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Ranking graphs- countdown to extinction

Alex Christie

19 June 2008

Working in analytics at Tamar, I am obviously a big believer in the power of analytics information to add value to your site and business, and so I was very pleased when this blog article and its successor were pointed out to me by one of my SEO colleagues, encouraging all SEO-ers to embrace the use of analytics information!

The main aim of the article is to debunk the idea that measuring the value of SEO should be done solely through rankings graphs, one of the most traditional and probably widespread methods currently used to monitor SEO results.

He postulates (and I wholeheartedly agree) that instead, you should be looking at other metrics, such as visits and conversions, to see if SEO is having a positive impact, because rankings alone do not have any direct impact on the bottom line of your business.

He also goes on to say that ranking data is misleading due to different data centres and the advent of universal search, but here I deviate a bit from his thinking, as I still think ranking reports should be somewhat central to SEO reporting – just not used in isolation.

Knowing your rankings is  important and useful, especially when used in conjunction with visit data. A graph showing how visits or conversions vary with ranking over time can show you whether your hard work at increasing rankings is yielding any business benefits, or if your attention is better spent elsewhere.

The other good thing about using analytics data to report on SEO, is that while you are looking at the analytics, you can also use it to identify the most valuable terms you should be optimising for, such as those highly converting tail terms, or that strange search term people are coming in on that you did not even think of!

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