There’s no doubt that if you rank well on Google you’re likely to see higher organic traffic and your website will be more competitive. Seeing your website on the first page of the search results is always a thrill, but page one and rank one, is what a lot of businesses strive for - even though it may not necessarily have a direct effect on how well the website performs in meeting your business goals.
Rank one on Google is so sought after that some businesses will do whatever it takes and whatever the cost to get there - and this can be taken advantage of by companies that promise number one rankings for $$$.
The number one rank, however, can never be guaranteed, and here’s why.
No one exactly knows how pages are ranked
We know that website ranking is determined by a lot of factors. Google, however, does not list these ranking factors or give any indication of which factors might be more valuable than others. Yes, Google has confirmed certain factors that affect ranking, like quality of links and the reputation of social media platforms, but for the most part all we have to go by is the webmaster quality guidelines from Google and associated resources.
When it comes to SEO and ranking, we have best practice and guidelines, not a strict hierarchy of criteria to get the best ranking.
Google’s algorithms are constantly changing
In a nutshell, Google’s algorithms determine where pages should rank. For the most part, Google announces major changes, but many sites will report unconfirmed algorithm changes based on fluctuations in search results. Therefore we can’t know how many changes are being made, when they are live or how they affect ranking factors.
Taking this into account, it’s possible to say that if you are rank one now and a major algorithm change takes place, it’s possible that you might not even appear on the front page tomorrow for the same search term.
A quote from Google’s Webmaster FAQ’s states, “The web is an organic constantly shifting ecosystem, and your site’s performance in search can change for many reasons.”
Don’t focus solely on trying to rank for position one
The truth is, trying to rank for search result one on Google can distract you from other parts of search engine optimisation that have a larger impact on your business, like user experience and engagement levels. If you follow best practice, have great content and aim to give people the best experience, good rankings will happen over time and you’ll be less likely to see fluctuations in your rank when Google updates its algorithms, or be penalised for following ‘quick win’ SEO strategy.
If you’re looking for ways to increase your search visibility, whilst following best practice, check out some of our other SEO articles or subscribe to our blog for regular updates.