Every SEO specialist is partially also an analyst. Data analysis is crucial for making marketing decisions. It is primarily used to optimize campaigns and account for results. For marketers, numbers are also important to measure the profitability of a business. I hope this convinces you that collecting data is an essential aspect of both: marketing, and overall functioning of a business. In this article, I briefly describe the data analyzed in the field of SEO, which is rather a specific branch of digital marketing.
SEO web analytics – what do we use data for?
Numbers and Google sheets are essential for SEO specialists to plan positioning strategy. As a SEO expert, I can say that Excel sheets with numbers are my daily tasks. Collecting data is useful for determining most common key phrases, analyzing website visibility and calculating conversions. It is also used to study the changes taking place, estimation, and accounting for the effects of SEO actions.
SEO data is essential for:
- Studying ongoing changes in SEO. Numbers mirror every change in the positioning of a website. The indicator that informs us about the change is the number of key phrases in particular levels of top3, top10 and top50 (sometimes top20 is also mentioned). Changes in the number of key phrases on the aforementioned levels are visible immediately and are a kind of warning signal, which informs us that changes are occurring. This information may be positive or negative. Decreases in key phrases may mean that our actions positively or negatively influence the visibility of the website. It also happens that drops or increases are caused by changes in Google’s algorithm. We usually know about the algorithm changes much earlier, but we are never able to predict how these updates will affect the visibility of the website.
- Estimations and setting KPIs. Often when we come to SEO agency we wonder what results we can expect. And it is a kind of unknown, because on our way to the goal we may encounter many obstacles, e.g., changes in algorithms negatively influencing Google ratings, competitors who, see our actions, will take up the work. All the these examples and reasons determine the fact that in SEO we can rely only on estimations. Often, when estimating we talk about increasing the visibility by e.g., 10% or 20% in the top3, top10, top50. We typically use data such as estimated organic traffic. Knowing the searchability of the phrases for which we want to position ourselves and the positions we want to achieve, we can determine whether the organic traffic will increase and by how much.
- Evaluation of SEO impact on company’s sales. Sometimes we see increase in website position and its traffic, but it does not reflect on final results. As we know, SEO has impact on increasing traffic to the website, nevertheless this traffic should be valuable and covert into sales. Unfortunately, it happens to be underestimated. How to determine whether the traffic is actually valuable? One possibility is to analyze the phrases we have managed to rank for. If we occupy the first positions of search results for e.g. red dresses, but there is no such product in our e-commerce, we can immediately see that this traffic will not bring value. A completely different situation, which I have encountered more than once in my work as an SEO specialist, is losing traffic from a website. What exactly do I mean? The situation in which we generate more and more visibility and valuable traffic, but it does not bring the expected business results. What strategy should be adopted? One thing is certain: we cannot blame neither the positioner nor the SEO agency for it. In this situation, we should consider additional actions, such as SXO, UX. It is also worth re-performing audits of the competition, the company’s market environment in order to identify more advanced issues and to have more broaden the perspective.
Basic metrics for SEO analytics
During SEO web analysis, we take into account a lot of data, which gives valuable insights and can lead to effective guidelines for us. We often make decisions with regard to them, as well as account for our effects. What indicators do we use on a daily basis, and how do we analyze them? I will write about this below.
- Searchability. It is a characteristic indicator of how often users type a given keyword phrase when searching for information or product. What is more, searchability is also considered territorially. This means that we can determine the searchability of a given phrase in Poland as well as only in a specific province. This type of action supports local positioning, but also SEO content by allowing to include synonyms and phrases that are popular for a certain region. What else can be said about searchability? There is a seasonality in it, which determines the popularity of phrases in particular months of the year. This is especially evident for keywords such as Christmas tree baubles, gifts for different occasions, or fireworks, that peak sales are in December.
- Organic traffic. It is the number of users visiting a website from the organic results of Google search engine. In SEO analytics, this indicator is mainly used to account for the effects. The better SEO, the more traffic on the website and this is how it should be understood. How do we analyze and read organic traffic data? First, we compare it year to year, mostly because of the seasonality of phrases. There are no stores that keep sales at the same level throughout the whole year. Even in the grocery industry, we see increasing purchases in the pre-Christmas periods, so we can’t compare traffic from month to month.
- CTR – the click-through rate of a website in SERP. It is an indicator often studied by SEO specialists. A positioned website may be visibly high in search results, but at the same time it may not attract the attention of browser users. In such a situation, we begin by changing the metadata such as titles and descriptions of pages visible in Google. It is the metadata that mainly encourages the user to visit the website.
- Conversions. In online stores and e-commerce services, we always count on conversions. However, SEO activities deliver traffic but not necessarily conversions. Conversions are affected by many other factors such as good UX (User Experience), brand positioning, pricing, etc. Therefore, in order to achieve higher conversions, you should consider SXO service that combines traditional SEO with UX.
In this article, I described the main elements we look at analytics in SEO. However, these are not all the numbers we base our daily work on, there are a few more. We often talk about sessions, the size of a website, number of server errors 500 or 404. These numbers are really daily work for SEO specialists. And also in online marketing there will be more and more of them. Marketing activities on the Internet differ from traditional ones precisely because we can measure them, optimize them and draw conclusions based on data from various SEO analytics tools.
Author: Anna Witkowska