Why Page Rank is meaningless
While at PubCon, I attended a session where Bruce Clay was speaking. As part of his address he stated something that I've been saying for years, "A page's rank in the search results is meaningless".
He went on to point out that the search engines are changing how they decided which page to rank. Most of us already know about how they adjust the results based on the users search location (someone in Las Vegas will get different results than someone in New York), many may not be aware they have started monitoring user behavior. This means they adjust the results based on what you as a searcher tend to search one. If you click on more product reviews than commerce site when searching for products, review pages will trend upward in your search query resutls.
Bruce feels that these types of changes are going to be even more wide spread come some time in the 1st quarter of 2009. While time will tell, Bruce pointed out as a community SEO and SEM specialists need to stop focusing on the rankings in the SERPS and start embracing web analytics. This latter point what I've been saying, preaching and teaching for years.
As with all conferences, the best things happen between sessions and that's when Bruce and I got to speak for about 3 minutes on this subject. During our brief conversation, our thoughts and opinions were identical that we as a community need to use web analytics to measure the quanity and quality of the traffic generated by search engines. We both agreed that being number 1 is important for corporate ego, but the truth that needs to be conveyed is what traffic do you get for which terms and how do they convert on your site.
Chance conversations like this is why I love conferences like PubCon. It gives everyone the chance to discuss ideas and concepts with peers and industry leaders ensuring that we as a community can than transfer this knowledge with confidence to co-workers and clients.