Very interesting article by Jill Whalen, owner of High Rankings on swearing off a single-minded focus on er, um *rankings* and measuring your true SEO success through web analytics

The rankings queen now says that rankings are not worth the SERP’s (define) they’re painted on:

It’s time you learn that ranking reports are not your friend. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that they are closer to being meaningless drivel to everyone other than your boss’s over-inflated ego.

Well, what gives? What’s the new numero uno? According to Jill:

There’s a new kid on the block and she’s just as much fun to play with as ranking reports. In fact, she’s a whole lot more fun, and not only that, she pays for herself over and over again. Her name is web analytics and she’s going to be your new best friend!

Here’s what Jill had to say about Google Analytics:

Using Google Analytics for my own High Rankings site, I’m always gaining some amazing insight. For instance, one would think that being ranked very highly for the coveted “search engine optimization” phrase would bring me tons of clients and make me rich! Nope. Not at all. Sure, it brings tons of traffic, but it actually has only a 0.82% conversion rate in terms of people filling out my request form, and even lower conversions for such things as signing up for my free newsletter, registering on my forum, or purchasing my Nitty-gritty guide.

Yet a phrase such as “search engine consultant” has a 6.67% conversion rate in terms of filling out my request form. Now, granted, I get a whole lot less traffic for that phrase than I get for the big kahuna. But when you add together the traffic from those “minor” phrases, the conversions are much, much higher than for the major phrases.

There are a zillion other things that you can learn when measuring your true SEO success through web analytics. If you’re not already using a good program (and learning from it), I can’t stress enough how important it is to start doing it.

Me too, Jill. Welcome aboard!

Hat-tip to Cory.