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Can you have too much exposure in a set of search results? It’s an interesting phenomenon and most businesses would answer no. Yet I know from my own experience from using search that there have been times when I have felt a little overwhelmed by the results. Let me explain a little further.

Every business wants to rank number one in search results – that’s the general principle behind search engine optimization. For some businesses, that has come relatively easy. In fact, the businesses that dominate the front page of Google, for example. Enter Coca-Cola as a search term and check the results:

  • Coca-Cola pay per click ad on top
  • Coca-Cola.com at one and two in search results
  • Wikipedia entry
  • the Coca-Cola company site
  • Coca-Cola images

Apart from the Wikipedia entry, that’s total domination of the front page above the fold. For branding purposes, it’s great for Coke.  If I was researching this brand, my only options would be Wikipedia, to dig down a page or two in the search results, or (Google’s preference) redefine my search term. Of course, this is a brand name and you would expect a strong presence in those results.

Change the search term to just ‘cola’ and Coke still has a strong showing on page one above the fold, including a pay-per-click listing. Is that too much exposure? There are two ways to look at this. First – you are suffocating your competitors and not giving them an inch. A marketer’s dream. The second is that overexposure can harm a business and that a little competition is healthy.

What do you think? Should you aim for the ultimate total domination of the search results, or could that lead to overexposure and eventually harm your business? Would that pay per click budget then be better spent targeting keywords that you don’t rank so highly with in organic search results?