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.
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.