Keyword Rankings Dropped by Raven Tools - What does it mean for us?
Many SEO practitioners have recently been confronted with new challenges with regard to keyword rank tracking. For some, this is simply one more round of acute pain in an ongoing struggle. For others, this may be their first attempt to solve a problem they wished they didn’t have to deal with at all.
In either case, there are some fundamental issues that date back many years and others that are relatively new and which have been getting worse and worse.
Having been to numerous search events and conferences over the years, I can say that all those in the business of search share a common bond and therefore may have shared in a collective groan (or perhaps it was a gasp or a gulp) at the news from last week regarding Raven’s decision to remove ranking data from their SEO tools.
There will be some who will take the hit, have the very difficult conversations with their customers or internal stake holders and push forward using Raven without ranking data. There will be others who will immediately seek alternatives to Raven.
Raven is fully vested in many business decisions over time and they are clearly well down the road of attempting to become an “all in one package.” They are already providing functionality around SEO, Social Media, PPC and content. They apparently made the tough decision to “thin out” their data in order to comply with what they feel is an inevitability.
For those who are already or may soon begin seeking alternatives, we thought it would be helpful to provide an overview of our thoughts on the “problem” of ranking. In many ways, we do agree with Raven about several points. Ranking reports are getting harder and harder to “get right.” With personalization, localization, “Not Provided”, universal search results and multiple devices, ranking gets a bit fuzzy around the edges. We also agree that the future is unpredictable.
At Analytics SEO, we are solely focused on SEO. Our platform is already extremely robust and we’ve been providing what we consider to be a very fair comparison between our platform and most of our competitors on our site for quite a while. Importantly, we have already been providing alternatives to ranking reports as well. We’re also constantly developing others. Here’s a quick list (not necessarily in order of importance) of indicators of SEO improvement which do not require scraping SERPs data and which you could offer to your customer as an alternative.
- Growth in organic visits (branded vs non-branded)
- Growth in sales leads or goal conversions
- Growth in sales conversions and revenues
- ROI calculations based on the Incremental Growth in Revenues attributable to SEO over the cost of your SEO service
- Growth in the number of organic keywords bringing traffic and conversions
- Growth in the number of organic landing pages bringing traffic as a percentage of total pages indexed (broken down by branded and non-branded keyword traffic) – in our SEO platform we call this “Organic breadth and depth”
- Growth in the number of referring domains that are generating site visits (highlighting the ones that you have reached out to)
- Performance of all of the above against targets and budgets set at the beginning of the SEO or inbound marketing campaign
We do realize that many clients and/or internal stakeholders will still insist on ranking reports. For this reason, we will continue to provide ranking data from whatever reasonable sources we can for the foreseeable future.
We don’t plan on building PPC management capabilities. We’d done that before (back in 2003!) and we know that road is paved with its own set of speed bumps and pot holes.
To our existing customers fear not. We plan to maintain a steady course. We’re here for you during what has seemed to be a “standard” Christmas Google update. For those considering alternatives, we’re ready to offer solutions to your short and long term challenges.
I'd love to hear from you about your thoughts on the future of keyword rankings and as SEOs what alernative metrics we should be reporting on to our clients.
By: Dennis Hart
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