“Rankings are dead”
“Personalization has killed rank tracking”
You hear it at every SEO conference or meetup and yet, every agency and competitive SEO I know tracks their rankings, even if just a few.
It’s time to shift the the discussion from if rank tracking is useful or not to the reality: we all track rankings or have a boss or client who does…so how can we get more value from that data set?
By itself a single ranking position is pretty worthless.
Two Ways To Win The Rank Tracking Game
Combine rankings with other data sources
Combining rankings with conversions and organic referrals can give you insight into which phrases actually might be worth improving. If you know that a phrase is #3 in Google and drives 100 conversions a day, you know that you could drive 400-500 or more conversions in the #1 position.
You can use the same method to combine rankings with traffic and do projections of potential traffic in certain positions. Clients and bosses love this type of analysis because you can show them, “Here’s where we are at, #3 in Google and we get this many conversions there. With another $x in resources, we think we could move up to the #2 or even #1 spot which would drive $x more incremental dollars in revenue.
Incremental revenue? Who won’t invest in that?
Use rankings as weather stations to monitor your website health
In the last 13 months Google has been a storm of hurricane proportions to many websites. Some have weathered the storm well, others not so much. But the storm isn’t over.
Rankings can be a very early warning signal of change. They can show you penalties that would never show up in your analytics. For example, lets say you’ve been working a very competitive phrase and now rank #19. Suddenly you drop to #59 and stay there. You never would see that drop in traffic, because at #19, you’re not getting any for that phrase anyway.
But something changed! Did you get penalized? Did google fundamentally shift how it view your site? If you are tracking keywords for all your important phrases, you can correlate if the change was just that phrase or url, or a site wide issue.
Think of rankings as small weather stations spread out across the country that is your website. The more you have out, the more data you can gather on the storm that is the 2012 Google algorithm.