With RavenTools announcing that it would no longer use Google’s scrapped ranking data, webmasters and SEOs have started reviewing the need for tracking keyword position. Of all the SERP tracking articles in the SEO blogosphere, there has been conflicting opinions from SEO experts.
Case against SERP tracking
The truth is that what bot sees as SERP would be different from what users see. Therefore, the degree of accuracy on where your keywords rank would vary. The ranking position depends on the user’s search pattern, social media network, location of search and devices used.
2) Secure Search
As more and more users adopt Google products, webmasters capability to see keyword terms used to reach the page have diminished consistently. It has been particularly worse in high tech and SEO industry. By hiding keywords through SSL, Google has forced Webmasters to use Google Adwords to find high converting keywords
3) Ranking Not Equal to Sales
Ranking #1 or #2 for a keyword does not automatically guarantee sales. Sales depend on optimization and type of keywords used. Optimizing the page with the right marketing message, building trust and providing the right incentives are the key to converting visits to sales or lead.
Case for SERP tracking
1) Re-educating Clients
Sales and leads generated are two important metrics for all online Business. But from an SEO’s point of view, how will you monitor progress? It is through SERP tracking that you know that your link building or targeted content creation process is working. Interestingly, SEOs in the past half-decade or so have educated clients about the importance of keywords and how the return on investment in SEO can be tracked with keyword position. Re-educating clients about the new paradigm shift is not only complex but also costly.
2) Google Product Growth and Secure Search
There are hundreds of Google products both live and in the lab but two major products influence how SEOs monitor keywords; they are Gmail and Google Plus. With Single Sign-On, if a user is logged into either of the two products or any Google product, the search visit would look like this.
The webmaster will have no means to monitor the keyword that led to the visit. Facebook leading the Social Media war should be good news for SEOs as it would mean lesser users would be in Google Plus. But a bigger threat is the growth of Gmail, which has taken over 30% market share in Nov 2012 and Android, which has over 72% market share in the mobile market. It means more visitors would reach through secure search channels.
The growth of G+ would eventually lead to the death of smaller publishers. Interesting thing is that, it would take 2-3 years before 50-60% of the search terms would be through secure channels. This means that webmasters can still get positive returns through keyword tracking.
Where is SEO headed in 2013?
1) Focus beyond Search Engines
Content is King but Google wants to give lesser control to SEOs. They want to dictate the type and format of the content. From SEO’s point of view, following the old rules and focussing on keywords should remain the focus in the short-term. But strategies should be developed to be less dependent on Google and diversify the content distribution to other niche communities like stumbleupon.com, reddit.com and pinterest.com.
2) Social Media Communication
Businesses have varying success rate with Facebook and Twitter. But efforts should be intensified to make one of these social networks your primary means of communication. The communication process is different in both these networks but we prefer Twitter. It is one of the best tools for one on one communication. If you have social media communication tools like Hootsuite, it becomes much easier to find what your customers are thinking and help them find a solution.
3) Phrases and Named Entities
From 2010 onwards, Google has gone beyond ranking pages based on keywords. Phrase based indexing has become visible from early 2012 onwards and the importance of co-occurrence of words and phrases in indexing a page has increased. It is not just the title and the keyword used in the title that would rank your page. The authority of the publisher would also influence ranking. Google has integrated named entities in search result pages. If you search for Abraham Lincoln, you will see the named entity on the right hand side.
The links that you see in the named entities will refine the results to other authority sites. Connecting named entities to your site would depend on the confidence level that Google has on your website as an authority.
How to be an authority in your niche?
1) Think like a Customer
Keyword research only gives a sneak peek into what the users are searching but the real value is in understanding what the user is trying to solve. When you look from a customer’s perspective, you will think about the list of topics that would help them solve a problem. The keywords would then become secondary.
2) Consistent Value = BRAND
This question is quite often asked in Webmasters Forum. Should a publisher/blogger publish articles on a regular basis? When you think from a Customer’s point of view, they might not have reached your level of expertise. A learning curve is involved. How can you educate them? What are the topics that are essential for your customer? What are the industry trends that would help them? When you think like that, there would be at least one post per day for your customer.
Consistent value is not an easy endeavour. It requires single-minded commitment from your team. The competition is higher but the opportunities are much higher for authority sites.
If you want expert help in becoming an authority site, contact us or you can call us at: India (Ph): +91 9497189032, UK (Ph): +44 (0)20-3371-9976 or US (Ph): +1 650-491-0004
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