I thought that making the transition back to an agency and revamping Optiem’s SEO services and approach was by no means going to be an easy task, but I didn’t expect how hard it was going to be to transition clients away from treating rankings as the be all, end all SEO metric. Taking my previous experience at an agency and most recently from the client-side, I wanted to bring this new ROI approach to clients to:
- Improve their SEO efforts
- Alleviate some of the burden of justifying the marketing investment
I think I was definitely naïve to think this transition was going to be easy. There were some clients that were ecstatic to begin seeing these new SEO metrics like forecasting and ROI models with ROI reports added monthly; however others still wanted to look at their ranking reports.
One of the main problems with search rankings being the sole SEO metric is the lack of accurate data. I can’t tell you how many times we have received questions from clients on why they are seeing their company rank 5th and the person down the hall from them are seeing it as 3rd and we reported to them that it was ranked 4th. So when trying to answer this question for clients, along with trying to convince them to transition their SEO success metrics, I try to touch upon some of the discrepancies that can occur on a daily basis in search ranking results and how that can taint their ranking metrics.
Individual Search History
Did you know that your search results can be affected by:
- Whether you are logged into your Gmail account
- What websites you have visited in the past
- Your location
- How many times you have searched for a given keyword phrase
These are some of the most common obstacles I see with clients. All of the examples above can have an effect on your search engine results page (SERPS) and can shuffle your organic listings. Case in point, a major keyword for one of our clients:
Search Engine Algorithm Updates
Everyday search engine algorithms are updated, not once, but MANY times throughout the day! This can have an effect on your websites rankings and can often change your ranking position from one hour to the next. This is generally not drastic fluctuations, but tends to be a shift of 1 or2 positions up or down. These changes aren’t usually major ones, but are most like upgrades that are used to continually refine the weighted scoring system.
If you are doing the bare-minimum SEO or did an SEO update a year ago and haven’t updated it since, which by the way SEO is ongoing and should never a one-time deal, who’s to say that your competition isn’t continually updating their SEO efforts or doing SEO a little better? If your competitors are constantly making updates, adding new content, are actively engaged in linkbuilding campaigns and optimizing their website they will inevitably move around you in the rankings.
You’ve made updates to your website; did you consult with your in-house SEO or SEO agency? Often times website updates can have a major effect (good and bad) on a website’s ranking performance. What may seem like a harmless updates like removing products, adding filters and adding content can actually affect your websites ranking performance. What is even scarier are those companies that make even bigger changes like website redesigns and adding guided-navigation and do not consult with an SEO. These are major changes that should always be brought to the attention of an SEO to ensure the site is still incorporating SEO Best Practices for optimal crawability.
I’m definitely not saying that rankings should not play a part in your SEO strategy and in SEO performance; I am simply suggesting that you primarily measure success in dollars and cents and have the ability to say I spent $X on my site this year and received $Y in return. The transition to this type of SEO metric is by no means easy, but well worth the ROI! Look forward to the next SEO blog post that will explain the benefit of measuring ROI as the major SEO metric.