Great rankings on Google are the holy grail of many online marketers. Nail that coveted number one spot and you can surely rely on floods of profitable traffic. Can’t you?
Maybe, maybe not. There are several reasons why focusing too much on Google ranking factors can, in reality, be a wild goose chase that distracts from the real profitable business of promoting a website.
Cluttered Results Pages
On many searches, it’s hard to see the natural, organic results through the clutter of ads, rich snippets, maps, user reviews, and all the other detritus that Google often prefers to show. Hitting the top spot on these searches probably won’t deliver the awesome traffic you were hoping for. And even if your targeted keywords have relatively clean results pages today, this is very unlikely to be the case for long given Google’s direction of travel.
Effects of Personalization on Google Rankings
Personalized search is now so deeply embedded into the Google system that few real-world searchers receive precisely the same results. Focusing on that number one spot might be good for your vanity, but how many other people will actually see the same Google rankings?
Local Search Results
In the same way, the searcher’s location has a huge influence on the results they see. It’s technically possible to monitor search results from many different locations, but is it a really good use of your time to jump through these hoops? Obsessing over Google rankings may just have you chasing your tail where as dedicating your efforts to other areas that you can actually measure can lead to increased conversions.
The Death of Referral Data
Since Google started promoting the switch to secured websites, accurate referral data has been much harder to come by and rely on. Even if you do succeed in claiming the top spot for a keyword, you’re largely driving blind when monitoring how much traffic that ranking actually sends.
This is where optimizing your Google Analytics account is priceless. Google Analytics is really only as good as you have it set up. And a great place to start organizing is by combining referral traffic to make your data easy to read to take action.
Also, I highly recommend using UTM parameters, if you are not already. Optimizing with UTM parameters is an easy way to see where your traffic is coming from. Simply adding snippets of text (Tagging your Traffic) to your links allows you to easily monitor in Google Analytics where visitors are coming from. And bonus, if you have goals set up you can also see which traffic source has the highest conversion. Knowing where your traffic is coming from, your users’ site behavior, and what conversion activities are taking place is powerful data. This allows you to do more of what is working and less of what isn’t!
Inaccurate Keyword Research Tools
The same thinking applies to keyword search volume tools. They’re nowhere near as accurate and informative as they once were, partly through the effects of personalization and local searches, and partly through deliberate obfuscation by Google itself. It’s maybe not a good idea to chase keywords when you can’t really predict the search volumes they enjoy.
In saying that your Google Search Console is still one of the best options to help you understand and improve how Google sees your site. And you can take the hassle out of finding & understanding the information, with Datable.’s Organic Search Dashboard. Your actual data will be fed into the dashboard from Google Search Console, which gives you the real-time data. It is organized and labeled so even the non-tech entrepreneurs will gain actionable insights.
It’s All About the Clicks
Lastly, clicks are far more important than position. If your page titles and descriptions are more concerned with ranking than with attracting targeted clicks, even an excellent ranking will be largely wasted.
If your headlines or meta description are stuffed with keywords and not relevant to your topic your users will quickly leave. Visitors who click on your website and have no other interaction create a bounce. Google determines a bounce rate by taking the percentage of visitors to your website and who leave your site after viewing only one page. High bounce rates go against your Google ranking so it’s good practice to monitor it.
Recap: Why you shouldn’t obsess over Google rankings
Are you starting to see a trend? Content is King. Maybe it’s time to retire your rank-checking software if you haven’t already done so. Instead, focus on creating content that covers your topic thoroughly and with better quality than your competitors. Look at conversions, revenue, repeat visitors, and bounce rates all of which give a far better overall analysis of how your website is performing. The ability to measure and use that data to make strategic decisions is going to far outweigh any top google search ranking.