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Search engines and position checking software

Keeping the right perspective

Many Search Engine Visibility readers will find that I do not agree with the majority of search engine optimization (SEO) professionals on the topic of position checking. In fact, many of you might be outright surprised at my response to this question:

Can you recommend any position checking software?

I do not endorse any position checking software. I have optimized web sites since 1995 with a 100% success rate, and I have never used position checking software as part of my optimizatin strategy. I believe that position checking, as a whole, is a waste of time and energy.

Search engine positions fluctuate all of the time

One of the reasons I do not utilize position checking software is that search engine positions have never been permanent. Positioning always fluctuates, even 15 years ago, even now. For example, I might be speaking with a client on the phone, and he might tell me that one of his web pages is in position #5. And when I perform the same query, I see that his web page is in position #3. What is happening is that we are querying different servers. Some search engines now personalize content whether we want them to or not. Search engine positions fluctuate all of the time.

Search engine results might include image listings, local listings, video listings in addition to web-page listings.

Think about it: news sites and blog sites (hopefully the reputable ones) tend to get updated very quickly. Therefore, search results for the same keyword phrase can look different from minute to minute.

Additionally, personalized search certainly makes it possible for searchers to tailor their search engine results pages (SERPs). If a searcher does not like a web site appearing in search results? The searcher can tell Google, for example, that he does not want that web site to appear in his personalized search results anymore.

Search engine positions have always fluctuated. Now, positioning can fluctuate even more, and even disappear if searchers do not like your web site.

As an SEO professional and web designer/developer, I understand the need and desire for qualified search engine traffic. But I have never obsessed over positioning since I know positioning is not permanent.

I know it is hard to accept my answer. Nevertheless, my answer has always been a true one.

Quick tip: No SEO professional controls positioning (even though they will tell you they do). So if you hear that guarantee? Steer clear, no matter how badly you want your site to have top search engine positions.


Shari Thurow - photoArticle by Search Engine Visibility author Shari Thurow, Founder and SEO Director at Omni Marketing Interactive, a full-service search engine optimization (SEO), web site usability, information architecture (IA) and web design firm. Shari is also the co-author of When Search Meets Web Usability.

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For more information about our search engine optimization, search usability training, and site design services, please fill out our contact form or call us at 847-426-4256.

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