Lee Odden wrote a post about how he thought search engine rankings are turning into a myth and that there’s much more involved than just monitoring search engine rankings. He also mentions monitoring visibility in blog, video and audio searches and that his firm stopped using Web Position Gold in 2003.
I posted a comment, but I guess it got caught up in his spam filters or something, so I thought I’d post here and hopefully get my opinion heard via a trackback.
Lee’s point is that with personalization, search engine rankings are turning into a myth because results are going to vary for each person performing the search. While this is true my tests show that the results do not change significantly enough for this to be called a myth.
Ranking reports are still beneficial because they give you a sense of whether your optimization techniques are working. Since personalization is now an issue, I use ranking reports as a guide and tell clients likewise. So many people are hung up on the rankings of a few key terms that they sometimes miss the big picture.
As far as blog, video and audio search and other “visibility” factors are concerned, for the SME clients I deal with, there’s so little content and such little demand in those spaces right now that it’s not worth it for them to invest their time in writing a blog, or creating other content. As a marketing consultant that keeps business through showing proven sales results, I have to think about my clients’ best interests as far as resource allocation, so advising them to blindly follow the latest trend isn’t always in their best interests.
As far as calling search engine rankings a myth, I think that’s taking it a little too far, they aren’t (yet) on par with the myth of search engine submissions.