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search engine optimization

Yes – you made it to page one (celebratory music plays in the background)! Have your SEO efforts succeeded?

Probably, but you shouldn’t put all your faith in better search rankings. Getting on page one is an accomplishment to be lauded, and it will (usually) net you additional business.

Do you sense a big “but” coming?

While search rankings are important, you shouldn’t view them as your primary measure of success.

Some Problems with Viewing Your Search Rankings as Your Primary Indicator of Success

  1. Do you really know how much business you’re getting from each keyword? Is that particular keyword really driving you additional business?
  1. Google gives you search results close to your locality. For example, if you search in Texas on “power companies,” you’ll get results for companies in or near Texas.

Do the same in Maine, and you’ll get much different results on page one.

  1. People get personal search results with Google+. So if they sign into Google, they’re much more likely to see results from people in their circles on page one.
  1. Google also personalizes your search results by placing a cookie in your browser. It tracks the websites you visit, and then delivers you results based on what it believes are your favorite websites.
  1. It’s hard to track your rankings anymore. Google’s making their algorithm and keyword data even more difficult to understand. Some ranking data can be tracked, but it’s nearly impossible to get complete data in 2014.
  1. Google personalizes your ranking data based on everyone’s previous queries. For example, if the whole nation searches on trending “Barack Obama” topics, they might learn about his stance with Russia, or arguments in favor of affordable healthcare. What comes up differs depending on the searcher.
  1. Rankings also constantly fluctuate. For example, one day you might rank #7 for a keyword, and then #2 the next. For another keyword, you might rank #28, and then #9. If you watch your rankings on a daily basis, you’ll notice some minor and more extreme levels of variation.

What Rankings Really Mean

Rankings really reflect how well you rank for a specific keyword. You get a general idea of where you rank compared to other websites and businesses.

In general, if your SEO company does its job, you get more leads as your rankings increase.

Rankings are certainly not everything, but they are useful as a general barometer of your success.



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