Automated SERP Checking Tools: They Are Dead, Here’s Why
There used to be a time where automated SERP checking tools like Traffic Travic and SERP Attacks were a really handy way to check your search engine standings. By looking at positions for various keywords you could decide quickly on the next phrase you’d target – how many links you’d need to build to get it to number one, and how long it would take. Thanks to various new algorithm updates and some other developments however, these automated SERP checking tools no longer function as well as they once did.
Algorithm Updates Have Wreaked Havoc With Them
We all know that Google has moved to make search engine results personalized for all users – that means that you when you search for a keyword phrase, you won’t necessarily get the same SERP order as the person who lives next door to you. Google’s search engine is all about providing relevance to the user, and to that end they try to match the results up with you as best they can.
As well as this, Google’s recent Panda update has led to local search results being promoted far up the search page results. This means that if you search for something like “headphones”, you’ll get a few results from big retailers and ecommerce sites, but you’ll also get a few results from local shops or websites that stock headphones too.
+1s Have Also Played A Role
Local search results have been promoted, Google have tried tailoring results to each individual, and now there’s another factor you need to watch out for; the +1. If you like to +1 all of your websites when you build them you’re going to see a skewed result each time you search for it. Google automatically promotes sites that you +1 in your search results – but only your search results (ie, not everyone’s!).
It’s now no longer a case of clearing your cache or your browsing history to find the true position of your website in the SERPS, because it’ll dance around all over the place due to the factors listed above. The only way to tell for certain how well a site is ranking nowadays is to actually look at the traffic it gets from search engines (and even then you can never be sure!).
The important thing to take away from this is that the obsession marketers have with ranking positions is coming to an end, thanks to Google. Instead of tracking such a deceptive metric, why not put your time and effort into tracking a more important metric? Perhaps the amount of search engine referrals you get, your conversion rate, or even your bounce rate. If you put work into these you’ll find you can monetize your site better and make more money from less traffic.
Constantly checking your search engine rankings really won’t help anymore, because the rankings you see might not be reflective of what everyone else sees. Automated SERP tools are good to give you a ball park idea of where your site is sitting – but don’t rely on them to be 100% accurate any more.
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