How you build your website has everything to do with how much you will earn online. A lot has changed since the early days of online goldrush, everybody-gets-rich days… back in the 1990es.

Since then, we got the Enron fiasco, dot-com meltdown, 9/11, Lehman Brothers, Lady Gaga, Justin Beiber… it’s a long list of embarrassing disasters. During that period, the online world has evolved, and running an online business is not a hit and miss kind of a deal. Its not even a shutgun deal where you aim wide and hope that firepower alone (i.e the money you throw at paid ads) will get you results. Nowadays its all about targeted, sniper-action where hacked-together sites compete (or so they hope) against streamlined, SEO-ed, cached, security-hardened websites. Times, they are-a-changin.

From lack of a better illustration, allow me to jump in the automotive industry just for a second and make a point: Kit cars will never win the F1 race, or Indy or Nascar. Why? Because races have become a numbers game. It’s not only the charisma and determination of the driver that is key. If the driver has a poorly built vehicle the team is set on an uphill battle and no amount of determination will make up for bad wheels.

joke of a car as an illustration of a poor performing website

It has the major components, it’s even got attitude… but it won’t be winning any Google ranking races any time soon.

This is why most of the sites put together cheaply will never rule the search results. It’s a numbers game. Google measures each site with a series of over 200 parameters and checks how each site measures up against all the other similar sites. So in all those websites struggling to get the reader’s attention, all it takes for your website to be thrown in oblivion is just 10 websites that are built better than yours. What do you think are the chances of that? Can you say that yours is among the top 10 websites?

What do the numbers say: WP sites and how serious they really are?

Let’s look at the overall statistics of how WP sites are doing in terms of being built properly:

So, on average, only about 7% of WP site owners ever bother with the issues of SEO, Speed and Security. Nobody really knows the number of PROPERLY configured seo/security/speed-up plugins. From what I’ve seen, over half of the owners that bothered to seek SEO/Marketing/WebDev consulting don’t really know what to do with all the features/settings in these WP plugins. What IS known is that, globally, 48.000 sites get hacked every single day. To flip the stats the other way, it turns out that over 97% of all WP sites are haphazardly hacked together… like a kit car project that ended up having extra parts.

Illustrate man, Illustrate what the numbers really mean for ranking.

I recently started SEO work for a golf training aids website, so let me use those stats. There are 2.2M pages competing for this keyphrase. Can you guess what it takes for a site to sink into oblivion in the golf niche? All it takes, from all of those 2.2M competing pages, is that only 10 websites outperform yours in all those 200+ signals that Google measures.

How likely is this? Very. There’s only a 0.0005% chance of any site making it in the Top 10 results on Google for a search term that’s as competitive as golf training aids. The same goes for many other sites that serve the general public. If you are in those niche markets that have strong competition, the numbers are stacked against your website, and a “good enough” site is your greatest enemy of making a good living online.

So, what’s that got to do with my online presence strategy?

Still believe that a kid from Odesk charging you $30/h will deliver and beat the rest of the world? There’s a 0.0005% chance you’re right. And then there’s a 99.9995% chance you’re betting on the wrong horse. In other words, to get in on the Top 10 on Google for high-competition terms, your site must be better than 99.9995% of all the sites competing for that keyword. And that good of a website will get you on #10 on Google. To get on #1…your site must have practically spotless SEO. And spotless SEO doesn’t come from Odesk at $30/h. Cookie-cutter SEO strategies that supposedly work for any site and any niche are good only at one thing: getting your money and providing a laughable service that’s only good until the next Google algorithm update (i.e less than a month).

What’s the take-away from all these numbers?

Numbers are your friends in the online world. Half of the solution is knowing the problem, i.e knowing what you’re up against:

  • Running an online business is a serious deal and you must have serious web presence in order to make it.
  • Most of the people (over 97%) that manage their own WP site have no idea what they’re doing.
  • In most cases, you have less than a 1% chance to rank your site among the Top 10 on Google.

What’s the flip side from all this gloomy math?

From all the people that want to make it online, only 3% are serious about it. That’s abut 11 million sites that are serious about doing business. Google Places has about 2200 business categories, so a simple math would suggest that you’re only competing against  5000 somewhat serious websites. Considering that Google has about 200 ranking signals, for any given search term only 25 sites would be a perfect match (more or less). Interestingly, most of the users will never look past the third page on Google, i.e they will never look past the 30th ranked site.

Your road to success then is to be among the top 25 most serious website owners in order to win the ranking game.

Since you can’t win every time all the time, your best bet at this is to make sure your website works at peak efficiency, and that you have solid content on the site that is carefully targeting very specific keyphrases, and that your pages do a good job of meeting the criteria to be placed in the top 25 results.

Wanna take a whack at online biz, tiger? You better be in the Top 25 site owners to make it.

Wanna take a whack at online biz, tiger? You better be in the Top 25 site owners in your niche to make it.

Can you achieve this, to be in the Top 25? Of course you can. It takes determination and skills. From a numbers perspective, it’s best that you take care of your determination, and get a proper expert to cover the skills base. Don’t forget, it’s a numbers game, so make sure you’re bringing a mean, lean racing machine that’s laser-focused on your niche market. The rest is just walking the walk.

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