While keyword ranking isn’t dead, it’s not feeling well.
We’ve said for years that keyword ranking doesn’t really matter; generating more sales, leads, voters, donors or members from search engines is what matters.
Now we’ve reached the point where not only do rankings not matter, they can’t be tracked. If you and I do the same search right now, we’ll get different results.
On different interfaces.
With different tabs.
In fact, I’m seeing so many options on Google, there is no longer a “normal” Google interface. For example, today I search Google on the term “Branding” and I got the “Wonder Wheel.” In geek speak, the Wonder Wheel looks like a way Google is tying terms to related searches based on common search patterns, use of words close to each other on web pages and other patterns. It’s what the SEO folks refer to as semantic association.
Then I get results for people in my social circle and see some of my pals like Jason Mlicki and Lara Kretler talking about branding.
Now look how smart Google is. It knows Jason Mlicki and I are connected via Twitter. And then, rather than linking me to Jason’s Twitter profile, Google is smart enough to link me to Jason’s website.
Or maybe I want sites about Chinese restaurants that are physically close to me. I click the “nearby” link.
Or a timeline about the history of Home Depot.
Or sites with images, or shopping, or pages I’ve never visted. All these options and features elevate the discussion around search engine optimization and should get us all focused on the real goal: “Am I generated more business from Google?” and away from “Where do I rank on Google?”