Well I finished Day 3 of SMX West. Overall I thought the majority of presentations were very good, as well as the discussions following each. Location was great considering it was attached to the Hyatt and located right in Silicon Valley, down the street from Google, Yahoo, and several major players in the industry. Socially, it was a good time, as there was a reception or party every night, and the lobby bar was always full of nice, interesting people wanting to talk. I was not, however, able to find Matt Cutts and feed him enough beers to divulge all Google’s algorithm secrets.
I want my last post to mention the canonical tag release that Matt Cutts, as well as execs from Yahoo, MSN, and Ask.com worked together and launched this afternoon. You can read about it here – http://searchengineland.com/canonical-tag-16537 and also on the Google Webmaster Blog (but I wanted to give link to Danny Sullivan, as he moderated several sessions this week and did an excellent job)
Lastly, before I sign off and head out for my last evening in Cali, I’d like to mention some website reporting metrics that have been, and will continue to be important (or not so important) in 2009. What are the most important metrics that you should be following and reporting on?
- Conversions (or $ generated if you have advanced tracking set in place. You’d be surprised how many companies don’t.)
The rest are important, but are nice to have’s. Time on Site. Bounce Rates. A good one – % of organic traffic compared to the rest of the marketing mix. Another good one – Total keywords driving traffic. A large part of the last session discussed ranking reports, something I hoped would be talked about. Internally, we should be watching rankings, but reporting on them is no longer as important. Why is that? Several reasons:
- These are not always accurate especially with new Google Wiki and Personalized search becoming more important in 09
- Rankings are not public knowledge
- Rankings impact perceptions more than actual traffic
- It can change so greatly based on what you do to your site, and what the search engines change in their algorithm, that it’s not your fault and you can be held liable for small or large drops in rankings (or praised for increases)
The level of success you should be reporting on is total keywords driving traffic, and conversions and dollars generated attached to that. And this goes for agencies reporting to clients, or in-house SEOs reporting to upper management. So the time is finally here to start moving away from reporting on those rankings – but still watch them. Firefox has a great SEO Toolbar with this tool built right in, check it out! – http://tools.seobook.com/firefox/seo-for-firefox.html