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SEO Website Audit

High Rankings Question of the Week

October 3, 2012

To go along with this week's article on personalized search results, I asked my social media followers:

++Do You Run Ranking Reports?++

Here's how they responded:


NickLeRoy: For clients, no. For my own sick curiosity and ego, yes.

Jimbeetle: Last ranking report I ran might have been back in '01.

Trevox: Only when I need to support an invoice do I run a rankings report for a client. It's not normally necessary, though.

OptwizardSEO: Yes I do and I don’t know why.
Pagesauce: Yes, where our clients want to use them as KPI. I prefer not to use them of course as a metric...but where (not provided) ruins keyword diversity reports, or clients wants them as a snapshot of the effect work is having.


Kevin Gallagher: Yes, the clients still request it but goals are at the top of the report. But Jill, do you?

Question or the Week
Jill Whalen: Haven't in 100 or so years. (Well, maybe 7 to 10 years.)

Kevin Gallagher: So how do you get round it with clients? Would love to know.

Jill Whalen: Easy. I explain why rankings are a poor measure of success and show them what really matters (via Google Analytics). Most just don't realize that they're different for everyone and that there's no such thing as a "ranking" anymore because everyone else always talks about them as if they're important. After I educate them as to why they're generally not useful, they have no need to see them.

Ronaldo Tumbokon: Yes, but for some reason the automated ranking report does not match when I do it manually (unpersonalized results, of course). Not as useful as it was. But I will not call it not useful.

Jill Whalen: Of course it doesn't match. And yours won't match someone else's results, and so on and so on! Sorry, I didn't mean for this to be me smacking people around. I'm honestly curious if people are still using them. I have to say that I'm pretty surprised by how many are!

Ronaldo Tumbokon: Let me qualify that. It doesn't match but it's not THAT different. It depends on the keyword. Again, I'm talking about non-personalized results.

Kevin Gallagher: It's goals that matter: increase in sales, leads or sign-ups, etc. We need to educate.

Jill Whalen: There's no such thing as non-personalized results. How do you stop or change your target audiences' results? They will always be personalized in one way or another. And yes, Kevin, if your reason for running them is because clients demand them, then educating them is key. It's really not that hard – they get it pretty quickly when they see what really matters!

Nick Ker: Unfortunately, yes. I know they are just one of many important metrics, but they are among the most tangible ways for less tech-savvy clients to "keep score." Ranking reports are a pretty good way to get a general overview of how a site is doing, but these reports sometimes add confusion when some clients get the impression that the keywords in the report are the only ones that are working for them, when the report doesn't match their browser check, or reports are not run daily or more often. I try to educate clients to look at more appropriate indicators that optimization and marketing is working – better (not just more) traffic, conversions, higher clickthrough rate, lower bounce rate, more engagement or whatever else may be relevant to the goals. But ultimately, clients seem to mostly care about being #1.

Tom Bowen: Never have, and it will not be a product that we offer.


Diane Aull: Not as such. I'll spot check from time to time if I notice a trend or something unusual in my visitor stats, but generally I'm waaay more focused on conversions and sales than rankings. :)

John Mills: Yes, regularly to test results of SEO. Some clients measure success that way.

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 Rob Willox said:
Agree that clients often obsess about top-of-the-page rankings and there are obvious better and more reliable metrics as KPIs of success; goals, conversions etc, as outlined.

It's generally a vanity thing seeing a top spot listing for a specific industry phrase but, although that's the case, higher ranked pages do get better CTRs and the more that rank well the more traffic will be seen. But, it's what you do with them once on-site that really matters!