Why Keyword Ranking Should Never Be Your Primary Performance Metric

SEO Keyword Rankings

Not too long ago, SEO strategies majorly comprised of getting ranking on keywords. Keywords were the primary factor to gauge the performance of a campaign. Website builders would stuff the sites with keywords, and the clients would love to see the results. The results, however, showed a different picture.

If your SEO tutorial for beginners included using Google tools to find out keywords and then placing them on the website throughout, it might be going in the right direction, but only to an extent. In the present scenario for SEO, keywords are one of the several metrics leading to the better ranking of your website.

In the beginning, in an attempt to SEO my blog myself, I did the same, keyword stuffing. And that was not the only mistake that I made that led my SEO campaign to be worthless. Now having researched enough I possess enough knowledge to share my insight with you all so that you take care of all the important points before you move on with your SEO.

Before getting further into keywords, let us go further into, how Google search works. Unlike in the past when the higher rankings in the SERPS would be because the use of keyword or key phrases, now, Google does not rank the keywords. Google instead ranks the results according to the answers, i.e., what information did the user intend to extract. The relevance of keywords in search has started to decline because keywords only emphasized on the words that users input, not what they wanted.

Google is striving to provide you with answers that, you want. Which means a page might still rank higher despite the search term not being present at all in the Meta description or on the page. Below is an example.
Google SERP Weather


You can see how the top results don’t even have half of the words in the key phrase. Similarly, on the webpage of the top result, the word “rain” doesn’t even exist. This tells how the relevance of the results matters more to Google than just the keywords.

This also brings us to the point that strong keyword rankings mean nothing to the today’s SEO strategies. Keyword rankings are just one part of the process to conversion. Here’s how Google explains it on their blog:

Rankings are just one part of the process

Therefore, before you should jump into keyword ranking your website should be indexable and crawlable. Even after your site has ranked, it needs to satisfy the users’ intent behind the search and accomplish the goals of your business. (E.g. downloads, email subscriptions, etc.)


Let alone revenues and profitability; strong keywords don’t mean you will have high volumes of organic traffic, keeping in view the reasons mentioned before and later in the blog, it is difficult to say how much traffic a keyword will draw to your website. Even if the rank checker shows a favorable result, you should be aware of the fact that the data of keywords you are looking at is not perfectly accurate. To explain the reason for this, I can just take a single word to answer, Personalization.

Let me explain to you how personalization has impacted the search and search results in a way to overpower the relevance of keywords towards the rankings on the search results.

Google has a lot of our information, including our search history, our location, demographics, the device that we are using or that we mostly use, our browsing behavior, the places that we mostly vast and a lot of other activity on other platforms such as Youtube.

So for example, if I searched for fitness center in New Jersey, the top result on my Google shows the website of a gym that I have already visited before.

Similarly, if I search for restaurants in Newark City at 11 AM, Google will see it as a person in a car finding a restaurant to have lunch.

Therefore, to filter the results, Google will show the restaurants that are open, serving lunch, and are within the driving radius of my current location as the top results.

These are just two examples; there are several other things that tell how Google does not use keyword ranking, to rank the results.

Searching on mobile draws different results as compared to when searching on desktop. Similarly, Google voice draws different results as compared to Google now results. The top results also change if you are using the browser in its incognito mode.

Similarly, the same search term entered in northern California would draw different results as compared to if it were entered in southern California.

Given that, even if you and I were standing next to one another, our search results would still look different. This is because of the reason stated above, i.e., personalization.

Summing Up

As I did in the beginning, you also might check the effectiveness of your campaign by searching for the relevant keywords and then seeing if you rank on the first page.

Then you would go back to the reports to see what the average rankings for your targeted keywords were.

We have seen above how keywords are not a relevant metric to judge the success of your business online. So what can we do to make our SEO strategy stand out?

Relevance Ranks Highest

Today’s SEO strategy use long tail keywords. Why? They make your page seem more relevant to the search engine hence it is ranked higher for the right people in the right places.

Your websites keyword ranking does not matter, because there are a variety of ways in which people search. Also, Google shows the results to each based on their history, location, device, etc.

Organic Growth

You need to ensure that the number of visitors arriving on your page via organic search is growing every day, every month and every year. You also need to take care that the visitors and the new visitors are from within your target market.

You should expect more conversions from the visitors arriving via organic search.

Measure Conversions

Keep in mind that your search experience does not reflect the search results of your prospective customers. That is the reason it is not an indicator of the success of your SEO campaign nor does it tell your website would gain more conversions.

Focus on the results, your aim is to get your phone ringing, getting mails full of contact forms, or your orders tab to show new orders.

Then only you can declare your campaign as successful. Getting there is not easy. Do not hesitate to ask an expert’s help to build up your campaign and to boost up your own SEO game.

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