How to Use Data SEO and Analysis to Maximize Marketing Performance
What is data SEO?
The phrase “data SEO” has continued to surface on several search industry websites, which may leave you wondering what exactly is meant by the term. How is data SEO different from foundational SEO practices?
Data SEO builds on solid foundational technical and content efforts. It uses data to measure past SEO performance and predict future SEO success. While foundational technical SEO ensures that a website is secure, fast, and mobile-friendly, and optimized foundational content elements like titles, meta descriptions, and headings allow a website to be found and indexed by the search engines, data SEO takes things one step further. Data SEO is a practice that employs using tools, techniques, and talent to analyze performance data to grow share of voice or improve content performance to overtake the competition. While a newer industry term, data SEO is, and has always been, the technique used by Collective Measures’ SEO team to make data-driven recommendations to ensure clients’ success.
The ability to effectively use data to “move the needle” on website performance often requires the assistance of a data SEO analysis tool. Prior to collecting data, marketers should have a plan in place to know which decisions the data should inform and which questions the data should answer; then they can select the tool of their choice. For example, a natural language processing tool can guide content creation efforts. Machine learning programs can improve performance analysis. Application of programming languages can help with data visualization. And free tools like Google Analytics and Search Console can provide an overwhelming amount of data to help guide marketing decisions. But how do marketers know where to look first to make the most of information afforded by any type of data SEO tools? Our recommendation: start with Google’s algorithm and algorithm updates.
Data SEO + algorithm updates can guide marketing priorities
To analyze and make informed conclusions about website data, a keen awareness of Google’s algorithm and updates is critically important. Without some understanding of algorithm updates, marketers may miss the boat and focus time and attention on aspects of their websites that aren’t on Google’s radar.
Google makes minor tweaks to the algorithm each week, hundreds of tweaks every year, and four to six large, broad algorithm “updates” annually. Ranking factors are the algorithm’s “secret ingredients.” There are thousands of ranking factors that come into play, and their importance can rise and fall from year to year. It’s a lot to keep track of. But being aware of algorithm updates and ranking factor changes can help marketers know which aspects of their website may be affected and which data SEO tool to employ to measure the impact.
Most major algorithm updates focus on something very specific. For example, in 2020, Google made four major updates, three of which were associated with content quality. Smart marketers employed data SEO tools to gauge the update’s impact on content performance and to determine where opportunities existed to improve content quality. One aspect of content quality is content length — the number of words on the page. A data SEO tool like Screaming Frog (free for up to 500 analyzed web pages) is useful to determine the word count on important pages. Thin pages with little content can be quickly surfaced, analyzed, and improved to provide more value to searchers, and to meet the requirements of the update.
In 2021, Google has already signaled that something called the “page experience signal” will factor heavily into the algorithm. Page experience focuses on metrics like mobile friendliness, safe browsing, and HTTPS security. Page load time, stability, and interactivity will also figure in. Free data SEO tools to use now in preparation for the page experience signal could include Google’s Mobile Friendly Test, webpagetest.org, Google Search Console (Mobile Usability), PageSpeed Insights, and others designed to identify technical and user experience issues and opportunities. Use these tools to benchmark current performance, make changes to meet Google’s requirements, and stay ahead of the curve when this new ranking factor takes effect.
Knowing this, what should marketers do now?
Savvy marketers should place even more importance on “algorithm update awareness” in 2021, use every data analysis tool at their disposal to measure the impact of updates on their website, and adjust as necessary to improve performance. Data SEO, combined with an awareness of algorithm updates, will enable marketers to pivot according to Google’s ever-changing preferences and requirements, grow share of voice, and be more visible in search results.