I know that the drumbeat of internet marketing is that you HAVE to be first on Google. If not first, then at least on the top of the first page so that lazy people don't have to scroll down.
Well, not everyone goes by this rule, and they still seem to be doing well.
I was talking about this with one of my friends who had a different take on it. He's a high-end wedding photographer, and his target market is brides who want destination weddings and are willing to hire photographers who travel.
He said that he and some of the photographers who he knows had done some kind of an experiment where they messed with their websites to get to the top of google for their regions. The result wasn't what he wanted, though.
He said that all of a sudden he was spending his day fielding calls from brides who had seen him on google, called without doing any real kind of research, and who weren't his target bride. So being first on google basically kept him busy answering the phone and telling people that they couldn't afford his services, which didn't help him book any business. He said that in his experience he would have been better off not being on the front page of google at all. Hmmm.....
I'm not saying that you should totally ignore your position on the search engines, but I think that people get too focused on where they show up in the search results. When it comes right down to it, wedding business is driven by personal referrals and personality, not google.
If a bride's best friend tells her to go to a specific vendor, she will. No googling necessary. If she likes them she's likely to hire them, because they come with a personal referral.
If a bride finds you on google and comes to meet with you, and you have a stinky personality, she isn't going to hire you. I can't tell you how many stories I hear from brides about business owners who were rude to them, and there's no way that they would hire them. If your site is sitting at the top of google but you're a jerk, google isn't going to help you.
So don't beat yourself up TOO much about where you show up on the search engines. It can help, or hinder, in the case of answering the phone all day without booking any business.