So, you’ve paid your money, you’ve waited 4-6 months and now you’ve done it… You are on the first page for one of your keywords! What does that really mean? Absolutely nothing.
Why? Because there is a huge distinction between traffic and rankings. I like rankings, but I love traffic! Isn’t the whole point of higher rankings to have more traffic to your site? Literally, this morning before I started my writing, I was emailing with a potential client who said that he wanted a quote to increase his rankings. He said that his current SEO marketer was doing okay, but he felt he could do better. He mentioned that he was on the first page for 8-10 keywords, but he would like to be on the first page for 20. I asked him as I usually do in this situation, “How many visitors come to your site each month from the 8-10 first-page keywords you have right now?” He had no idea because he wasn’t tracking traffic. This is why I always say “Don’t ever, EVER pay for rankings!” Rankings are worthless if they don’t bring traffic, and trust me, not all first page rankings increase your traffic.
For instance, if you type in “Minneapolis Saint Paul Auto Repair Carburetor Engine Spark Plug”, you can be on the first page for that search. If you run it all together, there is no doubt that you can get there, but the problem is there will be no traffic on that keyword. Why is this so? Because it is seven keywords all run into one and almost no one is searching for it. If I were an SEO marketer (which I am not, I am a brand marketer!!), I would tell you that I could get you on the first page for 20 keywords for $395/month. You would pay me for rankings and I would deliver. But your traffic needle wouldn’t move one bit.
The right way to do this is to do keyword research before we even begin to talk about rankings because we want to know if the words will be good for you and if it will affect your rankings in general. “Longtail” keywords like the example above can be very valuable IF you have determined that there are a good number of real potential clients that are using it. We need to know that there’s a pretty good amount of traffic searching that keyword so that once we get it moving up and showing well in the rankings we also see the bump in traffic. Installing and using a sophisticated traffic system is the only way to know if you are getting value for the strategies you are implementing.