Why Page Ranks Do Not Necessarily Indicate Superior SEO Performance

For far too long there has been an obsession with page rankings of search engines. If website owners conduct a search on Google and get a pleasing result, they rest easy that their SEO techniques have worked, however sadly it may be something of a myth. Find out why.

Where Is the Competition?

It is necessary to realize that search result competition extends far beyond the competitors turned up by organic searches. While you desire your website to be at the top of the search results so as to have a superior chance of being visited by the traffic and make a successful sale. In reality, the search query itself might have triggered a number of elements as a consequence of which, attention is easily diverted away from the organic search results since they are actually pushed down the page. You can perform virtually any search and see this for yourself; there will be a number of paid and local search results on the top of the page that will result in you having to scroll quite a bit down to discover the first of the organic rankings.

If surfers are not extremely aware of this aspect they might actually click on the paid advertisements or local search results thinking them to be the results of the query. It is not quite certain if your ranking tool will be able to report the actual state of affairs and if not, the management could very well be under an impression that the site ranking is as expected and the effort behind SEO is paying off.

Whose Ranking Are They Anyway?

It is not a well-publicized fact that rankings of any search performed depend a lot on the device due to personalization technology. Consequently, the page rankings seen on her mobile by your CEO will be quite different from what she might have seen if she had fired her search from her laptop or desktop. Mind you, this happens to all your customers too so there’s really no way of stating definitively that your site is ranked number one on Google. As any SEO certification course will teach; the personalization of rankings happens due to a number of factors, primary among them is location as search engine technology first tries to establish the position of the person firing the search in an effort to deliver local listings that are assumed to be more relevant. The ranking is also personalized differently depending upon whether the device on which the search is being conducted is a smartphone, a tab or a desktop. Usually search results on mobile devices will first rank those that have been optimized for being mobile-friendly.

Been There – Done That Can Mislead Results

Logging into a search engine account automatically ensures that the page rankings will be influenced by your past search behavior as the search engine has access to all the relevant data, which it then tries to use to modify the results. Such personalization can happen without even the users knowing of it as happens if you are logged into your Gmail account or are using an android phone to search the net. With Google having complete access to Twitter and Google+ the content in these social media platforms can skew search results. Algorithms used by search engines also tend to classify users into various demographic slots depending upon search behavior and in the absence of any specific data, and accordingly try and deliver results that they think are more relevant.

Keywords Are the Key

To optimize search rankings, it is the practice to choose a set of keywords, including phrases, to measure your ranking performance. The choice of the words and phrases can dramatically alter the ranking performance. Keywords that include your brand name or that are not common with the competition will automatically ensure that your ranking is superior but reality could be quite different when actual keywords used by the web visitors are entered. It is also wise to remember that the Internet is extremely dynamic and ranking results are at best a snapshot taken at a particular point of time that may very well not be representative at all.