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Editor's Desk

"Are you on the first page?"
"Are you on the first page?"

Page #1 of Google; Hot Diggity Dog!

Many business owners believe that despite having a proficient website, it should also be on the top search results. COLEBY NICHOLSON talks about SEO keywords, Google search, rankings and if there truly is any value getting businesses on Google's first page.

You have probably received the emails yourself – you know the ones; they tell you that your business is not on the first page of a Google search or that your website “doesn’t have major keywords in your niche, which affects visibility”.

If you believe these promotional emails from search-engine optimisation (SEO) businesses, you’ll soon think you have far greater problems, such as low ‘Domain Authority’ and ‘Page Authority’ or, even worse, “Your website seems to be attracting traffic but this traffic is almost stagnant and limited.”

Nothing worse than stagnant traffic, right! Well, actually there is because your website has now “been diagnosed with coding issues”.

Worse, these so-called experts will tell you things such as: “Our business can show you the number of broken links, pages that returned 4XX status code upon request, images with no ALT text, pages with no meta description tag, not having an unique meta description, having too long title” blah, blah blah!

Do these fools realise how many of these emails we receive every week, most of which are identical?

Of course, these SEO emails always tug at your heartstrings; they promise to put you on the first page of Google and, ideally, within the first 10 listings!

“As a business owner, you might be interested to attract more visitors. So despite having a proficient website, you might be wondering why you are not able to overturn your competitors from the top search results.” the sales pitch goes.

There’s no doubt that all retail businesses would love to sit at the top spot on the first page of Google but it’s not as simple as a pay-to-play solution. These spammers will claim that they will propel you to the top – for a handsome fee, of course – but can it be guaranteed and would it generate any real value to your business anyway?

"What’s the use of being on page one for search terms that no one is using? You may as well be on page one for ‘hotdog shops’."

For example, and to stretch logic to expose silly and false claims, is there any sense or benefit in appearing on the first page of a Google search for ‘hot dog shops’ if you own a jewellery store? Of course not but let’s deal with some other issues.

I recently received an email from Sanjeev who works at "a leading search engine optimization (SEO) company based in India". He proceeded to tell me all the things wrong me our website and how he could improve it. I thought "great", so let's check out his website.

He didn't have one!

Well, he did; however the homepage had a placeholder stating "Website Coming Soon. Please check back soon to see if the site is available."

If this is the standard of a "leading SEO company based in India", then God help us!


Another recent email told me, “While doing a search, we found that Gunnamatta Media is not on the first page of Google.”

Knowing that to be codswallop and bullshit, I checked anyway, as one should always be sceptical and check the facts.

Of course what I found was the opposite of what I was told by Daniel, my international “digital marketing expert” who, by the way, operates from a personal Gmail account.

( By the way, why do most of these amazing digital companies never have a business email address or even provide a phone number? )

Well, not only was Gunnamatta Media on the first page of the very first search I did, but it also occupied the first 30 listings related to the company. So much for not being “on the first page of a Google”!

I am sure that if you search your own store name it would, or at least should, appear on the first page, depending on how many jewellery stores have similar names. If it doesn’t, then adding your suburb to the search should fix the problem.

You see, being on the first page is determined by keywords and how specific those terms are, such as whether they include your store name and suburb.

Obviously, if you search ‘jewellery stores NSW’, it’s unlikely a small store would be on page one, which is dominated by the major jewellery chains. That’s because this is a broad search term and it is unlikely that any SEO service could guarantee you the first search page on such a broad criteria. Again, even if it were possible, what benefit would it be?

On the other hand, if the keyword search is more specific, such as ‘diamond jewellery Melbourne’, then there’s way more value for stores to appear on page one, which is where the competition for position heats up, as does the work, effort and cost!

So how do these SEO businesses claim to get you a page-one ranking? Well one way is that they rank your website for keywords that no one is searching. That’s one trick but what’s the use of being on page one for search terms that no one is using? You may as well be on page one for ‘hotdog shops’.

Google searches and ranking are not only dynamic but are also unstable. You will get different results in different geographic locations because local results skew Google rankings, as do reviews.

Retailers should be very cautious about SEO ‘consultants’ who make claims about getting your business onto the first page of Google searches and, even if true, is there truly any value?

The great majority of these SEO ‘experts’ are nothing more than charlatans and snake oil salespeople. The very fact that their initial email is nothing but a cut and paste job – one of hundreds they send everyday – exemplifies why you should treat them with the respect they deserve; report the email as spam.

Coleby Nicholson

Former managing editor • Jeweller Magazine

Coleby Nicholson was publisher and managing editor of Jeweller magazine for over 12 years. He has covered the jewellery industry for more than a decade and specialises in business-to-business aspects of the industry.


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