SEO Horror stories recently hit trending over the Halloween weekend using the #SEOHorrorStories hashtag. I had to laugh at a lot of them and then I thought of some of my own SEO horror stories. Prior to going agency side 4 years ago I spent a few years in the frontline trenches of freelance small biz SEO and believe me, it’s scary at times!
So here is the first of my SEO Horror Stories. I call this one, The Strange Case of the Missing Ranking.
I had one SEO client who constantly checked his rankings.He admitted to checking on average three, four times a day. Hourly if not more if business was slow. Then one day he calls me and tells me his site has disappeared from Google. He can’t find it anywhere.
I asked him if he had cleared his cache … he had. We restarted his browser and still no listing. I checked and there he was at number one for his core keyword. I asked my associate in another part of town to also check and sure enough there he was ranked #1. I used a proxy server and again number 1. Even SEOBook RankChecker had him at number one.
“Did you ever click on any of the results Google was sending you?”, I asked. He replied he had not. Then the thought hit me. It appears because he never clicked on any of the links and he kept searching for the same phrase over and over day in and day out for weeks Google calculated that the results it was showing him didn’t match his query as no action was taken. They then served up a fresh set of results for the exact same query. It wasn’t just the top 1 or two results that were different, the first two pages were completely different on his searches than on mine.
The number one lesson to take away from this is the fact there is no universal number one ranking; clients asking to rank number one are asking for the impossible at times. With search being personalized more and more it’s critical to continue to provide content that is relevant to the searcher. Content that fills a need, answers a question or provides a solution will always rank well.
Next: Client Approval Hell