The SEO ranking fallacy

In this episode Alex explains why rankings shouldn’t be the focus of SEO.


Hi, my name’s Alex Cleanthous, chief strategist at Web Profits, and today, I’ll be talking about one of the biggest fallacies in the SEO industry… the focus on rankings.

Now for those of you who don’t know me, I have a stutter and it comes out when I get excited… and this stuff is exciting. So let’s get into it.

Many of the SEO companies you speak with will have you believe that all you need is top rankings. They offer guarantees along the lines of picking 20 keywords to focus your SEO on, and if they don’t rank you on the first page of Google for at least 10 of those keywords, they refund either all or a portion of your SEO investment.

Now while that might sound like a good deal, it actually isn’t. Why? Because SEO is not about rankings… it’s about traffic and, more importantly, it’s about conversions (ie the leads and sales you generate from your SEO investment). And when you just focus on rankings, especially with a guarantee, you’ll likely be getting rankings for keywords that have little or no competition, and negligible traffic and conversions, if at all.

Focusing on achieving rankings by a certain date also puts a lot of pressure on the SEO company to build links to your site and, often times, that means unnatural tactics are used to build links. Why? Because it’s difficult to build quality links to a website.

You see, when you focus on quality, you need to get owners of authoritative websites to link back to you, and that requires building a relationship, offering something of value, and following through with what you’ve offered – which all takes time (at least 6 to 12 months). And when you’re just focusing on rankings, the tactics you use are very different because you simply don’t have the time.

So what should you be focusing on? Traffic and conversions.

By focusing on traffic and conversions, you’re measuring what actually makes a difference to your business. Think about it… what do rankings actually do for your business? Nothing really. It’s the traffic those rankings generate, and the conversions that traffic produces that makes the difference.

Rankings are also dependant on location, personalisation, and device… so when you’re measuring rankings, what are you actually measuring? Now I’m not saying not to track rankings at all (because rankings are an indicator of how your SEO is going) but they shouldn’t be the focus. The focus should be traffic and conversions.

The SEO strategy we implement for our clients is all about generating traffic and conversions. It’s a lot harder to achieve, but we know that traffic and conversions is what’s going to make the biggest difference to our clients’ businesses, so that’s what we focus on.

At Web Profits we want to change the way business is done online. To find out more or to get in touch, simply visit

I hope you enjoyed this episode of Web Profits TV and I look forward to speaking with you in the next video.

Alex Cleanthous

Alex Cleanthous

Chief Innovation Officer at Web Profits

Alex Cleanthous is Chief Innovation Officer at Web Profits. With more than 10 years experience in online marketing, Alex is always on the lookout for smarter, faster and more scalable ways to achieve maximum growth with minimum spend.