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Friday, May 19, 2006

Rankings are Dead; Long Live Web Analytics

In her latest High Rankings newsletter, SEO pioneer Jill Whalen comes out with guns a'blazin' against the outdated insistence on achieving, err, high rankings. She wisely claims that SEO success is achieved by inducing action by your visitors and not in simply showing up when somebody searches for something.

Although the article rambles a bit, the gist is clear: search engine rankings alone are a poor yardstick for measuring the success of SEO campaigns. Instead, start boning up on web analytics with tools like ClickTracks or Google Analytics. That's where the real action is.

On the surface, Jill's point seems absurdly obvious. But, for whatever reason, SEO myths about rankings being of paramount importance still persist. Maybe it's because most SEO consultants don't have the business chops to understand business and the metrics that reflect successful business. Or maybe it's because getting your site from point Z to point A in search engines is an easy concept that unsophisticated marketers understand. There's no two ways about it: data collection, analysis and action takes a lot of time, energy and brains.

So if you're working with an SEO company that thinks rankings are the most important achievement you can make in SEM, rather than just an activity that brings visitors to your site and that give you data to analyze and act on, you need to get a new consultant!

Posted by Cory Kleinschmidt




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