Why Is Ranking #1 On Google So Difficult?

Brendan Egan

Why Is Ranking #1 On Google So Difficult?

Have you ever wondered why ranking #1 on search engines such as Google is so difficult? There’s some simple and complex reasons behind this, and in this article we’ll talk a little more about why it’s hard to get on top and what you can do to get your business on top.
First off I want to mention exactly why you would want to rank on top of search results.  There’s millions of people using search engines everyday to find new products and services, and getting ranked on top is the best form of advertising you could ask for.  It targets quality leads when they’re ready to spend money and best of all, there’s not cost for each lead generated once you get ranked.  It’s also a great form of branding — consumers consistently state that they trust a company more if it’s ranked high in search engine results.
Just why is ranking on top so difficult? Because of your competitors!  There’s thousands of competitors out there, some of whom you know about as they’re you’re biggest competitors, others you might not even know exist.  But many of your competitors are also doing SEO and trying to get to that #1 search engine spot, so it’s a constant battle to the top between you and your competitors.
As the ultimate example of this, I’m going to share the keyword movement for two keywords we’re ranking for.  Now these are online marketing and SEO related keywords, which means there’s other SEO companies fighting against us and pouring TONS of money and resources into these keywords, yet we’ve achieved top 5 rankings for both of these phrases:

Now the main thing I want to mention about these results is how they happen.  You can see that getting from outside position #100 up to about #15 is pretty easy — almost straight up in a short amount of time.  But what then happens is the campaign stalls out a little because of our competitors.  We’ve reached a point where we’ve caught up with most of our competitors as we’re ranked in top top 5 results, but our top 5 competitors have been doing SEO for a long time for these keywords and are still doing SEO for these keywords.  That means we not only need to catch up to their past work, but we also need to match their current work AND pass them up.  So getting to page 1 usually isn’t too difficult for most keywords, but the real struggle comes in getting the keywords all the way to the #1 position.
You might think that being on page 1 is enough, and in some cases it is.  85% of searchers never leave the first page of results, and for some keywords you might get a lot of traffic just by being on page 1.  But for us we always want to do better and rank higher, so we always try for top 3 rankings and ideally the #1 position.  That’s because about 60% of the traffic goes to the top 3 websites for any given keyword, so that’s where we want our website to be ranked.
Ranking in the #1 position on Google is difficult, but if you have the right team of experts working for you it certainly is a goal that is well within reach.