My current job at Intrinsic Marketing, is to promote other peoples websites. This is a multi faceted role that covers many aspects of how to improve website Return on Investment (ROI). From on-site factors like layout, keyword density, titles, shopping cart process, customer experience etc., through to off-site promotion techniques like Pay Per Click advertising (Google AdWords for example) and general Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) which contrary to popular belief, is mostly about what happens off your site and revolves around getting external links to your website.
Well one of the clients sites I work on is a review site for UK Business Opportunities. In fact I’ve been working on promoting this site for about 6 months now and have see it steadily rise up the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) over that time. Yesterday I came to check on how the site was doing, and look what I found (click to enlarge the image):
For the unquoted term business opportunity, the site is #1 in Google.co.uk (it’s a UK site) even though I selected to search all the web, which is great news in itself and I was pleased about that. But then I looked more closely and saw how many competing sites Google had returned.
Out of 264,000 websites, and my clients’ site is number 1 !!!
I knew that “business opportunity” is a very competitive term, but it had never occurred to me just how big that number is, or how significant that result is until now. In fact it’s easier to say 1/4 of a Billion, and I don’t know about you, but I struggle to comprehend even how big a number 1 million really is, let along a billion..
Whilst I was pleased, I thought I’d let my client know before Google decided to change the algorithm and mess up my hard work. This was his immediate reply:
“firkin hell ! how did you pull that off !”
Lol! Of course exactly how, will remain a secret that I keep, but that actually raises an interesting point. Having achieved the impossible, can I now rest on my laurels? Can my client now say, “Thanks Colin, I’ll take it from here.”? No, clearly not. In some respects, now it becomes harder, because when you’re at the top you become a target for the guys below you. And if they have and SEO expert worth their salt on their side, he will be busy trying to reverse engineer what I did and find out exactly how I’ve achieved this success for my client.
Fortunately for me, it’s not a trivial exercise: Google obfuscate their algorithm by hiding some back links, and deliberately showing some that don’t count. MSN (or Live as it’s now called) have disabled their backlinks function. And steps have been taken to ensure that Yahoo’s Site Explorer links function is full of noise and hard to trace through, besides, it only shows 1,000 back links anyway.
Despite this story, there is one important thing that as a responsible Website Promotion Consultant it’s vital not to lose sight of: are we ranking for the correct term, and hence does that ranking equate to traffic that converts into customers? That I’m afraid, is a confidential conversation between me and my client, but I wouldn’t have spent 6 months working on it now otherwise would I?
Of course the next question is, how do you know a search term will bring converting traffic before you spend 6 months optimising for that search term? The answer to that is also a trade secret, one that I only share with my paying customers… 😉