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SEO is Not About Ranking First

SEO is no longer about getting your business name in the top search results. I know this will come across as a shock to many people outside of the SEO industry, but think about your user experience with Google. It’s interesting because our SEO expectations are out of alignment with reality. First of all the way we search now is very different from the way we searched a few years back.

We don’t just type tennis shoes into the search bar. Many of us ask a longer type of question. Some of us don’t even use a search engine or browser to ask the question. We use Siri or one of Siri’s sisters instead.

Let’s take a look at a few searches. I searched for tennis shoes and you’ll see that there are 18.3 million results. On the first page Google shows me a list of stores that sell tennis shoes and then a map with local places that sell tennis shoes.


Then I searched using a longer tail keyword “law firms in dc” and still find that many of DC’s top law firms are not on the first page of the search engine results.


So maybe you’re wondering if it’s even possible to rank on the first page of the Google search results? If you’re committed to finding the right long tail keywords, you can definitely rank on the first page of Google. To be completely transparent, you won’t rank for the term “IBM” or “Yahoo” anytime soon. Those are head terms, not long-tail keywords. They are also trademarked, talked about, and dominated by large and established businesses.

Check out this great Quick Sprout post that explains how to rank on a first page of search results for long tail keywords.