Measuring SEO ROI – Going Beyond Analytics #SMXSydney

We’re here at SMX Sydney for the next couple of days, sharing some of the excellent knowledge that  is being shared with us.

In line with many of the common themes coming out at SMX this year, we’re rolling up multiple talks into single posts and aligning them according to similarities. A key theme that was shared at Day 1 of SMX Sydney this year was the idea of ROI from SEO, and how to not only measure this but also effectively share this with relevant stakeholders.

Lesson 1: Answer Questions Before They Are AskedJeff Preston SMX Sydney

Both Jeff Preston, Head of SEO at Disney Interactive and Jon Quinton, Agency Director at Built Visible, highlighted this same issue. When dealing with stakeholders – be that clients,bosses, colleagues, money-men,whoever – you do not want to be seen to be on the back foot. It’s your responsibility to be ahead of the curve. A few ways to ensure this happens:

  • Build custom dashboards in GA for quick overviews
  • Ensure your morning routine involves checking these custom dashboards as well as latest ranking checks
  • Be aware of peaks/troughs and explain these abnormalities – e.g. release of Thor trailer saw massive traffic peak in 2013, so looks like 200% drop in 2014. Don’t wait for the questions to arise.

Lesson 2: Better Understand Your Landing Pages

Marty Weintraub from aimClear, gave a great talk on life after (not provided) and how we need to broaden our focus away from page-level keyword focus. Like many of the speakers at SMX today, the over-arching theme is:

Focus on concepts, not keywords

From a Google Analytics perspective, this is in the form of your landing pages. It’s not the keyword that matters, it’s the asset – the landing page itself. How is it performing? Traffic? Conversion? Segment that by (not provided) and review how organic traffic overall is performing. You can also sort by conversion and start to connect the dots. What pages are working, what aren’t.

Go to Webmaster Tools and look at top pages. Which keywords are converting according to WMT? TOP TIP: Export and archive your CSVs from WMT. They are only available for a limited amount of time, and are crucial data. Other key tools to use to gain more insight without keyword focus:

Lesson 3: Do GAP Analyses

Marty suggests that GAP Analyses for your landing pages and your site as a whole are a key factor in better understanding the performance of your site (without a keyword focus). This then also allows you to impte what your traffic share may be. This can be done with either 1st hand data or using tools that collate 3rd party data. A rough method

1. Know your unpersonalised rank

– Tools for this could be Advanced Web Ranking + Trusted Proxies (as suggested by Jon Quinton)

2. Know your competitors

– Understand the market online and offline, include competitors as part of AWR ranking check

3. Impute CTR for rank

– Use WMT CTR stats for given positions and gain an average view

4. Calculate SEO Competitive Traffic Share

Top tools that can also be used for range in price. At the top end:

  • Conductor
  • Brightedge
  • Searchmetrics

Smaller budgets:

  • Authority Labs (rank checker)
  • SEMRush
  • SpyFu Recon (domain + organic history + adwords history = traffic share for a domain)
  • Adgooroo  (use paid data to show organic comparison)

Lesson 4: Stay On Top of Your Crawl Index

If Google isn’t finding all of the pages of your site, then every other piece of work you do has very little importance all in all. This is particularly true when dealing with large sites and a high number of pages is particularly difficult but ensuring that your site is fully crawled should be true for any size site.

It’s not enough to just check periodically, you need to ensure you set out goals for this index and stick to getting as close to it as possible. Communicate this to your stakeholders, ensure you are getting them on side and understand what is important from day one.

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About Annabel Hodges

Originally from the UK via France and Malaysia, Annabel Hodges is a digital marketer with long experience in the industry now residing in Sydney. She heads up the Digital Marketing at Next Commerce, working across an array of products, channels and brands.