Keyword rankings have been considered as the primary metric usually used to judge performance. For the last five to six years, keyword rankings were a staple part of any SEO campaign. All of this information is already available within Google Analytics and you can already get accurate search volume estimates from within Google’s Keyword Tool.
However, there has been an update where Google moved to encrypted search and the appearance of “not provided” within Google Analytics emerged. This created a ripple effect across many SEO software providers. It also made their tools less effective to measure the impact coming from organic search.
With Google’s recent update, they have decided to move search volume estimate within their Keyword Planner tool to show estimates in broad ranges. For example, instead of learning that a keyword was being searched for 1,400 times each month, clients were told that it’s searched between 1k-10k times per monthly. These estimates are not helpful which forced marketers to adapt their search strategy to focus less on individual keywords and shift to a topic-centric content strategy, especially for content sitting at the top of the funnel.
RELATED: WELCOME TO THE INBOUND MARKETING ERA
KEYWORD RANKINGS ARE BEING INACCURATE
The value of keywords today is huge, but there were talks that the keyword ranking data was being inaccurate. A lot of industry leaders and even software providers of tracking data admit that this is usually the case. Personalization, device, and location are the main reasons behind this. Let’s look further as to why these are the reasons why keyword rankings are now inaccurate. Does your Google ranking still matter?
When Google+ was first launched, the SEO industry was talking a lot about personalization within search. This has been a big consideration for many years. Ultimately, Google will deliver results that are personalized to a user based on their search history. That’s why if you are to search for a query like “electric cars” and previously been browsing the Tesla website, it is a possibility that Google would tailor the rankings of the search results to show Tesla near the top. This means rankings are based on the search query you are doing on Google.
LEARN MORE: BEST WAYS TO KEEP UP WITH GOOGLE
Device and Location
For almost five years, one of Google’s major advancements in search was its ability to take into account aspects of a search query that are not explicitly stated. Take “Boston restaurants” as an example. In 2010, if you searched for “Boston restaurants”, it would show a list of relatively generic websites that either talk about Boston restaurants or maybe even a restaurant. But if you try to search for the same keyword in 2018, it will arm Google with a whole lot of information than before. Nowadays, Google can even tell you that the place you're going to is busy. They will be able to see which device you’ve searched from, your location while searching, even if you are currently on the move. They can completely tailor the search results to this individual searchers’ current situation. Also, this poses a challenging question if you are going to ask who ranks the top spot for “Boston restaurants”.
This might be the time to think that ranking high on Google may not give you the results you need. Although this is still a useful tool in digital marketing, there has been a lot of changes going on and marketers should always keep this in mind.