So You’re #1 on Google… What’s the Next Step?
There’s a great Heath Ledger line when he plays the Joker in “The Dark Knight”. I’m not talking about “Why so serious?” or “Wanna know how I got these scars?”, though I admit both of those do an unparalleled job at being uncannily creepy. I’m referring to when he says, “I’m like a dog chasing cars… I don’t know what I’d do if I actually caught one!” Even though most internet marketers and SEOs wear decidedly less makeup than the Joker, they tend to share this same mindset. After spending months and months of effort trying to get their website higher up in Google, what does one do when they log on one day and they’re sitting pretty in the number one spot? Luckily, this is really just the beginning a successful website’s journey, and there’s plenty of work still to be done (after celebrating, of course!)
You’ve reached the pinnacle of every SEO’s dream by ranking in the top spot on Google, presumably because your writing is SEO friendly and you have the most relevant and extensive content in your market. Ranking number one is huge – anyone that does a search for your keywords will be likely to click on your site above all others. However, while your site may be “Google spider friendly”, is it “people” friendly? Said differently, if real-live people were ranking the sites in your niche instead of Google’s bots, would they put your website as number one as well?
This can be a tough question to answer, and coming to terms with the fact that being optimized for Google doesn’t necessarily mean optimized for readers can be a bit counterintuitive at first. Once you take a step back, though, it’s easy to see what a site needs to make it truly valuable to a visitor. Think about the sites you visit frequently – why? More often than not, it’s due to something that Google crawlers can’t measure. Maybe the site has content that’s particularly well-written, interesting, or funny, leading you to check back frequently to gain some new insights or for a good chuckle. While it may seem like a lost cause trying to make Google laugh (I’ll tell you right now that it is), don’t forget who you’re actually aiming content at. Being number one in Google is only as valuable as the content that backs it up.
No matter how you do it, making your site memorable is the key. We’ve all ended up on sites before that rank high in on the front page of Google but then turn out to be dry corporate machines trying to stuff a sale down your throat. As the average internet traveler gets more and more accustomed to seeing great, nay, fantastic content, being number one on Google just doesn’t cut it anymore. It’s not at all uncommon for the third-ranked site to get more sales or visitors than the first ranked site just because they have superior content. Don’t get me wrong, though – being number one in the search results is a huge advantage. Just make sure you use it wisely.
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