Since the advent of social influence and history on search results, rankings have become less important than ever.
This of course is old news in the SEO community.
If I tell you your site ranks first page of Google for the keyword "miley cyrus meltdown" on a server located in Vermont signed out of Google services with no search history, you might get excited at the first half and confused at the second half.
To many businesses outsourcing SEO consulting, they may not understand that the searcher devoid of social influence and web history is few and far between nowadays. Many searchers in Google have either Google accounts and are signed in, or search history, or both.
These factors greatly influence the way sites rank in Google.
So many of us in the SEO community have over the past few years left rankings behind to focus on keyword traffic data which was a very honest maneuver on our part, mainly because we could report on the specific improvements we made to client's campaigns in organic search.
Since Google's recent move to (not provided) keyword data, rankings are important again.
Isn't that fun?
Of course we wish we still had access to our organic keyword data in our analytics platforms, but wishful thinking won't get you far with Google.
Now we have to focus more on other metrics to help us determine the value of an SEO campaign.
And rankings are one of them.
You see, while we hate vanity metrics we can't help but deal with them. For example, I never use a Yellow Pages phone book anymore. But many people still do. And the first-in-line effect still rings true.
If you rank high in the book, you'll get the calls. If you rank high in the engines, you'll get the traffic.
One thing we should do to respond to this change in Google is take a step outside our silly little world of organic search or even inbound marketing for that matter, and see what's happening in the rest of the world. Good brands are still crushing it. And always will.
So what can you do to improve your brand now?
Be clear, not clever. Be different, not better.
That's right. Focus on your brand. Then look at your rankings. You'll be impressed.
What are you doing to deal with Google's (not provided) keyword data?