Why Chasing Rankings for SEO Is Not Always a Guaranteed Road to Success
Although SEO has changed a lot over the past 5 / 10 years, the need to get your site ranking in the search engines has not, but still too many businesses focus on going hell for leather to get top of the game, but never really understanding just what impact these rankings are going to achieve, if of course, any.
From the outset, this might sound a strange thing to say, but it is not, as just getting top of the search engines guarantees you nothing, unless of course you are top for the right keywords that are going to drive the right traffic to your site, that in the end, will lead to your business becoming more successful due to your SEO efforts.
Running an SEO Company in Bristol, one of the first things a new client will often ask you is how to get top of Google, Bing or the other search engines for keyword after keyword, as these are the things that they feel they should be ranking for. Although some of them will of course be relevant, quite often many of them can be discounted for so many reasons, as being top of Google for a keyword does not guarantee your business is going to triple its turnover in the next few months.
When considering the keywords you want to rank for, it is so important to consider:
If the keyword never, or hardly ever gets searched for, then being top of the search engines is pretty irrelevant. I see reports all the time that showcase results to clients with loads of green arrows and top placements, yet their traffic never changes and they see little to no results for this increase in rankings. And when you dig deeper, it is because their previous or current SEO agency has chased loads of easy keywords or the wrong keywords. Checking the search volume on Google AdWords Keyword Planner is the basics of what you need to be doing, as no volume, often equals no point.
If I get a load of people looking for hotels in Bristol on my digital marketing website, then the relevance is of course a million miles off point. I want people looking for the services I offer, not landing on my website for something that is not relevant, is not going to make me money or is not going to satisfy the customer. Therefore, it is so important to understand that the keywords you are focusing on for your SEO campaign are relevant, as if they are not relevant, they are not going to lead to sales and increased revenue, so it is just a waste of time going for them.
You want to be top of Google for luxury watches, and of course, so do thousands of others, including huge brands, niche brands and companies that probably have a wealth of money to throw at their efforts. Put simply, some keywords are just not going to happen and if your SEO company tells you otherwise then you really need to think again. I am not saying never chase the big keywords, as if you work hard and you employ the right people, it is possible, but try and be realistic and have expectations that are also realistic. Also, make sure you have the budget, as the big keywords cost the most generally, both in terms of SEO and AdWords, so expect to pay to try and reach the top of the mountain in these cases. Some of the industry experts comment on this point of view in this article.
The final point is that it is important to focus on keywords that you know convert well, as if you have a range of products or services, then you should be trying to rank for the ones that historically convert the best, as getting the potential customer onto your website is only half the battle, you then need to make sure your site is optimised to convert and land that sale. If you run PPC then look at the keywords that make you the money, as it can often make sense to focus on these short term and then the bigger ones later down the line.
It is important to remember that keyword rankings really are vanity; traffic, enquiries and sales should be the way your SEO efforts are judged and whilst seeing rankings rise is important, it is more important to see your organic traffic grow and grow to the point where it seriously effects your business, of course, in a good way.
And therefore looking arrows and pretty ranking charts is not the way to judge your SEO campaign. You need to judge your success on the bottom line, and this is traffic, enquiries and sales, as otherwise, your judging on aspects that could fool you into thinking the job is looking good, when in fact, those rankings actually mean nothing. I will once again repeat that rankings ARE important, without them there is no traffic, but you should judge your SEO campaign on the results in terms of what do these rankings actually mean in terms of business, as this is the main factor of success.