This is a trick unscrupulous marketers sometimes use to impress you about how skilled they are. It really bothers me to see these people take advantage of newbie marketers and/or local business people that don’t know the ropes. Listen up and you’ll be able to spot them and stop them in their tracks.
They usually take a new domain name for a company, like this: http://www.companyname.com. Then they point out how clever they were to get a page one ranking on Google for the name of the company. After 2 days (or some short time period) they type in the company name and there it is right at the top of the Google index in the #1 spot.
The trick is, it’s very easy to rank a domain on page 1 of Google if you are ranking for a term that has no searchers and no competition! But, unless you are a knowledgeable marketer, you probably don’t understand that simple fact. And that’s the rub!
The truth is, generally speaking, no one is searching for your company name (unless you are Microsoft or Coca Cola, etc.) so there isn’t any competition. In other words, no one else is trying to rank on page 1 of Google for that phrase.
You see the only time a word or phrase becomes difficult to rank highly in a search engine is when it has a lot of competition by other marketers because a lot of people are searching for it. For example, terms like weight loss or diabetes are virtually impossible to rank highly for.
You can go to the Google Adwords Keyword Tool and search for any keyword or keyword phrase to see how many people search on that phrase monthly. Additionally, the tool will also show you how much competition there is for the keyword.
To make this clearer to you, I purchased a domain you might think would get a lot of searches. This isn’t even a company name domain but something that might appear to be valuable to an unseasoned online marketer. The domain I purchased is BestSeattleAttorneys.com. I stuck a little SEO on the page and I may have done a little backlinking but nothing that took more than an hour or so. I put it online and in 5 days it was number 1 on Google for the keyword phrase “Best Seattle Attorneys” without the quotes. It has remained in that position ever since.
Very few people ever search for Best Seattle Attorneys. As a result, there is little competition by other marketers. In fact, I can’t even tell if anyone ever searches for it because the Google tool simply displays “not enough data” and shows no competition.
If you understand keyword research, this trick is easy to spot. So, if you’re listening to someone give a presentation on marketing and they’re showing you how easily they were able to rank on page 1 of Google, ask them how many monthly searches the keyword gets and how much competition it has. This is the only way to know if what they’re showing has any merit.
Update: February 10, 2010: Just thought you might also find it interesting that there are actually about 4 paid ads on this search page. 2 on top and 2 on the side (you may see more or less depending upon your geographic location). I get about 15-20 visits a month from my status as #1 in the organic search results. The paying folks could have done what I did. I’m sure they don’t get much more and they pay Google for the people that visit their sites!
Update: Since this article was written, I have let the domain BestSeattleAttorneys.com expire without renewal.