For as long as SEO has been around keyword ranks have been drilled into our heads as the best way to measure the success of your campaign. This needs to stop and it needs to stop now. Here are a few reasons why.
Warning: This may sting a little.
There is no such thing as keyword ranking!
There was a time when SEO rank-checking tools were accurate and provided a good assessment of how your site was performing. This is no longer the case. Google has made its algorithm more sophisticated in an effort to combat the manipulation of search results. New variables have been added that affect how your site ranks. Here are some of those variables:
- Search history: A user’s search results page can vary depending on which websites the person has visited in the past.
- Geography/local results: Google will show different SERPs depending on the current location and the home address of the user.
- Google+: If a user’s friends have +1’d or reviewed a page, Google gives preference to the endorsements of those friends.
- Device: Results can vary depending on the device you’re using to search. For Android users, even more personalization occurs with Google Now. Google Now tracks location data (including where you park), orders through Gmail, calendar information, and much MUCH more! I’ve even had Google remind me when a new episode of my favorite TV show was coming on. How did it know that? My television is connected to my network and my phone knows which shows I watch.
Stop paying for keyword rank software
SEO ranking tools are now obsolete because every individual user’s results will be different. One user may see your site appear in the 1st, 3rd, or 5th spot in Google’s SERPs, while another user may not see your page show up at all.
Many ranking software companies say that they use an “anonymous” search. You try it! Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and the two people left in the world that use Internet Explorer, all have a “private browsing” mode. This is not accurate and Google even says so! They can still track your location through your IP address or phone gps.
Voice search is taking over
The number of mobile searches surpassed desktop searches in January 2014 and the trend is accelerating. Google is focusing on the growing popularity of voice search and human speech patterns. Advances in voice search on mobile devices have kept people from getting off the couch to handle searches on their desktop computers. Instead, they grab their tablet or phone and simply say what they are searching for. This has led to the advancement in something called “long-tail keyword” search.
“Long-tail keyword” searches are phrases like “Find a dentist near me” or “Who’s the best plastic surgeon in my area?” That’s a far easier search then typing out “Dentist Rancho Santa Margarita, CA.” Other long-tail keywords may bring similar search results, BUT they do not count toward the generic keywords that you’re accustomed to tracking.
In some cases, upwards of 75% of search results traffic is coming from long-tail searches. Are you still worried about keyword ranks? If they don’t generate any traffic to your site, who cares?
If keyword tracking is out, how can you track online success?
Analytics goals and conversion tracking
Google still tracks where your traffic is coming from, just not the keywords.
Focus on traffic coming from organic results and make sure to convert that traffic.
Here are three Analytics tools that allow you to set up conversion tracking:
Google Tag Manager
Goals: How many people have filled out a contact form on your site? Simply set the goal to track how many visits have gone to the “Thank You” page once the form is submitted. Assign a dollar amount to that specific goal and now you can have an idea of how much money is being generated by your online strategy.
Event Tracking (Click to Call): So you’ve converted your site to be mobile responsive and Google now loves you for it. Start tracking your phone calls using event tracking. Place a small amount of code behind the phone number and it will automatically track how many phone calls are coming from cell phones that browse your site. Take it a step further and assign a dollar amount to each event. Now you have visible ROI!
You hear people say, “No one uses Google+.” But Google+ is more than simply a social network.
- Whenever you see map listings in a search result, those are Google+ pages.
- If you want to post a review on Google you have to have Google+.
A properly optimized Google+ page and Google My Business listing can have a huge impact on traffic that converts to your business. And I’m not just talking about website traffic. Google+ tracks views, clicks, driving directions, and other interactions on your listing. Google+ just barely released click-to-call data in the Google+ dashboard!
This is valuable traffic data that goes directly to your business.
You’re on the right track toward optimizing your organic traffic but remember conversions are what count
Imagine having this conversation with your main competitor.
Them: “We’ve shown on the front page of Google 200 times! Where are you?”
You: “Who cares? We’ve received 35 phone calls and 27 contact form leads resulting in 40 appointments that are valued at $2500.00 each. All of them from online searches. Thats a total of $100,000 dollars in new revenue for this month.”
Now imagine the looks on their faces.
Think about Google as wanting to be more human. Searches are now providing results based on countless factors that focus on making users’ results more accurate and easier to obtain. It’s not that humans are lazy; we’re just used to getting specific, instant, and correct information.
Old searches and keyword rank tracking have been given a death sentence and the execution date is coming soon. You really need a marketing company that knows how to analyze your business model, website, and social profiles to capture maximum converting traffic.