Although search engine optimization is one of the closest things we have to a “staple” in the modern world of Internet marketing, there are limits to its effectiveness… and limits to how far you should go to optimize your pages to increase your rankings on Google.
To see how this could be, consider a situation where you already rank in a third or fourth position for your most important keywords. While moving up to first might gain you more traffic than you’re currently getting, it can be difficult to completely overtake a competitor who has been entrenched in that spot for a while.
More to the point, though, is that the effort might not even be justified.
Suppose for a moment that you are currently receiving 1,000 new visitors a week, and turning 1% of those visitors into new customers. That means that you are enjoying ten sales from new customers based on that great search engine position.
Now, imagine for a moment that moving to the first position on Google would net you another 500 visitors per week. That sounds great, but what if the changes you have to make to your site to gain that extra traffic make it less compelling, and as a result you now only close half a percent of new visitors, netting you 7.5 customers per week. In that situation, you have improved your search position, but are losing money over what you were earning before!
The moral of this story is that improving your search position is usually a good idea, but not if it means sacrificing your marketing messages. There are too many other good ways that don’t involve over-optimizing your pages and losing in the process.