This is part 4 of my occasional series about how to measure the success of your search engine optimisation campaign. Whether you are working in house or for an agency, there is always going to be someone who is interested in how the project is going. This series pulls together different areas of a campaign that you might be able to use as metrics in order to report on the successes.
The previous parts of this series are:
Part 1 The long tail
Part 2 Website traffic
Part 3 Conversions
Part 4 deals with rankings. I’ve written before about using rankings as a metric because it is obviously one of the most popular measures of SEO achievement. Reaching a particular position is a good way of marking a victory. And rankings are still important despite the search engines trying to tell us they aren’t. As long as rankings equals traffic, then gaining a better ranking is going to mean more site visitors and that is what any web site wants.
Google has made some interesting moves recently which show the ranking in the URL, which may be a move to obviate the need for rank checking software.
What is important is to make sure that the rankings you have are bringing traffic to the site; rankings without traffic is an empty metric, and unless your directors are merely after boasting about the amount of number one positions they have, you need to make sure that any rankings are relevant ones. See Part 2 of this series for some pros and cons of using traffic measurements.
The importance of a ranking may vary with search volumes. If the trend is for lower numbers of people to be searching for a phrase, then that ranking becomes less important than it was. This is one of the reasons for evolving your keyword list or perhaps expanding your products or services into growth industries. At the moment, in the recession, we have noticed in our travel industry clients that volumes are up for UK destinations, and lower for some international locations. And the use of “cheap” in search terms has increased dramatically in this economic climate.
So although rankings are one measure, they cannot be used as the only one.