Presidents Corner December 2011 - The First Guy Takes it All

Allow me this time to introduce you to my new friend Ramu. He is an Indian tribesman who lives with his wife and his son in the middle of a South Indian natural forest reserve. They are located approximately a two hour drive from the city of Trivandrum, in a 12 square-meter house made from bamboo. Calling him or sending over an email is completely out of the question since he has no blackberry, cell phone, or electrical items of any kind. All of his possessions amount to six chickens, two pigs, and a dog.

 Leibish and Ramu

Leibish Polnauer and Ramu

If you search for 'Tribesman in India' in Google, Ramu definitely won't be on the first page of results. In fact, he isn’t even listed anywhere, but it makes no difference to him.

I was recently told that if you don’t appear on the first page of Google, you simply don’t exist. Not only that, but the conversion rate for sites on the first and ninth placed is vastly different. If you're on the top of the first page, the conversion rate of the traffic is a miraculous eight times higher compared to the last position on that same very first page of results. How is that you ask? Our SEO expert explained it to me. If you're first, then each click you receive is worth eight times as much as on the bottom of the first page. Sounds nearly as bad as the Olympic Games, where the cameras are on the winner only - the guy who finished in eighth place is not even mentioned.

I was trying to communicate all of that to Ramu, but he just shrugged his shoulder and gave me a big smile. Ramu has no interest in his Google placement or his international reputation. His concerns are quite basic - mostly related to water, light, and food. He is not concerned about losing his job, because he has no job. He's self employed, so to speak. He doesn't want to sell anything and he doesn't buy anything.

The jungle where he lives has no internet connection and no reception for cell phones either. I have a really bad habit of pulling out my blackberry every two minutes to check for my new emails, although needless to say – there wasn’t much of any point of that where we were. After hanging around with Ramu for a few hours, I realized that you don’t have to be online all the time. It will not reduce my digital multi-presence if I miss one hour, though I still wouldn't dare to miss a whole day….

So upon our return to civilization, I finally noticed a concerned mail from my sales team. They experienced some trauma since Tiffany temporarily took our customary first place on Google, for the search phrase 'yellow diamonds'. I thought about it for a while, and then tried telling them about my encounter with Ramu.

They tried to figure out, who is this Ramu? What does he have to do with us losing the first place on Google? There's no record of him in any place. Maybe he's a secret Guru who Leibish went to see in the Indian Jungle??

How did we get to the top of the first page in Google? I once thought Google rates sites from the diamond industry by employing young ladies who search through the various websites and select through for the best one. To my great disappointment, I was told that Google doesn’t use young ladies to patrol the web. Rather, they have powerful bots that find their way through the World Wide Web and rate the sites according to incoming links, keywords, tags, visitors, and more. Each site is given a specific ranking according to a very complicated algorithm. According to the ranking, Google places your companies listing in their search engine results. Either you appear on top or you are not a player yet…

So many shroud operators are feeding these Google bots with incorrect information while trying to create the impression that they are the company with most visitors and conversation. These Google bots, which I imagine to be like Arnold Schwarzenegger in the terminator, might get confused with all their false information and pull out their guns in order to wipe that site out.

The big question in my mind is this: Why is the first place on the first page eight times more valuable, than the seventh or eighth place? At the end of the day, only quality and price should prevail?!? Customer satisfaction creates a happy customer, and happy customers generate further traffic.

Do achievements and winning make one fulfilled or successful? Judging by our regular terms, my tribesman friend in the jungle is not a great achiever. He is definitely not making a second comeback like Steve Jobs did. Although, Ramu showed me that you don’t need to achieve in order to be fulfilled, or satisfied. Achievements arrive when you excel at what you do and make your customers happy. Their happiness will bring you further achievements, such as ranking first among the many results in Google.

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