It astounds me that people still offer first place Google ranking service. Every day I still receive at least one spam email which offers me to get first place ranking on Google if I hire them to improve the SEO of any of the domain names I manage.
I started writing these Daily Golden Nuggets more than four years ago and even before then, Google posted warnings saying how first place ranking could not be achieved by simply hiring someone. Their warning is right here on their website
Yet for some reason, the entire world once believed that all you had to do was hire an SEO company and they would work their magic to get you ranked as number one. I'm not sure where this fallacy originally came from but it is not true at all. In fact, as Google matures, it's more likely that you will never appear as number one for most of the people who search for jewelers in your local area. That's because of personalized search results.
With Google's personalized search results, it's more likely that the only people who see you are those who already have some kind of connection with you through social media. Google certainly uses Google+ to connect people to your store in personalized results, but it appears they also understand other connections through public Facebook information and Twitter.
If you are in an area with many competing stores, like New York City's diamond district or Houston's diamond building, then you have to work extra hard to be listed. In this case, extra hard might mean content creation, social engagement, and even curating related information that won't detract from your own sales.
Years ago, you used to be able to pay for number one ranking in other search engines, like Lycos, Infoseek, and Yahoo, but that was never an option in Google. Although many believe you can pay for first place positioning in Google AdWords, the truth there is that the results are also personalized based on longitude and latitude of the person searching. The results also change during the day based on the number of people bidding on AdWords placement.
The only websites where you can still pay for number one positioning include Yelp and the various YellowPages properties. Even then, you are only paying for first place ranking in your town or county.
In 2014, a lot of SEO companies started offering local optimization services to help improve your local ranking. These services typically involve fine-tuning all of the websites that have your company information on it, like Yelp and YellowPages, but also Google+ Local.
Of course, now I'm starting to see some SEO companies offering first position ranking within the Google+ Local pack. The "Local pack" is the list of businesses that appear in Google search results when you query something relating to retail businesses. This usually appears when people search for things using their town name or phrases like "near me."
Once again, it is a complete lie that you could pay anyone to get you listed in the first place of the local pack listing. Please steer clear of any company that offers such service.
Every Friday, I do a random website review of a local jeweler. I start the review by searching for a jewelry store in a random town name. The stores who appear in the first position usually have a number of a good Google reviews and they have accurate information in their Google+ Local information. I have yet to see anyone appearing in the list when they have over optimized their local information.
Over-optimization happens when you write a long company description as part of your Google description and include a lot of bold words or underlined words. The bold and underlined technique is one of those keyword stuffing methods that needs to be avoided. Instead of trying to write a long description about your company, simply write something short and sweet, like your unique selling proposition.
When you are in a highly competitive neighborhood, the best way to achieve the highest ranking is by paying attention to your customers and giving them the information they will need when
they need it. You have to do a lot of things right in order to appear in search results among dozens of your competitors. But you also have to make sure that you don't do anything wrong, even the slightest bit wrong.
If you are struggling to appear in search results, it might not be because you were not trying hard enough to optimize your online presence, but rather, it might be because you have already tried too hard.
If the strategies you've tried so far don't seem to be working when trying to get listed locally, then perhaps it's time to try something completely new and ignore what you think you know about optimization.
To answer the title question of this Nugget, you can only achieve number one ranking by doing everything right. Offering money to pay someone to get you into first place is a complete fool's errand, and completely wrong.