What Google Wants You to Care About
Google now has a new feature that gives some interesting insight into what they care about. More accurately, it shows what they want YOU to care about.
To see it, login to your Google Webmaster Tools account. (Don’t have one? Go signup now.) Then, choose the website you have decent rankings and traffic for, and choose YOUR SITE ON THE WEB > SEARCH QUERIES. See screenshot below.
The resulting screen should look like this.
SIDE NOTE: The screen shot is for this blog (www.TheJungleMap.com). Please understand that search engine rankings are not what I’m trying for with this blog. (In other words, I rank for a lot of strange things that I never meant to. I also don’t rank for things I would like to – because I’ve never tried.) Your results will hopefully look a lot different. (My other sites do, I assure you.)
Important points to note
1. Google shows your AVERAGE position
In other words, ranking reports are not that valuable. Just because Web Position Gold (or some other ranking checker) reports that you are ranked #2 does not mean you always do. Rankings vary by time, geo-location, and many other factors that fluctuate.
2. Google shows your CTR (Click Thru Rate) before position
Honestly, we all need to stop caring about our rankings. Good SEOs know this. Ranking #1 does not mean you get the click, let alone the conversion. A lower ranking can get good clicks. Other times, a top ranking will get no clicks.
What Google wants you to care about…
Google’s clear message here is that you should focus less on specific rankings and start focusing on getting the click. This has been the message of Google’s advertising program (AdWords) and now the message is migrating to natural search.
By the way, Google has always wanted users to click on Ads in Google. (No surprise. AdWords is how they make 97% of their income.) They encourage us to write ads that people will click on by emphasizing CTR as the goal.
But now the message is being extended to your natural listings. They want you to care more about getting the click. How? Mostly, by writing better title tags and description tags which will encourage users to click on your listings over your competitors.
NOTE: Good SEOs have known for years now that title tag writing is not just about rankings.
What you should care about…
As interesting (and yet not surprising) as this new development is, don’t be too fooled.
Google is trying to make their search engine the best it can be. They want users to love the results they get on Google. Clearly, if users are happy with Google, they keep coming. If the users keep coming, you keep advertising. Simple as that.
But as online marketers and website owners, your emphasis should not just move from trying to get a top ranking to trying to get more clicks. Rather, your goal should be to get the conversion (sale, signup, etc).
The ranking is important. The click is important. But the sale is most important.
Remember, search engines don’t have wallets. People do.
If you want to know exactly which keywords convert into sales, and then how to get the RIGHT rankings and clicks, the best tool you could have is a good Google AdWords campaign. It’s the starting point for successful search rankings that bring profits. Done right, AdWords can teach you exactly which phrases bring in the money.
I know. I do it for my e-commerce sites all the time.