I recently managed to rank a page of mine at #1 in Google for a phrase with 339,000,000 results.
It initially broke into the top ten at #4 after about four days, purely on the basis of on-page SEO, and over the next 3 weeks moved up to capture the top position. I did do a series of 20 Linkvana posts in the interim, but I can’t tell if that is affecting the rankings – since they don’t show up yet in my tools.
It has stayed at #1 for a couple of weeks now, so I think that with a bit more backlinking I might be able to get it to hold.
Now, I admit that it is pretty fun to have a site ranked at #1, but the fact is that the ranking means little. Though the term returns a ton of pages, and it is relatively buyer friendly, the exact match searches are virtually nonexistent. Great page + no traffic = no $$$.
While this page has very little money making potential, I think that the ranking still has value for a couple of reasons. The first is in showing that I can actually rank a site – it serves as a proof of sort. No matter how often you are told that something is possible, it never seems real until you do it yourself.
Sure it’s an easy site to rank, but that’s not the point.
Another plus is just that it serves to give me a bit of a lift – as I said, it’s just kinda cool. You need a win now and again to counter the many disappointments you can run into when you attempt to make money online.
What prompted me to write this post is that I just ran across another sales page using something like this as proof. There was a screen capture of a page one ranking for a keyword with a couple of hundred million competing pages. I checked the term with the Google keyword tool, and while it is not as worthless as mine, it is certainly not a highly searched term.
I am not knocking the product in this case, or the marketer. I hear good things about both. I am just using this as an example of why we need to be careful when we see proof like this on a sales page.
I’m not getting up on a soap box here either. Who knows, I might do the same thing myself some day (I try pretty hard to never say never). But when it comes down to it, it is a sales tactic. And as such it is important to guard against giving it undo credence.
With any proof, even social proof, you need to understand three things. You don’t know what it is, you don’t know what it means, and you don’t know if it’s true. Remember the phrase – “These results are not typical.”
It is common for any sales copy to point out the winners – why would they do anything else? If you used your copy to tell people how hard this stuff really is, you wouldn’t make many sales.
In order to counter that I find it useful to find spots in the copy that ring small alarms. It helps to keep me from drinking the kool-aid, if you know what I mean, and I have drunk plenty of kool-aid.
If you just keep in mind that the “proof” offered on a sale page might or might not mean anything, maybe you can hang on to some of your money. It comes in handy when you finally get to the point where you know enough to use it well.