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Googling Yourself to Grade Your SEO Status? Ew. Gross.

Updated: Jun 3

google searching "is my SEO good?"

Elizabeth and her brother-in-law looking at the camera with a sly smile

Let me start by thanking my brother-in-law Jake for teaching me the cathartic wonder of yelling "NAMBY PAMBY" when I run into a situation that is just simply....stupid. You make me laugh hysterically with your unfiltered truth and willingness to call lies to the proverbial mat. I hope to bring the same joy you give me to at least one other person out there, doing their best to make a difference despite our nonsensical world.

To the person out there who has a big heart, is decently intelligent, and has learned the hard way that their intuition is almost always spot on, this series is for you. It's time to own your greatness. I hope you find validation, inspiration, and a few chuckles in these truths.

Googling a random keyword, I assume everyone is searching to find us, will accurately show where we rank on search engines. That's Namby Pamby!

If you've been in the marketing space for more than five minutes, you have likely experienced this situation at least twice.

Let's set the stage for the typical drama.

You are part of a diligent marketing team working tirelessly on SEO strategies. One bright morning, an executive — who charmingly admits their lack of SEO savvy — strides into your standing weekly scrum meeting. Their demeanor is charged with a mix of concern and triumph. Last night, armed with nothing but a laptop and a sense of curiosity, they conducted what they believe to be a 'comprehensive audit' of your company's online presence. They Googled something they are sure others are using to find your organization and are ready to critique. They declare to their dismay (and your impending frustration), "We're not even at the top! What exactly is the marketing team doing?"

Woosah. You can handle this.

You know that their "comprehensive analysis" doesn't quite capture the whole picture, but they don't. Now, you find yourself in the hot seat, tasked with calmly and professionally explaining that their perceptions don't align with reality.

A quick sidebar for any executives who may be reading this. Pay attention. Your marketing team is your ally, tirelessly working to support your goals. You've acknowledged that SEO isn't your strong suit. You might have forgotten that it IS THEIRS. Lean on your team's expertise and trust their judgment to streamline the process for everyone involved....and for goodness sake, get them out of the hot seat and buy them a cup of coffee. They have more than earned it. 

Here are four of MANY reasons why the executive's method is fundamentally flawed:

  1. Personalized Results: Google tailors search results based on the user's previous browsing history, location, and even device. The executive saw a reflection tailored to their digital footprint, not a universal truth.

  2. Dynamic Rankings: Search engine rankings are not static; they change constantly due to algorithm updates and the actions of other websites. What's number one today might not be tomorrow.

  3. Incognito Isn't a Panacea: Some might think using an incognito window provides a neutral perspective. However, even incognito doesn't completely strip away personal biases like location, which still influences the results.

  4. Geographical Variance: Rankings can differ dramatically from one location to another. A search performed in New York will yield different results than one conducted in San Francisco.

Now that you've spotted the Namby Pamby in the "strategy" of using personal Google searches to gauge SEO results, let's talk about real, effective alternatives.

Here are a few ways to obtain authentic and actionable insights into your SEO performance: