While at home yesterday watching my beloved Liverpool trounce the current Premier League leaders, and league champions, Chelsea at Anfield I felt myself wondering how Liverpool’s performance demonstrated the perfect example of how to monitor your SEO campaign.
I know, I should have been shouting abuse, drinking heavily or something similar – but the statistics that kept getting displayed on screen made me think of how people often incorrectly monitor the success of their own online efforts. For instance, one of the first statistics to be displayed on screen by Sky Sports was that of the possession, which was heavily in favour of Chelsea at 60% versus 40%. They kept the ball very well, knocking it around their back four with ease, whereas whenever Liverpool got the ball they rushed forwards and lost it very quickly.
On the face of it, it looked as though Chelsea were being very dominant and they could consider themselves as having had a great start. In SEO this is like monitoring your rankings within the SERPs, and trumpeting improved rankings as being success. However, just like with possession in football, the areas of the field in which you enjoy that possession is more important. It’s all well and good enjoying possession in your own half of the field, but if you’re not making any penetration into the final third it’s all meaningless. Equally, if you’re ranking for keywords that aren’t competitive, keywords that nobody is searching for, then your rankings are equally as meaningless.
Then of course you can look at the action areas of the game between Liverpool and Chelsea. Certainly in the second half Chelsea had the lion share of the play in Liverpool’s final third, showing they were indeed making headway. This is akin to ranking for keywords that are competitive, keywords that are generating search volume. However, just as with SEO, this isn’t going to win you a football match. As the old adage goes ‘if you don’t buy a ticket you won’t win the raffle’ – and without making any shots on goal, you won’t score. Liverpool’s Pepe Reina, despite a couple of good saves, was largely untroubled for the whole game – while Petr Cech at the other end was by far the busier of the two goalkeepers, and went some way to keeping the score line down.
The shots on goal statistic can be compared with your traffic stats – as these are far more important than any possession or ranking stats. It’s what you do with the ball that matters, not how much time you spend in control of it.
Of course, at the end of the day the only real statistic that matters is the one in the top left hand corner of the screen – the score line. Liverpool won the game 2-0 because they converted their chances, and it’s conversions that really count online. You can have all the possession in the world, occupying your opponent’s final third and taking shots all day long but, if none of your traffic converts, your website will be a failure and your SEO campaign will not succeed.
It’s not rankings that matter, it’s conversions; just ask Chelsea.
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