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I finally rank #1 for a relevant search term – The SEO long game

Let’s take a step back to August 2014...

A young Eli Robinson and one of FranchiseHelp’s externs at the time, Ryan Markman, attend LeadsCon NYC. The majority of the details from the conference are lost to time, but there’s a certain presentation the two guys will never forget.

Jay Baer, marketing guru, is the keynote speaker there to promote his book Youtility. His thesis is basically that the new world of marketing is not one where you tell customers what you want them to hear, you tell them what they want to know.

Be helpful.


While he gives many examples of how this works out in practice, the one that sticks out the most is how a tiny above ground swimming pool company in Virginia has basically won the SEO game by deciding to answer every question there was to answer about these pools.

While Eli and Ryan weren’t experts in above ground swimming pools, they know a thing or two about franchise lead generation.

(Alright, enough with the over-dramatic tone…)

What came of that is what you’re reading today. The franchise lead generation resource center or "LGRC" as we call it around the office.

The original goal was to produce a series of articles that caused us to be ranked #1 for the search term “franchise lead generation.” Simple as that.

So we set out, 2.5 years ago, to answer as many questions as we could about franchise lead generation.

And perhaps there is no better example of our attempt to “win” that search term than the article that I spent weeks writing in November of 2014 very clearly titled “What is Franchise Lead Generation?” What more could Google and the world ask for? It was the perfect article to answer the majority of the inquiries from that search. When I published that puppy, I was convinced that we had hacked the system! There was no doubt that that article would be #1 in a few weeks! Thank you Jay Baer!

Now while the LGRC has been a fantastic resource for us and our clients for years now, I would say that we had been pretty disappointed in terms of the number of people we were able to reach via SEO. It just seemed that Google was doing everything they could to keep us down.

We debuted on the 2nd page, and our crawl up the rankings has been slower than slow. Our progress was sooooooo slow that yours truly had even given up on the thought that we’d ever reach the top spot. I didn’t even check anymore because it was too depressing to see this:

And this:

absolutely crush us. Heck, that second article was from 2012! YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING ME!

Life (and Google’s algorithm) has a way of getting you down sometimes.

Sad Eli

Last week I did something I hadn’t done in a really long time. I opened an incognito window and Googled “franchise lead generation.” (Why I opted back into this painful exercise is a good question…)

And while I was convinced the good Google only taketh away, I guess sometimes they also doth giveth.

Here is the sweet sweet site that I found:

There it was.

“What is franchise lead generation?”

The ultimate answer to the google search “franchise lead generation.”

It actually happened.

So as I sit here pondering a new version of life where an article of mine ranks number one for a relevant search to our business, a few thoughts are going through my mind:

  1. SEO is a long game.
  2. Jay Baer was right?
  3. So what.

One at a time.

  • SEO is a long game. Something I thought was going to take weeks took years. It’s not often your expectations are off by that much. When you’re thinking about targeting a term and really winning it, it’s gonna take a really long time. It’s kind of like building up a reputation. No matter how awesome you are, building up credibility doesn’t happen overnight. It takes repeated positive interactions. It happens very slowly.
  • Jay Baer was right? Maybe Jay Baer was right. (If we wanted to be total victims of confirmation bias then I’d go ahead and remove that “?”) I mean the whole dang thing started with a vignette from his keynote address almost 3 years ago! Is the modern marketing environment all about being helpful to your customers? You can go ahead and put this one into the yes column. Leads me to believe I should probably listen closer at the conferences I go to.
  • So what. Don’t all good movies end this way? Protagonist sets out on really noble goal. Goes through trials and tribulations. Finally achieves goal in unexpected manner. Comes to conclusion that there are other things in life that matter more. But really and truly, a lot has changed over the course of the last few years. I'm not sure how happy I thought I'd be when we achieved this, but it's more happy than this.

(That being said, it’s still pretty cool 😉)

Eli Robinson is the COO of Metric Collective, FranchiseHelp’s parent company. Of the hundreds of articles he’s written for business, one of them ranks #1 on Google for a relevant search term. Boom.

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