How do I get on the first page of Google?

1969 Honda N360In 1970 Honda unleashed the N600 sedan on the American consumer. The car featured front wheel drive and an air-cooled, four stroke, 31 horsepowered two-cylinder engine, which was borrowed from the Honda CB450 motorcycle.

Honda didn’t think the N600 would replace the Chevy Impala, but they had to start somewhere. It’s the same on the web.

Every SEO gets asked the dreaded “how long until I’m number one on Google” a lot. At that point our job becomes one of teacher. Ranking first on Google means that your web page is better than any of the other 40 trillion pages on the web. That’s a pretty high bar right out of the gate.

So you spend a year making your site more responsive, adding better content, optimizing for conversions and building out your community. You still have very little traffic. You start to think you’re doing something wrong. You start asking around and looking at your competitors. Amazon makes it look so easy.

As you start to slog your way through year two you see some progress. You are starting to attract some links, a few people start to leave comments on your blog posts. Now you can feel your expectations start to rise. You feel like something good is right around the corner. Okay, maybe the next corner. Damnit, maybe that next one.

This is where half of the population gives up. This is what Seth Godin refers to as “the dip“. Seth’s main point in that book is knowing when it’s a dip that you have to power through, or something you should quit all together and move on.

I love the graphics that Rand Fiskin uses to illustrate this exact point. It’s the Google Analytics traffic line of his wife’s blog.

Everywhereist traffic

Everywhereist traffic

Everywhereist traffic

I’ve heard it said that it always feels like you’re losing, right before you win. If you still love what you’re doing and it feels right, I implore you to stay on the treadmill a little bit longer. Real success doesn’t come overnight.

I still remember the impact of Chris Brogan’s blog post about overnight success from way back in 2009 and how it made me more determined than ever.


  1. Phil, little to nothing about SEO in this article.
    SEO is NOT about how early you get up, or how long you work.
    SEO is about conforming to Google’s prerequisites.

    How they like the page laid out.
    How they want keywords used and formatted.
    The proper use of meta data.
    Semantic markup. (h1 – h2 – h3 tags)
    Building the niche’s information silos.
    Loading time.

    Proper (Only Orgainc), linking. Some localizing, industry linking, and review sites are ok, if not overdone.

    You can blog till your spleen ruptures but it won’t get your SEO positions any higher.
    Google has told us that they do not use social signals to rank pages. blogging is a social signal.

    It *could drive your PageRank higher when more people link to it, give it a G+1, or Tweet it.
    But PageRank’s metric is separate from their search engine results.
    (PR got divorced from SERPs in 2010.)

    It *could drive your traffic up. If you keep at it regularly. And with great content. And push market it to your niche.
    It won’t get you a #1. Few blogs ever make it to the first page of Google.
    Blogs constantly change content, focus, and even niche.
    Google likes more or less static content. E.G. The same niche, the same keywords, the same layout.

    If you get your site to conform to Google’s prerequisites, success IS overnight, at least in the search engine result pages.

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