Organic Search Ranking—Is #1 Really Number One?


Have you ever received an email from a company that “guarantees to get you in the #1 spot on Google”? I can’t tell you how many clients of mine and forwarded me those emails so excited that someone can guarantee they will be the first result on Google. Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, you know what they say about things that sound too good to be true.

Search Engine Optimization is all about making your website more visible to people who are using search engines to look for your products, brand, or services. By optimizing your website for search engines, not only can you improve its ranking, and thus be found by potential customers, but you can also create a better user experience. That is the key to SEO: you are optimizing for your visitors, not just for search engines.

With that last point in mind, ranking #1 has decreased in importance. That’s because:

1.The way we search has changed, making keywords harder to target. The old-school SEO thinking had you hunting for keywords with high traffic and low competition. The new-school thinking has you trying to get inside the head of your target customer to determine how and what they are searching for.

Semantic search has changed the relationships between keywords and phrases are fuzzier. It’s harder to selectively target one important phrase, since Google tries to match user queries with the most relevant content—rather than the content with the most exact text matches.

2.The way search results are delivered has changed. If you think back to the last time you searched for something, or asked Google a question, how was the information displayed? You may have seen a collection of the three most relevant local companies for your query, a Knowledge Graph box, or a rich answer set apart from the organic search results. These new types of search entries are weakening organic number one rankings.

3.Authority matters more. How credible your content is in the search engine’s mind now greatly impacts your rank. Other sites linking to your content is the best way to achieve this.

You can use off-page optimization to improve your website’s reputation and authority. This depends mainly on inbound links. Off-page optimization involves measures which ensure that good-quality, relevant backlinks are created in the long term. This is also referred to as “link building.

4. So does CTR. The thing to take away is that there is so much that goes into search rankings, that there is no one size fits all approach.

So what do you do? Do you need to toss out your old strategy?

NO! It means you need to be agile and flexible with your strategy. It means you need to spend time understanding your customers, what problems you solve for them, and how they are searching for your product or service. Meet them where they are looking for you so you are in the right place at the right time.

Some important factors that the search engine algorithm takes into account when ranking a website:

  • The website’s content
  • The website’s structure and internal links
  • The searcher’s geographical location
  • Mobile optimization
  • Loading times
  • Server accessibility
  • Social signals (links from social networks)

Want to reevaluate your SEO strategy? Contact us for an audit and recommendations to improve your strategy.

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