Thursday, October 27, 2011

“Top Ten” ranking is not good enough. Here is why.

As with most non-regulated sectors, search engine optimization has its unwritten industry standards. One of those unwritten standards is what we call “the fallacy of the top ten”. In a misguided attempt to sell their services, and then prove that they are effective, many SEO firms focus on getting as many top-ten rankings for your search terms as possible. On the surface, this seems like an effective strategy, which is why they do it. And because you, the client, can’t be expected to know any better, it makes for a great sales pitch.
It’s also baloney, and we don’t buy it. Here is why. Several studies have come out showing a wide gap between the number one ranked website and the number two ranked website. How wide a gap? One study that tracked both user eye movements and user clicks found that 42% of searchers clicked on the top-ranked site, even though most of those people had actually looked at other listings, some even scrolling down before returning to click on the top-ranked website. In that study, just eight percent of searchers clicked on the number two ranked website. Other studies since have confirmed a similar gap between the top ranked website and the second ranked website.
Here is a screenshot that shows where people typically look at a search screen. Obviously if your website shows up where people look, you stand a better chance of making a sale than if it shows up somewhere else. And that somewhere else includes the “top ten” listing so many SEO specialists brag about.
Here is an example of how this has inspired us to run a more effective SEO marketing campaign for you.
Suppose that you have 25 search terms your website is targeting. Suppose further that you rank between 6 and 10 at Google for 5 of them, but for the other 20 search terms you languish somewhere on the second, third or even lower pages of Google’s listings.
Here is what most SEO firms will do: they will try to boost the remaining 20 search terms so that they can report to you the most impressive-sounding number of top-ten rankings possible. That is where they will focus. While boosting your ranking for those 20 terms is a good thing, the focus is not.
Here is what this SEO firm will do: we will focus our primary attention on boosting further your rankings for the five search terms you already rank for in the top ten. Why, because there is more ROI (profits) for you in getting top-three billing, and way more in getting number one ranking for even one search term than getting a number nine nor ten ranking for a dozen search terms.

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