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What it takes to show up on the first page of a Google search

John Ranalletta

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John Ranalletta

About six months ago, we set out to "win" a variety of search phrases on Google. What we didn't know was the sheer amount of effort and time it takes. Today, we achieved page 1 for one of our phrases and about a dozen others are inching up the ranking.


Our terms do not include our company name because very few people would search for that.


Blogging was our preferred tool. We have 16 people writing weekly (or more frequent) blog entries that include the terms we're supporting. We don't know if winning those terms will lead to more searchers responding to our calls to action and more business. It is a one-year experiment and it's producing a significant number of unique visits to our web site.


It's an interesting excercise that relies more on sheer force than finesse.

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The bible on that subject, written by a Google insider, is Avinash Kaushik's Web Analytics 2.0. What you're talking about is SEO (search engine optimization).


For fun, go to klout and see how you score.

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John Ranalletta

Thanks. It's all geek to me.


I suspect there aren't many people searching our supported terms who will turn into paying clients as my customers are CEOs, presidents, etc. I don't think they spend lots of time googling and the people in their orgs that do aren't the people I target in other channels.

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I think you're correct in that assumption. There are very few top executives that are internet savvy, and even if they are, they don't have time for 'it'.


That's why CIN was founded (Cambrdige Information Network) by CTP of Boston in the early 90's. It was an effort to get CEO's and other execs talking to 'each other' (and actually meet on many occasions) via a forum. Something rather revolutionary at the time.


But it worked ! We had a thriving community running in a few years, professionally led by what is now a good friend of mine.

Many contacts from that era still exist and quite a few execs have built a lasting relationship with peers there.


Until they sold it of course, and then it went downhill....



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In my worky days we used to have one of our IT guys working on Google search ratings daily. It a slippery slope, because with larger businesses all your competitors are doing the same thing, and there are many "tricks" that Google quickly catches on to. There were even companies that "promised" top ten listings. We tried two of them, and neither worked.


Getting there is possible, but staying there is very difficult. IMO, over the long haul great product and service are still the best methods to drive traffic to a site.

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John Ranalletta

The very first issue is to avoid having Google label your stuff as "spam" whereupon their spyders are programmed to ignore your urls. Simply posting a blog that is a list of the search terms one's trying to win will earn spam status pretty quickly.


While it appears that gaining ranking is a matter of numbers, it also seems clear that one's chances are enhanced if blog posts contain images and links.


As I understand it (note: this is not my area of expertise), posts can be as short a 150 words; can link back to previous posts which seems recursive but I guess google doesn't trace the link; but the key is the raw number of posts containing the search terms one's trying to win.


We use compendiumblogware.com to manage our efforts in this arena. Compendium is a start by the some of the same folks who did exacttarget.


I'm still leery of the value for promoting management services or solution sales, but think it more viable for companies who can actually take an order on the web.

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