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Ranking for a Keyword Not the Ultimate Goal

Ranking for a Keyword Not the Ultimate Goal

When a business owner says he or she wants #1 ranking for a keyword and asks how long it will take to accomplish using SEO, I take a deep breath and begin by explaining that while we can work to build ranking for that and other potentially profitable keywords, we cannot guarantee a keyword will reach #1, or if it does, how long it will stay in that position. No one can.

What we can guarantee you is that focusing on #1 ranking for a specific keyword is not the best use of your search engine optimization efforts. Here are a few reasons why:

  1. With the personalization of search, the results shown to you are most likely different from those shown to your potential customers. While you may see your website ranking #1 for a keyword, that doesn’t mean your targeted audience will see the same results.
  2. Your ranking for a keyword will change. Rather than focusing on a #1 ranking, look at your average position and watch for an upward or download decline.
  3. No two people are the same, so they will not search in the same way. While they may search for the same product or service, the keywords they use will likely be different. You want your website to rank well for variations of keywords a searcher might use. To achieve that, your focus should be on making your website (your business) the top authority in your niche.
  4. Someone focused on achieving a #1 ranking for a keyword could be inclined to use tactics that cause the site to disappear from a search engine’s index. If someone says he or she can get you a #1 keyword ranking, don’t agree to it!
  5. If your focus is keyword rankings and you see that your tracked keywords rank high in Google, which sends a majority of organic search traffic to your website, you will believe your SEO campaign is successful. But while your keyword rankings are high, if your bounce rate is also high and other user metrics are low, as is your conversion rate, your SEO campaign needs work.
  6. If your focus is keyword ranking, you may not be delivering the best user experience or working toward developing quality content, connecting with customers and becoming an authority in your niche.
  7. While top ranking of keywords proven to be profitable are important to a solid organic search campaign, reaching #1 is not a task you complete and move to the next one. You want to see consistent improvement in ranking of keywords, but also in user metrics. Most importantly, you want to see an improvement in conversions. For most commercial websites, that is the end goal.

What do you focus on in an SEO campaign? Does it bring you the results you want? We want to hear about it.

Terri Stevens
Terri Stevens is an SEO specialist for Forthea. She loves to travel, especially aboard cruise ships (floating casinos!), and spends free time with family and enjoying the outdoors.

1 Comment

  1. Matt Hoffpauir 7 years ago

    Excellent article Terri.

    While many people think that SEO is still done strictly for machines to calculate what position to place their link, new advancements in search engine algorithms have pushed SEO into a more “human” realm than ever before. If I had to identify certain areas that need more attention others, I’d have to say that a quality content strategy (developed for humans) and smart link building should be at the top of the list.

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