If a Phrase Ranks on Google, But No One Searches for It...

Mar 18, 2005 • 8:25 am | comments (4) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Search Engine & SEO Theory

Phil Craven was in one of those moods today, and posted a thread named If a tree falls in the forest.... He got all philosophical and it kind of made me teary eyed (just kidding). The reason I point this thread out, is not to talk about irrelevant philosophical debates but to talk about Robert Charlton's clever reply. He replied to Phil saying;

Phil - I thought you were going to ask whether, if a phrase ranks on Google, but no one searches for it, does it really rank?

I never heard it phrased like that. Of course, the point Robert is making was the same point I was making in my Big Blue Pineapple Chair entry. I can rank #1 for Big Blue Pineapple Chair, which I don't rank number 1 for in Google, but I do in Yahoo! now.

So if a phrase ranks on Google, but no one searches for it, does it really rank?

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03/18/2005 02:40 pm

If no-one searching for it, there's no value in it. If there's no value in it, who cares? If you're a business you're not improving branding or generating any business. If you're providing content, no-ones reading it based on that term. Who cares if you rank 1st or 1000th for it :)

Barry Schwartz

03/18/2005 02:51 pm

Well yea! But who cares if a tree falls in the woods, if there is no one there for it to bother?


03/18/2005 05:16 pm

BTW, I see s.e.r.t. #1 and #2 on Google for the Big Blue Pineapple Chair... BTW, good point - there are alot of people around that are not very familiar with SEM, but trying to promote their sites themselves missing it (the point).

Phil Craven

03/24/2005 07:18 am

There's a flaw in the question. Since rankings are produced on-the-fly, in response to a search query, no rankings intrinsically exist. So the question cannot be "if a phrase ranks on Google, but nobody searches for it" because there are no rankings unless there are searches.

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