Anyone who uses SEO techniques to increase their organic search engine visibility and traffic should be measuring their results. However, HOW you measure and WHAT you measure should depend on your specific business goals.
SEO is tricky stuff, especially with Google and their insane amount of algorithm updates and data refreshes. SEO techniques that used to work a few years ago are practically obsolete now. You really need to perfect your marketing strategies if you expect to make money online. It’s no longer about mass quantity. Everything is about quality…. especially when it comes to traffic and leads. It’s too time consuming and costly to simply target anything and everything relevant to your business. It’s better to research and test very specific topics so you can better understand your user behaviors and market to your future prospects more precisely.
I mean, who cares how much traffic you get to your site if none of it converts!
It’s easy to get caught up in your website rankings and traffic, but the real number you should care about is your bottom line!
If your marketing campaigns are resulting in conversions, it shouldn’t matter where you rank specially for any one particular keyword phrase on any given day. Besides, rankings LIE!
Let me break it down for you:
Your location matters.
Go to Google right now and type in something general, like “SEO”. I’m in Mesa Arizona. Guess what I see? Arizona SEO firms. Not because they are the top SEO sites in the world, but because I am searching from an IP in Arizona! The search engines aren’t stupid. They know where you are and they are giving you results based off of your current physical location. This is especially apparent when you search for something local, like a restaurant or a daycare. Google and Bing want to give you local results as much as possible, and you will see varied organics depending on where you are when you search.
Note: This is why having a Google + Local Map and a Bing Map is so important for any business that wants local, geo-targeted traffic!
Your web browsing history matters.
You’ve heard it before, websites and search engines store cookies in your browsers and use this data to determine what they should serve you. When you visit a website frequently, Google will start to assume you want to see that site in your search results, and the site will start to appear higher when you search organically.
If you want “real” organic results, you can clear your web history and cookies or try using a Proxy server to search instead.
Personalized results are influenced by social signals.
Bing is integrated with Facebook, so when you are logged in to both, guess what you see when you search? If you search for a topic related to something your Facebook friends have liked, shared, or otherwise recommended, you will see it in your organic Bing results.
The same thing goes for Google. Google wants you to be logged in at all times, encouraging you to use their free services for almost everything you do. When you are logged in to your Google + account, anyone with you in their circles will see your +1 recommendations in their organic results.
Sure, you can log out and your results will change, but many people don’t even realize they are logged in and therefore social indicators are heavily influencing search.
Technical aspects play a huge role.
Google has hundreds of data centers, when you query Google (or Bing) you are pulling data from one of hundreds of data centers that houses information. You could be searching for the same thing I am from across the room or across the country and see different results.
Also, websites can re-index day to day; many variables can change the way Google decides to index and display a site at any given moment. A site can add content, change content, remove pages, add pages, update their on-page SEO, gain new links, loose links, etc etc. All of these factors play a role in how Google will choose to rank a site and it can vary day by day.
If you Google yourself (your business, your keywords, your brand) too much, you are asking for an anxiety attack! Of course you want to know IF you are ranking, but you will know how well you are doing when you look at your organic and referral traffic. If your analytics show traffic is coming from the engines, you know you are ranking. You don’t need a rankings report to tell you that!
Remember, you need to track traffic (where it’s coming from – source and keyword) and how that correlates with conversions. If you are investing marketing dollars, you need to know how that money translates into sales.
Don’t drive yourself insane measuring results that don’t matter. Focus on traffic and sales and let your marketing team worry about the rest.