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When Being Top Of Google Isn't Enough - The Next Stage...

How The Heck Did THAT Happen?

It’s now entirely possible to be top of Google without even appearing on the page (not at first glance anyway).

Let me put it another way. Your position one natural ranking on Google might appear below the fold on page one. It’s so far down that people have to scroll to get to it.

Why? It’s because there’s now so much other stuff on page one: images, videos, Google Shopping ads, blogs, news, PPC text ads and (occasionally) the Knowledge Graph.

And don’t even get me started on personalised search which shows each of us a different set of results for the same keyword!

So all the single-minded effort you put into getting to number one may have been undermined by the fact that your so-called ‘position one’ ranking is in reality lurking way down in scrollsville.

Take this search for example…


Yours truly searched for ‘restaurant in Poole’ on Google. What did I get on page 1? In order or appearance, this…

  • A couple of PPC text ads (plus a whole bunch more down the right hand sidebar)
  • Three natural rankings – one for TripAdvisor (with four sitelinks) and two for Poole Tourism
  • Various local search map rankings (A-G)
  • Some more natural rankings (headed by Banana Wharf, part of a chain) and dominated by directories.
  • It’s not until the foot of the page that you get a single-site independent restaurant appearing in the non-map natural results. (It’s ranked A in the local search too – well done Guildhall Tavern!)

Searching For The Holistic Grail…

You need to adopt a more holistic approach, appearing in as many places on that Google page as you can.

Page one of Google is probably one of the most valuable chunks of digital real estate in the world. So obviously the more of it you can occupy the better.

Like so many other things in life, it’s a game of territory. It’s about getting you on page one and keeping your competitors out. It’s about targeting potential customers with a multi-pronged approach.

You need to get on page one not just for your key web pages but also for images, video, news and blogs.

And in addition to being top of the organic rankings, you also need a profitable presence in the PPC ads. Note the word ‘profitable’: return on investment (ROI) is crucial.

For many companies, paid search no longer involves unwieldy big brigades of keywords.

Instead, we can help companies to adopt a special forces approach – using small groups of elite keywords that convert well and are quick and easy (and therefore cost effective) to manage.

This is particularly true for small firms with limited budgets. It’s better to focus on proven top performers than it is to get greedy and end up hosing money at mid-tier ‘also ran’ keywords that impact negatively on ROI.

Owners of e-commerce websites can also get some very profitable conversions by advertising on Google Shopping (formerly Product Listing Ads).

Look at how these Google Shopping ads visually dominate the search for ‘golf clubs’…


Think also about display ads and remarketing (ads which follow you around on the web). They can help you to hoover up customers that missed the search ads (but keep a watchful eye on ROI).

Think also about mobile – check your analytics and other metrics to see how users are browsing, consuming and sharing your content.

Is your content responsive? How will it appear on their handsets and tablets? Are you doing enough to drive mobile conversions? Plenty of food for thought.

“Local Search For Local People”

Too many companies adopt a blinkered approach to search – forgetting that local map rankings can pay seriously good dividends.

Google has now relaunched local search as Google My Business. We’re very excited about the new changes – as you can tell from my colleague Andy King’s fab blog post on the subject.

Nailing your best performing bread and butter keywords with three page one rankings – organic, PPC and local – can have a mesmerising impact on users and boost your conversion rate.

Write Between The Eyes

Well targeted blogging has never been more important. Writing engaging content that gets ranked and shared should be an integral part of your marketing strategy.

The line between educating and selling is pixel-thin and getting skinnier every day.

In today’s culture of reviews and social sharing, your customers have an insatiable appetite for information.

Answering their questions and providing authoritative opinions to help them through the purchase process is all part of delivering superb customer service – helping you to gain sales, recommendations and referrals.

A good blog that has been properly set up, linked to your website with Google Authorship and is well fed with plenty of informative and entertaining content will have a positive effect on your enquiries.

That also applies to news articles. Not the simplistic ‘all about us’ variety but ones that target issues which affect customers directly and help them to serve their clients well.

Start Me Up

It all starts with a great strategy that is based on:

  • what success looks like for you (and the best way of measuring it for you – well defined KPIs)
  • how, where and when your different audiences search – you need to target them where they spend most time online and in ways that are most likely to result in conversions.

All this does not have to be complicated. Or technical. Or expensive.

But it does have to increase your sales, boost your profits, improve your ROI and reduce your stress.

After all, this is all about you. So let’s talk about you and how we can help.

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