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There was a time when the success of results of SEO strategies and campaigns revolved around keyword ranking measurement. SEO specialists often spent the majority of their time discussing keywords with clients, and diligently measuring where the keywords were ranking, in order to prove the value of their work.

Over time, the world of online marketing has changed. Many of these changes have been brought about by advancements in Google's algorithm, as well as more savvy searching by Internet users. Let's examine why the days of concentrating on the measurement of keyword ranking should be relegated to the past, to make way for more relevent measurements, such as traffic increase.

Improvements to Google's algorithm

There is no doubt that Google's algorithm has become far more sophisticated over the years. Tactics such as sprinkling that winning keyword throughout text do not secure the same amount of positive results as they used to; there is even the chance of being penalised by Google if you concentrate on the use of keywords too much.

Achieving good results from SEO strategy is no longer about getting high rankings for keywords. This being the case, why make measuring keywords a priority.

Changes to the way people search

Not so very long ago, people were still getting used to searching the Internet. Today, completing searches is second nature to regular Internet users. People often complete longer, more specific, searches. These long-tailed searches are very hard to predict, as many as 20% of searches are unique. You can see why the value of keywords is reducing.

Another factor that is reducing the effectiveness of traditional keywords is the increased use of voice search. Using voice to search is a far more organic method; it's a complete move away from traditional keywords and phrases.

What should be measured?

So, it's pretty obvious that keyword rankings are no longer the measure of SEO success that they once were. What should be measured instead? The main aim of SEO is to attract people to a website and to get them to engage with the site, by taking action such as making a purchase or providing contact details for subscription to communications.

It makes sense that what is measured should relate to these aims. This is why traffic increase measurement is so important. If people are not being attracted to a website then SEO is falling at the first hurdle. This measurement should be accompanied by others, such as increase in leads and increase in ROI. All of these measurements are far more valuable, in today's SEO environment, than the measurement of keyword ranking.

There is still a place for keywords in SEO, but they need to be part of a more encompassing approach, which should include considerations such as mobile first thinking, quality of content and overall customer experience. These are all linked to SEO, so it makes sense to measure the results they enable; increase in traffic, user engagement, increase in leads, increase in sales and increase in ROI.