I’ve been doing online marketing, internet marketing, search engine optimization (SEO) – whatever you want to call it – for a long time now. It seems like it’s just a part of me to think about how websites affect the search engines, like Google, and how well those websites work for their business owners.
I’ve also been providing SEO training in my workshops for several years now. Any time someone talks to me about their website or their online goals, they all want to be #1 on Google for something. Many times it’s several keywords. Fair enough. That’s what everyone wants. When I wrote why keyword research is so important, people even want to be #1 for unrealistic one-word phrases too.
Whenever I teach beginner SEO workshops or advanced SEO classes, I always ask the participants one question: “What’s the most important page on your website to optimize for the search engines?” Invariably, many of the students say, “The Home page of course.” Then I ask, “Are you sure?” They just look at me like I’m a dummy.
Actually, the Home page is the last page I’m interested in optimizing, because it’s too generic. It doesn’t have much content nor does it speak to the searchers’ desires. It doesn’t address their needs. I tell them instead, “The most important page for you to optimize is the page that they want to find, which is NOT your Home page.” In other words, ALL pages are the most important page to optimize.
There Really is No “Page One” on Google Anymore
As I write this, I’m sitting on the plane coming back from Toronto where I attended a global conference with digital marketers from around the world. One of the speakers said something that struck me: “There is no page one on Google.”
Let me repeat that simple statement: There is no page one on Google.
This is profound, and it’s absolutely true. This fundamentally changes the way we think about Google and SEO. It used to be that there was one “winner”, and everyone else was second place for a phrase. Or it was good enough to be in the top five positions on Google (above the fold), or on page one of Google.
I hadn’t really thought about it in these terms, even though I fully understand that the search results are very fluid now.
Raise your hand if you have any Google account whatsoever. Gmail? Probably. YouTube? Yep. Google Analytics, Google+, Google Webmaster Tools? I could go on.
If you are logged into any of your Google accounts when you do a search, Google is quietly watching and collecting your data. What do you click on? What do you bounce back from? What do you interact with and +1? Google is amassing a history and building a persona of each and everyone of us. Some people think this is bad or “Big Brother”. Why would they do such a thing?
Simple: They can deliver relevant results to any search we do, because they know who we are and what we like or don’t like. Their job is to cut out all the meaningless crap that’s on the internet, and deliver exactly what we want.
Where Did Page One Go?
So what does this have to do with page one of Google?
As an internet marketer, it means that you can no longer reliably predict where your search results will be when someone does a search. Maybe you show up, maybe you don’t. It’s no longer about keywords and getting optimized for that phrase. Position reports are meaningless and not worth the paper they’re printed on.
Google is rearranging the search results that they display to YOU, based upon your history, and what they know of you personally.
You can’t even reliably see if you’re showing up on the search engines, because doing the search from your own computer has your own history built into it, and well, it’s a biased search. You’ve polluted your own data.
By the way, logging out doesn’t really help either. Don’t forget you have your browser history too, as well as all the searches you’ve done from your IP address, even if you go incognito on Chrome.
This means that there is no page one of Google any more, because you and I and everyone else has their own personal history of likes, dislikes, favorites, and so on. Google is going to give each of us different results from each other, every time we do a search. As marketers, it also means we have to create great content on every subject, and cannot predictably determine the results we’ll get from that content.
And that, my friends, will be some more fodder for the next post.
The above post is really saddening, why have a simple matter got to be made so difficult? How can we go about changing this? or What can be done about it?
Hi Haskell, well, it’s actually a good thing because it means all the crap content is going away, and relevant content that you and I are generating is getting found. I’ll write more about this shortly, but in a nutshell, what you need to do is write great content. The more content you have that’s relevant to the searchers’ needs, the more you’ll be found for it.
Stay tuned for more info soon.
Hie Thomas Petty,
You have raised some thinkable points in my mind. Actually, whatever you wrote here, I’m also agreed with that……There is Page One concept exists not anymore.
But this fact also can’t be denied that when your positiong improves in SERPs then your traffic also increases significantly. Is n’t??
And secondly, what’s your view as a solution on this. Is there any strategy which can be work out even after undertanding it that Google is delivering the results on the basis of history of personal likes, dislikes, favorites, and so on……
Thanks for your questions. Your position is all relative to what the searcher wants and his or her history. Your traffic MAY go up, but it may not. To me, traffic is irrelevant. What I want is sales. So if you have relevant content that makes sense to the searcher, then yes, that can improve. It’s difficult to measure and quantify, especially now that Google is hiding the searchers’ terms in Google Analytics (it displays at “(not provided)”.) I personally don’t care if my website gets 100 visits or 1,000,000. If people are engaging with me, and doing business, that’s far more important than getting a million visitors who never buy anything.
Your strategy is very simple: Deliver great content to your readers that they want to read. Blogs are the easiest way to do this. The more you blog, the more people come to consume your information. Get others to blog in your blog too. The more great articles you have in your blog, the more phrases you’ll be found for. Furthermore, people will start following your content as a regular place to visit. When they’re ready to buy they will because they’re already engaged with you.
I hope that helps!
Great article. Thank you for the interesting read. I look forward to reading your other posts.
Please come teach a class in Orange County California. I am unable to drive and I cannot make it to your locations.
Hi Christopher, Mitch Albert teaches the class in Orange County. He has a class starting tomorrow (December 9) as well as one in February.
thank you, I will try it
I am trying to find out what happened to page number choices that used to be at the bottom of Google search pages. I used to be able to choose to go all the way back to say page 30. Now to do that I would have to load pages one at a time 30 times. Is there a way to choose page 30 anymore ? Thanks.
Hi Holly, Not sure. Google changes things all the time. You might also check in the settings of your account to see if you can adjust things there too.
mantep gan, (Y)
jgn lupa mampir ya kan tambah referensi juga
Rahasia Menjadi Page One di Google