Do Organic Rankings Really Matter in SEO?

Every successful company should strive to be number one, right? Wrong! By focusing on your organic rankings, you can miss the big picture and lose sight of important factors that can make or break your company’s SEO strategy. Here are two of the biggest reasons why organic rankings aren’t a reliable primary measurement of success in SEO:

1. Rankings are Relative to Individual Consumers

You are a unique individual. No one else is, has been, or will be the exact same as you. Therefore, your search patterns differ from those around you. When you search for a product or service, there are certain criteria that alter the rankings of your results.

Location, for one, plays an important factor in your search results when using search engines such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo. For example, if you live in Dallas and search for new brunch restaurants, your SERP, or search engine results page, will include restaurants located near you rather than places across the U.S.

The more you use a search engine, the more information it collects. By tracking your past searches and navigation patterns, search engines will give you results tailored to your needs. This ensures that visitors to sites are more targeted, which may lead to a higher conversion rate. Therefore, you should not focus on being every consumer’s number one ranked result. Instead, devote your time to increasing and measuring your return on investment from your SEO and other marketing strategies.

2. Revenue > Ranking

At the end of the day, your goal should be to increase your company’s revenue, not your ranking. For one, rankings are relative to the searcher’s behavior, as mentioned above, and ranking number one for a term may not translate to success. For example, if you’re ranking number one for a term that no one is searching, it’s not bringing any business to your site.

Focus on increasing your return on investment rather than beating out your competitors. You can do this by strategically using keywords and researching specific phrases. One way to do this is by using long-tail keywords rather than one-word keywords.

Long-tail keywords include three or four words that specifically relate to your product or service and are responsible for 70% of searches. For example, say you own a cupcake bakery. Instead of focusing on “cupcakes,” you can create some long-tail keywords like “best place to buy cupcakes,” or “where to get cupcakes.”  By using long-tail keywords, you increase the efficiency of a search by decreasing your competition and reaching a more targeted audience.

It is better to have multiple keyword phrases driving a few consumers rather than one phrase driving in several consumers who may not have any intent to buy. This will provide you with several assets to bring in more customers. You never know when Google will decide to change the way you see search results, which apparently can happen more than once in a day, so it’s best to cover your bases by focusing on variations of your top keywords.

So, the next time you’re wondering why you’re not showing up number one in top search results, don’t stress! The true measure of SEO success lies in other factors like website visits, conversions, and return on investment.

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Louisa Karam

Louisa was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. She is entering her junior year at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, and is pursuing her Bachelor's Degree in Business Analytics. At Creighton, she is a member of the Women's Rowing Team and is passionate about community service. Excited to learn, Louisa is an intern within the marketing department. She is looking forward to working with the ReachLocal team and meeting new people.

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