Before answering, I would first need to address another question, namely, is ranking on the first page of Google still relevant? The answer to that one, of course, is a resounding YES! Higher search engine rankings drive more traffic, resulting in more qualified leads and therefore, more sales or conversions.

With the advent of Google website optimization, the focus, has shifted from rankings to conversions as the best way to measure SEO success, and rightfully so.

So, does it follow that if search engine rankings are still relevant, then search engine ranking reports must be as well? Yes and no! Yes because there’s a certain “eye candy” factor to ranking reports that for whatever reason, you don’t seem to get when reporting conversions. This may be due in part to the fact that conversion goals are not always sales. Conversion goals can vary all the way from free downloads of white papers, reports or software to simply clicking a link. So I can understand why the average business owner is still more impressed by sales and search engine rankings.

There are two main reasons why search engine ranking reports are still relevant. The first is that clients really like them, especially competitive ranking reports. There’s a definite “eye candy” appeal when the client sees that his website ranks higher for given key phrases than those of his three top competitors.

The second reason is from a marketing perspective. We create a preliminary search engine ranking report even before a prospect becomes a client. This preliminary report serves as a benchmark later in the business relationship.

Logically speaking, a site will almost always rank better after it’s been optimized, so the client will see lots of those colored up arrows when comparing rankings for specific key phrases from one report to the next. The client is able to visually see improvement over time so those colored up arrows will always mean to him that his SEO is working . . . and the client is always right! Right?

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