Why Keyword Rankings Isn’t the Most Important Metric

Oct 3, 2017

Why Keyword Rankings Isn’t the Most Important Metric

If you’re like many small business owners that have already taken the plunge into developing a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy for their website, you probably have already gotten into the habit of Googling the keywords you believe are the most relevant to see if you appear on the first page. You also probably spend a little more time than is necessary focusing on the chart that shows the average rankings for your targeted keywords when examining the analytics reports you receive about your site’s web traffic.

If you’re devoting the time and money to running a successful SEO strategy, it’s only natural to stress over your keyword rankings. You want to succeed, and that means ranking near the top of organic search results that relate to your business. Unfortunately, keyword ranking is a poor metric to use when trying to gauge online success. To truly determine whether your SEO campaign is working, you need to better understand which measurements actually matter.

Relevancy = Results

Long-tail keyword phrases rank as one of the primary building blocks for any successful SEO strategy. These three to four word phrases are used to optimize copy, metadata, and link-building strategies. Not only do they work to help boost your website’s relevancy, they also ensure the right pages of your site appear during the most relevant searches.

But here’s the thing – How your site ranks for each individual keyword phrase doesn’t actually matter. That’s because there is a wide discrepancy in how people actually search. As a result, Google shows results based on each user’s individual history, device, location, and other relevant data.

There is no universal “page 1” for any search phrase. Google customizes its search results using RankBrain, an artificial intelligence that analyzes searches queries to provide answers most relevant to the individual user. This makes search results less predictable and offers website far less control over where and when they appear than many feel comfortable with. This means the page 1 results you see when Googling “best pizza in the city” could be completely different from a friend who conducts the same search just a few miles away.

If you need proof, just take a look at the Google Search Console. This tool shows the actual search terms people have used when your site appeared as one of the top results. The console will also show your site’s average rank for those searches as well. Looking at this data and it becomes evident that judging the success of your SEO strategy on how one particular phrase ranks when a number of other similar search terms – the ones people are actually using – are showing your site ranking in the top positions makes no sense.

An SEO strategy that strives to build your website’s authority and relevancy in a desired geographic location will enable the site to rank highly for a variety of specific keyword search phrases. This improves the likelihood that your site will be seen in the top search results.

Developing high-quality content both on and off your website and using strategic link-building tactics rank as critical components to achieving the highest relevancy possible. This type of SEO strategy also helps to insulate your website from the frequent changes Google makes to how its search engine algorithm operates.

Measuring Organic Growth

So now that you know the folly of focusing on keyword rankings, how do you then actually assess whether your website’s visibility and organic search relevancy are actually growing?

  • Determine whether the number of unique new site visitors arriving to your website through organic search traffic continues to grow, month to month and year by year.
  • Determine whether the number of visits and new visits from your target audience is continuing to increase.
  • Anticipate increased conversion rates, particular from visitors who arrived through organic search traffic. Keep track of the number of unique phone calls to a website call-tracking number and the number of contact forms that are being submitted.

Don’t Count Out Conversions

As the old saying goes, “don’t forget to see the forest through the trees.” Keep in mind that your own personal search experience isn’t necessarily the same as what your customers see. Nor does it represent the effectiveness of the competition’s SEO campaigns or whether they are doing a better job of converting visitors into customers.

Focus on results. Your goal should always remain to have the phones ringing, your inbox filling, and your contact and appointment forms being submitted. To get there, Local Fresh can help you build a campaign that utilizes proven methods of success to create original branded content, while also helping to monitor the results.

Click here to find out more about what Local Fresh can do for you.