Why We’ll Never Guarantee You a Google Number 1…14.05.2020
If your email inbox is anything like ours, you’re receiving numerous emails ‘guaranteeing’ to get your website a top spot in Google. But understanding how these claims can be made, whether that process is a sensible long-term strategy and – most importantly – whether it will deliver you genuine results, is key.
HeyYou! Digital only provide what is commonly referred to as ‘ethical’ or ‘white hat’ SEO services; practices which are recommended by Google and other search engines and which provide genuine results based on search phrases that your target audience are actually using.
How do you get a Google number one ranking?
The reality with the coveted top spot is just that – everyone wants it, so it’s a hugely competitive process to get there. And once you reach the top, you’ve got to work hard to stay there.
Depending on your industry and the keywords you want to target, your competitors for that top spot could range from small independent blogs and other local business websites, through to multi-national titans like Amazon.
There are all sorts of factors going into why the top ranked website has been placed in that spot – from the depth and quality of content, through to the number of other websites linking to it and a whole range of technical, off-page and on-page factors.
How can a Google #1 be guaranteed?
With this in mind, what’s going on with all these people guaranteeing you the top spot?
We’ve never hired anyone off the back of one of these emails to find out, but there’s a whole host of ‘black hat’ (or ‘definitely-not-recommended’) techniques they could be trying to use for some quick wins, such as…
1. Buying backlinks – or creating spammy ones
Backlinks, or links from other websites to yours, are one of the top factors that influence where Google ranks your site. These links are seen effectively as a recommendation of your website.
Backlinks work best – and for longer- when they’re genuine links from high-quality sites. But some people use unethical tactics for quick wins, such as paying to have your website linked to from a bunch of low-quality sites, or using a Personal Blog Network (PBN) – a network of sites they own themselves where they can place your link.
Depending on how subtly it’s done, this might be a tactic that they can get away with in the short term – giving your site a temporary boost and making it look like their SEO is having fantastic results.
But done badly, this will suggest to Google that your site is spammy – and therefore low quality – leading to a drop in rankings (and your online reputation) if it isn’t handled correctly.
Another tactic is to spam forums with comments including a link to your website in an attempt to create hundreds (or thousands) of ‘free’ backlinks. In reality, these links will be ‘nofollow’ and won’t have a positive impact on your site’s authority. The sheer quantity of these links will -again – appear to Google as spam.
Generally, Google eventually picks up on the vast majority of these links, and so at some point any initial increase in rankings and traffic will disappear as the links are removed. In some scenarios, you could be hit with a Google penalty, which will knock your site down the rankings, or even land your website with an outright ban.
We’ll never use these tactics – instead we use Digital PR, genuine outreach and content marketing to earn you high-quality links for a long-term boost.
2. Using spammy on-page tactics
On-page Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is an important part of improving rankings for a particular keyword or search phrase. Effective on-page optimisation includes things like creating quality, in-depth content; using image alt-texts well and internally linking to other relevant resources.
‘Black hat’ on-page techniques can include things like:
• ‘Keyword stuffing’ – or artificially placing your keyword into the page too many times. This used to be used as an SEO technique to ‘game’ the system, and doesn’t work well now because search engines have developed enough to recognise it. If attempted, it’s likely to make your page drop in rankings
• Invisible text – where keyword-rich text is ‘hidden’ in the page, such as being put in white text on a white background, or potentially hidden within Schema code placed on the page. Website viewers won’t see it, but the theory is that you’ll get the benefits of that text as the search engine ‘bots’ will read it as part of the html code. Search engines are looking to rank the content which is visible to users, so this could land you with a penalty if it’s found.
3. Creating useless search queries to rank for
One of the big variables in ranking in the top spot, of course, is which keyword or search phrase you’re trying to rank for. If it’s a high-competition, short-tail keyword, such as ‘meal delivery’ then the competition from other major websites will be exceedingly high.
If you want to rank for a less competitive keyword such as ‘breakfast delivery Nottingham’, it will be easier to earn an appearance in the top 10 search results. This keyword might not have as many people searching for it as ‘meal delivery’, but it’s also a much more specific query where you can match the content well to a particular user search intent. Ranking for a list of relevant long-tail or lower competition keywords can be a great strategy for building traffic to a new website.
If, however, you want to rank for something really long tail and specific, such as ‘breakfast delivery Nottingham with muffins and fluffy slippers’, then sure, you can probably get the number 1 spot with that one. How many people do you expect to actually search for that query? The answer, of course, is none – and so whilst it’s a ‘guaranteed number 1 ranking’, the value to your business is non-existant.
Rankings only matter when people are actually searching for what you’re offering – otherwise you’re wasting your time and money.
What we’ll guarantee instead…
So no, we won’t ever guarantee you a top spot in Google. When you work with us, this is what we’ll guarantee instead:
• That we’ll use methods including keyword research, competitor research, content creation and Digital PR to create an appropriate and effective SEO plan -targeting keywords and rankings that will make a real-world difference to your business.
• That we’ll work transparently, providing you with regular reports of what we’ve been working on and how it’s impacting your traffic, lead generation and conversions.
• That we’ll explain anything you don’t understand about what techniques we’re using and why they’re important.
• That we’ll always use ethical techniques, focusing on long-term results for your business.
• That we’ll always be always looking towards a positive, real-life impact on your business metrics – like new leads, sales and customers – as our goal.
How we’ll improve your presence on Google
At HeyYou! Digital, we work hard to get you results which will have real-world benefits to your business. When it comes to ranking, we start by exploring your current website, getting to know your business and goals and examining your competitors. Then we look to build a list of relevant keywords to aim to rank for – considering your target customers and what they’ll be searching for – before creating and optimising high quality content, monitoring your rankings and adjusting and tweaking as necessary to create the best online presence for your business that we can.
No artificial quick wins, no guaranteed number 1 spots, and no spammy tactics – just solid, high-quality SEO and content marketing designed to reach customers, drive sales and build you a great reputation online.