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Thread: Those top rankings could be illusions

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    Default Those top rankings could be illusions

    I keep finding posts by people on FB and on other forums I visit saying they had no idea their rankings were so great. When I search for the keywords they mention, however, their sites are nowhere to be found. The problem (most of the time) is that they have personal search turned on and don't realize it.

    If you are signed into ANY Google-owned site (Google Analytics, AdWords, Gmail, YouTube, etc.) you have automatically engaged personal search. That will screw up all the search rankings you see. If you search for your own site, it will show much higher than it probably would have if you were not logged in. Don't get too excited about popping up in the top 10 until you make sure you've logged out of all things Google first.

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    Good point. I ran into this a few times before I got it figured out.

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    Yep, search engines are getting increasingly smarter, even to the point of providing "personalized" results. The downside as you pointed out is the potential for a false sense of accomplishment.
    Steve Chittenden

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    Great point and a big reason why ranking is less important than it once was. You can throw geolocation into the mix as well. Lots of times a page will rank well in one city and not another.

    I think for the last couple of years at least there's been a shift away from ranking and toward overall search traffic. Not that you don't want to improve where pages rank, but you're better off thinking about your overall traffic from search engines and whether or not it's increasing than about how well specific pages rank for specific keywords and phrases. Even better is measuring how well the traffic converts and around which pages and which theme of keywords.
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    I think conversion is the biggest point. It doesn't matter how high your page ranks on a search engine if you can't convert those people who click the link. It isn't enough to be at the top of the search list, you have to be able to close the sale after the searcher finds you. If you can't do that, the highest search ranking in the world doesn't mean anything.

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    True. One mistake people have always made in regards to keywords and search results is targeting vanity keywords, those words and phrases that appeal more to ego than to anything useful in regards to conversions.
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    Yes, agreed 100% on conversion. I think one reason SEO is getting harder to measure is because practically everybody sees something different. IP address, physical location (like you said Vangogh), personal search and half a dozen other factors mean virtually every person see different search results. Saying "I rank #7 for this keyphrase" doesn't mean what it used to

    People still love to track their results. It lets them know they are making progress. But, I think they need to start tracking different results than strictly where they rank.

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    I think they need to start tracking different results than strictly where they rank.
    Agreed. There can still be some value in understanding something about where your pages rank, but I can see where they're becoming more a vanity thing. What's more important is the traffic search engines are sending, to what pages they send it, how well those pages convert etc.

    I understand about tracking. People want to have some measure of how well they're doing and they want to see results. I track my overall search traffic and I track the pages attracting that traffic. I look at the words and phrases sending search traffic too. Every so often I look at where a page ranks for a given keyword, but I don't worry about it too much. The top page on my site is up to about 12,000 or so visits from search engines a month and it does that by getting a visit or two from thousands of different phrases. The top phrase sending traffic to the page sends about 500 visits a month.

    I don't think it's that valuable to know where the page ranks for every variation of the keywords sending traffic. I'd rather keep track of the overall numbers. Am I getting more traffic to the page this month than I did 6 months ago? Does it pull traffic for more phrases than it did a few months ago? What are the keyword themes sending traffic?
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    good points..we have 4 or 5 email addresses, would it matter which one we searched from? the personal ones arent connected to the store....
    i think our page is in the top 5 ...even on other computers...maybe im wrong, but i dont feel like i need to work on that part....and i like being in the first group.... its got to be very helpful for us since we deal with travellers coming into our state and we are at the very top for them...and then have a useful website...to tempt them to come see us...
    we are a regional business not national..
    i rarley scroll down to the second page when im searching.......
    Last edited by greenoak; 09-26-2011 at 07:53 PM.
    ann at greenoak www.greenoakantiques.com

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    I agree with everything said in this thread. One more thing that is really affecting results is Google places. Like others have said search will just become more and more location specific. Now granted not everything you search for is location specific but a lot of things are.

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