DIGITAL MARKETING – GENERAL
Can you get me to the top of Google?
Thinking things through…
Gordon Hall, 12/01/2018
The question I get asked more frequently than any other, by a long stretch, is “Can you get me to the top of Google?” Sometimes it doesn’t even come as a question – more a presumed statement, as in “I need you to build me a website please and then make sure I’m at the top of Google.”

Let’s think this through shall we?

If you want to be the top of Google, you’re gonna need ‘Googliness.’
First, what do people mean when they say ‘the top of Google’?

The first natural position?
Position zero?
The top 3
The first page?
The very top via Adwords?

Hey, even I’m confused now.

Often people don’t really know what they mean. More than that, they usually don’t care. They simply know by being “at the top of Google” it’s helpful to their order books.

They’re right. It is.

In fact, if presented with a few different options, such as AdWords and SEO, they tend not to mind, as long as the end goal gets them lots of traffic. However, this can often be as far as people’s understanding goes. For some people, there is a naive belief that AdWords or SEO is easy to do and cheap to implement.

So let’s take a hypothetical scenario based in my hometown of Bury. Approx 15 miles north of Manchester, it’s a town of 250,000 people.

And over 100 electricians (listed on Google)

So what would it take to get to the top of Google for one of these small businesses?

What do people mean ‘top of Google?’

AdWords to get to the top of Google

It’s currently Friday night and I’ve just checked, and interestingly there are no adverts for an electrician in Bury on Google. Not one.

Which would make quite easy pickings for the business which decides to be the first. Yes, there’s a cost, but with no competition, that cost is reduced, and of course with no competition, that means more work. It’s a win/win scenario.

However, the problem with AdWords is that whilst you can most certainly be top of the Google pile, you have to pay for that privilige, over and over again. In fact the paying never stops. As soon as it does, the adverts stop.

Now that can be fine if the adverts are working well for you. If you’re spending £200 per week but getting £1000 of work in (labour mind, not just income), then that’s a 5x return on your investment. But those are theoretical, and the reality is it takes time to make adverts like that work. Lots of testing, lots of variations, and you can burn through a lot of money until you hit the right formula. Especially when starting out from scratch with no prior knowledge behind you.

So let’s say our electrician didn’t want to keep forking out for advertising, day in, day out.

SEO to get to the top of Google

This, of course, is the Holy Grail. Top of Google and not having to pay for a single click. How great is that! There’s just the small problem of getting you there.

How easy is it to do and how much does it cost?

Let’s say, for argument’s sake, it cost £500 and took a couple of weeks.

That would be we great investment. You would get more visits to your website, which means more customers resulting in more money. Within, maybe a couple of months, you’ve recouped your investment, and are now reaping the rewards of an improved business. Bravo!

The problem is if it was that easy for you, it’s will be that easy for your competitor, and he’s got £600. Oh well, 2nd on Google is good enough.
Until of course, one of the other 100+ electricians decide to do the same and before you can say ‘Terminal block junction box‘, you’re now in the Google graveyard of page 2 and kindly out of pocket. Bummer!

That is of course based on all other things being equal – the same quality SEO is done on your site as your competitor, Google not dropping you like a stone for some dodgy moonlighting SEO practices and no major changes in the way Google calculate the rankings.

You’re now in the Google graveyard on page 2 and kindly out of pocket.

It’s not as easy as it first seems

The reality is that you won’t be the first business in your field to try to get to the top of Google. You’re climbing over the digital bodies to get to the top and it can be a struggle for the reasons given and more. Getting to the top isn’t an instant process.

And it’s not a cheap one either.

 

So how’s a poor electrician gonna make a living around here?

 

Hiring a good SEO consultant who has the experience, knows the path needed to follow, knows the shortcuts and has the tools for the job is one way to get there.

Ignore the hundred of e-mails you get daily from India and choose a consultant you can talk to, reach out and drink coffee with. And trust.

Know that you’re in this for the long haul.

SEO takes time, and some industries take longer than others, but you will get there.

However, if you don’t want to pay a monthly fee whilst waiting for your website to climb the Google ladder, there is another option.

Do it yourself. Yes, I’m serious.

The majority of SEO consultants learn their craft on the job, which means you can too. Sure, it’s extra time, extra energy, but as I see it, you’ve got three choices.

  1. Do nothing… and that’s exactly what you’ll get in return.
  2. Pay for AdWords/ SEO. If done right, it will dramatically improve your business, but it will cost you. If it’s Pay Per Click Advertising, it’s small amounts but you never stop paying. If it’s SEO, depending on your industry, location, competition etc, it could take a few months or a couple of years but in the meantime, you’ll be paying a consultant their monthly fees whilst they do the work.
  3. Do it yourself. Take a few hours a week and learn the basics, and slowly build your business with a solid foundation.

Rome wasn’t built in a day and a slow and steady approach will gain huge dividends over time. Spend a couple of hours a week investing the time to build your business.
Work on your business, not in it, and you’ll be surprised, not only how easy things are, but actually, how interesting the process is. Trust me!
There’s nothing as satisfying as seeing your business climbing Google week by week, and then the orders slowly begin to come in (except a Chunky Chicken).

Conclusion

Ultimately, you have a choice, but whatever choice you make, you can be more realistic moving forward. There are many options in front of you, but sadly none of them are cheap and it’s not necessarily quick…

Unless you’re an electrician in Bury who’s looking to do Google AdWords.

Go jump on that whilst there’s no competition.

Go on… get to it!

As we work through the various blog posts over the coming months, we will demonstrate how things are done. To that end, we’re looking for willing businesses, of all shapes, styles & industries to be used as our examples. So if you’re looking for a helping hand why not drop us a line and we can help each other.
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