The practice of tracking search engine rankings is essentially moot. .
The problem: explaining the irrelevance of rankings to clients. Don't get me wrong. The goal of any SEO work should be to achieve the highest search engine rankings possible, but trying to track and accurately measure rankings is nearly impossible. Sure, you can run ranking reports or check a few keywords manually, but those numbers mean little.
The goal of search engines is to provide the most relevant and timely content to the user. Bing and Google have both made major strides to improve the search engine user experience. The introduction of universal, behavioral, intent-based, and location-based search means that searches for the same keyword may yield completely different results for different people in different locations.
So, if rankings differ from user to user, what is the point of even trying to track rankings?
A common client response might then be: "If you cannot tell me where I rank, what results can you show me?"
At that point, I suggest to look at the role of SEO in the greater marketing picture. Isn't the ultimate goal of marketing and advertising to increase revenue? Quick answer: Yes. Measuring website traffic and revenue provides a more accurate look at the effects of SEO.
Every business on the web should hope to receive the most targeted, qualified traffic as possible. Search engines want to provide the most relevant content to users, and with each update, the result is more qualified traffic to the websites users choose to visit.
In my opinion, it is a win-win for both the SEO world and the search engine user.
The future of search marketing is wide open, and I look forward to being around to witness it.