Historically, one of the biggest selling points for search engine optimization (SEO) has been that brands with a successful strategy will end up on “the first page of Google.” And while there is, perhaps, some worth to this claim, it’s largely an obsolete idea – to say nothing of the fact that there never really was a “front page” of Google.
You see, today, both searchers and search engines are more sophisticated than ever before. Users are employing more targeted search terms, conducting more site-specific searches, and searching with tools like voice search, which weren’t mainstream even a few years ago. Meanwhile, search engines themselves evaluate sites based on more criteria than ever; Google has also changed the look, feel, and function of its search engine results pages (SERPs) with new features like Featured Snippets and Knowledge Graphs.
What this means, from a practical standpoint, is that different searchers are going to see different SERPs every time, based on a wide variety of criteria – specific search terminology, location, individual search history, and so on.
With this in mind, the “first page” of Google seems like even more of a fairy tale; everyone’s first page – or, more accurately, their initial search results – will be different, every time. So how can you gauge your brand’s SEO success today?