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I’m top of the Google search results! (For a term no one Googles.)
We get businesses found online through marketing. We work with many companies on their search and analytics and we’re tasked with the job of getting them onto page one of the Google Search results. Let’s face it; no one goes to page 5,6 or 7 and you’d be hard pushed to find a client who’d be happy with page 2, 3 or 4. So page one is the only target.
We’ve lost count of the number of times businesses have told us that their main competitor is above them on Google and they’re not happy. “Really? For which phrase or keyword?” we ask. “Oh, Fluffy Pink Bananas in Bristol and Square Oranges in Manchester, and they always appear for Triangular-shaped Pears in Cheltenham”*.The problem is that this kind of ‘research’ is somewhat flawed.
*Actual conversation may differ from the above.
Here are a few things to consider about Google:
- Google shows you the results it thinks you want based on your search history
- Google shows you pages you’ve searched before (that includes yours and your competitors’ websites)
- Google often shows you local search results over national ones if they’re relevant
- You can appear top of Google if no one else is trying to rank for your keyword, but that’s possibly because no one is searching for it – and that’s a problem in itself.
Anyone can be top of Google, right now, and here’s how…
Let’s take our silly example above. Who sells Fluffy Pink Bananas? Currently no one. So if you wanted to be top, or at least second or third for our silly example, you could be.
Grab yourself a website, or even create a page on your current site. Call it ‘Fluffy Pink Bananas’ then talk about Fluffy Pink Bananas and add some photos of Fluffy Pink Bananas and then some titles and headings with Fluffy Pink Bananas in. Then wait a week or even less, and you’ll be top of Google… for something no one Googles! Ah.
Why would you want to be top of Google for something hardly anyone Googles?
OK, our conversations with clients aren’t quite that obscure, but you’d be amazed how many are fixated on terms and phrases that people aren’t looking for and wouldn’t Google to find them. Beware of thinking ‘inside’ the box because you know too much about your business.
When you’re thinking about keywords and phrases you want to be top for, try thinking about words people search for when they’re looking for solution that you provide. And we’re not talking about the answer – the products and the services that help people – we’re talking about the problem, because that’s what people type into Google.
If people knew the answer, they wouldn’t Google it!
Think about that for a second…
People aren’t looking for you; you’re looking for them. It’s all back-to-front and most businesses are fixated on ranking for the products and services they provide, rather than the phrases and keywords their potential customers are Googling. You don’t want to be top of Google for your bespoke product followed by your town name… because no one uses Google like that! Searches for unique and bespoke products are very low. Searches for the generic description of your product are much higher.
- Fluffy Pink Bananas – non-existent search results
- Bananas – 12,100 monthly searches (Google.co.uk – Dec 2013).
So you can see the competition is far greater the more generic you go. Everyone knows about bananas, and the search per month is higher. The competition would be very high though, making ranking for bananas very tough indeed. It’s about striking a balance.
“Your potential customers don’t understand the benefit of your Fluffy Pink Bananas, so they won’t be Googling it. You need to find out what people who would buy your bananas are Googling instead.”
Let’s say your bananas offer a great health benefits or are a good aphrodisiac. Look for those searches, add those keywords, and try to appear top of the search results on Google, right in front of the people who need your bananas. You don’t want to be on top of page one for 1 or 2 searches a month.
Stop Googling yourself in public!
The problem with Google is that we all have access to it all of the time. The temptation to Google ourselves is there, and the temptation to Google our competitors is quite strong too. Google is a very complex system and it’s very intelligent. It’s designed to learn your history, so be careful basing your ranking on your search results alone. Big Brother knows who you are! There are ways of hiding who you are though, so use these if you must.
The other problem is that many owners are too fixated on their business, so they don’t see it from the outside, from the searcher’s viewpoint, from the minds of their potential customers. We do, and we often see the penny drop when we tell our clients what we’re going to try and get them ranking for.
So, forget about the Fluffy Pink Bananas and start trying to sell the benefits instead of the product. Anyone can be top of Google for a term no one uses.
Posted by Todd.
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