Dominating the Google results: it can still be done.

While helping out a client last week, we came across an example of a Google search result page which demonstrates perfectly why search engine optimisation (SEO) can be great if done properly …but also why it takes time, and a lot of investment, to get results. The search in term was for the name of the product the client sold, in a certain area. Let’s call it “BlueWidgets in Scotland”. The first page of the results showed nine – yes, nine – of the ten entries pointing to the same supplier. The tenth was just a recruitment site advertising jobs for BlueWidget users, so the successful supplier had managed to push every one of its competitors off the first page of Google results. I suspect that had taken quite some time and effort, and no little skill. Hats off to whoever managed it.

What were these nine results? The first three were for the company’s dedicated website for “BlueWidgets in Scotland”. Google only gives multiple results to a single site when its algorithms believe that the site is almost synonymous with a search, so this was caused by the other results and sites below pointing to this one – chicken and egg. Then there was the company’s main site, which had a page about “BlueWidgets in Scotland” and pointed unequivocally to the top result, and this was followed by the parent company’s site, which did the same.

Then there was the same company’s Facebook page, which had been set up around the term “BlueWidgets in Scotland”, and a regularly updated Blogspot/Blogger blog run by the company, again focusing on that term. Finally there were two independent sites, one an exhibition and one a trade organisation, which gave exhibiting or member companies a whole page. On both of these, the company had titled its entry “BlueWidgets in Scotland” rather than just the bland company name.

So, what can we learn from this company’s tactics? Firstly, it wasn’t afraid to set up a section of its website, or even the whole website, around a search term. It wasn’t afraid to title its home page “BlueWidgets in Scotland”, even though that wasn’t the company name.

It got a page on its parent company website based on, and titled with, the same term, and strongly linking to it. A lively, frequently updated blog and a Facebook page were also based around “BlueWidgets in Scotland”, rather than the company name. And where it saw other websites offering a whole page, it used that page to focus on the search term, rather than the company name.

Finding these opportunities and maintaining them is not something which can be done as a quick project. They require ongoing commitment, which is why I maintain that “SEO” needs a significant long-term investment in external help, or it should be done in-house. It’s all about time, and time can be money.

Discussion

  1. Dylan Hollick

    Hi Chris, always enjoy reading your dailies. While I agree that this company have done a great job in being all over page one, hats off, I can’t help feel that such domination can be restrictive to customer choice and toughens market entry barriers. Is page 2 the best that SEO companies will be able to offer smaller clients for certain terms? I’d like to think that the algorithms can differentiate between all these pages pointing to the same single result and perch that permanently at the number one spot while letting others have a go at the other nine – wishful thinking perhaps 😀

    Competition is good, it spices things up and ultimately benefits the consumer. Monopoly is dangerous, and usually ends up with the board and little green houses flying through the air … tin hats on.

    To the illustrative point of the article, I wholeheartedly concur, SEO is no longer a quick fix and requires ongoing hard work in many areas and commitment within the hierarchy. There’s a lot to be said about in-house SEO too, particularly with regards content, they are experts within their own industry after all.

  2. Chris Rand Post author

    Definitely agree that these sorts of results are poor for the user, and something I’m sure Google is trying to get away from …despite the undoubted fact that they will encourage more advertising from the companies failing to get on the first page.

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