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Monitoring what really matters

A client emailed us recently in a state of concern after receiving our weekly search engine position report. With this, we monitor the company in Google for a range of important search terms. Our client pointed out that in the last fortnight, for one particular search term it had fallen off the first page of Google results and then out of the top 20 altogether. This was a disaster, right?

Obviously, nobody ever wants to see that happening. Curiously, the position of other searches had remained fairly constant. So we looked into the particular search term.

The first thing we found was that there wasn’t a page on the website which really addressed that search term. To be honest, the website didn’t really deserve to be ranked for that search term, and maybe the company should be grateful for having had a free ride. We suggested that as the site at least had a ‘history’ with Google for that term, a new page which did address the term would probably have a good chance of success.

But then we looked at the term itself. It did seem a bit vague. Indeed, it was the sort of term which, dare I say it, only marketing managers use. It just described a class of technology. It was the sort of term you’d make up when you wanted to think of a general label to cover a range of products with only a broad connection.

We looked at Google Search Console. Although this only goes back 90 days, it would cover a period when the website had been on the first page of results. Having been on the first page, we’d expect a decent clickthrough rate.

And we found… nothing. Nobody had searched for the term. I took a look at the client’s AdWords search campaign, and discovered that we’d deleted the term a long time ago, as it was never searched for, and having an ad was pointless.

The lesson to be learned is that if you’re going to expend effort monitoring search engine positions, make sure you’re monitoring searches which are genuinely busy, not just ones which you think ought to be important.