business. Owning a keyword that no one searches for is meaningless, and any money you pay to achieve that is pretty much wasted. I remember one home improvement client who had been sold a certain number of keywords at X amount per keyword, with all of them having various city names included in the keyword. Most of those keywords had zero traffic and he was being charged monthly for each one, paying around $2500 per month.
  1. Even if this guy who promised you the #1 spot for the keyword “blue and purple striped pipe cleaners” went out and got you that spot using Google Ads, you probably wouldn’t get any traffic from it. One of the things to consider when setting up a Google Ads account is getting keywords that have lots of traffic. And the final product of a Google Ads campaign is supposed to be conversions, i.e. a person who responds to you and becomes either a lead or a sale. The product is NOT having the #1 position on Google. That may sound great and may be a means to an end but it is not the product itself.
  1. There is no way that someone can guarantee you the #1 spot on Google for a high traffic keyword in the organic listings. Maybe they can guarantee it for some lousy keyword for which no one is searching, but this is pointless as I said above. The key with search engine optimization is to first do some keyword research and find keywords that a) have decent numbers of people searching them monthly, and b) don’t have a ton of sites competing for those keywords. These are the gold nuggets. Once you find them you embark on a link building campaign to move yourself up in the rankings for those keywords, and this is a several month process.

In summary, I think these guys who guarantee you the #1 spot on Google for specific keywords are, for the most part, being dishonest and ripping people off.

The real way to do this, is:

  1. Start a Google Ads account and select high traffic keywords, set your geography so the ads appear in the geographical locations you want, and put your ads up. Then bid high enough so your ads appear somewhere in the top 5, and set it up correctly so that you start driving traffic to your site. Remember that conversions are the key. Using Ads you can achieve high rankings quickly, while you are working on the next part.
  1. Do keyword research, select keywords that have decent traffic but low number of competing sites. Then optimize your site and put these keywords up on the site. Then start a link building campaign using these selected keywords and stick with it for at least 6-12 months.

If you do “b” above and stick with it and don’t bail too early, you will achieve a good number of keywords in the top 20, top 10 and some #1 positions. And they will be keywords that will be worth something.