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At WebFuel, we like to celebrate milestones. And… here is a BIG one! This is our 200th blog post. Our official blog launch was on November 26, 2007 and our first post was titled: Blogging, Eh?. We actually got a chuckle out of reading it again (you might also). What was really interesting to us was at that time, SEO was all about rankings – and how high you ranked on various keywords in the Search Engines. This was how we, as Search Engine Optimizers, were measured in terms of success. We would have never, ever guessed that one day we would be blogging about whether rankings still matter. The short answer is “yes”, but not in the same way.

How Have Search Engine Ranking Changed?
Like everything else related to Search, there have been many changes over time. In the early days (mid-1990’s), a SEO would ensure that the Search Engines could find your website. It was quite simple if you understood how the major engines worked and the fact that there was minimal keyword competition. In the formative years of Google, web searchers would actually take the time to visit the top three Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Today they rarely go past the first search results page. Page one ranking became a must for many businesses – and the higher you ranked (top positions) the better. It was the way to get that online competitive edge.  SEOs, like myself, would focus on this goal, run off ranking reports, and were measured on this metric by our clients.

Then…. along came countless changes including Universal Search, Personalized Search, Local Search, Social Search, Mobile Search (just to name a few). Add to the mix, the addition of Paid Search Ads (i.e. Google AdWords), Google Suggest and all the many, many SERP display changes.

The Result?

“Google basketball... bounces UP and DOWN just like your search results.” Source: Search Engine Round Table

To sum it up…. Rankings do matter; but in a different way.  You must be visible in search results based on web searchers that need to find you, their keywords and where they are searching.  And… then you need to get the click – or who cares? (I’ll save that for another post).

Are you still measuring SEO success on just rankings?