I tell ya… this is a whacky business we are in (those in SEO at least) – Not so long ago the spectre that is the death of ranking reports raised it’s conventionally wise head – which we poo poo’d here in this space for a few reasons.
A little history…
Back in August, when last we noted this anomaly, this was born; the Evolution of SEO
Which, while acknowledging the need for geo-targeting and analytics, we put forth the theory that all is not lost (just evolved)… and even took some flak for that position.
But that wasn’t enough so some volunteers pitched in and we realized, ‘Yes Virginia, rankings DO matter’ and also outlined some take-away’s from the (limited) study. The next round of these, a more expanded research session, starts next week and we’ll see where it leads.
Who killed ranking reports?
Now, there is no way I am delusional, nor in denial. One thing I am known for is being a recovering personalized search addict and have covered it extensively as with other behavioural metrics that search engines use these days. This is about having the tightest grasp on the art of SEO as one possibly can, not about fantastical statements.
This is where the rubber really does hit the road my fine reader; the death of ranking reports is premature and over-stated. What research we have done shows that behavioural metrics (SERP interactions, query revisions) and geo-location factors are having as much of an effect on re-rankings as personalization does in many query spaces.
BUT… and it’s a HUGE one, it is not some massive flux that serves drastically different results to different users. This simply is not evident as things are far more subtle than that (download the entire Google re-ranking study).