The First Page Promise Fallacy

Some agencies will offer to get you on page one with a promise that you won’t have to pay until that result is reached. Others will ask for upfront payments with a guaranteed page one ranking or your money back.

They will get that ranking (and you will have to pay) only it will be achieved using obscure keywords that are not relevant to your business (or anyone's business) and won’t generate any leads to your site.

This article will help you avoid the pitfalls of hiring the wrong SEO agency...

the first page promise fallacy

When you are looking at online business success something that will come up over and over again is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). When a person searches a subject, asks a question or researches a product, they will get thousands of thousands of search returns, listed in order of what Google thinks will best answer the user’s question. 

Each page shows just ten listings, after which a user can choose to scroll through multiple other pages to find what they are looking for. The problem online businesses face is that people really only look at the top ten choices – people rarely go to Page 2 or beyond…

Online users will usually be satisfied with their immediate search return, meaning that any site listed after the first page, will probably not be seen.

That’s a serious problem for online businesses to overcome, which is why SEO becomes so vital for the survival of online business brands. What SEO gives you overall is greater online visibility through organic search results, particularly for those popular search engines like Google.

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Why is SEO important to your business?

Search Engine Optimisation is a group of targeted strategies designed to increase your search engine ranking. 

With SEO being so important to online business, many people are outsourcing their Search Engine Optimisation work to professional companies because they are either too time poor to manage their SEO themselves or don’t understand how to correctly implement the multiple strategies that will see results.

When you put strategies in place to improve your website ranking you give more people the opportunity to find your website, which can attract high-quality leads who actually want your services.

That brings us to a secondary problem online businesses are facing: The First Page Promise Fallacy.

Competing for that first-page listing is tough, and getting those results is never guaranteed. What you want to see with SEO is a significant and measurable ongoing improvement over time. 

why is seo important to your business
If you see a company advertising a guaranteed first-page listing, run away.

The First Page Promise Fallacy

If you see a company advertising a guaranteed first-page listing, run away.

Some agencies will offer to get you on page one with a promise that you won’t have to pay until that result is reached. Others will ask for upfront payments with a guaranteed page one ranking or your money back.

They will get that ranking (and you will have to pay) only it will be achieved using obscure keywords that are not relevant to your business (or anyone’s business) and won’t generate any leads to your site.

These companies find keywords with very little competition (because nobody is searching them), then quickly throw some questionable strategies at them to get you in the top ten. 

These empty SEO promises are something even Google warns users to avoid.

You want to build your SEO with keywords that are relevant to your business and will gain interest from people who are actively looking for what you do. It will take time, research and ongoing work to achieve, which is what Google and other search engines have intended.

Search algorithms are looking for websites that have consistently high-quality content that is relevant, proven and reliable. That is not something you can latch onto overnight. You have to prove that your business and your content is worthy of a top place.

SEO is a marathon, not a sprint

Everyone is looking for a silver bullet solution, but the truth is that SEO doesn’t have one.

Increasing your search engine rank is an ongoing process that requires the consistent application of a number of techniques and strategies to help increase the level and quality of your web traffic.

Rather than buying into false promises, you can take these effective SEO strategies onboard to help reach your organic web traffic and marketing goals.

  1. Keyword Research
  2. High-Quality Content 
  3. Varied Content and Action Steps
  4. Optimise Content
  5. Increase your Listings and Post Reviews
the first page promise fallacy keyword research

Keyword Research

The problem around false SEO promises is a lack of relevant keywords. In order to increase your organic search traffic, you’ll need to begin your SEO strategy with keyword research. 

You can present the keywords relevant to your piece of content in the title, body, URL, sub-headings and image alt-text.

The right keywords spaced routinely through your content is important for being seen as relevant to a topic, discussion or solution to a problem.

To know what keywords will work for you, first try using any of the free tools available online. 

Plugin some possible keywords, or keyword combinations, into tools like Google Keyword Planner or UberSuggest to reveal how well these keywords may perform in a search and how often people search it. 

Through some quick trial and error, you can quickly see which keywords people are searching.

You’ll also need to put yourself in your client’s shoes and consider what problem your prospects have and what questions they will be asking in a search. This way you can work to address those problems, or even solve them, in your keyword use, showing your readers instantly and clearly what you have to offer them.

In most cases showing relevance also means getting very specific. You can chain keywords together to get a phrase that is perfectly suited to what you do, meaning that in a specific search by the right person, you’ll get a listing that puts you front and centre in a search return list. 

These chaining keywords are known as long-tail keywords and are very effective at sending high quality leads your way.

For example, if you choose keywords like, “discount grooming”, it is not especially targeted to one particular business or topic. By adding other relevant keywords in a set, making a long-tail keyword of, “discount pet grooming services in Singapore,” you improve your relevance to a specific client search and anyone in Singapore searching for pet grooming will be more likely to find you.

Ways to create an effective web page using keywords

  • Address only one topic or theme per page
  • Keep content specific to the topic presented
  • Ensure that important keywords are mentioned frequently throughout your content in a way that reads smoothly and naturally
  • Be specific to increase relevance to a reader’s needs

It is easy to check in on your chosen keywords to see what kind of research results they already yield, either through doing a search or using a tool such as Ahrefs.

Be so clear about what you are trying to say through keywords that your readers can identify it at a glance.

By evaluating keyword choices you can compare your content to what exists, to see if you address similar issues or provide a similar level of service. 

If you feel your page or content fits into the existing search return information, the keyword is a good one. If your business offers different services or answers different questions to the ones in the top ten listings for that keyword, try seeing if a different keyword will be a more natural match to your content.

High-Quality Content

To demonstrate high-quality content there are a number of strategies you can use:

  • Content length
  • Backlinks

When writing articles, aim for a minimum of 800 words in your word count. The higher the word count, the better reception you’ll get from search engine algorithms. Ideally, you’ll be looking to consistently deliver over 1000-1500 words per article.

A large word count indicates that you have a lot to say on this particular subject, you have a lot to offer and you are presenting a lot of value to your readers.

Most online content doesn’t work this hard, meaning that if you put in that extra work, you are more likely to see benefits. According to Forbes data, only 15% of online content contains more than 1,000 words, however, those few receive significantly more shares and links. 

For a detailed article on how backlinks can improve your SEO check out our article ‘Build Better Relationships To Get More Backlinks’. 

the first page promise fallacy high quality content

Varied Content and Action Steps

You want to increase your prospect engagement by providing a range of different content and action steps.

By giving your readers something to do, and somewhere to go next you encourage them to stay on your page and get further into your brand.

This is important for SEO as it decreases your bounce rate. In the past there were tricks webmasters used to increase clicks, making their site look legitimate and increase advertising sales to third parties. The problem was the sites were spammy and didn’t hold any value to the reader, causing them to bounce from the page almost immediately.

In order to put a stop to these bogus sites and traffic hungry organisations, search engine algorithms now lower the search return rankings of sites that have a high bounce rate, meaning that if you have people click into your site, only to leave rapidly, you get a bad reputation.

To help improve your SEO you need to get prospective clients to stay on your pages. This is also a great reason why you want your keywords to match your offering as closely as possible so that they get exactly why they were looking for when they clicked to your site.

Offer a variety of content, as much as is relevant to your brand and business.

  • Blogs
  • Reports
  • Vlogs
  • Webinar recordings
  • Frequently asked questions
  • Service landing pages
  • Client testimonials and case studies
  • Helpful hints and product use training

Your aim here is to provide useful and beneficial information that will engage your reader on the current page or direct them to take action on the next page you have.

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Optimise Content

Optimised content is a backend SEO strategy that your readers won’t see. It involves making your content available to search engines to crawl through and get a map for your business structure and what you offer. By doing this the search engine can better identify how relevant your site is to a user’s needs.

Also called ‘Onsite SEO’, optimised content helps search engines access your website to understand and retrieve your business information easily.

Ways to help Google find your pages:

  • Submit a model of your web content or sitemap
  • Provide information about yourself on your website
  • Optimise the page content
  • Optimise your page HTML code
  • Ensure you pass the Core Web Vitals site speed test

Another benefit to this process is that it allows Google to identify any existing crawl errors so they can be rectified. A crawl error is those times when users click a page or link and receive an error message, meaning that prospective customers are not able to access your data or get the information they need to convert to a sale.

Increase Your Listings and Reviews

Having your business information listed across multiple sites is a good way to increase your customer touchpoints. Business directory sites are governed by other parties (like Google) which makes it more objective to your readers. 

You also want to provide platforms where readers can find customer reviews. Third-party listings are great because positive reviews here don’t come from you and aren’t influenced by you, making them appear more genuine and accurate.

Reviews are valuable and sought after resources as they give customers an idea of what to expect when dealing with your business and your products or services. To your potential customers, it feels like a personal recommendation by a friend and they will treat it with that same weight.

An important aspect to remember is requesting reviews. Many businesses don’t think to ask, but actually, as many as 70% of consumers will leave a review if requested.

Most business listings also have space for customer reviews which should be embraced. These will act favourably towards your SEO and greatly increase your brand visibility.

Which online businesses listings can you use to list your business:

  • Google Maps
  • Google My Business
  • Apple Maps
  • Sites specific to your country
  • Sites specific to your local region

Every region will have sites specific to them. It’s worth seeking them out to show search engine algorithms you are making your site available to your local community.

Make sure your business information is up to date across all sites, that your contact details and opening hours are accurate and that you check in regularly to reply to comments with positivity and helpfulness. 

There are management tools, like BirdEye, you can use to help cover customer feedback efficiently. They can assist with everything from email campaigns and customer feedback to notifying you when a review is posted.

There are a lot of bases to cover, however, once you familiarise yourself with the tools and systems available it becomes an easy part of your content writing strategy.

If you would like assistance with implementing SEO strategies for your online business we can help. While we can’t give you any first page guarantees or put you in the top ten in a week, we can improve your brand visibility, relevance and online engagement to improve your current search engine rank, increase traffic, and get you connected with quality leads.

Shaan Nicol

I help business owners increase profits by bringing their vision to life with a world-class website and gold-standard website support. Let’s connect!