Still Trying to Rank #1 on Google? Time to Relearn SEO!

With all that iPhone 5 and other new brands of smartphone buzz around, I recently started working on a (micro niche) affiliate site to promote certain phone-cases and covers. While generally querying for some of the related key phrases, I got the shock of my life seeing what some specific Google Search produced on its first result page.

Search Scenario #1: High Competition Search Terms

The following search engine result page (SERP) is what I got for relatively high competition search term in the area of iPhone 5 covers and cases.

(Click the image for larger view)

google search results for high competition keywords

Basically, on a HD laptop screen, there was hardly 10% of the space available for us webmasters to rank our content on Google’s first page. Well, the first page ranking is of any significance only if you can rank within 4 or 5 line items of the displayed search results or in reality whatever is mostly above the fold. What’s the point in doing a lot of SEO if all those spaces are already pre-occupied by Google Ads, Google promoted content (e.g. wiki listing) or their partner content? The anatomy of Google Search results has changed over the years to stuff most of the space with ‘relevant’ ads and not always ‘relevant content’.

SEO Lessons learned:

If you want to offer your services or monetize content for very high competition keywords, it is better to take the SEM route i.e. Use Google AdWords – and that’s exactly what Google wants from us. These keywords based campaigns will convert well, but also make you spend a fortune on ad campaigns.

Search Scenario #2: Internet Dummy Search

Now, what would happen if you go about some generic search (or day to day informational queries) on Google?

In such scenarios, you will get a little more breathing space to compete with similar content producers. But then promoted content such as Wikipedia will occupy a lot of space there. However, you may get more visibility if you could produce and upload some videos on to YouTube as they tend to rank high in such scenarios. This is because, too generic keyword search is not much of interest to advertisers and hence Google (Check the screenshot below – click to expand)

google serach common search terms

SEO Lessons learned:

Take the YouTube route in order to rank high on for generic and commonly searched key phrases. However, these keywords hardly convert. Also, your page listing in good company with informational websites and sources because you are knowingly or unknowingly targeting the informational visitors (not a transactional one)

Search Scenario #3: More Specific Long Tail Search

Now, this is of much more interest to us. When I search for terms like ‘how to remove pimples from face’ or ‘how to remove pimples from face naturally’ , I get to see some ads, some promoted content but also get about 25% of the SERP space to compete with. This is like competing with 3 or 4 similarly players and hence long tail SEO is rather a level playing field.

Like in the previous example, YouTube videos – not from top ranked players or promoters – also play a big role in promoting such long tail keyword targeted content.

long tail keyword search on Google

SEO Lessons learned:

Focus on long tail keywords if you want to have sustainable organic traffic powered by better Google search ranks for these keywords. YouTube videos are very good means to target specific long tail search words. And in reality, this is the only route for commoners to compete in terms of SEO and most importantly these keywords result in more transactional visits to your websites. Anything else that you are doing without a huge budget is going to waste your time and energy.


  • Focus on Long Tail Keywords for conversions and sustainable traffic
  • Youtube Videos rank high under many search scenarios and hence is one of the promotion routes to take
  • Promote your content heavily on Social Media especially on Google+, Pinterest etc. Google+ shared content rank better on Google according to many
  • Do not depend only on SEO – Think of alternate routes such as building an Email list, if you haven’t already done so
  • Produce useful and unique content without wich all the above strategies are not going to help you anyhow

And yes, my iPhone cases affiliate project is on hold for now.


  1. Great lessons I have learnt here. I liked the first tip about youtube. I read a lot that youtube videos rank well in searches.

  2. I agree, especially with the YouTube part. We always urge our clients to incorporate videos into their marketing tactics because doing so really helps with SEO. Sometimes the YouTube videos rank better than their main website!

  3. Hi Ajith,

    Google is pushing us toward longtail keywords with their latest updates because they are basing search terms on realistic phrase.

    We do not type in shorter phrases most of the time. We need tips or steps to accomplish tasks, so this usually means 4 or 5 or 8 word phrases to get the job done.

    The more specific you become the more terms you will type in and of course, your long tails need to match these terms to rock it out. Google continues to get more and more specific with their algorithms these days.

    Thanks for sharing!

  4. Thank you for your valuable information. I am trying very hard to get google page rank for my site. I will follow your advice and it will be valuable for me.
    I will focus on long tail keywords and then on producing quality content.

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