Keyword Rankings: Obsolete Metrics

The headline you just saw is now an understatement more than anything else.

Keyword rankings, once praised and abused by folks who used them extensively to market their services may now be part of the history of search engine optimization. What a pity if we consider that search engine optimization is in its infancy in some parts of the world.

It was not too long ago that every update of Google rocked the whole search engine arena. As new algorithms rolled out we became enamored with rankings that a simple tweak on our copy and manipulation of meta values and page titles did wonders. Not to mention the spam techniques which were then not classified as such.

When Google explained that search results come from different data centers, it became apparent that if I am in Hong Kong, China and you’re in Calgary, Canada our queries for “giant buddha” may not return the same results in a certain order.

When Yahoo! Local made its debut in early 2006, there was a wide speculation that search results won’t be the same because they’re patterned after geographic location/preferences of a user.

When Google Personalization hit the headlines, there were thoughts about search results for a logged Google Account user varying to some degree.

When Google introduced universal search, dubbed as second version of the search engine founded in 1998 it further altered the search landscape as more channels were added on organic search results, previously devoted to HTML and later documents and PDFs.

Blogs, videos, images, maps, news and other elements can be part of the search result. This answers more than just the questions hinted at the search box.

Search rankings relevance won’t go away quickly, and while it is approaching its supposed demise, we can sit next to our clients or capture screens to show our search ranking campaign was working.

It may be the time businesses ask online marketers instead of SEOs to govern the website and not just install its components.