Google’s John Mueller: “Ranking Isn’t Always the Goal”

So, the latest weird statement to come from Wonka’s Chocolate Factory and the Chief Umpa Loompa John Mueller is…

Ranking isn’t always the goal.

John Mueller

But, don’t panic. John hasn’t gone off the deep end. Here’s the clarification he offered in the same chat…

Ranking isn’t always the goal, your site can rank well but if nobody searches for it, that’s not really useful. From that, great content alone, even if it’s world class, does not mean you’ll get great traffic. And, understanding computers doesn’t change that part either.

John Mueller

So, what I think Mueller is really driving at here, without coming right out and saying it, is that the not all #1 spots are worth having.

We’ve all received those emails from SEO agencies guaranteeing a first place position on Google. They’re one of the first “gotchas” I talk about in The Truth About SEO. The trick these agencies run is simple – they will get you a #1 ranking, but for an obscure long-tail keyword that nobody was trying to rank for anyway and that no human being has ever searched for, ever.

Ranking #1 shouldn’t be your goal. Maximising your converting traffic should be.

You make more money with 100 visitors a month and a 2% conversion rate than with 1000 customers a day and 0% conversion rate.

Or, to paraphrase a well worn piece of business advice…

Traffic is vanity. Conversions are sanity. Return on investment is reality.

Chris Lynch

So, if you’ve been “chasing the ranking dragon”, maybe it’s time to detox your approach to SEO.

The purpose of SEO is not to rank #1 on Google (or any other search engine). The purpose of SEO is to increase traffic to your website.

So, next time someone is offering you some SEO, don’t accept their promise to get you “ranking as number one”. Ask them how much they think they can increase your traffic by… and that’s how you will know who has done their research and who hasn’t.

(ProTip – they only good answer to that’s question is “On my last project I achieved X, I need to see your analytics before I can tell you what may be possible for you”).

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