I've been getting some heat lately for checking rankings. So, I decided to think about it to determine if maybe I was crazy for doing so. I mean, hey, maybe I'm just doing things out of habit and it's not necessary, right? Well, as it turns out, most people might not need to check rankings. I can understand where Sebastian is coming from, and it makes sense.
However, I've never changed my ways for some pretty good reasons. I have seasonal sites. Let me give you an example. Let's pretend I had a site that was tightly focused on the Rugby World Cup. Now, in reality, I know nothing about Rugby or it's World Cup, but I'm assuming it probably happens once a year. I'm also assuming that for a few weeks before and up to the end of the Cup, much traffic would be going to the site, but for the rest of the year, the site would generally get little to no traffic.
If I were to just analyze my log files during the 21 days or so that I actually had traffic, then by the time I had a clear picture of what was happening, and how I needed to react, add content, change strategies, etc., it would all be over.
I don't have the luxury of time on my side. My logs only give me information for a short burst of time. Therefore, they are only of limited use, mainly as a guideline for what I should think about doing for the NEXT year. The next 11 months are spent making guesses, making changes, and yes...CHECKING RANKINGS for keyword phrases that I believe will be the big converters the next time the event happens. I can't check the logs during those 11 months. So, the best thing I can do is check rankings.
In summary, I know, based on past years, what phrases are important to my conversions for my seasonal sites. Using that knowledge, I carefully watch the rankings of those phrases over the year to make sure nothing goes awry before each big event takes place.
You, on the other hand, may find more value in analyzing your logs than in analyzing rankings. If so, then by all means, please ignore any comments I may make about rankings, and concentrate on log file analysis instead. That may be a much better use of your time than it is for mine.