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SEO: Should You Be Number One In the Rankings?

Submitted Wednesday, May 15th 2013 8:00 am by Jeremy
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SEO: Should You Be Number One In The Rankings?In a perfect world you'd be the top site ranked for any possible relevant search. You have a nice site. You provide a good service. You've paid for some initial search engine optimization (SEO). You're good enough, you're smart enough, and doggone it, people like...your site, when they find it. But you're not always #1, or on page 1, for this-or-that search, and you want to do something about it. However, take a look at the search results, and the page you'd slide in there if you could, and ask yourself a question.

Should You Be There?

Actually ask yourself this question. I've written before about picking a practical goal with the search results, but perhaps this is a bit more concrete a way to do that. This is different than a desire to be there. Why should Google see your site, or a page of your site, as a "better" answer than whatever is there now? If your answer to that question is anything like "my site looks nicer", "Because I paid a lot for my site" or even "Because I paid a lot for SEO services" then the answer is probably no. To start, a lot of people have paid a lot of money for those other sites too, and though there was a time where SEO was way to get a leg up on the competition, these days you're doing it just to try to stay close. Secondly, unless the SEO service you're paying for is a legitimate ongoing service (some SEO services bill you monthly, but sending you that bill is pretty much the extent of the month-to-month service they're providing), then you're kind of misunderstanding what SEO is. SEO is a process, not something your website provider "turns on". If your website was an actor, the behind the scenes things, and SEO tools, that your web site designer provided you with were your headshots. You're still probably going to have to work hard, and fill some small roles, before you have a chance to make it big. If you go straight for only auditioning for roles as leading man in the next summer blockbuster, you probably aren't going to make it. 

If, however, your answer to this question is something more like "because this page IS the best response to that search," (and not just because you want it to be) then start there.  

So, for example, if you're one of many sites that sell "The Webteam Lacrosse Stick", and the search in question is something generic like "lacrosse", or even "lacrosse stick," then the answer to "should I be there" is likely no. Could you be? Sure. You fit the bill, but there are 150 actors competing for that role, and they all look just like you, have similar talents, and all their mom's think they're most special. Some day you might walk into the room as "the guy we know from that thing" or "Wow, it's HIM", but today you're just "a guy".

If, on the other hand, you're the only vendor of the Webteam Lacrosse Stick in Wisconsin, then the answer to "should I be there" for the search "Webteam Lacrosse Stick in Wisconsin" is yes. If you have exclusive rights to the Ice Blue Webteam Lacrosse Stick then you should be number one for "Ice Blue Webteam Lacrosse Stick". You legitimately fill that role better than anyone else, so you'll likely find getting it much easier. Find all the roles where only you fill them, all the roles where Google has cast the wrong website, and focus on filling those. Number one will still probably be a good deal of work, and it's not a given it will ever happen for those either, but you'll have to do much less convincing. Those niche roles might help you gain the reputation you need to get the bigger roles, but either way, if you can find your niche and fill it, you'll be better off.

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