That Bittersweet Top Ranking

Talking to people, especially clients, can be very enlightening. If you are in business, you must get out there and like the Americans say, ‘press the flesh’. Go network but more importantly, go talk to people to find out what they think.

Last week, we met with a potential client – let’s call her Diana. Now Diana runs a family business dealing with plastic products. She has big hopes for her business and wants to enter the Chinese market soon.

The first thing she said was, “I want my website to be on the first page of Google.”

Now we get asked this a lot. No, I mean, REALLY A LOT.

Inside their question or statement is this: Can you put me on number one spot in Google? (Or whatever search engine’s their favourite.)

Top ranking on Google is every website’s dream. Everyone wants to be found when searched, right?

But here’s where the logic is flawed. And this applies to running Google Adwords too and I will explain why later.

Getting top spot is sweet of course. It’s like being the first shop people see when they saunter into a shopping mall.

What’s more important than top spot is whether your website can entice people to stay and learn more about your products and services. Like the shop analogy, will people go into your shop and browse? Do you have what it takes to attract them to stay and shop or at least, find out more about what you sell?

Getting to the first page of Google is just one step. The next step is up to your website. It’s no point being on the first page IF all your visitors do is click in and click out! That’s a pure waste of traffic.

It’s just like Google Adwords. Once you’ve paid and bid correctly, your ad will appear on top of your competitor’s ad. But beware: have you done enough work on your website so that when people click on your ad (and you need to pay for each click, mind you) they have something worthwhile to see or find?

I am reminded of this particular ad I saw online yesterday. This ad was placed higher than all other ads. I clicked on it, only to find myself at a website which proclaimed “Website under construction”.

My, what a waste of money! If your website is not ready yet, why spend money to have people click your ad and go to an empty website? You’re already ruining the experience for many people will be disappointed and perhaps never come back again.

And then again, being ranked on Google depends on which keywords you are aiming for. As a quick rule, don’t go for general one word keywords. Time and again, it’s been proven that people type phrases into search engines rather than single words to find what they need. It’s been proven too. If you optimise for single word keywords, you’re shooting yourself in the foot. You’re battling with gazillions of websites out there.

So that top ranking can be bittersweet if you don’t have a website designed to entice or attract. Most people will click in and click out. Of course, you probably won’t know this until you measure what’s happening on your website. Then again, even if you measure (and that’s called web analytics), you must know what the figures are telling you – the numbers are there for a good reason.

The key thing is: get your website in order first before you aim for top ranking or sign up for Google Adwords. Make it as sticky as possible. Then getting number one or being on page one of Google is worth the time and money.

To your web success,


More related articles:
What you can learn from this website audit

The monkey and peanut story

Can I be number one?

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