Stop Focusing on Keywords

February 20, 2019

Ranking on the first page of Google for keywords is important to achieving SEO success. But, if you only look at keyword rankings to evaluate SEO, you're missing the forest for the trees. ITC's SVP of Sales & Marketing Becky Schroeder explains.
 

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Video Transcript

How do you measure SEO success?

If your answer is “keyword rankings,” you're selling yourself short.

Sure, it's true SEO is about improving your agency's visibility in the search engines. Ranking on the first page of Google for keywords is important to achieving that success. 

But, if you only look at keyword rankings to evaluate SEO, you're missing the forest for the trees.

Keywords have long been important to SEO. They still are. But, you shouldn't base marketing decisions off keyword rankings alone.

But, you shouldn’t track keywords in a vacuum.

Search results aren't universal.  In other words, different people get different results for the same query. We get results based on our location and search history. 

Imagine if you visited an Allstate agent's website while using Google Chrome. Then later, you searched for auto insurance while using the same browser. If that Allstate website doesn't normally appear on the first page of results, Google will place it there.

Search results are also more varied than ever before.  Google features paid ads, local business results, and information boxes on result pages. Many times, these features appear above the first organic result . These features draw people away from the link to your insurance agency website, even if it ranks first. 

Today’s search engines rely on more than just keywords for ranking. Since the launch of Google Hummingbird in 2013, Google has been able to group search queries by topic. So, say you search for “Dallas auto insurance”. Google will be able to understand you're searching for car insurance in Big D. 

As a result, ranking for a particular keyword variation matters less than it used to. 

So, if keyword rankings aren't the main metric you should focus on, what should you look at instead? Your return on investment.

Look at the revenue taken in from customers who found you through a search engine.

Compare that to the time and money spent to increase your agency's search visibility. Use it to see how successful your SEO campaigns have been.

Focusing on the return of your SEO investment will allow two things.

First, by evaluating your SEO from the end of the buying cycle, you can see which search topics led to conversions. Double down on these topics by adding new content related to these on your website. 

Second, if certain topics aren't cutting it, you might need to make some changes. 

Consider writing more enticing meta descriptions to improve your click through rate . This can help drive more traffic to your website. Then, make sure your website encourages them to take the next step in the buying cycle.

It's important to remember SEO is part of a holistic business process. An ROI-based approach can help you connect the dots and get the most out of your SEO campaign.

 

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