How To Brand Page One, Number One Ranking SEO

by Chris Hooley May 6th, 2009 

The goal of SEO is to rank your website of choice number one for your phrase of choice.

Not front page, not third or second, but FIRST.

one unique tree

It's that first natural position on Google and other search engines that is the holy grail for search engine optimizers.

This position generally reaps 3.5 times the clicks and visitors as the second spot according to AOL search data leaked a few years back.

And from my experience, users who click on the first listing are more click happy, more likely to fill out a lead form, and more likely to buy something. Because the number of visitors is multiplied by increased conversion rates, the Power of First is exponential.

Don't get me wrong, ranking a website in the top 10, or top 5 is not a failure. It just means there's a lot more work to do. Now hold that thought.

Unlocking the Power of First

4 times 1

It's no secret that SEO is becoming more mainstream.

Chances are, you have self-reinforcing high ranking websites already in your vertical. This increases the difficulty in cracking that top 10, top 5, and especially the first spot.

Part of the reason those top ranked sites are there might be because they were utilizing search engine optimization first. They probably have more links, or better quality links. Their links are probably older, which is something just can't be replicated.

So you are going to have to work a little smarter, and work a little harder than those guys ahead of you had to. If you want to crack into that top spot, it's gonna take work. And there is another good reason for it...

Google's search patent shows that previous rankings for a website or a web page factor in to the algorithm for current rankings. So we can chalk that up as another variation of the Power of First. The Power of First is self reinforcing.

Branding the Power of First

Kid with sunglasses making the V sign

Although we are talking strictly about SEM and SEO right now, the "power of first" is not a nuance of search marketing.

In fact, it is time tested trick that's been around at least as long as print advertising. Just take a look in the Yellow Pages (not the website, the actual book made of paper folks).

There are a staggering amount of companies in each state or metro named things like "A1A Contracting", or "AAA Plumbing", etc. You'll notice the first page of virtually any category is littered with companies who seemingly put branding aside for more direct responses.

But the funny thing is, that being first becomes part of a company's brand. It seems to have a psychological effect that states "AAA Company is Number One for Blue Widgets". Therefore, the Power of First is a brand.

Selling the Power of First

If you're a firm or a consultant who takes SEO clients, you need understand just how big the power of first is, so you can package it up in a nice pitch, and sell sell sell it.

It might help you land a contract or two, but more importantly, it could help you retain existing clients. Say it with me: "the job is not done until you rank number one" (catchy eh? I just copyrighted it so don't even think about it... FIRST!).

Your client needs to know just how much more business they can generate by getting those top spots.

They need to understand why they are not there yet, they need to know what it will take, and they need to know why you can get them there. Once your client fully grasps the importance of the first spot, and how much effort it will take to get there, they will be more likely to retain your services if you've already been able to show them some concrete results.

And since the power of first will either help you land clients, or help you retain current ones. The Power of First is money.

There can only be one number one. :-)

Chris Hooley is an SEO in Phoenix, currently harnessing the power of first across numerous verticals.

You May Also Like

10 Responses to “How To Brand Page One, Number One Ranking SEO”

  1. Andrew says:

    Great article. I had no idea the first spot on SERPs means more than 3 times the clicks.

  2. Dallin says:

    I couldn't agree more. Traffic is much better in terms of volume AND quality at the top.

    I'm curious though how you go about estimating what it will take to get to the top, and charging your client accordingly? What if it takes more work than you thought to crack #1 — and how do you deal with getting the customer to pay more?

  3. Neil says:


    A great article – the statistics on click-through for the 1st page of results make quite scary reading if you are struggling to get the top spot.

    One (perhaps) interesting thing is that the worst position to be on page 1 is position 9! This is slightly worse than being 10th :)

  4. Getting the top position in SERP becomes more difficult when you have any authority site in competition and that the thing makes it almost impossible to get the first position in search engine results.

    To beat that site you have to make authority of your web site and that take lots of hard work and patience, yes patience. Time factor also plays a very important role in search engine optimization as the older sites seem to be more trusty in the eyes of search engines.

  5. Chris Hooley says:

    @Dallin – it's not necessarily charging them more for the top spot, although I have created tiered performance based payment plans before. It's more about getting them to *stay* a client while you're trying to crack that top spot. If a client knows they will get 3-4 x the traffic from #1 to #2, then you can explain it *might* take 3-4 times the effort or time.

    Strong KW research and that sixth sense you get from hardcore SEO experience should give you a loose idea on how long it will take to crack a top spot. But it is impossible to say "You *will* get it on this day" unless it is an easy KW and you are brute forcing it. For that reason, I rarely tell a client you will be top by a specific date.

    Like @The Agra Indian said, it gets progressively more difficult to crack those higher spots, because the competition is stiffer and stiffer the closer to the top you get. Because the value is greater and greater!

  6. Reaching that #1 spot is very very hard, I know I've been trying to for a little over a year to rank there.. but I guess I haven't put enough effort to do it. But I know… when I get there.. my efforts will surely pay off!

    Till then,


    PS: I really loved the photo you used with the kid, cute stuff!

  7. Good article. I guess there is much more work to do to blogging than just writing articles (which I like most). When I started out with my blog not too long ago I was thinking: If I write it, they will come.

  8. bathca says:

    Getting no 1 is always tough task for anybody but not impossible coz I have been gettig success of being no. 1 in ranking and all you have to do is hard work and keep patience.

  9. Mike says:

    Spot on.

    Regarding beating an authority site at #1, I've seen a 'less powerful' domain overtake the top position when the domain is an exact match for the search phrase. Age helps, too.

  10. Great information and stats, really it's hard to get even to top ten but becoming number 1 on the list means lot of hard work and determination. I am slowly trying to achieve this. Thanks,