When the First Result Is Not the Best Result

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You have probably tried Google’s “I’m Feeling Lucky” button before. But what if you based your business and purchasing based solely on getting the first result of a query?

I recently met with some folks that found their SEO company based on the first result of the query “search engine optimization”. The results have obviously changed since then (now its Wikipedia). Their experience with the SEO company was not a positive one: a lot of money paid for next to nothing.

blended search

The problem with relying on the first result has several components:

1) Many first results are not naturally boosted to the first result. Some of these make money just on your visit (and click), others may actually do sell the product or service you are looking for. Just because they are good at ranking high for that keyword doesn’t mean they are good at making their product or doing their service.

2) Your query may be the problem. You may be looking for one thing, and your query thinks you are looking for something else.

3) Comparing products and services is essential to good business and purchasing practices. Even the search engine result snippets can be a first level filter, telling you from the meta description or content of the page more information related to your keyword than just the page title.

That said, it’s still everyone’s dream to be number one in the search results. Why? Because you do get looked at, and you get clicked on, and your chances are better for gaining that customer than if you’re lower on the results page, let alone the next page and beyond.

Just don’t make a habit of hiring people because they are the first result.

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