Why You Will Never Be First On Google

You want to be first on Google? I hate to break it to you, but you never will be.

Ranking first place on Google isn’t a solution to a problem. It’s a nothing. It helps no-one. As long as your goal is to be first on Google, you’ll never achieve it. Why? Because Google is way more intelligent than that.

Ego Google

You need to change your attitude. You need to get to the root of your problem and find out why you think you need to be top of Google. There’s a reason you so desperately want the number one spot, but what is that reason? Do you want more sales? Do you need more people to know about your product or service or do you want more subscribers? It may be one of the above, it may be all of them, it may be something entirely different. Whatever your problem is, your solution needs some careful thought.

You can’t cheat Google

The days of using dubious methods to climb to the top of Google are gone, generally now, the sites that deserve to climb to the top do just that – a series of updates from Google, numerous penalties for big sites and finally the message is sinking in – there’s no fast track to the top any more. To get to the top, you have to deserve to be there – is your site the best resource for your desired search term? If not, then that’s your goal, make your site the best it can possibly be for your chosen search phrase. Aim to be the best.

When I hit the top spot

Let’s use an example. I’ll use my own website as that example. Once upon a time I was hell bent on ranking first on Google for the search term web design leeds. So I set out to achieve this. I optimised my site, I built links – some good, some not so good – all genuine though, I never resorted to paying for links. Eventually I achieved my goal, I hit the number one spot and my job was done. Only it wasn’t. Being first on Google wasn’t that great. To be honest I wasn’t quite sure that I deserved to be there but for whatever reason Google put my site there. Generally the traffic it gave me was poor, the enquiries were very disposable, my phone was ringing at ridiculous times and for the large part it was a bit of a headache.

The root of the problem

The actual problem I needed solving was how to get good quality leads. I bypassed thinking of solutions to this problem, I went straight for an answer. The wrong answer. There are lots of ways to get better quality leads that I should have explored. I could have tried email marketing, working word of mouth referrals from existing clients, networking, a targeted pay per click campaign, optimizing my website to convert better – there are countless options that are often overlooked in favour of topping Google. Don’t ignore them. Getting fixated on topping Google is unhealthy.



04 May 2014 08:42:28

This is really interesting. I’m not someone who particularly hankers to be top, as I know that’s unrealistic and I don’t have the desire to learn how to do it, but I’ve often thought how great it would be – but you’re right that getting quality leads is first and foremost, so finding solutions for that is preferable to worrying about being top of the Googles. Nice one.


04 May 2014 23:36:39

Thanks Nik! I thought it would be great too, it wasn’t all negative but it’s definitely not the be-all and end-all.

Gary Bradley:

13 May 2014 07:33:54

Great points Dave! All too many of us are swayed by what popular thinking is or an elephant task, and in doing so lose sight of our true objectives. Its a constant struggle deciding where to spend our very limited time and resource on improving our web presence not forgetting other time hungry activities…Google+, Facebook, Twitter etc all requiring almost unique content too!

Lee Gostelow:

27 Jun 2014 17:28:07

Hey there Dave,

Fantastic article. I’ve just this week has a problem with a client who wanted to rank first on Google. They tried putting it in the contract as part of the redesign, as you can imagine, the endless explanations and negotiations were terrible. It certainly doesn’t help the matter though when so many web design companies push “rank first on Google” in everyone’s face.
By the way, what CMS have you used to build this site. It’s stunning, I’ve never seen anything styled this way. Fantastic work.

All the best

Lee Gostelow


27 Jun 2014 19:18:24

Thanks for the comment Lee. Totally see your point that clients are influenced by companies that shout about first page on Google results.

As for the CMS, this site is content managed with Perch CMS which I really enjoy working with.

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