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Search Geeks Speak: Do Rankings Matter?

Written by David Harry   
Thursday, 15 April 2010 14:03

This one was an interesting poll in that it started with some industry chatter recently over the value of rankings and of course ranking reports in SEO. I was personally curious as I do believe that they’ve lost some juice, but still hold some value because we don’t always control the conversion aspects of a site/business. Which can make that problematic.

The results? Well, I must say they were somewhat surprising. Here’s the breakdown;

Do rankings matter in modern SEO?

  1. Yes. I do ranking reports for clients 33.8%
  2. Yes. Not as much as they used to 23%
  3. Are you daft? Ranking is my job 16.2%
  4. No. I focus on traffic and conversions 12.2%
  5. No. But my clients care 9.5%
  6. Undecided – still on the fence 2.7%
  7. Yes for R&D and testing 1.4%
  8. No. There is too much flux 1.4%

A full 73% still believe they have some value or still use them in reporting to some extent. It should be noted that only 9.5% said, “No (they don’t matter) but my clients care”. This seems to fly in the face of what a lot of sheep herders, I mean top bloggers, have been saying in the space.


Some common misconceptions

Another common excuse for the devaluation is personalization, but this also does not bare out considering the research into Psearch done here.

What seems to also happen is SEO’s stomachs turn when they see crap hat SEOs giving clients reports on a long list of fairly useless terms of no value. We’re all seen ‘em and people bragging in sales BS about #1 rankings to uber long tail crap terms. That doesn’t mean some performance data on primary/secondary term don’t still hold value.


Rankings as a KPI

Me? I went with ‘Are you daft’, of course. Are they a KPI? Most certainly not how I go about this thing of ours. I am a conversion point on out and SERP on out kinda guy. Given how things have evolved with Universal elements, one must start from the query/SERP and work outwards with the primary and secondary conversion points in hand. But, I still want to know where we are and what visibility we have in the query space.

Be sure to take this week’s poll; Which universal search element to you most commonly target? (early results are here)



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