If you’ve been involved in online lead generation for any length of time, you’ll know that getting on the first page of Google is the Holy Grail of internet marketing.
It used to be that getting even one listing for your site on page one was a really big deal. These days, the bar has been raised and the ultimate prize is getting multiple listings on page one of Google.
There are a few reasons for this higher expectation.
The first and probably most important of the many reasons for wanting to be on the first page of Google multiple times is that analytics show that the top listings get disproportionately more calls than the subsequent listings. In other words, getting business becomes a lot quicker and easier when you dominate page one of Google.
When we say ‘a lot more calls’, we’re not kidding. The top 3 listings get 50% of the calls while the balance of the action is shared by subsequent listings on a diminishing sliding scale. Those top 3 spots are the ones coveted by online lead generation specialists because they are so very productive. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Online_lead_generation
According to Matt Cutts of Google in a video (see at end of post), Google’s parameters have changed fairly drastically regarding how, and if, multiple listings from the same site are displayed on page one.
You probably remember seeing multiple listings from the same site displayed in a ‘nested’ or indented format below the main listing. Cutts says that Google is moving away from this model in the interests of diversification. Google wants to show as many diverse applicable results as possible, so they want to avoid clever marketers from hogging the prime spots. However, it’s not entirely clear what the new model actually is going to look like.
So how do you get multiple listings on page one of Google? In order to understand the answer this question, let’s examine what Google says.
In the same video, Cutts explains that Google is interested in providing users with as much ‘useful’ information as possible. The implication is that they will display whatever results they find to be ‘useful’ whether or not they’re from the same site.
In other words, when a user searches, based on the words they use, Google sifts through the instances of these words on sites they have already indexed.
If it looks to Google as if the site pages reflect the information the user is searching for, then these pages will be displayed in order of their assessed importance.
The way that multiple listings are decided upon is apparently based on multiple instances of useful information related to the search terms used by the user. Whether there will be a limit on the number of listings one site can have on page one is not clear.
Most people involved in internet marketing already know that getting on page one relates to matching content to keywords. This is why so many began the practice of ‘keyword stuffing’ whereby they’d use a popular search term a gazillion times on a page in order to trick Google into thinking they had a lot of useful content. At one time, long, long ago, some blackhat marketers would put hundreds of instances of the keywords they wanted to be ranked for in the same color as the background of the site so that humans couldn’t see them, but Google could. This practice was banned a number of years ago.
The recent Panda and Penguin updates effectively destroyed the effectiveness of any kind of keyword stuffing. For those who are not ‘in the know’ regarding the multiple and confusing Google updates, Panda and Penguin took place in 2011 and 2012, with multiple additional ‘tweaks’ thrown in for good measure.
The purpose of these updates was to make Google results more relevant and more useful for users. http://www.youtube.com/user/GoogleWebmasterHelp/videos
To that end, Google began assessing several factors, the most important of which is the quality of the content being indexed.
Many marketers used very short pieces of content, stuffed to overflowing with their top keyword. This would allow them to post a huge volume of content in a short period of time, fooling Google into thinking the site was extremely active and relevant. Often the content was badly spun and not very useful at all. To put an immediate stop to that practice, Google decided to prefer longer content that was full of useful information instead of full of keywords.
This had a big impact on how content has to be constructed in order to get the Google stamp of approval and appear on the front page.
Multiple front page rankings simply can’t be achieved any longer without content that is:
- good quality
Sure, you may find still find examples of trashy content on badly designed sites that is listed liberally on page one. But, their days are numbered. As better quality sites emerge, these trashy, spammy sites will begin to fall off the edge and they won’t easily be reinstated.
If you’re serious about online lead generation, you have to get serious about the kind of site you run and what you put onto it – the sooner you begin paying this attention, the sooner you’ll be able to snag some of the coveted top 3 places at the head of the Google class.