I had a talk with a client today about their website and how it's ranking for their keywords. His higher-ups wanted to know why they don't rank the same at Yahoo (the search engine they happen to prefer) as at Google. This is a company who receives over 20% of it's total business from online inquiries generated from their website. In a brick and mortar, real world, service-type industry, where sales equal large contracts – this is remarkable.
My client understands that the rankings in and of themselves don't really matter, but he's had trouble conveying that to the older generation that are asking the question. (we're not even going into the “different algorithms” discussion)
Rankings without traffic to your site and conversion of said traffic to sales are really meaningless on the scoreboard of business. Ranking for a search term that gets no searches is a similar pitfall. It really boils down to getting targeted traffic to your site and then guiding that traffic through your sales process – whatever it consists of, be it selling a tangible item or generating a request for a quote for your services.
There's a lot of talk about ranking – but being number one for something that doesn't add to your bottom line only gives you bragging rights, and isn't likely to line your pockets. Think about this the next time you Google (Yahoo) yourself. 🙂