When Being Number One Isn’t So Great

Who wouldn’t like to have their website rank in the number one spot of a Google search? It makes you feel like you’re top dog … king of the hill … master of all you survey. But there’s a catch, and success can come with a price.

You see, if you’re ranking for the wrong keyword, then who cares if you’re number one? Your customers aren’t likely to find you anyway, because they’ll be searching on some other words or phrases. So it does nothing for your reputation to rank at the top of the page for a keyword no one is going to search on.

But here’s what can really burst your balloon and sense of accomplishment…

You’re number one, but all the other sites listed below yours are authoritative websites that mention your company or products in a negative light. Or worse, these websites claim to expose scams, rip-offs, and con artists — and there you are, being slammed by some reviewer who feels it’s his civic duty to warn the world about you.

I see it all the time, usually when a client first approaches me about reputation management. The client’s website is number one all right, but the search engine results page is full of sites containing negative reviews or even slanderous comments about the company. To a potential customer looking for objective information, the results page seems to suggest that all the world is against this company.

And if the next few pages contain lots of positive comments about the company? Well, not many people get past the first page, as we all know.

So your number one spot of that search result might give you some bragging rights, but it may not help your business much.

The goal, then, of online reputation management isn’t just to have your main website rank high. It’s to make sure that as many negative sites as possible get pushed off the first page. Ideally, all a potential customer would see are positive sites about your company.

In that case, having the number one spot of a Google search would be about the best thing in the world.