Social Media Works to Resurrect Static, Legacy Sites from Internet Obscurity

When people type search terms into search engines, 68% click a search result within the first page of results (iProspect).  That means for 32% of search engine users, results on other pages essentially don't exist.

Google is the top of the top 5 search engines and receives several hundred million search queries each day.

First page matters.  Especially with Google.

For high placement in organic Google search results for single words describing a company's product or service, competition is stiff.  However, to still achieve business results, related terms or phrases will do.

Appearing on the first page of search results for "widget" would be ideal.  "Widget parts" will do.  A person in search of the products or services a company offers can still find them.  And as Brian Clark points out, that's what search engines are for: "quality search results for people."

At the end of our post, A Google Real-Time Search Story – LeBron James Had a Parotidectomy, Too, we highlighted its purpose:  To use social media to bring traffic to a static, legacy, hard-to-find site of high value.  The site was created in 2003 and last updated in 2008: Poked and Parotid – Journal of My Parotid Tumor

We were going for first page results for "parotidectomy." "Parotidectomy scar" would do.

(We very much appreciate Andy Little for allowing us to use his site for this example. No pun intended, but no company had to lose face by us using its party-like-its-1999 site instead.)

A Google Real-Time Search Story was posted on February 11, 2010, 5:30 AM EST. 

A Google search using the term "parotidectomy" shows a link to our post is not on the first page of results, nor is the site we value.  We perused the next two pages since, according to iProspect, "92% of search engine users click a result within the first three pages of search results." Nada.


One blog post, publicized through Twitter and Facebook, didn't crack the nut of first page search results for our top desired term.

For "parotidectomy scar," the site we value is not in the results on page one, two or three.  Our post – which links to the valued site – was at the top of page two on February 14, 2010, 7:00 AM EST.

Google search results for "parotidectomy scar"

  • People who want to know what parotid surgery is really like and how bad – or good – that paroditectomy scar will be, will have an easier time finding the site we found provides the best answers to those questions.  "Widget parts," rather than "widgets," will do.
  • We would need to write a 10-page white paper on the SEO heart, mind and knowledge that went into creating the first post, and another one on the social media strategy that went into sharing it.
  • That said, companies who use search engines for business results are vendors to Google.  We can spread our peddler's cloths arranged with SEO ware we consider of high value – web site, blog post, Twitter tweet – but Google chooses based on what it values. And according to Google, that's this:  "The perfect search engine," says [Google] co-founder Larry Page, "would understand exactly what you mean and give back exactly what you want."
  • Google offers an overview of how it determines value.  Google doesn't say, "If you do this, you will be on page one."
  • Google asks of us:  "Create a useful, information-rich site…  Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines."
  • High-quality social media, used even minimally and briefly, can help resurrect a static, legacy, hard-to-find site from Internet obscurity.


Without Andy Little's initiative to write a blog in 2003, and his permission in 2010 to use his site for a case study, this demonstration of how individuals, organizations, and companies can use social media to share their information, ideas, expertise - even kindness – with the world would not have been possible.  Both professionaly and personally, I extend to him my heartfelt thanks.

Stuart Mease to Work for Pamplin College of Business, Virginia Tech
Viral Loop - We're Listening


  1. Real-time search is expeditious! Top of page 2 in search results for a blog post published 2 days prior? Wow! Remember when it took 30 days to index a site before you would even have a chance of appearing in search results? What fantastic results!

Speak Your Mind