Should We Say Goodbye to Keyword Ranking Reports?

February 12, 2014
by Kimberly Treacy

    SEO Process_Big Red SEOEveryone in the SEO realm runs keyword ranking reports. They’re an essential indicator of performance and demonstrate to our clients where their campaigns start and how they progress; however, just because something works and has worked in the past doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t question it as a best practice. Here at Big Red SEO in Omaha, our team of SEO and web design specialists have been experimenting with better, more accurate ways of measuring the success of our clients’ SEO campaigns, and that includes rethinking and retooling the ways we approach keyword ranking reports.In this post, our Big Red SEO team will outline some of the problems with keyword ranking reports as they stand, and explore some options that can give our clients a clearer, macro-level understanding of how their SEO campaigns are working.

    The Problem with Keyword Ranking Reports

    There’s always been a fair amount of intuition required for judging which keywords and phrases to go after—one has to get inside the minds of searchers to understand what it is they’re looking for and what language they’ll use to try and find it. With recent changes to Google, though, it’s become harder to see which keywords and phrases are drawing the most traffic (in other words, the most popular words and phrases searchers are using to find what you’re selling).

    So we can’t reliably see which words are sending traffic to your business through keyword ranking reports; what other problems are there? When focusing in on a list of high-traffic keywords, you generally start to lose track of the big picture, that is, the long tail searches that may not garner the highest traffic individually but make up the bulk of your business’s traffic when taken together. This huge list of keywords and phrases with smaller individual traffic values is just as important as the smaller list of higher-traffic keywords you’re actually trying to rank for, and keyword ranking reports often don’t give clients a solid idea of what’s going on in the long tail.

    A Solution is the Keyword Rank Index

    For the time being, as (not provided) swallows up more and more keyword ranking information with users searching logged in, it’s better to shift focus from individual keywords that may no longer provide the best picture of SEO campaign success, to a bigger picture approach. A.J. Kohn defines rank indexes this way:

    A rank index is the aggregate rank of a basket of keywords that represent a type of query class that have an impact on your bottom line.”

    What’s to be gained exactly from this kind of aggregation of keywords into indexes by query class? Quite a lot, actually.

    For one, looking at an index helps prevent clients from getting lost in the proverbial weeds, worrying about individual keyword rankings moving up or down when what matters is the health of the campaign as a whole. Keywordrank indexes show campaign success or failure much more clearly than trying to decipher a traditional keyword report, because rather than tracking 50 keywords, you’re tracking one index.

    For two, indexes can accommodate the long tail. When you see an index performing well or poorly, you can assume (to a certain extent) that long tail keywords are going up and down along with the keywords you’re tracking. This isn’t going to be the case with every long-tail keyword, of course—they won’t all be going the same direction at the same time—but again, what matters is that the index as a whole is trending up or down.

    For a more detailed discussion of keyword rank indexes and how to compile that data, our Big Red SEO team recommends that you take a look at A.J. Kohn’s article that he wrote on keyword rank indexes.

    Dialogue is Important, So Join the Conversation

    Part of what’s so exciting about the field of SEO is the ability to easily exchange ideas with one another. In fact, we need that dialogue to thrive and grow! To that end, we at Big Red SEO hope that we can learn as much from you as you can from us. If you have a question or idea you’d like to share, feel free to post it in the comments section below. We look forward to hearing from you!

    Contact Big Red SEO Today at (402) 522-6468!

    Big Red SEO is a full-service SEO and web design company in Omaha, Nebraska, specializing in developing cutting-edge SEO and content development strategies that help our clients get noticed by potential customers where and how they’re already looking, on leading search engines like Google, Yahoo!, and Bing. If your small business could use more online exposure, contact us today at (402) 522-6468 to see what we can do for you!

    Kimberly Treacy

    About

    Kimberly Treacy (Talbot) is an SEO Guru with a ‘no bullshit’ attitude. As the owner of Big Red SEO, she provides companies of all sizes what they need to know to get their business in front of those looking for their services and products. Big Red SEO is one of the few search engine optimization companies that offers ‘industry exclusivity’ meaning we only work with one company within an industry and their market at a time.