Chapter One:  450 Times More Likely To Get Struck By Lightning


Ok, if you are reading this then I must have gotten your attention.  If you happen to be a Search Engine Optimization specialist, I am not lumping you all together in one category.  The beautiful thing about this forum is that it invites you to comment.  So, if you disagree with my position, let’s hear from you.

As a digital strategy consultant, I believe in the tactic of SEO, meaning, I believe every website owner should do their best to write relevant content and structure their site in such a way that it performs well when indexed by the search engines.  There are best practices and I believe the greatest value a SEO specialist has is to implement those best practices.

I do have a major problem with those SEO specialists that state they can get a site on the first page of returns.  Many of them guarantee it.  It is widely believed that the first 5 organic returns for any search accounts for approximately 70% of all clicks.

Let’s use a fictitious example to highlight the math.  Jack Smith is an Intellectual Property attorney in Baltimore, MD..  This is a niche specialty with much less competition than general law practices.  Jack has a respectable web site that has implemented the best SEO practices.  For some reason his site is not performing well organically.  He would really like to be relevant for search phrases such as:

  • IP Lawyers
  • IP Attorneys
  • Intellectual Property Lawyers
  • Intellectual Property Attorneys

You can pick any of the four phrases above and you will find the same challenge.  For our purposes, let’s use Intellectual Property Lawyers.  When I put Intellectual Property Lawyers into Google, here is what I g0t back:


You can see there are over 26 million results indexed by Google relating to this term.  Granted, many of these indexed pages may have a vague reference to Intellectual Property Lawyers, but it was enough for Google to index them.  I am sure you can imagine that every Intellectual Property Lawyer would love to rank in the top 5 organic returns for that phrase.  So, what are the odds of getting in that coveted top 5 position where 70% of the clicks occur.  

5(the top 5 spots) divided by 26,100,000 (the number of pages indexed by Google) equals .00000019.  This is the chance that Jack can get his site in the top 5 spots.  Compare this to the chances of Jack getting struck by lightning in his lifetime which is 1 in 12,000 or .00008.  The bottom line is  Jack is 450 times more likely to get struck by lightning in his lifetime then getting his site into the coveted first 5 organic listings.

How can any SEO specialist guarantee they can overcome these odds.  They just can’t.  

In Chapter 2, we will tell you language SEO Specialists put in their contracts to cover themselves.  Stay Tuned!