I always see SEO experts talking about which strategy to adopt next. How to rank high on Google? Which content to develop next? No doubt, they are as necessary as water for life. But tell me, how do you plan all these things in the first place?
Assumptions? Analysis? Gut-Feeling?
Combine the three together, still marketers often complain about low rankings and minimal lead conversion.
The problem is they never talk about data. They do have loads but never ever I see anyone talking about importance of data and how to use it for SEO.
It occurred to me first when I read about Data science, and its crucial role in SEO. I dwell in immediately and realized how much we are missing by not putting data at the centre of all our marketing campaigns. The only issue with Data is it’s like a non-ending book. You keep collecting it till your last breath.
No wonder, everyone stay out of it.
But you can’t ignore it anymore. Because future of SEO is Data Centric. Everything ranging from marketing campaigns to content creation, all will be based on Data.
So, you have to learn how to use data without getting bored. This article gives you a tour on importance of Data Science, and how to use it, with simplicity, for SEO.
What is Data Science?
Data Science is a blend of garnered data, algorithms and technology to understand business problems. Online marketers and businesses use data science to analyze factors that aid to higher rankings on search engines (think: Google) and increase reach to targeted audience (think: customers).
Why Data Science is Necessary for SEO?
With in-depth analysis, Netflix discovered that fans of Kevin Spacey also watched political dramas and movies of famous director David Fincher. This data turns into an invention of Netflix’s award-winning show House of Cards – a political drama directed by David Fincher with Kevin Spacey as a lead character.
That’s the power of Data Science.
Think data as a signal of what users like and think “House of Cards” as result of content having more potential for success.
Isn’t it what you always try for with various SEO strategies?
Data Science paves your way to SEO success.
How to Use Data Science to Achieve SEO Success?
First of all, you need to select tools to collect data from reliable sources.
Choose Your Data Gathering Tools
Each company has its own data needs. It selects tools accordingly. We will discuss about some common tools used by almost all companies.
Microsoft Excel: That’s the most common tool available in all desks. In case of notifying urgent details, Excel comes handy.
Google Analytics: Even a newbie knows which tool to open first for analysis. Of course, Google Analytics. From analyzing to measuring to planning marketing strategies, Google Analytics is in for all.
BigQuery: More famous with the name “Data warehouse” because of its ability to provide large datasets for interactive analysis. It runs on Google Cloud Storage.
Tableau: Want to declutter the mess of overload data? Go for Tableau. It offers data visualization to help prioritize goals.
Keywordtool.io: As good as Google Keyword Planner, Keywordtool.io helps you focus on important keywords to set an effective SEO strategy.
Screaming Frog: Popular for its spider tool to examine URLs and identify common SEO issues.
Let’s have a look on experts’ choice of tools:
Go on. Read about them. Try them. And put the most useful ones in your basket.
What to Look for and Where to Look from?
Data is an information overload. You don’t know which data is important and which isn’t.
Server Log is the first place to start with.
Server log is a file automatically created and maintained by server. It consists of list of web activities like record of each visit to your website, bugs, errors, etc.
Web designers often use server logs to find errors or bugs.
Being an SEO specialist, server log helps in many other ways:
- To understand search engine crawlers behavior of your website
- To identify your website’s internal link structure
- To discover duplicate and low quality content
- To analyze site’s performance, etc.
SEMRush asked a question titled “What to look for while performing Log server analysis?” on its Twitter chat.
Here are some best responses of several SEO experts.
Next come Variables.
Variables: an event, a campaign, a sales offer or anything that’s measurable is called variable.
- Independent variables: independent variables are controllable factors one can change anytime like price, product, promotion place, etc.
- Dependent variables: dependent variables are uncontrollable factors like sales growth, sales revenue, customer inquiries, etc.
Note: Market researchers use independent variables to influence dependent variables.
For right answers, you must have right questions. Variables give you a set of right questions to ask for.
Changing relationship between independent and dependent variables helps you figure out what actions matter most and what needs to be omitted. For e.g. you can measure changes in sales growth due to change in product price. Based on which you can take action on prices of products or services.
If you identify the relationship between both variables, and how one is affecting the other – you can measure the effectiveness of each strategy.
Analyzing variables give you a detailed data on high and low performers. It helps you see the difference between winners and losers. For e.g. one page taking more time than the other is crucial data you need to work on. Presence of technical issues at one place and absence on another gives you a better idea on how and where to take right actions.
And last but not the least, Look Beyond Numbers
Numbers are attractive enough to keep you going. But beyond numbers reside stories about customers’ behavior towards your site. Combine numbers with stories to create the unbeatable SEO Strategy.
SEMRush suggest to look after below given metrics for effective SEO campaigns
Using Data Science to Increase SEO Impact
Once you collect data from different tools and techniques, it’s time to put them in use.
Data visualization is collecting data, and turning it into a visual context like Map or Graph.
Writers and marketers convert data into a graph format to educate users without integrating boredom. As is the old sayings, “A Picture is worth a thousand words”.
Now, it’s time to use those graphs for better understanding and decision-making.
Data visualization, having a map or graph of data, helps you look in small holes more clearly. Text confuses you and hides the small details needing attention. Not mentioning the fact that text takes loads of time to read, it’s boring, and doesn’t guarantee end-results. Graphs or maps, on the other side, act like a roadmap to success. Following the data in graphical format results into identifying bigger as well as smaller problems. You get a clear picture on which areas need utmost improvement. Taking action, then, becomes a piece of cake.
For e.g. minor issues, such as broken links and errors may result into big problems. With graphical data, you can instantly detect the errors and fix them as soon as possible.
Benefits of Data Visualization
- Effortless Interpretation
- Easy comparison
- Recognize common patterns
- Discover current trends and future possibilities
- Spot Right Questions for Right Answers
To turn your data into graphs, you can take help from content writers and graphical designers as they are the experts when it comes to content creation. Give them strict instruction on not to miss a single detail.
Next step is putting each member of your team on work. After classifying data, set universal rules of SEO for each team to follow. Let’s just say you can rely only on SEO experts to increase rankings. Web designers and developers play as much important role as marketing people. So whoever working on website should have access to data based on their work. For e.g. provide data of users’ interaction, with the website, to the team working on user behavior. And provide data of conversion to the team working on generating leads.
Of course, each team will work independently once you give them the set of SEO rules. Still you have to make sure that team members are collaborating with each other to maintain the harmony of your website’s structure. For e.g. web designer must confirm the design with SEO expert to make sure designs are made as per users’ likings.
Data science offers individual work. At the same time, it keeps everything at centre like a foundation.
When it comes to data, sky is the limit. The above tips help you get started and reach the stage where you can plan SEO strategies with potential results. After that, as you know well, it’s a non-ending process.