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Rankings Reports – Are They a Thing of The Past?


Again and again, clients become fixated with rankings as a sign of SEO success.

As an agency who work with many small businesses, we completely understand the desire to sit higher than competitors in the top spots on a search engine results page (SERP.)  However, a focus on this alone is now considered a dated approach and one that won’t increase the website’s overall performance and certainly doesn’t give a true reflection of the SEO success.

Why shouldn’t keyword ranking reports be the core focus?

Ranking success encourages an SEO strategy that is focused on the search engine rather than the user. By introducing search algorithms such as Panda, Penguin & Hummingbird.

this is something Google want to discourage. These algorithms encourage unique, well written content that answers the user’s enquiries. A focus around keywords can take a considerable amount of time to monitor, this time can be spent doing much more beneficial SEO techniques.

What should you be monitoring?

With a user focused approach rather than concentrating on a list of keywords the site can generate traffic from phrases and keywords (and channels) that may not have been on that initial keyword list.

Working out what the audience wants to be reading should be the first priority. This can then feed in to a content strategy and outreach plan.

At Platform81 we monitor key metrics such as traffic and conversions as these carry far more weight than just a ranking report.  A ranking report shows no importance unless we can see what words are driving traffic to the site – which is unfortunately isn’t something Google tells us anymore. Hence the ‘not provided’ in the analytics keyword reports.

Key metrics and KPI’s

Key metrics that do give a good indication of success are;

  • Traffic increase?
  • Is the traffic of a good quality? I.e. is it staying on the site?
  • Is the organic traffic converting?
  • Are the visitors signing up for your email newsletter?
  • Are they completing the contact form?
  • How about downloading coupons/whitepapers?
  • Are they making purchases online?

All of the above are measurable and can allow for better reporting and a more accurate indication of success.

If you have any questions about SEO, rankings or any aspect of Digital Marketing, we’d love to chat with you! Just give us a call for more advice.