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July 28, 2011

The Google First Page Lie and the Necessity For Creativity and Quality

Did you know the only businesses that make money on the Internet are those on the first page of Google?

Oh, you already knew that?

So you’re not the least bit surprised by my statement?

What’s that you say? You’ve been hearing for years how important it is to be on the first page of Google?

I see. So my statement just reinforces what you knew all along.

Well, that’s good. That’s very, very good.

Except for one thing…

It’s a BIG lie!

The Google First Page Lie

That’s right, it’s a big lie!

You Do Not Have To Be On The First Page Of Google To Make Money On The Internet!

I repeat…

You Do Not Have To Be On The First Page Of Google To Make Money On The Internet!

I’ll explain why in a moment. But first…a little history lesson in marketing.

Marketing lies didn’t just start with search engine rankings. Long before the advent of the Internet, businesses were climbing all over themselves trying to get the best ad placement in other types of major media:

The Major Media

* Newspapers
* Magazines
* Direct Mail
* Yellow Pages
* Radio
* Television
* Internet

Let’s touch on each of these briefly.


The prime real estate in a newspaper is the general news section. Followed closely by the sports and astrology sections. But what if you can’t afford prime placement? Does that mean your ad is doomed to failure?

Of course not. Ads in other parts of the newspaper can be successful as well. Heck, even the classified ads get read. The key is being creative enough to make your ad stand out, regardless of where it’s located.

For example, I remember reading a very interesting newspaper article about how lint balls in clothes dryers are extremely flammable and can cause major house fires. Only after reading the entire article did I realize it was an insurance advertisement placed by a local independent insurance agent.

That advertisement, designed to look like an article, definitely got my attention. By the way, that advertisement was buried way in the back of the newspaper with a bunch of other ads, and it still managed to stand out.


When it comes to magazine advertising, apparently size matters. According to Entrepreneur magazine, A two-page spread attracts about 25 percent more readers than a one-page ad. A full-page ad attracts one-third more readers than a half-page ad.

As far as ad placement is concerned, it really doesn’t matter whether the ad is located in the front of the magazine or the back in terms of the ability to get noticed.

But what about all those other ads in the magazine? Are they doomed to failure because of their smaller size? Of course not. Just like with newspaper advertising, even the classified ads get read. Again, the key is being creative enough to make your ad stand out, regardless of where it’s located.

Whenever, I think about magazine ads, I always think about Joe Karbo’s classic The Lazy Man’s Way to Riches. The secondary headline really struck a chord in readers: Most People Are Too Busy Earning a Living to Make Any Money.

Out of the thousands and thousands of magazine ads I’ve read over the years, that’s the one that continues to stand out in my mind all these years later.

Direct Mail

Even with sky high postage costs, a properly executed direct mail campaign still provides a solid ROI (return on investment).

Cooperative direct mail companies such as Valpak make launching a direct mail campaign easy and affordable, for even the most budget conscious small business.

So what exactly is cooperative direct mail? Cooperative direct mail simply means you share an envelope with 35-40 other advertisers. Sharing an envelope with other advertisers reduces your costs significantly.

Obviously, it can be a challenge to get noticed in an envelope full of ads. But one resourceful direct mail advertiser found a way around that problem. This was one of the cleverest and most effective direct mail pieces I’ve ever seen. It was a simple, light yellow postcard with black print that read:

“Dear David Jackson:

I’ve sent you a very special gift. It will be arriving in a few days in a light blue Valpak envelope. When you receive it, please sort through the envelope immediately and claim your free gift. Tape this postcard to your refrigerator as a reminder.”

I waited with anticipation for that blue Valpak envelope to arrive, and when it came, I tore it open, completely disregarding the dozens of other offers in the envelope and went fishing for my free gift. Talk about an advertiser jumping to the front of the line…brilliant!

By the way, in case you’re wondering what my free gift was, it was two free movie passes from a local furniture store. Did the free gift work? A month after receiving those movie passes, my girlfriend and I purchased a new living room set from that very same store.

Yellow Pages

Just like in magazine advertising, size matters. and all things being equal, a bigger ad does get a greater response, as well as the best placement. That being said, all things are rarely equal in marketing. And a smaller ad that uses basic copywriting fundamentals can be just as effective as a huge ad that is placed at the front of the category. Once again, the key is being creative enough to make your ad stand out in the crowd.

One yellow page ad in particular that stands out was that of a local pizzeria. The ad featured a picture of a flying saucer with the headline: Our Pizza is Out of This World!

Radio Advertising

When it comes to advertising on the radio, prime time is known as “drive time”, which is the time when most people are in their cars driving to and from work.

Morning drive time is typically 6 am to 10 am, and is traditionally the most expensive air time because that’s when more people listen.

Afternoon drive time, is 4 pm to 7 pm.

But what about all those other radio commercials that are aired at times other than drive time. Are they doomed to failure? Does anybody hear them?

The answer is an emphatic YES!

Millions of people listen to the radio at work, in the office, while exercising, in their homes, etc. And while drive time is preferable, it’s certainly NOT necessary to be successful. What is necessary, however, is being creative enough to make your radio commercial stand out…regardless of when it’s aired.

I heard this commercial when I was visiting relatives in
Houston Texas. That commercial sticks out like a sore thumb!


It goes without saying, prime time is the most coveted advertising time for advertisers. Prime time is weeknights and Saturday from 8 pm to 11 pm. Sunday prime time is 7 pm to 11 pm. But what about all those other commercials that air at times other than prime time? Certainly, they’re doomed to failure right?

Wrong! Many commercials do well in other time slots. In fact, late night television has been extremely successful for many businesses. Again, it’s all about being creative enough to make your commercial stand out regardless of when it’s aired.

I remember watching this TV commercial as a child. It still stands out in my mind.

So there you have it. Real life examples of companies that were creative enough to make themselves stand out – regardless of the competition – regardless of their ad positioning.

The Internet

Which brings me back to why being on the first page of Google simply doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter because something exists that is more powerful than even the almighty Google. That something is called word-of-mouth advertising.

Word-of-mouth advertising is what caused visitors to flock to Alex Tew’s Million Dollar Homepage and enabled him to generate over a million dollars in income for himself.

If you are creative enough to come up with an idea that offers both value and quality, it will capture the imagination of visitors, and you will be the beneficiary of the type of game-changing word-of-mouth advertising that money just can’t buy.

Focus your time and energy on coming up with creative ways of getting your website found on the Internet. For example, chances are you didn’t use Google to find this website – although it is highly ranked. You either visit this site regularly, heard about it through word-of-mouth, or you’re a newsletter subscriber.

So, what does that prove?

It proves there are other ways of getting found on the Internet other than Google. There are other ways to stand out. Videos, e-books, newsletters, press releases social media, podcasts, seminars or a variety of other methods.

The point is, there are any number of ways you can get your website found on the Internet without being on the first page of Google. You are limited only by your own imagination and creativity.

If you’re not the creative type, or need some help coming up with creative ideas to promote your business, I highly recommend Jay Conrad Levinson’s Guerrilla Marketing website.

In closing, while being creative may attract visitors to your website initially, at the end of the day, it’s quality content that will keep them coming back!

David Jackson is a marketing consultant and the owner of – Powerful, free marketing tips to help grow your business!

31 Responses to “The Google First Page Lie and the Necessity For Creativity and Quality

    avatar cbse says:

    That is Nice article & true ! !

    B’Coz, I saw a more search on more money making site on SERP top 5 OR top 10 ! !

    Great article David and so true.

    I’m sorry but, your comment “You Do Not Have To Be On The First Page Of Google To Make Money On The Internet!” It’s a BIG lie! IS a BIG lie!

    Yes, you can make money other ways but, not nearly as much as what a top Page 1 listing in Google will bring.

    Your comment, “Did you know the only businesses that make money on the Internet are those on the first page of Google?” is also misleading.

    Sure, there are other ways but, probably none as effective or capable of bringing in as much targeted traffic as a Page 1 listing in Google’s first 3 positions for whatever keyword you are ranking for.

    As far as The Major Media you mention, Newspapers, Magazines, Direct Mail, Yellow Pages, Radio and Television sure, they can be effective AND very costly for a small business.

    The internet has made it possible for the first time in advertising history, for a small business person to educate himself about Search Engine Optimization and have the ability to compete with large corporations for the traffic they are seeking.

    This cannot be said for ANY of the other media you mention, they ALL require significant capital to be anywhere as effective as that Page 1 Google will bring.

    Your statement, “It proves there are other ways of getting found on the Internet other than Google. There are other ways to stand out. Videos, e-books, newsletters, press releases social media, podcasts, seminars or a variety of other methods.” yes, these will bring in traffic, but they are also what is required to achieve that Page 1 Listing on Google these days, Google now demands a diversified linking profile to get those coveted Page 1 listings.

    One last correction, your statement, “Which brings me back to why being on the first page of Google simply doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter because something exists that is more powerful than even the almighty Google. That something is called word-of-mouth advertising.”

    First if it doesn’t matter, then why are you putting out information and articles like this? Could it be to perhaps, to increase your rankings or visibility in Google and the other search engines for more targeted to your site?

    “Word of Mouth” is great but to get the word out to your targeted audience as quickly and for reaching the maximum number of people on any given day, NOTHING beats a top Page 1 listing in Google!

    avatar Nutrition Coaching says:

    Thank you. As a business owner only 1 month away from launching our site the tips you provided are priceless.

    avatar Increase Website Traffic says:

    I would say that I’m in the middle of World’s-longest-anchor-text-for-a-name guy and David.

    General diversification of marketing strategy really is key: getting into any and every potential avenue of profitability, and expansion into new means and markets.

    Where I agree most with David would certainly be the implication that people get OBSESSED with getting to page 1 top 3 in Google, to the extent that they are all but blind to general diversification. Night sweats over PR, and such…lol.

    What I think is most true about anchor text guy’s post, is that BOOOYYYYY it sure is nice to be on page 1. The benefits of page 1 are nice, I should say. However, his/her post should be tempered by the absolute fact that for most competitive niches, getting to page 1, let alone page 1 top 3, costs a lot of money. Moreover, staying there requires money, too. While this was not always the case, it is now.

    avatar Steven says:

    at the end of the day if you have what the customer wants they will find you no matter where you rank

    avatar Software says:

    David; as usual, you’ve come thru with another great article!

    As for “Page1” – it seems he’s jealous of your article … he also claims on his site to be an “SEO Specialist” which always makes me laugh when people make claims like that.

    So, when I checked his website, he has over 215 coding errors / warnings which tells me I wouldn’t hire him for anything, so don’t let him get to you.

    avatar Azrian says:

    I rarely use google to find anything of importance. You hit the mark there.

    @Page 1 Seo: Now why doesn’t it surprise me that a company named Page 1 SEO hates my article?

    Of course, it’s your prerogotive to disagree, but I stand by every word I wrote. Being on the first page of Google isn’t nearly as important as it’s hyped up to be by businesses like yours.

    avatar Jass says:

    Very controversial article. This will create a stir. Like it! 🙂

    @Jass: I didn’t write my article to be controversial. This is exactly how I feel about the topic. That being said, I’ve never been afraid of a little controversy either.

    avatar Beamer says:

    No matter the controversy, clients will always clamor to be on the first page of Google. Personally, I hate G with a passion but the first page of G is where my clients want to be and by golly that is where they will go! They don’t pay me to get them on page 2.

    However, I do tell them to not depend on just G for internet traffic, but to diversify with other ways of getting traffic.

    For instance, one client has a flower shop for which I have her on page one for her keywords. I suggested that she put a beautiful display of fresh flowers in front of her store for local traffic.

    @Software: Thank you. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to comment so far.

    Marketing is always going to be a controversial topic even in the age of internet search with or without Google for front page placement. Old school and cave man marketing will always be supply and the innovation of letting others know your product or service exists. You either Pay $ for the placement and the location of a product your selling or you in todays standards be unique it its marketing by branding yourself or product for other to find. The question should be is your product visible at all let alone the front page of any search engine.

    WARNING…if an SEO company guarantees you first page rankings, RUN, don’t walk away from that company. Legitimate SEO companies DON”T guarantee first page rankings, because they realize they have no control over a search engine’s ever-evolving algorithms.

    As a response to Mr. Jackson’s last comment above, that “WARNING…if an SEO company guarantees you first page rankings, RUN, don’t walk away from that company. Legitimate SEO companies DON’T guarantee first page rankings”.

    SEO is not rocket science, all it takes is reverse engineering of your strongest competitors’ sites.

    As for “Legitimate SEO companies” I did not say #1 on Page 1, I said on Page 1, which could be anywhere on Page 1 of Google which most businesses would be happy with.

    And yes, for very competitive niches it will take more time to achieve but, it can be done.

    Just because you do not know how to achieve those kind of rankings for your clients, does not mean the SEO company is not “Legitimate”

    You’ll have to explain to my clients for whom I have achieved first page rankings and who are reaping the increased bottom lines to their businesses, that their Page 1 listings “Don’t matter” and the money in their bank accounts is not “Legitimate”.

    And to “Software” “So, when I checked his website, he has over 215 coding errors / warnings which tells me I wouldn’t hire him for anything, so don’t let him get to you.”

    Gee, even if there are some coding errors, they are not seen by your customers and have not stopped getting the Page 1 rankings my clients wanted.

    Regarding, “Being on the first page of Google isn’t nearly as important as it’s hyped up to be by businesses like yours”,how would you know if you’ve never experienced it?

    Of course, it’s your prerogative to disagree, but I stand by every word I wrote.

    I really love this article.

    When I first started working for a small insurance company doing their SEO all they had in their heads was that being on the first page of Google was the only way to succeed online. As time went on, and some well placed hints and nudges from myself, I managed to finally show them that being on the first page of Google is but on of the ways you win online. It takes a diverse marketing plan and creativity to do things in ways no one else has done them yet. Don’t do one thing %100 better, do 100 things %1 better.

    Keep these great articles coming!

    Your post really helped me to understand this.It has great details and yet it is easy to understand.That’s what i was looking for.I will definitely share it with others.Thanks for sharing.

    avatar Software says:

    David is still correct when he states to RUN from any “alleged” SEO company like Page1 claims … SEO is merely a buzzword that appeared years ago and numerous companies jumped on it claiming they can put your site in the #1 position, but they can’t “GUARANTEE” that 1st place as all search engines change their algorithms on a constant basis.

    Page1 – have you looked at your site header in Firefox? It shows me you don’t care how your site looks, especially when the header overlaps on the right side.

    So, if you don’t care about correcting your own coding errors and warnings, how can unsuspecting customers place any faith into what you claim?

    Perhaps many of your “alleged” clients should talk to many of us Professional Webmasters who have more experience than you, as we will tell them the truth … try the truth for a change.

    avatar Rkempo says:

    thank you david, you’re right!

    avatar Beamer says:

    @David: “WARNING…if an SEO company guarantees you first page rankings, RUN, don’t walk away from that company.”

    I am presently writing an article for my blog on the same subject. It makes me sick to my stomach when clients demand a guarantee. I tell them straight out there are no guarantees. Additionally, a company giving guarantees are most likely using black hat techniques, which may get first page for a while, but doesn’t last after the search engines find out what’s going on.

    Here’s another one I like. “I want A thru G.” Again, I have to explain that first page is A thru J and I have no control on any particular position. Do I need to say how many times I must repeat myself to them about this?

    Right on my site it says no guarantees. Yet prospective clients still try to hoodwink me into giving them guarantees. It is laughable at best.

    I strictly follow the rules and my clients get top listings on page one.


    Perhaps you should look up what SEO is short for, in case you can’t remember it’s “search engine optimization” and that is exactly what we provide for our clients, not just some “buzzword” as you claim; no different than CPA for “certified public account”; understand the concept?

    And if you had bothered to read the post I wrote, I never once said # 1 position, I said Page 1 of Google, which we achieve for our customers.

    Any professional with half a brain understands how the changing algorithms work. That is why we state, “Page 1.” It is also why we only guarantee a Page 1 listing not, a position #1 guarantee.

    Webmasters and SEO professionals are very different animals. We have vastly different worlds of knowledge.

    You pointing out my coding errors is because that is what you know.

    Fortunately for me, my knowledge of internet marketing is all I need to change the lives of my clients from wishing they had internet business to being busier than they ever dreamed!

    The fact that I may make some coding errors does not affect their rankings or the ability for them to show up on Page 1, which I achieve for them!

    As far as your stupid comment, “many of your ‘alleged’ clients”, if you had bothered to investigate just some of the case studies I have used as examples, anyone can clearly see by checking them, that they are not contrived or concocted. They do not just show up in the search engines because I say so.

    And I am sorry, but I have not heard any truth to any of your “Professional Webmaster” comments yet!

    As I mentioned before, my clients only care about one thing, is it working for them?

    Their bank accounts say it is working for them, and that is all that is important to them and to me.

    Your doubts and incorrect baseless assumptions do not matter at all.

    Success and increased business is exactly what a Page 1 (pay attention), Page 1, not position #1, ranking on Google does for them.

    It seems that the title captured the attention of the readers commenting their post on this article, which means it was affective enough to grab your attention. I would also say that the article is full of good information explaining other way’s of how to advertise. Yes, the I will put you on the front page of Google is another gimmick cooked up by other marketers trying to market their own services. Any good SEO company does know that the algorithm changes on a regular basis. This is why having some kind of optimization going on at all times is a necessity. Overall, I think the list of different way’s provided in this article was good and it should make you realize that if your not marketing with some of these other way’s then you should rethink your marketing strategies.

    Being a top ranking in Google is first priority of several website owners in order to get search engine popularity and website visibility.

    avatar Increase Website Traffic says:

    Aside from hyperbole and rhetoric, I’m not sure why anyone would have a big problem with a service that offers a page 1 guarantee. Page 1 is quite do-able for all but the most competitive niches (in my opinion). And I would caveat that limitation by saying that – given enough time – it is still possible; probable, even, with 100% White Hat techniques. Indeed, the new algorithm changes for Google *appear* to be far more ‘cognizant’ of Black Hat manipulation, thereby being more ‘cognizant’ of White Hat SEO, thereby giving greater weight to White Hat SEO.

    The problem people should have with SEO service ‘guarantees’ is when an SEO service is left to its own devices and ranks a site for the least competitive keywords and keyword phrases possible (which no one will use to find a product or service), and then turns around to the customer and says, “TAH DAHHHH!!!!” 😀

    That’s low-rent SEO. The ideal, informed SEO service customer is he who could probably do it himself if only he had the time. Uninformed customers are the people keeping SEO crooks afloat on the Web.

    At the very least, someone considering an SEO service should get written clarification from the service if there are any guarantee statements that are in any way shape or form ambiguous.

    Ultimately, I think the moral of this article and this thread is that Google (and all other Search Engine) page 1 listings are great; but, they are not the be-all-end-all of a stalwart web presence.

    avatar Blogging for business says:

    A really informative article David. Though 56% traffic on my main website is from google, I’m working really hard to reduce that percentage. Diversifying is the real deal. There’s no controversy to it.

    @Increase Website Traffic: You’re exactly right. The overarching message of my article is, being on page one is not a “be all, end all” solution.

    @Blogging for business: You nailed the gist of my article’s message…DIVERSIFICATION

    avatar Tom Aikins says:

    Since 87% of people never go past the first page of Google’s search results, being on the first page is imperative. Your assertions are nonsensical. There is only one way to be FOUND on the internet and that is through search and that means you have to be on the first page of Google. If people are hearing about your site through word of mouth then they’re not really finding you, are they? They already know you exist and are just going to your site. Being found is completely different. Sorry to split hairs but I’m right.

    avatar Jeanne Curts says:

    Lots of good info here about different types of media and how they work but I have to disagree on the SEO. It’s proven that 50% of the makeup of why you are on page one of Google is the Inbound Link that supports it and it’s credibility. 20% is keywords, 20% is Domain Name with 5% on both traffic and content. Purchase your SEO from a media like Radio or Newspaper and you will see 1st page results within 1 Month. We are seeing it happen with our new SEO at Backyard Broadcasting. We have very happy customers which turns into repeat business.

    avatar Mark Wheatley says:

    Just to add to the debate.

    Getting on the first page of Google for the relevant search term is just one aspect of marketing.
    Your content has to engage your prospects, there needs to be methods in play to get your prospects into your sales funnel.

    Also most businesses have a mix of marketing lead generation strategies.

    A rule of thumb we promote for a small or medium sized business is having at least five different ways of generating business.



    I managed to get my site ranked on the Big “G” first page: Number one listing, for the keywords “web sales writer” and it has done some good for my business as a Web Copywriter.
    It does however take a lot of work (like writing exclusive articles for SiteProNews) and other high profile back links, such as LinkedIn, Biznik, to keep such a ranking.

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