Don’t Focus on Rank to Measure SEO Success

Posted by Nick Stamoulis in SEO on February 11, 2013

When website owners get into the SEO game they tend to have one goal in mind- to get to the top in a Google search.  While there is obviously value in ranking in the top spot in Google, rank isn’t the only way to measure the success of your efforts.  If after 6 months of on site optimization and link building efforts you haven’t yet claimed the number one position, that doesn’t mean that your SEO campaign is a failure.

Here are 3 reasons why rank is the wrong metric to pay attention to when measuring SEO success:

Search is Personalized

As the search engines continue to get more and more advanced and have access to more user data, they are using this information to customize search results for each user.  Search results have become personalized based on criteria such as search history, social signals, search preferences, location, and whether or not a searcher is logged in to a Google or Facebook account.  This typically benefits the searcher but also means that the rank of your content will be different from one searcher to the next.

Rankings Fluctuate

New content is continually being added to the web and the search engine spiders are always crawling and indexing both old and new material.  Since the web itself is constantly changing, what ranks for a specific keyword or keyword phrase is also continually changing.  In addition, the search engines are always tweaking their algorithms to ensure that the most relevant results are being displayed.  Some algorithm updates are huge (like Panda and Penguin) and a legitimate change in rank may be noticed, but some minor changes could only mean the difference between ranking in the third position and the fourth position on any given day.  It’s also important to keep in mind that the search engines favor “fresh” content.  If you take a break from writing in your blog, you could see a slight decline.  Or, on the other hand, if you have recently received some press it could give you a boost for a short period of time.  There are so many factors that are completely out of your control when it comes to how the search engines rank web pages.

Ranking for the Wrong Terms Means Nothing

One thing that should be understood is that rankings can never be guaranteed because so many factors are out of our control.  However, there are still plenty of shady SEO firms out there that make promises regarding rank and maybe they will be able to get your site to the number one position in Google, but it’s probably not going to be for a search term that you’d actually want to go after.  Anyone can get a site to rank for a search term that nobody is actually searching for, because there is zero competition.  A number one ranking is only valuable if it’s for a term that people are actually searching for.

About the Author:

Nick Stamoulis is the President of Brick Marketing, a full service SEO company.  For more information please call 781-999-1222 or visit


3 responses to “Don’t Focus on Rank to Measure SEO Success”

  1. Dwight Zahringer

    I think another important factor to remember is that ranking in a top position does not necessary mean that the conversion, or types of conversions that you want will happen. SEO is a two phase process, getting the traffic and then making it convert – IMO.

  2. Three Reasons You Shouldn't Care About Rankings | Tulsa Marketing Online Blog

    […] metrics to measure site success with, and rank isn’t near as important as you might think. Nick Stamoulis pinpointed three reasons you shouldn’t be focused on rank when you start using an SEO […]

  3. Adeel Sami

    Agree with it, not to worry all the time of the ranking. I’d always care for social appearance of the site and use posts to target different keywords every time the new post is made rather than just pushing the overall site to specific keywords’ sets.

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