Does Your SEO Client Suffer from UGE?

I receive such a positive response every time I write a rant-filled post —  so I thought I’d do it again!

What am I ranting about now?

Clients who insist that a page “deserves” a top ten position — even if the keyword intent is all wrong.

I call this UGE — Unrealistic Google Expectations.

Chances are, you’ve worked with a client who suffers from this affliction.

No matter what, they insist they can achieve a Google position — despite the search intent or what their consultants say. They have UGE goals and UGE strategies. They spend oodles of cash and time pushing for a result that’s not going to happen.

Grr. Here’s what I mean.

Recently, I’ve stumbled upon a bunch of folks who tell me a similar story. It goes like this…

“I sell accounting software that gets great reviews. We spent a lot of time creating and optimizing our product page, but I can’t get it to position top ten for [best accounting software].”

I do a quick search for [best accounting software] and what do I see? Third-party review sites, Hubspot, and technology publications.

No product pages. The only sales-oriented listings were ads.

What does this mean?

It means that Google has “decided” the search intent for the keyphrase [best accounting software] is informational — not transactional.

More specifically, this means that the client is never going to position their product page for [best accounting software]. Ever.

Spending additional time and money on trying would be foolish.

It’s as simple as that.

The reality is, Google is “the decider” when it comes to search intent. You may think that Google should position your sales-focused page for [best accounting software] — but what you think doesn’t matter.

It’s up to Google.

Adam Heitzman talked about this in his article, “What to Do When Google Is Ranking the Wrong Pages for Your Keywords.” I recommend you read this article and save it for later. It will be an excellent reference for when your client or boss says, “Are you sure we can’t position for that keyphrase?”

This will happen to you someday. Trust me.

But really, Heather, are you sure there’s nothing you can do?

Yup. I’d drop it like a hot potato and switch my strategy.

That means pivoting away from that particular keyterm goal and looking at other terms that would drive better ROI.

It’s not just me saying this. As Adam says in his article, “…you need to shift focus away from this keyword altogether or understand what you are dealing with to better align.”

Alignment is crucial.

Sometimes, it takes a while before companies “get” this concept. You can say, “But, check out the Google search results,” until you’re blue in the face, yet the client (or boss) will still insist positioning is possible. You’ll hear things like, “Maybe if you just added a few more keywords in there.”


There’s no reason to beat your head against a Google wall when there are scads of other topics (and keyphrases) waiting for you.

Why not go after those?

What do you think?

Does your client (or boss) suffer from UGE (Unrealistic Google Expectations)? Share your pain and leave a comment below!

4 replies

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  1. […] How important is it for you to position for a particular keyphrase? If it is a competitive keyphrase, are you prepared to spend the time and budget to make this happen — or is this an unrealistic Google expectation? […]

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