If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.
That’s a truism. So it follows that we need to measure how our website ranks for certain keywords in order to improve our search rank. After all, the only objective of measuring our search rank is to maximize our exposure vs our marketing budget. We need a 360 view of our competitive landscape to do that. That means if you have no competition, you don’t need a marketing initiative and you sure don’t need to read any further.
We assume that keywords (or maps*) are how the world finds your business online and offline these days. If 80% of customers use the internet in someway related to your business, we need to know how your website is seen in search results by those customers.
Then why do I occasionally read that Search Rank is dead? or not so important? or obsolete? or irrelevant? (take your pick)
Here is one that http://www.toprankblog.com/2007/05/are-search-engine-rankings-are-dead/ captures it all. This tells us that we really should be paying attention to the following:
- Social Media**
This list consist only of those things you can measure from Google Analytics. (that’s really out-side-the-box ;^}
What these blog/articles all have in common – is what they do not say (the elephant in the room is…). They are not telling you that they want to avoid talking (with their clients) about search rank, because search rank is almost impossible to report accurately. Yeh, so its better not to open that can of worms with clients today! Those clients could ask inconvenient questions that can’t be answered, such as, “why do I see my competition rank higher than my website while you said we are #1?”.
Search engines have gotten so sophisticated regarding location, that rank can only be measured locally. That’s why. That means its different for everyone depending WHERE they search from. This means your “local” SEO agency (that is located in A-Far-Away-City) can’t tell how your website ranks. They can’t KNOW how your customer sees your website in search results because they are not your customer.
They CAN tell you how you rank globally – obviously. But if you are not a global brand with a global market, how do you measure your search rank?.
* Maps are hyperlocal and still driven by keyword search terms.
** Social Media is not a marketing channel for most SMB’s. Social Media CAN work well for Toyota (as a BRAND), but it DOES NOT work for a LOCAL Toyota Dealer. It may work for Apple, but it does not work for real estate agents.