SEO: Why we don’t promise #1 search rankings – and you should beware those who do

- February 3, 2022 6 MIN READ

By now, most business owners will have heard the buzzword ‘SEO’ a million times, but what does it mean, and how does it help your online search rankings? And can you trust a company that offers to get your business to the top of the first page on Google? Angela Ward, digital product manager at KBB Digital and a marketer with over 20 years of experience, explains the ins and outs of SEO and Google search rankings.

We would all like to be at the top of Google searches … it’s the goal for many businesses both big and small. There are many businesses that offer SEO (like us), many of which promise those coveted first place and first page rankings, but are these promises too good to be true? If they are kept, how much will they actually help your business?

Here are three reasons we DON’T promise top rankings and what you need to look out for when companies do promise them.

Firstly, what is SEO?

Before you go ahead and read, here are a few terms we have used that may be helpful to know, if you don’t know them already.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO):

Optimising websites to appear higher in searches (generally Google). By using knowledge of keywords, competitors, audiences and location, content and pages can be optimised to appear higher and more often to those searching particular terms. (SearchEngineJournal 2017)

Search Volume:

The frequency or measure of how often a word or phrase is searched into a search engine, like Google. High or good search volume means they are searched often, low search volume means they are used in searches less often. (searchmetrics)

Keywords (or terms):

Words entered into search engines by users. Pages and websites need to be optimised by including these words and terms to attract more visitors. (HubSpot 2011)

Long-Tail Keywords:

A keyword phrase of 3+ words that target a specific audience. Using long-tail keywords usually results in higher rankings than competitive keywords. They also generally have a lower search volume, but are more likely to convert to website visits and customers due to their specific nature. (HubSpot 2014)

3 reasons we don’t promise top search rankings

Google's G logo

1. Google is constantly changing

Google changes, all the time! Even if you aren’t working directly in the digital space, you’ll likely be aware of the constant changes and updates on websites, social media platforms and search engines. Google is no exception and is a massive player in the digital space.

Not only do you have to be there, but you constantly have to update your game plan to keep your ranking. At any moment Google can change the way it indexes websites and just like that, your SEO strategy becomes less effective or even irrelevant.

Even once we create a strategic plan and begin deploying it, we’ll need to adjust and change the game plan due to changes in Google, competitors and keywords. This doesn’t just make ranking first or on the first page difficult and uncertain, but means climbing to a higher ranking is a long-term commitment.

Companies who offer short term SEO strategies with high rankings will likely be purchasing dodgy links and taking shortcuts which may result in being penalised by Google.

What’s more, even if you do rank highly quickly, once your SEO campaign is over you will lose your ranking. It may take a week or months depending on your business and industry, but without a continuous strategy, you won’t be able to compete and keep your ranking.

KBB Digital competitors icon

2. The battle between competitors

Your SEO isn’t just affected by Google. Nearly every business is in the ‘Google rat race’, competing for first place in their industry. Once one business takes over another in ranking, all the businesses below are also affected.

If your competitors put in more money, more time and more research into their campaigns than you do, their performance will improve and yours will drop.

Some industries are more competitive than others. The competition for your keywords depends on your competition in the local area or industry. This means that for businesses that are ‘one of a kind’ in their location or industry, ranking high or number one may be relatively easy. If you are in an industry or location full of businesses with similar services or products however, you’re going to need to compete a lot harder.

As competitors play such a huge role in your ranking, there is no way to guarantee that your competitors won’t amp up their game or that you’ll be able to come up above them.

Good SEO should include keywords and terms that will benefit your business by driving more people to your website. Unfortunately, the best keywords or terms are often the terms also used by competitors. If you are a smaller business you may not have the budget to compete with high search volume keywords and terms, and your SEO campaign may need to focus on long-tail keywords instead.

Choosing the right words and terms takes time, a lot of research and some trial and error, but it’s vitally important to do so as the right words will drive more traffic and create more leads.

The truth is, it is easy to rank any website, so long as the keywords targeted are low search volume words. In a short amount of time, anyone will be able to rank with low search volume words that your competitors aren’t using … because no one is searching them.

It’s all well and good to get a business to rank, however if it’s using words that none of their intended audiences are using on their searches, it’s going to provide no real benefit to anyone.

If you are told that someone can get your business to rank (and rank quickly), make sure to check that the keywords are relevant to your business, have good search volume, or will bring the right people to your page. Chances are they will not be researching competitors or trialing different key terms, and will be using low volume keywords that won’t convert.

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3. It’s a loooong slog

SEO is a whole lot of trial and error! If something works for one business, it is not guaranteed to continue to work in the future or work for the next business, even it is in the same industry.

Since every website, business, location and industry is unique, the same strategy can never be used twice. As the game changes so does the strategy, and each time it does it becomes more and more specific to the business it is working for.

Each campaign may start off by researching your business, however, the more that is learnt about your business, industry, location, website, content and the people you need to attract, the more specific and effective your SEO plan will become. Like any in-depth learning, this takes time, revision, reviews and commitment.

If your SEO company aren’t making any changes, have ranked you quickly (on high search volume keywords and terms), or not linked it to any other aspects of your marketing strategy (such as content marketing, social media or advertising), they are likely using dodgy links or content, or taking other shortcuts. Some of these SEO ‘techniques’ can result in websites being penalised on Google.

KBB Digital bag logo

Our takeaway

Nothing is guaranteed! If you’ve been promised or guaranteed a ranking, or it’s been too easy or too quick – you’re probably not getting bang for your buck. It may have been cheaper in the short term but your rankings likely won’t convert to more visits, sales or leads.

Sometimes because of your industry, location, competitors, or the chosen keywords, ranking first is just not possible. There are so many factors involved with deciding good keywords, as well as how Google analyses, sorts and manages these keywords that are out of anyone’s control, that no one can honestly say that they will be able to provide an SEO campaign that will rank you first AND be of any benefit to your business.

This can be a long and slow process but, if done right will lead to more conversions, clicks and customers. If you’re going to do SEO, you are better off spending a little more and making sure it is done right.

How can we help?

KBB Digital works with businesses to develop long term, two-way working relationships, to not only help you through the SEO process but explain and review each step on the way with you.

Get started with a 30-minute complimentary marketing consultation today. Call 1300 887 115.

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How to avoid 4 common SEO issues and get more visibility for your business in search