Q and A: Is it possible to guarantee a 1st page listing in Google?

QuestionDear Kalena…

I see some of the SEO Consultants guarantee for 1st page listing in Google is this possible to guarantee for 1st page listing?


This is one of the most common questions that we, as SEO’s have to deal with and the short answer is “No”. No company (other than the search engines themselves) can, with 100% certainty, ensure you a 1st page listing in the organic search results. The paid / sponsored listings are a little different and it is quite possible to guarantee those results, but not for the organic stuff.

[shameless plug] A couple of years ago I discussed this on my own blog with the post What rank checking and nose picking have in common, but even Google advises against using SEO’s who guarantee results. They state:

No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google.

Beware of SEOs that claim to guarantee rankings, allege a “special relationship” with Google, or advertise a “priority submit” to Google. There is no priority submit for Google. In fact, the only way to submit a site to Google directly is through our Add URL page or by submitting a Sitemap and you can do this yourself at no cost whatsoever.

While we, as SEO’s are often quite confident in our skills which have been acquired through years of testing, reading, experimentation and interacting with other SEO’s – the fact of the matter is, we have no control over what (and when) search algorithm changes are going to happen. Further to that, the results that one persons sees may differ considerably due to geographic locations, personalised search data / history, universal search, local business search listings and the list goes on and on.

If you’d like to read more information on this topic, Rand at SEOmoz has put together a great post about Why Reputable SEO Firms Don’t Promise Guaranteed Search Engine Rankings.

Hope this helps

Peter Newsome
SiteMost – Brisbane SEO

Q and A: Can a cluttered home page affect search rankings?


Hi Kalena,

I work on the  www.wordtravels.com website. Can the cluttered homepage negatively affect its overall page rank? What are your thoughts?

Thanks! Aimee

Dear Aimee,

In general terms, the fact that a page is “cluttered” would not necessarily have a direct impact on your rankings, but from a usability perspective a complex or “busy” home page can be confusing, and is likely to affect your conversion rate (the percentage of people that sign up to your service or make an enquiry).

If your site visitors find it difficult to find the information they are looking for,  they are more likely to leave the site without taking an action, so it is important that the info you provide on your home page is clear and easy to use – and funnels your visitors to the areas of the site that will be of specific interest to them – and it is there that you can start to provide detailed (and relevant) information.

One issue related to a “cluttered home page” that could affect your rankings, may actually be the inclusion of too much content.  What you say ?? How could there possibly be too much content ??  You have no doubt heard the SEO mantra – “Content is King” – well this is certainly true as far as I am concerned – but it doesn’t mean that you should put all your content on the one page.

Optimising your web site should involve choosing one or a very small number of keyword phrases to optimise for each page, by including relevant content for those specific phrases only.  Trying to squeeze all your target keyword phrases on the one page (probably resulting in a cluttered page), will not only be confusing to users – but is also likely to be confusing to Search Engines.  If a search engine cannot clearly identify the “purpose” of your page, because it contains too many conflicting keyword phrases for example, then it is not likely to give the page good rankings for many (or any) of those keyword phrases.

I’ve had a quick look at your site – and whilst it is certainly “busy”, it is relatively easy for a visitor to find a specific area they may be interested in.  Of more concern to me is the sheer number of links on your home page.  Google doesn’t like pages with lots of links (largely because users tend not to like them either).  Google has suggested a maximum of approx 100 links per page. A quick count of the links on your home page shows that you currently have over 600 – which is likely to raise some questions with Google (and not in a good way).

Hope that helps…

Andy Henderson
Ireckon Web Marketing

Q and A: Is it possible to SEO a WordPress site?


Hi Kalena

I had a big discussion last night with my husband and my son-in-law who has done some work on my husband’s web site.

Jason (my son-in-law) has used WordPress for the site. There are currently about 79 pages on the site. In our conversation I was pretty adamant that I wanted to be able to SEO all the pages. I don’t want to rely on WordPress and it’s blog meta tags to get ranked.

Shouldn’t we be better served by a web building program than a blog program like WordPress? I understand that WordPress has an all singing all dancing SEO plug in but is that really the best option?

I know that you use WordPress for your blog. And it seems the right thing to do. But do you also use it for your main site? Any advice you may give me would be most appreciated.

Thanks so much.


Hi Vicki

Actually, sites built with WordPress are perfect for SEO purposes. We are actually thinking of switching our Search Engine College site over to WordPress because of the SEO benefits including deep indexing, cross linking, tagging, filenaming and various SEO plugins that pretty much make other CMS packages obsolete.

You and your son in law should have no trouble optimizing your husband’s WordPress site and hopefully achieving some good ranks and traffic as a result. There are a number of fantastic SEO plugins for WordPress and people are raving about how SEO friendly the WordPress Thesis theme is so you might want to check it out.

You might also want to my review my favorite WordPress plugins. Add to that list the SEO Smart Links plugin and you should be set.


Like to learn more about SEO? Download my free SEO lesson. No catch!

Yahoo Highlights Search Trends for 2009

Today Yahoo launched its 2009 Year in Review which features the top trends and web searches made on Yahoo for 2009.

Categories included in the Year in Review include:

  • Top 10 Searches e.g. Twilight
  • Farewells e.g. Michael Jackson
  • Sudden Fame e.g. Susan Boyle
  • Mad Science e.g. Hubble Telescope
  • Obama in the House e.g. Health Care Plan
  • Market Darlings e.g. Twitter
  • Financial Hangovers e.g. Stimulus Plan
  • Bloggers Roll e.g. Huffington Post

Each category features a Top 10 list of the most popular searches queries for that topic. Search query trends were measured by various factors, including total volume and growth versus previous periods.

Yahoo has also created a competition for the Year in Review called Your Moments, where you are invited to share your meaningful moments of 2009 via Twitter using the hashtag #myyearyahoo.

So what were the top ten most popular searches on Yahoo in 2009?

1. Michael Jackson
2. Twilight
3. WWE
4. Megan Fox
5. Britney Spears
6. Naruto
7. American Idol
8. Kim Kardashian
10. Runescape

After 4 years in the #1 spot, Britney Spears moved down to the #5 position. However, the majority of top 10 search queries still relate to the entertainment industry, suggesting that we consistently like to escape from reality. Sad but true.

What were your memorable moments of 2009? Please add your comments below.

Q and A: Can Google Analytics help me identify potential customers?


Hi Kalena…

My question relates to Google Analytics. Does it also track what kind of visitors are coming to your site? I wonder if there is a tool that can tell you what kind of visitors come to your site. What I want to find out is if the visitors who come to my site are people who try to sell me stuff or are they potential clients who are interested in my services.

Thank you,


Dear Galit,

Thanks very much for your enquiry.  Google Analytics (along with most other site usage stats packages) tracks a wide variety of information about your site visitors – and by analysing this data it is often possible to infer their “intent”.  However, there is no “magic wand” or simple measurement that you can use to determine whether they are really potential customers.

Saying that, if you have goal tracking setup in Google Analytics (and I hope you do), you can relatively easily determine which types of users are more likely to result in a conversion – for example, using goal tracking in place, you may notice that 60% of users coming to your site via a google search query for the phrase “cheap red widgets” go on to buy red widgets from you.  This is important information – as it means that by optimising your sitye for this keyword phrase, you are likley to increase traffic – and more importantly sales.

Another analytics feature that you should consider implementing is – eCommerc tracking . This allows you to relatively easily determine your most profitable sources of revenue, and can be a very  effective way to determine how best to boost your online sales amd enquiries.


Andy Henderson
Ireckon Web Marketing