Writing by Nick Stamoulis in SEO
I’m not going to say that there is no value in ranking number one or two in Google. There are plenty of studies that breakdown the click through rate of each spot on page one, and the higher your site ranks the more clicks you’re bound to get. However, it’s imperative that site owners understand that search engine rank isn’t the only way to measure how well your SEO is doing. In my opinion, using search engine rank to determine what is and isn’t working with your SEO is going to get your site nowhere. It’s just going to make you frustrated, prone to panic and pigeonhole your vision.
Here are 3 reasons why site owners need to stop fixating on their search engine rank:
1. The SERPs are personalized.
Like it or not, the search engines are out to create a more personalized search experience. While this may benefit the user, it means that your search engine rank could be completely different for each searcher. The search engines keep track of search history, social signals, search preferences and more to create more custom SERPs for their users. Two of your customers searching for the same keyword at the same time might see very different results, especially if they are logged into the Gmail account in Google or their Facebook profile while searching in Bing. Try searching for one of your keywords from a public computer (like in a library) and your work computer—you’ll notice a difference!
2. Rankings fluctuate.
Search engine rank isn’t a fixed thing, it can go up or down at anytime depending on what the search engines are doing. Maybe the search spiders finally re-crawled your website and found the new content you published the other week—that might give you an artificially bump up. On the flip side, maybe those black hat link building techniques finally caught up with you and your site got penalized by the latest update. Did your website go offline for a few hours over the weekend for maintenance issues? If the search spiders tried to crawl your site during that time and couldn’t your search engine ranking might take a hit. Did your startup get a ton of PR in the last few links with links from a dozen high-powered industry sites? You might see a big jump up, then slide back down when the buzz settles down. So many things can impact your search engine rank on a day to day basis that it’s unreasonable to use them as a metric for SEO success.
3. Search engine ranking means nothing if it’s for the wrong thing.
Congratulations! Your website has achieved the coveted #1 spot in Google for “blue widgets seller in Tucson, AZ.” But let me ask you this, what is that #1 spot really doing for your business? How many people are coming to your website via that keyword? While it might be great to show your boss that your site is at the top of the SERPs for something, you want to make sure it’s for the right thing. Having a high search engine rank doesn’t help you much if it’s for the wrong keywords or keywords that aren’t sending the right traffic to your website.