SERPs As One Of The Factors For Measuring The Success Of The SEO Campaign In The Long Run

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We SEOs know that once the client signs the SEO Contract – The expectations are:

  • Page 1 Position 1 ranking on the search  engines and
  • Loads of target traffic with conversions taking place regularly.

But, we also know that when we start  working on an SEO campaign, we follow a certain procedure for on-page and off-page factors – and after  regular monitoring and measuring of the analytics, we try to achieve the following objectives step by step.

  • Maximize the visibility all over the web
  • Work on the website to making it more rich in content and error free HTML
  • Solve cannonical issues
  • Eliminate duplicate content issues
  • Add more meaning to the images of the  website
  • Work on many other technical aspects of the website like HTTP headers, 404 pages, 301 redirects etc.
  • Help establish an online brand
  • Help establish a good online reputation

The main goal is to achieve targeted traffic and we all know   a high CTR  is possible when  your website ranks on page 1 and preferably on first three positions.  So the SERPs are important. This post on high CTR  on Search Engine Watch proves this point with facts and figures.

But lately I have been reading a lot on SEO blogs that SERPs as a metric for ascertaining the success of the SEO campaigns are not important. But such a statement  made is misleading . Now don’t get me wrong.

Read Further….

I agree that rankings cannot be guaranteed, every site is different from the SEO specifics perspective and the time taken to achieve high rankings vary from site to site. A holistic approach is needed when we work on a SEO campaign and we should be talking about quality web presence if we advocate genuine SEO.

But  rankings as a factor for ascertaining the long term  success of an SEO campaign cannot be ruled out totally. At the end of the day it is the targeted traffic and conversions which generate online business .

So what should be the approach towards the SERPs as a metric ?

I repeat rankings cannot be guaranteed , SEOs can just guarantee their efforts on achieving them but results depend on umpteen number of factors. But, with experience I can say that if the SEO efforts are in the right direction and are purely organic  then gradually the possibility of attaining high rankings increases over time . Hence monitoring the rankings of the keywords in the long run is important. It might take anywhere between 1-2 years maybe more for certain highly competitive head terms but an eye has to be kept on the SERPs too.

Though the SERPs keep on changing and should not be considered as the primary performance measure of any SEO campaign but yes the higher you rank on organic listings the higher is your CTR and that can lead to increased business which is the primary goal for any business website. (The article on SEW proves that )

There has to be a strategy , we focus on long tail keywords and keywords having a local intent first and gradually see that the pages which are targeted for head terms also get the potential to rank as with time the site starts gaining the necessary natural links and also gets promoted on social media thereby improving the link graph and the social graph.

So SERPs though not stable should be mentioned in the monthly SEO reports  even if the site is on Page 18 for a certain keyword.

What is important to note is :

  • Does it improve over a period of time  or
  • Remains stable or
  • Is pushed from page 18 to page 80 due to an algo. Update.

As one of the goals of  SEO is to improvise the site to adapt itself to all these  algoquakes  and  keep the search engine presence live and rankings as high as possible.

So, SERPs are important. SEO does have a wider connotation but the basic goal of ranking high cannot be totally ruled out.The goal has not changed the approach towards achieving that goal is evolving.

In fact It would be a great help to all web marketers especially SEOs if the SERP ranks are also displayed in the Google Analytics reports next to the keywords.

I know that the SERPs keep on changing but it is an important reporting field for all SEO reports as the traffic does depend on how high you rank.

Having this in the GA reports will reduce our dependence on other third party softwares and we can just concentrate on Google webmaster tools and GA for analysis.

I suggest that there can be 2 fields for SERPs one for the SERP for the keyword when the click took place and one field showing the current SERP when the report is being accessed.

Bharati Ahuja
+Bharati Ahuja is founder WebPro Technologies India, SEO Trainer and Speaker, Web Entrepreneur, Blog Writer, Internet Marketing Consultant. Follow her on twitter @webprotech
Bharati Ahuja
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  • “I suggest that there can be 2 fields for SERPs one for the SERP for the keyword when the click took place and one field showing the current SERP when the report is being accessed.”

    Didn’t quite get what you said. Care to explain more? Are you saying that there should be 2 fields: One is the keyword rankings when the click going to the site took place and the keyword rankings when the report was done? The way it was written was just unclear to me.

    • I meant when we access the reports in Google analytics the two fields can be :

      1. SERP when the relevant click took place for that keyword

      2. SERP when we are accessing the report for every keyword in the report.

  • The reports for SERP ranks in analytics would be great, considering Google is very much against using a 3rd party service to ping the search engines to find SERPs.

  • “In fact It would be a great help to all web marketers especially SEOs if the SERP ranks are also displayed in the Google Analytics reports next to the keywords.” In the event that such are displayed, I think it would be a lot more harder to rank in Google since all webmasters are going to be concentrating on the ones that are highly ranked, right?

    • Anonymous

      Now thats where exactly the line has to be drawn as SEOs should keep track of rankings without getting obsessed about them so that the clients get good targeted traffic as a result of ranking high but at the same time not lose focus on other qualitative and wholesome aspects of SEO and web presence.

      That is where the challenge lies and makes the SEO campaign a win-win campaign.

  • Great post. I believe a successful SEO campaign should be in correlation to all the other internet marketing efforts. As you keep on building your online presence, google start to like your site more and more. So sometimes, it’s easy to get narrow minded but to keep an open perspective into showing growth through increased traffic and conversion…So a more holistic approach is necessary instead of just rankings..

    • Anonymous


  • Very true and professional way to explain SEO result and Report.. Great post many thanks to Bharati Ahuja.. As SERPs are all depend on Search Engine algorithm updates.. all we (SEOs) need to do is to update our self every hours/day…. now a days it’s really heard to understand visitors behaviors TOO as from my personal experience i noticed that one of my most important keyword ranked on 2nd page in Google before a month and i get good traffic from that keyword.. after that i tried heard to get that keyword on first page and finally i get top 5 position in google in just 12 days but surprisingly i get less traffic from that keyword in comparison on 2nd page result.. its’ shows that SEO is totally different world.. we need to track on each and every aspect of SEO..

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for your views Nirav. You have given a totally different perspective to it.

      My focus was mainly

      – from the clients point of view that yes a high ranking keyword does give you more targeted traffic.

      – From the SEOs point of view , less dependancy on third party software which again indirectly benefits the client only.

      But yes if we get the SERPs as a metric in GA then the changes in rankings can be monitored and which will help us to judge the algo. effects more precisely over a period of time.

      Again, we do not have to get obsessed with SERPs only but keep the larger objectives of SEO in mind.

      • yes @twitter-85558811:disqus
        Bharati I know I was off topic a little bit though i thought it could be useful from the SEO perspective.. so i just reply on that manner.
        well I totally agree with you on the “SERPs as a metric in GA” part. That would be really beneficial as webmaster doesn’t have specific ranking in search query..

        i hope this time i m on right track 🙂

  • Agree with you, especially on the point where SERPs should
    be part of the monthly reports, this doesn’t just help us the SEOs, but also
    gives a simple overview for our customers to see how their site is ranking for
    certain keywords. The more simpler and straight forward we can make it for our
    customers the better, as all of them may not fully understand all the factors
    of SEO.

  • bradcamry

     These all are one of the most important tactic for SEO. It can be great with considering which is very useful in search engine.