One of the biggest problems we face as an SEO company is a client having unrealistic expectations about what SEO can achieve. There are a lot of cases where it feels like clients seem to think SEOs have a direct line to Google and when they pay for work done we will get on the phone to Eric and Sergey and inform them we want X site ranking in X position.

As much as we wish this was true it is unfortunately not the case. The reality of the situation is Google is trying to provide the most relevant results for specific searches and in theory as an SEO company we aim to try and make a website selling “Blue Widgets” be as relevant as possible for the term “Blue Widgets”.

Unfortunately it is not always as simple as just making the site relevant for “Blue Widgets” there are quite frequently a LOT of other  website targeting the same term, so we need to somehow make this site more relevant that everyone else. This is then quite frequently accompanied by a client not being satisfied with ranking for “Blue Widgets” but they want to rank for “Widgets”. This can make things considerably more difficult.

If we take a more realistic example, let’s say we sell SIP Voip Phones, it would be a realistic expectation to be able to rank for SIP Voip Phones. Seeing as that is what we specialise in, then someone searching for SIP Voip Phones or SIP phones may find us in the top ten of Google and they will be content with the fact a relevant result.

However if the person searches for VOIP Phones and we rank in the top ten then does the site really deserve to be there? There are all sorts of VOIP Phones out there and I am assuming that the average person searching for VOIP Phones is more likely searching for a traditional VOIP phone or a SKYPE Phone, therefore having a site specialising in SIP Voip Phones ranking in the top ten of Google is NOT a relevant result.

This problem is them amplified if we wanted to rank for “Phones”. Yes we sell phones, but it is just not relevant at all to rank for that term, there are hundreds of types of phone, and SIP phones are a very specific niche so why would Google want our site ranking for phones? And the answer is they don’t want the site to rank for this term, and this is exactly what they are trying to stop.

Obviously this doesn’t mean we wouldn’t target “VOIP Phones” (we might not bother with just “Phones” though) but in reality it could be very difficult to rank for this term, and to some extent you end up playing a cat and mouse game with Google.  If there is a technique that improves rankings and SEO Company will likely use it (obviously) however at some point if Google feels people are using a technique to manipulate the search engines they will likely devalue the technique. This has happened with dozens of techniques over the years including directory submissions, mass article syndication, reciprocal links, selling links, along with various on site techniques such as having a high keyword density.

A more realistic and profitable approach is to spend less time obsessing about ranking for unrealistic terms and more time concentrating on improving sales, and specifically improving the conversions from search engine traffic to a certified lead or sale.

While getting the example site that sells SIP Voip Phones ranking for Phones may generate a lot of traffic is it likely that this traffic will really convert into a sale? Ok, yes a small percentage might, it would be more fruitful to spend time trying to improve the people searching for “SIP phones” into sales than it is spending time getting the site ranking for “phones”.