The amount of searches that are performed on Google alone is staggering.

The average number of global searches for 2012 is estimated at over 5 billion per day according to data from Statistic Brain And those figures are likely much higher today as more individuals from around the world connect online.

Despite the rising prominence of social media, search cannot be ignored.

Ranking well for a few competitive keywords in your industry can practically guarantee new business. High search engine rankings is a valuable asset and an investment that offers excellent returns.

It becomes a problem when your entire business model is dependent on a single keyword, one that is largely responsible for a majority of your online traffic and sales.

But it’s also incredibly risky.

1. Rankings are not permanent

Even if your business secures top rankings, there is no guarantee it will stay there. A lot of business owners learned this hard way when Google released the infamous Panda algorithm update back in early 2011.

This was a significant update that affected close to 12 percent of the search results. Panda was specifically engineered to target low quality sites or pages that offered poor user experience.

Sites that once held coveted positions saw their rankings tank along with their traffic levels.

A year later, a new update dubbed Penguin was launched in 2012 to reduce rankings for websites engaged in shady tactics from keyword stuffing to participating in link schemes to manipulate their rankings.

If your business depends on a single keyword, all it takes is a new update (which will happen again sooner or later) to see your traffic completely drop.

2. Increased Competition Online

Even if your website has managed to hold its rankings through the Google Panda and Penguin updates, there are competitors who want nothing more than to overtake you in the search engines.

Yet another reason why depending on a single keyword is risky.

3.Targeting a single keyword also looks spammy

One thing the Google Penguin update took into account was over optimisation. In the past it was extremely easy to rank for competitive keywords. All one had to do was focus an entire page on a certain keyword, build links to it, and watch its rankings rise.

And this tactic worked really well.

The problem was that low quality results started to contaminate the search engines, partly the reason why the Panda and Penguin updates were necessary in the first place in order to combat web spam.

4. Ranking well in Google takes time and effort

In some cases, it can take weeks or even months to get on the front page for a certain keyword. Focusing on increasing rankings for one keyword could very well be a complete waste of time.

Keyword tools, including the one from Google, are notorious for being inaccurate. Ranking well for a keyword may not produce expected traffic levels or it could fail to produce conversions.

5. Marketing Limitations

Why target a single keyword when you could rank for hundreds, even thousands of them?
Honing in on one keyword limits your marketing. Ranking for more increases your presence online and attracts more targeted traffic from the search engines and even from social media networks.

Even if one keyword were to see a reduction in rankings, it wouldn’t even matter as the others would continue to deliver traffic. The potential to grow your traffic from search engines is huge and ranking for multiple phrases can help you achieve better business results.

The main takeaway from all this is to encompass more keywords in your website and online marketing campaign. Doing the opposite may prove to be disastrous.