First Place

My wife’s real estate website is in first place!  Neat.  Free traffic.

Cool?  Or so what?

If and when it ever happens to you, it’s pretty cool.

But it’s a terrible business plan.

Because Lord G can drop you from #1, at any time.  And He will.  Trust me.  ;-)

And if your business model has been based on “free” traffic from your #1 listing, then you’re screwt!

Background

In September 2009, I got obsessed with natural rankings.  (See 5 Steps to SEO Dominance, and a handful of other posts on this blog.)  I became convinced it was the number 1 thing Jigsaw Health needed to do.

Along the way, I hired several SEO firms.  Most notably, ThinkBIGsites, which I reviewed — and finally updated that post today about why I stopped using TBS (and all other SEO firms) trying to game the rank.

Can Anyone Ever Stay in First Place?

As I point out in the update on RE: ThinkBigSites, gaming the ranks is like hiring an expensive contractor to build your house on sand.

As you can see below, Ashley’s site has bounced between #1 and #6 in the past 30 days.

Ashley’s Winning Strategy?

Ashley gets 2 to 4 home buyer leads per day at a too-low-to-disclose-publicly cost all through Google Adwords Pay-Per-Click.  Sure, the clicks cost money, but it sends them to a landing page that converts 30% of the traffic, a page that would probably never work as the home page.

We both like this strategy A) because it’s been working like a champ, and B) because we can turn it off and on if and when we need to.

The Bottom Line

Google natural ranks can be great, but beware of building a solid business on generic traffic.

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