SES London 2011 – Meaningful SEO Metrics

Meaningful SEO Metrics – Going Beyond the Numbers

Moderator – Brian Clifton

Speaker – Matthew Bailey

Speaker – Peter Young

Brian Clifton introduces the concept of web analytics by saying that for many it can be off-putting, however Brian defines it as “measuring the user experience” in order to improve it. Two types of tools – on and off-site analytics.

On – what happens when a visitor comes, what do they do, how do they engage? To a large extent it is site-determined, and within our control.

Off-site – less within our control, e.g. search rankings or 3rd party mention.

The challenge for the web analytics industry is “how do we bring these together?”

Brian hands over to our speakers, kicking off with Peter Young, who is focusing on off-site metrics.

Peter Young – Brilliant Media: Objectives, looking at what constitutes success can differ. SEO professionals can tend to be metric obsessed or rank obsessed, wereas from a client perspective leads and conversions are what matters.

Secondary metrics e.g. views, likes etc/>

Traditional issues with SEO Metrics: not always traditionally aligned. Technology lacking the sophistocatin to provide a 360 on and off-site view.

Combined with a huge increase in SEO investment as part of marketing mix, driven by greater wealth of data. Net result being increased accountability from an SEO perspective.

Four Rs – ROI, Response, Reach and Reason

Can our data and campaign meet/answer these criteria? How and why?

In measurng the success of these campaigns it is incremental increases that count. Fundamental to that is to establish a benchmark.

Understanding CTR forecasting is essential to understanding profitability potential. Some data sources out there – none of which can be 100% accurate and variables must be considered i.e

  • search intent
  • queries
  • serp cannibalisation
  • blended search results

Essential data types

  • volumes
  • existing client data
  • conversions etc
  • seasonality

Halo Effect

Look at share of voice, not just primary keywords but whole market sector. Raven or Advanced Web Ranking tools can provide good data here.

Integration and De-duplication

Integrated tracking allows opportunities

  • actual channel blend
  • blended search ROI
  • channel impact of one channel on another
  • understanding of client online marketing behaviour

Tracking offline – online?

Adinsight or Infinity – new tools that allow for click to call tracking (call centre activity down to SE and KW level.

Econometrics – using mathermatical models to measure the number of in-store sales driven by increased website visits.

Take Aways

  • Report metrics that matter to the client not internal success
  • Simple forecasting at start of campaign to benchmark
  • De-dupe conversions with attribution
  • Don’t look at “hero” rankings in isolation – look at the bigger picture if possible

Second part about to start,… this post will update.

Matt Bailey – SiteLogic: Make the data more communicable in order to make it more meaningful. Matt speaks about Ed Tufty “the godfather of data visualisation” – if you want a better understanding of data – add more data (but don’t show that to the CEO).

6 Keys to Integration

  • show mutli-variate data (i.e. more data points)
  • Show comparisons
  • Show causality (if you don’t ask why – you’re not a good analyst)
  • Show different reports for different sorts (of people)
  • Show the money

Your job as the analyst is to show where the money is, where it’s going, how to make more.

Reports: don’t get stuck in “caveman analytics”

  • Pageviews
  • “Hits”
  • Rankings

More data points = more comparators. Pivot tables rule!

Better comparison = better causality analysis.

Matt recommends multiple computers and multiple monitors – whilst looking at the data, you need to  be looking at the page/the item/action that the data represents on that site.

Segment aquisition, then determine causality, and to do that we need to understand context. I.e an in-text ad in quality content carries greater content than a URL shortened twitter link.

As a result those that visit from twitter may not stay as long as those that visit from the former type of link.

News sites – same contextual argument to be had.

Example shown of a high-bounce prod. page. By looking on various monitors the team discovered the page would stretch to screen size, thus distorting the appearance of the landing page.

Do a 404 report in analytics – look to see if people are finding your error pages (not just Googlebot). What is taking them there – what’s the nav route?

Segment by entry point – average conversion rate – 2.2%, made up of homepage on #3 with conversion rate at 1.8% and a category page in #12 at 4.3% conversion (effectively same number of sales). Took the decision to de-prioritise the homepage and focus on linkbuilding on the product page to drive sales.



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